Critic's Log - Earthdate: January 2, 2013. Review #29: Trigun: Badlands Rumble
The year 2012 is gone, and we are now in the year 2013. I have been reviewing anime for about 10 months now and I plan on reviewing much more into this brand new year. With that said, my first review of the year will be the movie... Trigun: Badlands Rumble!
20 years after meddling into the bank heist of a notorious robber named Gasback, Vash the Stampede is traveling towards Macca City. There are rumors that the legendary thief might appear there causing an enormous interest from bounty hunters in the area who want to collect the $$300,000,000 reward for his head.
That's pretty much the basic gist of the movie. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse production, which doesn't surprise me knowing that they worked on the TV series back in 1998. Twelve years later, this movie comes out and I must say that the animation has improved greatly compared to the TV series, even though anime films have higher budgets than anime shows do, the animation looks nice in this movie. The character designs are faithful to the TV series, which is a good thing to say the least. The action scenes are also a blast and probably just as good as the show. The animation is most likely the best feature of this movie because I do have some problems with the movie. I'll get to that soon.
Tsuneo Imahori comes back to compose the music for Trigun and to be honest, it does compliment what happens in the movie pretty well. It was nice to hear a slightly arranged riff of the Trigun opening around the last 30 minutes of the film. However, It may not be on the same level as the show but it's a decent effort. What I'm trying to say is that I feel the soundtrack isn't as memorable compared to the show, but the soundtrack in the movie is excused here.
When it comes to voice acting, The subbed version is pretty good and some casting members from the TV show reprise their roles in this movie. Masaya Onasaka is still great to listen to as Vash the Stampede, Sho Hayami still sounds cool the way he portrays Wolfwood. Hiromu Tsuru is still pretty good as Meryl, and Satsuki Yukino still has that adorable voice as Milly. As far as exclusive characters, Tsutomu Isobe plays Gasback and this guy doesn't really do a whole lot of anime roles. I know he voices Vincent Volaju in the Cowboy Bebop movie and he was great in that one. Amelia is another movie-exclusive character and she's voiced by one well-known seiyu Maaya Sakamoto and she plays Amelia quite well. So the subbed version is good for the most part. When it comes to the dub, Only one voice actor reprised his role in this movie and that would be Johnny Yong Bosh as Vash, he was great in the show and he's just as good in the movie. Brad Hawkins plays Wolfwood while Jeff Nimoy played him originally and Brad Hawkins did not play a bad Wolfwood, he does not sound like Jeff Nimoy but doesn't have to be and he played the role just fine. I do think Jeff Nimoy got the role just right though, but oh well. Luci Christian plays Meryl Strife and she wasn't bad as Meryl. Trina Nishimura plays Milly and I wouldn't think it was her playing the role but she turned out alright. John Swasey does the voice of Gasback and I guess he was pretty good in this movie. Even with the new voices playing the characters we remember from the show, their performances aren't too long compared to Vash, so there's not too much to worry about I guess. Funimation did a pretty good job with the dub. Zach Bolton did pretty good with the ADR direction in this show.
As far as characters go, that is one of the drawbacks with the movie. Vash the Stampede remains the same in this movie, which is great. Nicholas D. Wolfwood being cool, was great. Meryl and Milly are a bit downplayed in this movie except for parts of the movie. Amelia is an interesting character in the movie. Gasback on the other hand is not too interesting of a villian, that is until the movie's almost over when you find out something that you didn't know. Like the show, I guess this movie was a bit decieving on that particular scene. Some characters are a bit dumbed down in this movie.
If there is one thing that contributes to the characters being dumbed down, that is because of the quality of writing that went towards this movie. The writing is bad, it has a meagar plot and the story almost made me feel like it was going nowhere. The story is not really all that interesting and this movie feels like an feature-length episode as if it was made in Hollywood. As far as I'm concerned, Satoshi Nishimura's directing is certainly not on his best in this movie. The story is my biggest problem with the movie. Also, it's hard to tell where this movie takes place within the show. It's obvious that it would take place sometime before Wolfwood dies. The Cowboy Bebop movie was made after the show and it was claimed to take place somewhere. It is unclear where this movie takes place. I will admit that what does work with this movie is that it has some comedy, action, western-esque gun fights, chase scenes, and even a little drama that the TV show was known for. This movie really is meant for the fans of the TV show. The reason I mention this is because when this movie first came out, there was a screening that was located in Seattle at an anime convention called Sakura-con. I actually go to this convention when I can and my first year going there just so happened to be on that year when it was being screened, I didn't get the chance to see it and I'm a little glad I did because I found out after that when this movie was screened... It was in Japanese with no English dub and it wasn't subtitled either, yet fans of Trigun saw it anyway. That just shows you that this movie is really just for the fans. It's not absolutely necessary to watch the movie with the show, unless you are a fan of the TV show. I'm glad I gave this a try and I guess it was alright for the most part.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble is available from Funimation.
With all that said, Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a gun-toting fun movie with really good looking animation, terrific action scenes, music that compliments the movie with effort, a cast that reprises their roles from the show (Subtitled Version only), and a dub that did a pretty good job with what talent they had. However, it does have poor writing which is why the characters do feel a little dumbed down in this movie. But with what this movie had, it did not disappoint those that loved the TV show.
I give Trigun: Badlands Rumble a 6.8 out of 10, it is DECENT!
Feel free to comment below, and have a Happy New Year!