Trigun: Badlands Rumble – Blu-ray Review

Review by: Sophie Stevens

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $34.98 US (Blu-ray), $29.98 US (DVD)
Running Time: 120 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: September 27, 2011

Vash the Stampede is back and insurance prices will definitely go up after he’s done.

Sadly, I missed the theatrical release of Trigun: Badlands Rumble that hit a few select movie theaters not too long ago but I found myself really anticipating the DVD/Blu-ray release of this full-length feature film that marks the return of The Human Typhoon. Yes, Vash the Stampede is back and – after an impressive TV series – he makes his return in a full-length animated movie that will definitely please the longtime fans who have been hoping that Vash’s adventures would continue. Trust me when I say that this one’s strictly for the fans and it doesn’t disappoint.

If you’re not familiar with the world of Trigun or it’s quirky hero/outlaw then you are out of luck because this 120 minute movie will not introduce the Wild West-meets-futuristic-wasteland setting or why the man called Vash the Stampede (AKA The Human Typhoon) has a 60 billion double-dollar bounty on his head. It won’t even give his friends a quick-refresher-course-like introduction. What it does do is take what fans know about the characters and offers a new story with all-new characters.

Badlands Rumble begins in Bocci City as the major bank in the city is being robbed by the notorious bank robber known as Gasback and his gang. Even though the report was made by law enforcement officers, nobody feels like going up against the big guy who is considered really dangerous. However, during the heist, Gasback’s men turn on their leader and it becomes frighteningly clear that there is going to be bloodshed.

Oddly enough, Vash is there in the bank as one of the hostages and manages to complicate the situation when he comically won’t let go of Gasback’s arm because the big guy stepped on Vash’s yummy donut. During the mayhem that ensues, the bank becomes completely totaled thanks to the police’s overreaction when they hear that Vash is also inside the bank. In the end, Gasback’s backstabbing friends escape and – thanks to Vash – so does Gasback.

Twenty years has passed since the bank robbery in Bocci City as two mysterious strangers appear in the thriving city of Macca City. The strangers had arrived in time to see a large number of bounty hunters and hired guns scattered throughout town mainly because of a rumor that Gasback is heading to the city to cause trouble for the city’s major and chief benefactor. As it turns out, the two strangers happen to be none other than returning favorites Meryl Stryfe and her partner Milly Thompson of the Bernardelli Insurance Society.

The girls, you see, have come to Macca City on the request of its benefactor who built an expensive bronze statue of himself in the center square of the city. This man happens to be Mr. Kepler, a powerful man with a secret. His request is to put his statue in an insurance policy in case something was to happen to it if Gasback does pay the city a visit.

Meanwhile, a surface ship brings with it a collection of more rough bounty hunters. Among them is a beautiful redhead by the name of Amelia who is headed for Macca City to hunt down and kill Gasback for reasons other than obtaining the huge bounty. On board is Vash the Stampede who is instantly smitten by the girl who not only finds him annoying but also actually breaks out in a rash whenever he touches her. She’s also a tough girl who isn’t afraid to take on scumbags that bother her. Together, Vash and Amelia reach Macca City where Vash invites her to eat dinner with his good friends Meryl and Milly.

Somewhere, not too far away, Gasbank and his gang that now includes the familiar “priest” gunman named Nicholas D. Wolfwood who still carries his huge cross (that’s still a deadly weapon). As it turns out, Gasback saved Wolfwood so the priest repays his kindness by being his bodyguard until they reach Macca City. When they do, all hell breaks loose as Gasback goes on the warpath inside the city.

Oh, there’s a real reason why Gasback decided to hit Macca City and it has nothing to do with money as the real secret behind Gasback and Mr. Kepler are revealed. Meanwhile, Vash and Wolfwood are reunited in battle. More importantly, Amelia makes it painfully clear that she wants revenge for an event that occurred during the bank robbery twenty years ago. We also learn more about Amelia’s past, which leads up to the film’s more emotional moment.

The best scenes come towards the end when Amelia and the rest of the bounty hunters race off to catch Gasback who gets away with Macca City’s important resource. It leads to a number of exciting and memorable moments such as Wolfwood and Amelia teaming up to take on Gasback and an incident with Vash who is trying hard to keep Amelia from doing something she will come to regret.

There’s more than enough reasons for Trigun fans to really enjoy this movie and even more so thanks to the animation that – although inconsistent in some places – is still stunning to look at and even more so on Blu-ray. The story is a good one and filled with all the same elements that made us fall in love with the series in the first place.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a high-energy, action-filled wild ride that will not fail to put a smile on the face of fans of the series. It contains everything you can ask for in a Trigun movie, which will definitely sit well with those familiar with the content while leaving everyone else in the dark. That said, there are a number of standout moments that certainly make this a Must See even if you’re a casual admirer of Vash the Stampede. Trigun fans, you do not want to miss this one.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A-
A bank is being held up by none than the outlaw known as Gasback and one of the hostages just so happens to be the infamous wanted “criminal” known as Vash the Stampede. Although he manages to escape, Gasback swears revenge against the men who double-crossed him twenty years ago. Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman comes to the same town where Gasback, Vash, and his friends are about to collide with each another.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
If you thought the movie looked good in theaters then be prepared to be blown away by how good it looks on Blu-ray. The animation in movie naturally outshines the TV series although there are times the animation itself takes a slight dip in quality but you’ll find it hard to complain when the rest of it looks so good. Also, it’s great to see familiar characters reunited again.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese cast is back and it’s great to hear Masay Onosaka as Vash but for those who prefer the English dub it’s great to hear Johnny Yong Bosch do Vash as well as John Swasey and Gasback and Colleen Clinkenbeard as Amelia. The music by Tsuneo Imahori is simply pure ear candy.

EXTRAS: A+
The single Blu-ray disc comes with a number of extras that include a wide assortment of promotional videos that include the web promo clip as well as the theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray trailers. There’s a feature with video footage of Anime Expo 2009 when Trigun manga author Yasuhiro Nightow and the film’s director meeting fans. There’s even a short yet funny clip from something that happened to Character Designer Takehiro Yoshimatsu during Sakura-Con 2010 involving a busty Trigun fan.

The best stuff comes from the fun “talk” events from Kawasaki Cinecitta where moviegoers were treated to a quick Q&A with three of the Japanese voice actors, the Director, Character Designer and Nightow himself. There’s even a feature on the movie’s premiere that included the cast but the real juicy bits come with the eight separate interviews with the cast and crew. For those who wanted a peek at who Japanese seiyuu work there’s a Post Recording extra.

OVERALL: A-
Trigun fans; Badlands Rumble is a guaranteed good time seeing as this feature film hits all the right notes that make it the perfect companion piece to the series. With all the comedy, over-the-top action and likeable characters, it doesn’t fail to entertain even thought it alienates anyone unfamiliar with the TV series. Other than that, there are plenty of memorable moments that will have you glad that Vash the Stampede is back.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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