on October 2, 2011
Movie - 4.5
Long-time anime fans should be no stranger to the world of Trigun. For all the goofy, donut-eating, light-hearted, love and peace(~!) moments and all the unknowing and spontaneous chaos and destruction brought about by just his mere presence alone, The Humanoid Typhoon, Vash the Stampede, is renowned for his naive, yet charming personality and is easily one of the more memorable characters in anime lore. But good grief, can you believe it's been 12 years since the TV series ended? Needless to say, the Sixty Billion Double Dollar Man is back for another go-around. If you're new to the anime medium and have no idea what I'm talking about, Trigun is an anime Spaghetti Western (with a little bit of sci-fi) that follows the adventures of Vash the Stampede, a socially-labeled outlaw of outlaws that is said to be the worst thing you could come across at any point of your life. They say he's big, they say he's bad, and if you're lucky they say you'll die a quick death! But in truth, it's just a bunch of rumors.
As I mentioned earlier about his happy-go-lucky qualities, Vash the Stampede is just trying to live his life and make the world a better place along his travels. Unfortunately, trouble does follow him pretty much everywhere he goes. Character analysis aside, this film is a one-shot story taking place in the Trigun universe in which a bank robber named Gasback is foiled by his own henchmen, only to be saved by Vash, but then pursues a plot of revenge against his former cronies. In the meantime, the last remaining target of Gasback's vengeance has put a rather large bounty on anyone who can stop him. I can't say much else that could entice newcomers, but if you've seen the series and know its material you will absolutely love the atmosphere. Pretty much all of the fan-favorite characters make their return appearance (all the good guys, anyway), and the writing itself is very fun and quirky like the first half of the series (before things got a lot darker). For dub fans, the only returning voice actor is Johnny Yong Bosch, but all the replacement actors do an excellent job filling in the gaps. And if this is your first time experiencing Trigun, definitely give the TV series a look. FUNimation did license both the series and movie and have reported that they do eventually plan on putting the series on BD at some point, so hope that they do it soon and keep an eye out for it.
Video - 5.0
- Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
- Video resolution: 1080p
- Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
- Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
I'm a bit biased here about the video presentation in 3 ways: 1) I'm a big fan of Madhouse and always have been; their animation is very high quality on a consistent basis and a lot of the TV shows, OVAs, and movies they've produced over the years have always ranked as some of my favorite anime titles. 2) as I said it's been 12 years since Trigun the TV series aired in Japan, and while it looks good, even the remastered DVDs show the animation's age, so I'm glad to see the same style redone with today's technology. And 3) it's an anime movie, which means a really high budget and less time constraints will make for a seemingly superior product both in terms of video and audio presentation when compared to a TV series. So with that said, we get Badlands Rumble presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, an obvious upgrade from the series' 4:3 presentation back in the day. Not only am I delighted to see the Trigun world in true widescreen, but the HD video quality is the best I've ever seen the franchise look.
Oddly enough, the movie is digitally-produced but has a very cel animation look to it, as talked about in the extras with chief animation director, Takahiro Yoshimatsu. The results are utterly astounding, though, as I looked at both my remastered DVDs of the series and compared its quality to the movie. Granted, it's 12 years later with better technology and a bigger budget, but it's rare that I that I find an anime feature film that really reflects the amount of work put into, especially with a project as delayed as this had been. The line detail is my favorite part of the presentation giving the art style a very distinct look that's closer to the original manga design. Colors are extremely well-saturated with reds, yellows, and charcoals making up a majority of the color palette for the world's desserty theme. And they even added some grain to give the movie a more filmic and gritty texture that really makes it feel like the Old West. And even better, I can't say I remember any instances of banding, aliasing, or artifacting despite the movie itself being a digital production. Then again, the first time I saw this was at AnimeFest 2011 where the source was a DVD-R copy on a crappy projector in a badly-seated conference room and with even crappier audio.
Audio - 5.0
- Japanese: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
As I said, the audio in that screening was crap. I sat in the third row closest to the speakers and could still barely make sense of the important parts (it was a dubbed screening, by the way). But boy howdy, does it sound better in lossless and in the comfort of my own home. Something else I should bring up with the case of anime on BD is that a lot of titles I've seen haven't had much in terms of true surround audio. Most TV shows these days in Japan are only even produced with a 2-channel sound design in mind, and when they come to the States the companies are simply remixing the audio masters in a quasi-matrixed (i.e. artificial) 5.1 dub. Sure, the idea of 5.1 English dubs SOUNDS like a good idea, but they're not true surround experiences. It's not often that a TV show actually gets one (unless it's just really high-budget like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex or anything else by Kenji Kamiyama), but when we actually do get the chance for the real thing I'm especially happy about it.
With that said, the TrueHD 5.1 tracks for both the Japanese and English tracks sound perfect. Something that always bugged me about those artificial 5.1 tracks was the fact that dialogue sounded so damn quiet from the center. But here it's flawless in either language (both of which you really can't go wrong in terms of acting either). The sound effects and music (all hail Tsuneo Imahori for coming back to compose!) are spectacular as well. Gunshots, blowing wind, sand and gravel, and all the people chattering in the background have an amazing amount of depth and clarity. Action sequences, in particular, possess some great separation and directionality; the scene where Wolfwood makes his first appearance has a LOT of gunfire effects, and the bar fight with all the hooligans yelling about offers a good deal of sonic immersion. LFEs are potent and fitting for the movie's subtitle (Rumble), and while the sound design certainly isn't on the level of a Hollywood blockbuster, it still does its job with great precision. My favorite scenes for audio are the bar fight or all the craziness that ensues (both visually and aurally) and the scene at the end where Vash fights Gasback.
Extras - 5.0
I really have to hand it to FUNimation for this one. Previously, just about all of their other BDs have had next to nothing worth of special features outside of some English cast commentaries that never really contributed anything worthwhile to the creation process or provided any truthful insight into the shows they adapted. But here, there's a good 2+ hours of special features and all with the original Japanese cast and crew (all in SD). Interviews include:
- Creator: Yasuhiro Nightow (11:08)
- Voice of Vash: Masaya Onosaka (8:59)
- Voice of Milly: Satsuki Yukino (8:31)
- Director: Satoshi Nishimura (11:06)
- Voice of Wolfwood: Shou Hayami (10:00)
- Voice of Amelia: Maaya Sakamoto (6:43)
- Chief Animation Director: Takahiro Yoshimatsu (7:26)
- Voice of Meryl: Hiromi Tsuru (3:12)
- Voice of Gasback: Tsutomu Isobe (7:06)
All of them give VERY insightful comments on the general worldview of Trigun, their past experiences on the TV series (where applicable), their new experiences in doing the movie, and a lot of other interesting opinions. The interviews are rather candid, yet cordial and I have to say if you've ever seen these kinds of omake where cast and crew sit in front of the camera and answer questions, there are loads of things you can learn from them. In particular, I really enjoyed the interviews with Onosaka, Yukino, and Hayami. Onosaka because he seems like a very amicable person, which ties in extremely well to the way he portrays Vash. It's also a nice contrast to the more hot-head role of Tekeshi Sendou he played in Hajime no Ippo, which I watched a few months before this. Yukino because she's always been one of my favorite seiyuu, and I find it interesting that Milly was one of her very first roles in the industry. She gives a good amount of reflection on reprising the character and sounds very grateful for the opportunity she was given way back when. And Hayami, well, I'm just so used to hearing him play the villain, that I was very surprised to see that he looks as debonair as a lot of the characters he portrays (both good and bad). Additional features include:
- Movie Premiere at Cinema Sunshine Ikebukuro (8:47)
- Post Recording (3:51)
- A Mildly Amusing Story by Something Yoshimatsu (0:28)
- Video Footage from Anime Expo 2009 (1:38)
- Talk Event at Kawasaki Cinecitta (3:32)
- Special Talk Show (38:16)
- Web Promotion Clip (1:37)
- Promotional Video (2:23)
- Theatrical Commercial (00:37)
- Theatrical Trailer (1:39)
- Original Commercials (00:49)
- FUNimation Trailers
The Special Talk Show was by far the funnest feature for me. Anime and manga has such a strong following in Japan, and to see people of the industry having so much fun and interacting with their fans is a real treat to watch and listen to. The cast and crew that took part in this event were very laid back and welcoming to all the accolades and questions received from the audience. The whole thing just shows a lot of unity and the kind of investment Japanese fans really have for the industry in general. I wish the North American market was as successful. FUNimation, if you're reading this, put more extras like this on your BDs!
Overall - 5.0
It's been a few years since I've seen Trigun the series. But it left such a lasting impression that I still like it a lot to this day. And seeing this film makes me want to watch it again and even has me curious about the manga. Production values are through the roof with all of the Japanese cast returning, and at least Johnny Yong Bosch returning for the English dub. Regardless, though, even the new stand-ins do a great job, and I would definitely say you can't go wrong with either language track. I had absolutely no problems with the A/V quality, and I LOVE the fact that FUNimation actually put forth the effort of including all sorts of interesting interview material from the creator, cast, and crew of the film and series. Here's hoping for another movie, or even an adaptation of Trigun Maximum. If you're a fan of the series, this is a must-own. Casual anime fans, or even non-anime watchers, should at least give it a rent. And if you like it, try the series, too. Love and Peace~!
on October 13, 2011
My dad pretty succinctly pointed out the only problem with this movie: "It's about 15 hours too short."
Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a great movie, especially if you love the earlier parts of the original Trigun series. What I love the most about this movie, though, is that it really feels like it could fit in with the continuity of the original story line. The dynamics between the characters are developed only to the point they would be if you were watching this within the timeline of the anime.
The animation is great. There is a lot of computer animation, but it is integrated very well with the 2-D animation (for example, the computer animation is shot at the same rate as the 2-D animation, making it appear seamlessly integrated, instead of ultra-smooth compared to the comparatively choppy 2-D animation). The action scenes are really well choreographed and animated as well.
The character designs are more reminiscent of the manga (particularly visible in Milly's character design and Vash's coat design), and the world is bigger, as if borrowing from the manga (especially where robots and cyborgs are concerned). The world is fuller and you really feel like you're in the middle of a bustling city.
The new voice actors for Meryl, Milly, and Wolfwood are pretty good. The first time I watched it in English, I felt like something was off, but the second time I watched it, I found myself not really noticing, and in fact enjoying, the new voices.
Bottom line: if you like Trigun in its wacky hi-jinks phase, you'll love this movie. Check it out!
on November 30, 2013
This movie is everything I loved about the series. I loved the first half of the TV show over the second because I enjoyed the humor and episodic situations a lot more than the melodrama and angst of the latter half.
This movie is just like the first half of the series; it drops you and the characters into a situation and allows you to watch the hilarity unfold. This is now my favorite thing to come out of the anime, because it was everything I loved about Trigun and nothing that I found annoying. The emotion and drama are at just the right balance with the humor. I'm not sure WHERE in the series this is supposed to take place, but in a way its fitting that we can't tell because then we can just enjoy the movie for what it is instead of trying to mentally tie it in with the series.
And it allows us to have more of all four of the gang; Vash, Meryl, Millie, AND Wolfwood. Yes.
As for the voice acting, I found it even better than the series. I had watched the TV show first, and was hesitant when I heard this movie got new actors for three of the characters (thank fully Vash stayed the same; that would have been tragic). But part way into the movie I decided that if anything, I liked the new actors BETTER than the ones from the series. They did a wonderful job sounding close enough, but adding their own flavor to the characters and it worked out wonderfully.
The animation and effects were also way up, although that shouldn't be surprising considering the leaps in animation and tech since the original series was finished. The fight scenes were very clear and visually appealing, and movements very fluid.
I would be very happy if they would just continue to make movies like this. I know some people complain that its more of the same, but I didn't get enough of this before the series turned into a soap opera on me, so I'm HAPPY to have more of the goofyness of Trigun back. And its not just the goofy; there are deep moments as well. The villain is one of the most interesting I've seen in the Trigun series by far. A despicable person, and yet you can't help but relate with him. There's the saying in the writing world about how a hero is great and all, but a good villain is what really makes a story. Between Vash and Gasback, they make a VERY good story for me.