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Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010)

It's been a while since i've watched the 1998 anime series, and watching Badlands Rumble made me want to pull the DVDs out and watch it all again. The feel of the whole thing was very familiar, like seeing an old friend for the first time in a decade, but with a nice burst of freshness that made it a real treat.

The story was very strong in both its premise and how it unfolds - in typical Trigun fashion, the motivation behind the principal players (particularly the new characters) that drive the story are revealed slowly throughout the entire film and the whole thing comes together pretty nicely.

The one thing about the film that i didn't like was the lack of character depth and relationship depth between the regular characters (vash, wolfwood, milly, and meryl). One of the anime's biggest strengths was the slowly developing relationships and bonds of trust between those characters as well as the slow establishment of Vash's and Wolfwood's backstory. Here, the film assumes that everyone is already familiar with that backstory and thus it only scratches at the surface level aspects of their relationships. It's unclear to me whether or not this is supposed to be in canon with the anime series; my guess is that it's more likely supposed to be in canon with the manga. Regardless, for those that are watching this film as a Trigun introduction, this fails to do the true strength of the characters justice, and for those that are watching this film as a follow-up to the anime series, it feels like the character familiarity has gone through some level of reset not unlike the pseudo-level of reset that Serenity did with the Firefly character relationships.

Still, it's a fun ride, and the action scenes are top-notch, particularly the final conflict, which is made that much stronger because of how everything led up to it not unlike in the anime series how it takes several episodes before we finally see Vash fire his gun. It would have been nice if Wolfwood's bad-assery had a similar slow reveal as opposed to him just firing his cross right out of the gate, but it wasn't really Wolfwood's story, so i guess it makes sense that his whole deal gets established quickly and out of the way so as not to distract from what's most important.

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