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Originally published July 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM | Page modified July 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Movie review

'Trigun: Badlands Rumble': chaotic, colorful anime action for fanboys

A movie review of "Trigun: Badlands Rumble," an anime film that targets fans of the "Trigun" manga and TV series.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 2.5 stars

'Trigun: Badlands Rumble,' with the voices of Maaya Sakamoto, Masaya Onosake, Tsutomu Isobe. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura, from a screenplay by Yasuko Kobayashi. 90 minutes. Not rated; contains violent battle scenes. In Japanese, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion.

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You don't have to be a fan of the "Trigun" manga series or Japan's 1998 animated "Trigun" TV series to enjoy the first feature-length "Trigun" movie, "Badlands Rumble," but it helps. I'm sure it helps a lot.

So let me confess, anime fans, that I had only briefly sampled the "Trigun" TV series during its U.S. premiere on the Cartoon Network in 2003, so I can't share your pleasure in seeing this long-awaited showcase for new and familiar "Trigun" characters. All I can tell you is that it's loud, chaotic, colorful, occasionally amusing and aimed at a fanboy target audience.

"Badlands Rumble" had its world premiere at Seattle's Sakura-Con last year. Its cacophonous plot unfolds in a town surrounded by quicksand. Returning character Vash the Stampede joins a band of bounty hunters hired by the town's paranoid mayor to thwart an attack by Gasback, a notorious thief whose backstory (seen in flashbacks) involves Vash and the beautiful Amelia, a bounty hunter out for revenge.

To these eyes, "Badlands Rumble" looks cheap, like the TV series, with countless shots that remain static, barely animated at all, while the frantic action appears jerky and occasionally disorienting.

It's also inventive enough that it almost begs for a lavish, live-action Michael Bay makeover, but the plot is so derivatively familiar that it feels like a rote exercise, even when director Satoshi Nishimura's visual ingenuity shines through.

Jeff Shannon: j.sh@frontier.com

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