Aura Battler Dunbine (Seisenshi Danbain) is an anime television series, created by Sunrise, aired on Nagoya TV from 1983 to 1984, ran for 49 episodes, and 12 volumes of videos were released on VHS and DVD. Created by Hajime Yatate (a pseudonym for the Sunrise team) 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.
- Show Zama (dub by Shigeru Nakahara/Jay Hickman)
Show is the young protagonist of the series. Before coming to Byston Well, he lived in Tokyo and enjoyed motocross racing. One night, as he was riding his motorcycle through the city, he was yanked to Byston Well in order to serve as a mecha pilot under the command of regional overlord Drake Luft. He soon discovers Luft's evil motives and switches sides, joining Nie Given and his freedom fighters in their resistance to Luft's military advances. Over time (and through experience in battle,) Show's Aura Power increases to near infinite levels, while control over his power correspondingly weakens. Also, during the series, he returns to Earth twice, but his already strained and dysfunctional relationship with his estranged parents (one of whom may be American) crumbles completely when they refuse to believe that he is not an impostor. To further complicate matters, he comes to harbor intimate feelings for Marvel. However, the stresses of war prevent them from actively pursuing their relationship.
- Marvel Frozen (Mika Doi/Christine Auten)
An attractive young woman whose wealthy parents own a large ranch near Dallas, Texas, Marvel was also brought to Byston Well to fight on the side of Drake Luft, but now works with Nie Given to overthrow Luft. She and Show Zama first meet as enemies, but, between her getting him to question his allegiance, and his guilt when House Luft attacks House Given and kills Nie's mother, he soon allies with her. Her fighting abilities are on par with Show, but she lags far behind him in Aura Power. When the battling armies of Byston Well are sent to Upper Earth by the Fellario, Marvel takes time to reconcile with her parents, and also to spend a few days visiting Hawaii with Show. Though, early on, she seems to have some interest in Nie, Marvel falls deeply in love with Show, and wishes that he would admit the feelings she knows he has for her.
- Cham Huau (Maria Kawamura/Kira Vincent-Davis)
A faerie companion of Show's, and presumably the only "survivor" of the final battle. Cham provides the emotional barometer to the group, and often finds herself more sensitive to the tensions in a situation. She is Show's cheerleader, and vigorously defends him from enemies and naysayers alike.
- Nie Given (Makoto Ataka/Vic Mignogna)
A somewhat embittered freedom fighter, Nie leads a small faction that opposes the military objectives of Drake Luft. Both of his parents are killed early in the war by Drake's forces, leaving him the sole survivor of the Given family name. He commands the Aura ship, Zelana, and is harsh but dedicated to his crew. He also finds himself faced with a conflict during the war as he carries on a romance with Riml Luft, Drake's daughter.
- Keen Keats (Yumi Takada/Emily Carter)
The daughter of a noble house, Keen spends much of the earlier part of the series trying to prove herself. Her father, choosing to serve Drake to uphold the family name, is killed in combat against Nie's forces (Keen herself has to fight him.) Keen is a loyal, if not exactly skilled fighter, and is able to hold her own well enough until the final battle, even if she sometimes lets her want to prove herself get the better of her. While versed in the use of Aura Battlers, more often than not Keen serves as a support pilot, sortieing in the Fou fighter unit. She has feelings for Nie, but he does not seem to notice them.
- Riml Luft (Kyo-ko Irokawa/Hilary Haag)
Daughter of Drake Luft. While she does not seem to hate her father as a person, she shares no love for his actions and makes several efforts to aid Nie Given's resistance forces. While her father does care about her, and, to that end, wishes to engage her to Burn, he fails to notice she is in love with Nie. She tries to escape her father to aid the resistance multiple times, but is repeatedly recaptured. Eventually she escapes joins Nie's group. Here, however, she's met with distrust by many, even after she proves herself in battle. A decent pilot, she does not get many chances to actively fight before she's taken back into custody. While she still seems to care for her father, she has no love for her mother, Louser. Unlike her father, she can see through her mother's schemes.
- Elle Humn (Run Sasaki/*Unknown*): Niece to King Phaezon and the third major contributor to the resistance during the final battles. Commanding the armies of her uncle and the immensely powerful warship Graon, Elle fights for those in her family who have lost their lives to the war. As the series progresses, she also begins to develop tremendous aura powers, even having the ability to influence pilots from a distance.
- Ceila Lapana (Miki Takahashi/*Unknown*)
The queen of the land of Na. She is rescued by Show and encourages him to fight for not only the crew of the Zelana, but for all people of Byston Well. Later she rallies her army (including the powerful battleship Gulan Gulan) and joins Show's group in the fight against Luft. When the Dunbine is defeated in battle, it is her forces that provide Show with the powerful new Billbine battler.
- Ell Fino
- Beru All
- Eibu Tam
- Drake Luft (Sho-ji O-ki/Phil Ross): The main antagonist of the series, Drake is the lord who initially pulls Show into Byston Well. An ambitious man, Drake believes he is doing the right thing by forcefully uniting the people of Byston Well under his banner. His personal life is not much better, as, while he holds love for his daughter, Riml, he fails to realize that she's been working against him. Similarly, he also remains oblivious to his wife's plotting behind his back with Bishot to have him eliminated. During the final battle, he commands the battleship Will Wisp.
- Shott Weapon (Masahiko Tanaka/Andy McAvin): A brilliant, but shady man. It's believed Shott is responsible for inventing the Aura Battlers. Originally believed to be from Silicon Valley, the later episodes of the anime suggest there's more to his past than he's willing to let on. Nevertheless, along with being a skilled inventor, he proves a fierce opponent as he brings his own contributions into the final battle, including the battleship Spriggan.
- Bishot Hate (Kazuyuki Sogabe/Chris Patton): One of Drake's comrades and, as far as Drake believes, an ally, Bishot is actually quite the opposite. Throughout much of the series, he and Louser are actually plotting behind Drake's back, presumably planning to seize power from him. He also provides a great deal of the force involved in the final battle, and he's the one who enlists Todd after he's dismissed by Drake. During the final battle, he commands the warship Gea Gring.
- Todd Guinness (Hidemi O-saka/John Gremillion)
Brought to Byston Well along with Show, Todd means well enough, but has the misfortune of making many poor decisions. Unlike Show, who knows what he wants to fight for, Todd finds his motives changing throughout his time in the war. Initially believing Byston Well to be only a dream, he takes a very lax attitude to his new role, enticed by the prospect he could very well become a king in Byston Well. It is only after several defeats, and being faced with the prospect of being replaced by Drake, that he starts to become serious, now fighting for his pride. During one of these battles, he is taken down by Show and left bed ridden for some time. When he returns and finds he's been cast aside by Drake, he eagerly accepts an offer from one of Drake's compatriots, Bishot, as he sees an opportunity to get revenge on Show for his disgrace. It's only when the armies are sent to Upper Earth that he finally finds a cause worth fighting for, believing if he can defeat Show, Drake will not attack America, and thus he can protect his mother.
- Burn Bunnings (Sho Hayami/John Swasey)
Show Zama's former commander. Throughout most of the series, he serves Show's main rival. Commands extreme respect from his underlings, and grudging respect from his superiors, Burn oversees Drake's armies for a better part of the war. During the later half of the series, however, he is defeated by Show and left for dead. He then returns to Drake's army under the moniker of Black Knight. He is, for a time, engaged to Riml, even though she does not hold mutual feelings for him.
- Jeryll Coochibie: (Tomoko O-tsuka/*Unknown*) After the failure of his first trio from Upper Earth, Drake has a second set brought over for his armies. Jeryll is easily the deadliest of these three. Violent, impulsive, and seemingly enjoying the carnage, her immense powers serve as a frightening mirror to what Sho could have become had he continued serving with Drake. She is also the first pilot to bring about 'hyper' mode (when a pilot experiences a great surge of aura power causing their battler to grow several times larger and become devastating as a result.)
Aura Battlers Edit
The majority of Dunbine units are Aura Battlers. All of these insect-humanoid mecha can fly and also very agile small unit. While they have thin armor, they also feature aura barrier ability which provide great protection bonus against projectile attack (the effect are vary by games). All Aura Battler armed with cutting weapon, mostly sword, and can take advantage of cut-down defensive ability. Many of them also have aura cut and hyper aura cut attacks, which can inflict massive damage despite their small size. The aura barrier ability and both aura cut attacks can increase their effect with pilot's seisenshi ability.
- Dunbine The titular mecha. Pretty good unit to use until you got Bilvine. Enemy variant, which is pretty much identical, can be acquire as addition unit in SRW F Final and Alpha.
- Bilvine The upgrade protagonist mecha. Great stats, transformable and also equipped with aura rifle and aura cannon, effective for counter enemy at long range. A camoflage version also exist, this green color version is identical to normal red version in SRW F final but become true upgrade in SRW Alpha.
- Botune Cannon-fodder mecha you may acquire. Use to fill your squad, if there isn't better mech. Appear in more games than other rank-filler.
- Bozune Another cannon-fodder. Has worse status than Botune but equipped with better range weapons.
- Dana O'Shee Yet another cannon-fodder and also the worst. It only appear in few games though.
- Vierres Mostly appear as enemy, but recuitable in some games. Vierres lacking the range weapon beyond a weak aura vulcan but has good status.
- Bastole This enemy grunt can be recuit in most game, better than rank-filler.
- Leprechaun Mostly appear as enemy, but recuitable in some games. While has somewhat low agility for aura battler, Leprechaun has wide variety of range weapons.
- A boss Hyper Leprechaun is common in SRW games that including Dunbine. It is Large size Leprechaun with stats boosted.
- Wryneck Mostly appear as enemy, but recuitable in some games. Has excel status but somewhat lacking at range weapons.
- A boss Hyper Wryneck is common in SRW games that including Dunbine. It is Large size Wryneck with stats boosted.
- Drumlo The weakest among enemy aura battler.
- Virunvee Stronger than Drumlo and Bastole, this enemy appear in only few titles.
- Zwarth Most powerful "normal" enemy aura battler. It only appear in group near the end of Dunbine's storyline. Recuitable in SRW EX.
- A Hyper Zwarth suppose to appear in SRW F Final, its tranform movie can be unlock with cheat device.
- Sirbine from Tale of Neo Byston Well OVA. While doesn't equip with any range weapon, Sirbine's status can rival that of Bilvine, if not exceed. Its mobility even match Bilvine in Wing Caliber mode.
- Zwauth from Tale of Neo Byston Well OVA. Unike most aura battler, doesn't look like insect but a dragon. Like Sirbine, it doesn't equip with any range weapon but has excel armor.
Aura Battleships Edit
Aura Battleship has higher HP and tougher armor than battleship from Gundam series. Like aforemention Aura Battler, Aura Battleship also protected by Aura Barrier ability.
- Gran Garan Commanded by Ceila Lapana, this is tougher battleship of two acquirable Aura Battleship with more HP and armor. Ceila also has more supoortive Spirit Commands than Elle.
- Goraon Commanded by Elle Hunm. While not durable as Gran Garan, Goraon equipped with deadly MAP weapon, the Aura Nova Cannon.
- Will Wipps Commanded by Drake Luft. As enemy battleship, it has tons of HP.
- Gea Garing Commanded by Bishot Hate. Similar to the Will Wipps.
Other Units Edit
- Fou A Wing Caliber, a weak fighter unit on its own. However, it can combine with Dunbine and made Dunbine more suitable at long range combat. Only appear in Compact 3.
- Zelana An Aura Ship, it only appear in Compact 3. Instead of a battleship, Zelana operate as an L size support unit, capable of both Repair and Resupply allies.
- Doro Aura Bomb armed with only a flare bomb attack. Oly appear in Compact 3 and the weakest enemy from Dunbine series.
- Bubuly Aura Bomber, pretty common in SRW games that feature Dunbine storyline. Armed with variety of range weapons and has good mobility.
- Tungy The Aura Bomber that only appear in Compact 3. Tungy is pretty much a weaker version of Bubuly.
- Galava Aura Fighter, mostly apear as boss unit but appear in small quanity near the end of Dunbine's storyline. Fast, agile and armed with variety of range weapons.
- A boss Hyper Galava is common in SRW games that including Dunbine. It is Large size Galava with stats boosted and improved weapons.
- Bull Beggar An Aura Ship. Appear in only few games, this enemy ship is weaker version of Aura Battleship.
- Sprigan An Aura Cruiser, commanded by Shott Weapon. Pretty much a less-durable enemy's Aura Battleship with equal firepower.
- Yokuryuu Jira from Tale of Neo Byston Well OVA. These enemy dragon rider are weak, armed with only bow and fire breath, although surprisely agile. Only appear in Compact 3.
- 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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