Trigun: Badlands Rumble Blu-ray Review

Gasback, one of the world’s most feared thieves, was on his way to achieve his biggest bank robbery ever when he was betrayed by his comrades. Just when his comrades decide that it’s time to end his life he is miraculously save by none other than Vash the Stempede. Fast forward 20 years into the future Gasback is back for revenge. After ruining the life of two of his three past comrades he arrives in Macca City to even the odds with the last one. With the wandering priest Wolfwood at his side it seems that no one can stop him from executing his revenge. However, the mayor has put a huge bounty on Gasback’s head and the town is filled with bounty hunters rearing for the hunt. Milly, Meryl and Vash and a mysterious woman named Amelia arrive in town as well, just in time for the big blowout. Now Gasback has more than a small obstacle standing in his way. The stage is set for an all-out battle.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble Blu-ray Cover

Trigun: Badlands Rumble takes the typical Trigun scenario and plays it on a massive scale. Yes, this is yet another story in which Vash tries his best to end the battle with no casualties and Trigun veterans will not be surprised by the backstory or the outcome. What differentiate this movie from the old TV series is the amount of content on screen and attention to detail. Macca City is filled with bounty hunters and is thus bustling with activities. It’s a vibrant city, filled with advertisement banners, stalls and lots of small side distractions. The movie keeps the aesthetics of the old series intact and uses the advantages of HD visuals for the added layer of details. The movie also enjoys a boost in the animation department, which means that the gunfights are more fluid than ever before.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble doesn’t excel very much in the story department. The story is simple and predictable, but it works and is entertaining enough. Considering that the movie takes place smack in the middle of the TV series not much could have been done in terms of surprising plot twists anyway. Depending on your point of view this might actually be a good thing – the movie’s self-contained plot allows newcomers to the Trigun franchise to enjoy it without having watched or read anything prior to it. Furthermore, because the movie’s runtime enabled the production studio to have more freedom and scale to work with the overall story is much more effective than it would have been if used for a short 24 minutes TV episode. Getting to see the whole story – from twenty years ago until the present – is much more rewarding then having some character summaries it for you. In that respect the movie develops itself quite nicely. If there is one thing that hurt the movie though, was the lack of depth given to Amelia – the mysterious woman who hunts Gasback for her own reasons. It is common in anime to have a new character appear just for the period of a movie, but it doesn’t mean that character has to be predictable and boring. Despite her trying to act tough Amelia is a total pushover and is toyed by all the other characters (including the usually spineless Vash) throughout the movie. She can hold her own in a fight and does take part in all the important gunfights. Despite that she always remains in the shadows of the other characters, because frankly she isn’t a very unique or entertaining character.

Vash, the insurance girls and Wolfwood are all returning characters from the TV series, and you will probably be happy to hear that in Badlands Rumble they all retain their TV series voice actors’ counterparts. The movie’s English and Japanese soundtracks are both in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I was positively surprised to find that Milly’s English voice is much more subtle in the movie. Her squeaky voice in the TV series was the one thing that kept the English dub from being perfect, which goes to say that the English dub is superb this time around. The Japanese dub, however, is a mess. The Japanese voice actors try very hard to sound like Wild West cowboys, but just end up sounding like common street punks. Wolfwood’s voice is especially terrible. He never speaks clearly; Most of the time he just murmurs the lines in a hushed voice. Moreover, the volume of the Japanese dub is considerably low, making it hard to hear the people talking when the music amps up. All of these issues are not found in the English dub, and I wholeheartedly recommend you to watch it instead.

The movie’s Blu-ray comes with a very impressive dust sleeve. It’s hard to notice this from the cover images shown on the internet but some parts of the sleeve are actually engraved in several layers or elevated above other layers. This makes Vash and some of the other characters pop out of the sleeve. Some of the elements on the sleeve, like the bullets for example, shine when facing a light source. In other words, FUNimation made an otherwise completely optional sleeve into a work of art. The Blu-ray contains the movie, which is rendered in 1080p as well as 21 special features, which are rendered in 480i. The special features range wildly in length and importance. Listening to Yasuhiro Nightow (the mangaka behind Trigun) talking about the conception of the movie is interesting. Listening to some guy from the production studio talking about how he signed someone’s boobs in a convention is…not so interesting.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a simple, yet effective, movie. It won’t blow you away with its conventional plot or forgettable movie-only characters. It is, however, as entertaining as Trigun has ever been. On top of that it is an accessible movie that newcomers can enjoy without prior knowledge about the franchise. Old Trigun fans will want to watch it if only to meeting Vash and friends again. But those who approach the movie with high expectations might be a little disappointed.

 


Pros:

- Very accessible to those new to the franchise.

- The movie happens on a bigger scale and in greater detail than its TV series counterpart.

 

Cons:

- The movie-only characters are one dimensional and predictable.

- The Japanese dub is terrible.

 

Final Score: 7.5/10

 

 

Product Information: Trigun: Badlands Rumble Blu-ray. Published by FUNimation Entertainment. Release Date: September 27, 2011.

Review Equipment: Samsung 32-Inch LCD HDTV (LA32B530) connected to a PlayStation 3 using an official Sony HDMI cable.


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