Aura Battler Dunbine (聖戦士ダンバイン Seisenshi Danbain) is a real robot anime series created by Sunrise, which aired on Nagoya TV from 1983 to 1984 for 49 episodes, and 12 volumes of videos were released on VHS and DVD. Created by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, director of such anime series like Gundam and Heavy Metal L-Gaim, it featured a combination of complex characters, radical mecha designs, and plot twists.
Dunbine was one of the first anime series to combine fantasy with modern science fiction (though this would be repeated with The Vision of Escaflowne). The series is set in the medieval-like world of Byston Well, resembling a countryside in medieval Europe with kingdoms ruled by monarchs in castles, armies of unicorn-riding cavalry armed with swords and crossbows, and little winged creatures called Ferario, or fairies, flying about offering help or hindrance depending on their mood.
The series followed Show Zama, as he suddenly finds himself in the world of Byston Well after his motocross accident. Byston Well is located in another dimension located between the sea and the land, and is populated with dragons, castles, knights, and powerful robots known as Aura Battlers. Once Sho is discovered to possess a very powerful "aura", he is drafted into the Byston Well conflict as the pilot of the lavender-colored Dunbine.
As in other Tomino creations, Dunbine's cast is populated by Nordic-looking military types in elaborated costumes on one side, a young Japanese hero caught in the middle, and freedom fighters on the other side. Beautiful female warriors abound on both sides, and the hero falls for the main female lead. There are romances that cut across battle lines, and the non-stop battles between elaborate fighting craft on land and on the air. Most of the cast pilot Aura Battles, although there are lots of standard airships, smaller fighters, and large warships as well
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- Yoshiyuki Tomino directed the series, which is based on an earlier novel, "The Wings of Rean" (which did not feature the Aura Battler mechas at all, they were added to the series at the insistence of the sponsors, Clover and Bandai). The series spawned several model and toys lines, as well as related OVAs and spin-offs.
- One spin-off of the series, a 3-episode OVA called Aura Battler Dunbine: The Tale of Neo Byston Well was released in 1988. The series' action takes place 700 years after the events of the original. Other animated works based on the world of Byston Well include Tales from Byston Well: Garzey's Wing (OVA, 1999) and The Wings of Rean (OVA, 2005).
- The character of Cham, is virtually identical to the character of Lillith from Heavy Metal L-Gaim. They share an identical appearance, as well as the same voice actress. Some speculate that Tomino had a soft spot for Cham, and felt like putting a near identical character in another series. A real rarity for Tomino, who often goes to great lengths to make sure characters cannot be reused.
- This is yet another of Tomino's series' where we see his "Kill 'em all" style appeared once more. Most of the main cast is killed in the final battle. It is hinted however, that despite all the death, these characters may have just returned to Byston Well. The final battle takes place on Earth, when the majority of the main cast became stranded there earlier in the series.
- Although sad, the ending does leave more interpretation for a happier ending than that of Space Runaway Ideon, the previous series Tomino worked on, which has become legendary for having the bloodiest and deadliest ending of any anime of its time.
- The Dunbine units have also appeared in all three games of Another Century's Episode series. In the first sequel, Another Century's Episode 2, many more units from the Dunbine series are included compared to the amount in the first game, and they have a very large part in the plot. Show and Marvel, pilotting the Bilbine and Dunbine respectively, also acquire a unique team attack.
- Official Site (Japanesse)
- ADV Films Official Dunbine Site
- Aura Battler Dunbine (anime)
- Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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