‘Trigun: Badlands Rumble’ breathes new life into anime series

July 08, 2011 | 12:06 p.m.

The opening of the new feature, “Trigun: Badlands Rumble,” which begins its theatrical run in Los Angeles on Friday, sent animation expert Charles Solomon back to the archives to take a look at the DVDs of the classic anime series.

trigun badlands rumble Trigun: Badlands Rumble breathes new life into anime series

Vash the Stampede in "Trigun: Badlands Rumble." (Eleven Arts)

Since “Trigun” debuted in 1998, audiences have been trying to figure out just who (and what) the central character, Vash the Stampede, a.k.a. “the Humanoid Typhoon,” is. To bounty hunters, he’s an outlaw with 60,000,000,000 Double Dollars on his head. To Meryl Stryfe and Millie Thompson of the Bernardelli Insurance Society, he’s a walking disaster who’s cost the company a fortune. To his evil twin brother Seeds, he’s an obstacle who must be eliminated.

To otaku, he’s a beloved figure whose popularity has never waned, an indelible figure with a spiky blond crew cut, long red coat, yellow glasses and black boots and gloves.

Based on Yasuhiro Nightow‘s manga, the fantasy-adventure “Trigun” is set in the distant future on a desert planet that looks like the American Old West. Vash stumbles from town to town, unsuccessfully pursuing peace, doughnuts and “the elusive mayfly known as love.” Meryl and Millie follow in his wake, trying to minimize the destruction. But Vash’s only real friend is gun-slinging preacher Nicholas D. Wolfwood.

Many anime heroes rejoice in the role of the warrior, like the Gundam pilots who pay homage to the samurai code of bushido; others begin as unlikely nerds who grow into the role of warrior when it’s thrust upon them. Sometimes nutty, sometimes earnest, Vash strives to avoid conflict. Why, he asks, should he get into a gunfight with someone when he can buy a stack of salmon sandwiches for the cost of one bullet? But every bounty hunter on the planet is after him, as are the bizarre henchmen, the Gung-Ho Guns.

Vash’s often comic demeanor cloaks a profound reverence for life.  Despite the many times he’s attacked and all the destruction he inadvertently causes, he neither kills anyone nor allows anyone to be killed if he can prevent it — even if that means undergoing the humiliation of stripping off his clothes in the town square and yapping like a dog to distract some murderous thugs.

Yet few anime characters command as much power as Vash. When his “angel arm” — the gun that forms part of his prosthetic left limb — is activated in his battle with Rai Dei the Blade (Agent #9 of the Gung-Ho Guns), Vash levels a deserted city and burns a hole through one of the planet’s moons. Had he not diverted it upward, the weapon would have decimated the planet’s population. Voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch articulates both Vash’s suffering at the sight of the needless destruction he causes — and his hormonal exuberance whenever he see a pretty girl — with sensitivity and panache.

The “Trigun” series ended with Vash’s climactic battle against Seeds. At the conclusion of their duel, Vash walked away, carrying the badly injured body of his vicious brother. Fans have been waiting to see  further adventures of Vash, Wolfwood, Meryl and Millie for more than a decade. With “Badlands Rumble,” they finally get their wish, and the new feature will send many viewers back to the delightfully offbeat charms of the original “Trigun.”

— Charles Solomon


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22 Responses to ‘Trigun: Badlands Rumble’ breathes new life into anime series

  1. Josh says:

    Sounds good. I'm been a fan for a while.

  2. John Moon says:

    I thought Wolfwood died.

  3. Casey says:

    His brother's name is Knives. I don't even know how you messed that up.

    • Adam says:

      Clearly you didn't watch the last episode because they explain that his name is in fact seeds

      • Aramis says:

        Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

        Millions Knives is his name. Seeds was the name of the project that sent humans to colonize a planet.

        You probably watched a bad sub.

      • VashTheStampede2012 says:

        thanks you…..some people think they know everything and/or call themselves actuall anime fans

    • jip says:

      brother's name was seeds. They changed it to Knives when they put it in English

  4. CountFeedback says:


  5. Nebojsa Paut says:

    It's good to see that they re-vamped good ol' Vash the Stampede :D

  6. Ryan says:

    2 things: The Angel Arm is his still-human hand, and it's "Knives" he fights, "Seeds" is the project the ships are a part of. Sorry for nitpicking, just helping the article. :P

  7. derp says:

    fyi Wolfwood died

  8. gil says:

    the anime must it [bleep]ed bid time… i mean the manga was so much better, especially with the awesome last fights: Livio VS Elendira the Crimsonnail!!!! Vash VS Legato Bluesummers (not that thing they called a fight in the anime), and lastly Vash VS Knives, that last fight was beyond epic awesome!!! ()

  9. eric trejo says:

    everybody wants more anime from trigun they should make more anime because the fans want more trigun . i just saw the movie n its good, the story is good, theres no end 2 it… soo wy are they not making more anime?

  10. Chelsea says:

    They should’ve put knives in the movie :|

  11. Grubb says:

    Didn't Vash's Angel Arm destroy inanimate material, and not biological?

  12. SleeperHit says:

    Wolfwood is the only friend of Vash? What about Meryl and Millie?! xD I really like their characters. I don't like when they are left behind just like that…

    Anyway, I do want a new Trigun anime. There's so many good story lines in the manga that we couldn't see in the anime that it makes me feel sad. The anime is great, don't get me wrong, but the manga is just amazing…

  13. Faitchen5 says:

    The movie followed the Manga, not the Anime. For those of you that don't know, the original creator was so unhappy with the Anime, which changed a great deal of things, that he changed the name of the Manga in order to continue his work without having to have it connected with the anime. Wolf doesn't die in the Manga, and thus he is alive in the Movie.

  14. Vahh lover says:

    Well at least badlands was good but yet again they left with no actual ending….maybe they may plan to continue the manga, after all the anime doesnt follow the manga so maybe they might continue it who knows it would be nice to see good ole vash back in action.

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