The aspect of a technology-based Western has always held a degree of fascination but, as “Cowboys & Aliens” shows, there is a fine line to making it work since there needs to be an element of tongue-in-cheek progression but also a slick presentation. “Wild Wild West” failed on this principle as well. It also might be the dexterity of capturing it live action.
That makes it a balance of why “Trigun”, even as a feature film anime, works.
Disc 1 Granted the film itself is not punctuated by undeniable cinematic flourishes but the way it presents the darkness of the world balanced by the lead clown/vigilante Vash gives it a definite cadence and visual style. The background of this story revolves around a young lady seeking revenge on a legendary bank robber called Gasback who is responsible for the death of her mother. The opening scene paints a picture of a robbery gone wrong 20 years earlier when the non-aging Vash dispelled an earlier crime. While this age discrepancy is never explained, it does not take away from the enjoyment of the film which would have been a problem in live action. What transpires is a little like “Mad Max” with a bit more brevity. The character including a would-be bodyguard are distinctly interesting especially when every bounty hunter converges on the town in question to gather the reward for Gasback which is a couple hundred thousand devil dollars, whatever that is. The character of Vash can be annoying for sure but his progression plays to a point which gives an uneven balance that nonetheless works especially during a heightened bar brawl as well as a desert chase sequence. The difference between the Japanese and English versions obviously differs on the texture of slang with the actual English version being more cohesive due to the genre. In terms of trailers, the stand out for this disc is “Evangelion” which actually plays better than the movie though the promo for “Soul Eater” has more energy. The arcade-homage “Funimation” promo also shows a balance of the company’s intention between older and young viewers.
Disc 2 This disc of extras include firstly discussions with the cast and crew from Japan the day after the recording. Most have a perspective of returning and finding that same voice after 12 years between the TV series and the movie. The voice of Gasback understands the intonations of why this man does what he does while the original author Nightow, despite being simply a consultant, knows the importance of creating diametric characters to further the experience which is balanced by Yoshimatsu, the head animator, who found it necessary in a more widescreen structure to show the wasteland. Director Nishimura highlights the element of the crowd scenes which give distinct character as being something specific to the movie which gives it more depth. The movie premiere shows the reflection of anime in Japan with the large amount of applause. The “Post Recording” seems a little staged but the reflection of working off of drawings shows the interconnect in making the reactions a little more life-like. Some of the features like Anime Expo 2009, the brief Yoshimatsu story and the raffle drawing seem too extraneous. The special talk show though gives some good insight though too much time is spent on theoreticals and not the progression of the story. In terms of overall impact, the web promotion clip optimized by hard rock does the best job while some of the other commercials save for the latter original Japanese one don’t communicate the intensity.
“Trigun” is a great amalgamation of two worlds colliding which can only be relaied in most presumptions in an anime setting. Both the visual and the narrative structures work well in congruence. The extras are extensive but some are extraneous despite some effective cast and crew interviews and an interesting talk forum post-premiere.