Anime and Manga — Reviews and Previews
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and really watched a good anime movie. This occurred to me when I was surfing the web looking to see if Sengoku Basara: The Last Party was available anywhere for legal streaming, of if I’d have to wait for a physical release to get my fill. (The answer, sadly, is the latter.) But, I did come across the striking realization that while that movie might not have been available, the Trigun move most certainly was! So I hunkered down in my most comfortable pajamas, grabbed a blanket, and settled in for an anime movie extravaganza.
(It should be noted that if you’re in the market to watch anime movies legally online, Hulu seems to be the place to go. If you want to see at a glance what movies and shows are available where online, I found this [immeasurably helpful list] compiled over at the Fandom Post.)
The city of Macca is on lockdown; bounty hunters fill the streets and bars, and the fragile peace threatens to shatter at a moment’s notice. The infamous bank robber Gasback is rumored to be on his way, and the mayor of Macca City is willing to shell out $$300 million for him, dead or alive. Also converging on the town, however, are insurance appraisers Meryl Stryfe and Millie Thompson; female headhunter Amelia; indebted priest Nicholas D. Wolfwood; and the Humanoid Typhoon himself, Vash the Stampede. A past confrontation between Vash and Gasback resulted in the destruction of a city block. What calamity awaits when these two men come head to head once again?
Man, I love me some Trigun, and have since it used to run on television back in the early 2000s. Sadly, my favorite character from the show (Legato Bluesummers) makes no appearance in this theatrical release, but the movie doesn’t disappoint nonetheless! The plot is solid, the voice acting is spot on and reunites much of the original cast, and the animation is a fine example of just what can be achieved with the right budget behind you.
First, the plot. It runs pretty much like an extended episode of the anime, with Vash and company bumming around a city trying to keep out of trouble only to be dragged into it anyway. The movie takes place chronologically somewhere near the middle of the show, before certain developments cut down a member of the cast, so while the movie isn’t a sequel, it doesn’t suffer for that fact. While I’ve always been interested in the continued adventures of Vash and friends, this far after the end of the show’s run, it’s nice to just go back and revel in a little nostalgia. Granted, this means the movie can’t really change the fates of any of the characters or fundamentally alter how they act or think, and the few big reveals that crop up at the end of the movie (mainly concerning newcomer Amelia) can be seen coming from a mile away, but it’s an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Colleen Clinkenbeard is fast becoming one of my favorite female voice actors. She had an absolutely fabulous turn as Nice Holystone in [Baccano!], and she brings a little of that character’s playfulness, hard edge, and 1930s accent to this movie’s Amelia. Her voice is one of the main reasons I didn’t resent the fact that new characters seem to get more screen time than old favorites, including the Humanoid Typhoon himself! Johnny Young Bosch reprises his role as Vash, reinforcing in my mind that this is perhaps my favorite of his many roles. Jeff Nimoy, however, did not return as Wolfwood, and old fans will be able to hear the subtle difference between him and replacement Brad Hawkins. Hawkins does a very good job, though, and I can’t call to mind Wolfwood’s original voice the way I can with Vash, so the cast shift was in no way obtrusive.
Finally, the action and animation are both better presented here than they were in all but the most polished of the anime’s episodes. All of Vash’s slick gunslinging skills and goofball antics are fluid and precise, and it wouldn’t be a Trigun movie if there weren’t a wide number of wacky facial expressions.
Trigun, with its desert locales and Wild West themed townspeople, continues to have one of the most unique settings in the anime world, and this film illustrates that nicely. I really wish I’d gotten the chance to catch this on the big screen during its limited run in American theaters; I imagine it would’ve been a real treat.
The only minor complaint I can lay at Badlands Rumble’s door is the fact that there are occasions where the sound editing seems to be a bit off, namely some scenes where the music is so loud is overpowers sound effects and even dialogue. Luckily, these instances are few and far between, and you couldn’t ask for better music to do the overpowering. Spanish guitars are predominant, and the music swells and subsides with the emotions on display in any given scene.
This is the sort of movie that you could definitely hand to an anime neophyte and expect them to have a good time, but I truly do recommend this movie to fans of the original Trigun. There’s nothing quite so fun as going into a movie already feeling like you know and love the cast! So go catch it while it’s still available on Hulu (which is only until the 20th)!
Short post from me this week, since by the time you read this I’ll be either poolside or beachside on my only real vacation of the summer! I hope everyone’s summer has been and will continue to be full of friends, fun, and anime!