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Fortunate are those who remember the story of Byston Well...
What do unicorns, pixies and colossal, insect-like robots all have in common? They're all heavily featured in Aura Battler Dunbine. Brainchild of Yoshiyuki Tomino of Gundam fame, Dunbine tells the story of Show Zama, a Japanese motocross fan who, after a botched trick, falls into the fantasy world of Byston Well. There he is taken in by Drake Luft, a local lord, and is taught to pilot "Aura Battlers", which serve as the show's mecha. Things seem to be going well for him in the new world until Show meets with local resistance leader Neal Given, who tells Show about a much darker side to Drake. Thus, Show takes up his Dunbine to fight alongside his new allies, and eventually takes his fight to odder and more fantastic locales.
Dunbine is mostly known not for its rather formulaic plot, but for its interesting concept of setting Humongous Mecha battles in the middle of a Medieval European Fantasy. The mecha themselves take fluid, organic shapes and are much smaller than most mecha designs. The show starts strong, but the second half drags on until the grand finale, which is among the most flashy and explosive in anime history.
This series contains examples of:
- Anyone Can Die: This IS Tomino we're talking about.
- Black Knight
- Char Clone: A Tomino production has a hard time going without one. Bern Bunnings ( The Black Knight) ends up filling this role.
- Deadly Upgrade: Once a pilot's Aura reaches a certain level, his/her Aura Battler can become "strenghtened", growing much larger in size and becoming almost unstoppable. However, this tends to have the rather nasty side-effect of killing the pilot.
- Downer Ending
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Todd, whose whole reason for fighting other than defeating Show is to protect his mother.
- Evil Matriarch: Drake's wife Luuza. You will be hard-pressed to find a worse mother in any anime. Of course, it's not like Show's mom is any better...
- ... Compared to Precia Testarossa?
- At least equal. The very least.
- ... Compared to Precia Testarossa?
- Evil Overlord: Drake.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Shaw in regards to Marvel, later reciprocated.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Was released on DVD by ADV but is now out of print. Just try getting the entire series on DVD... some scalpers want 125 bucks for the last volume alone....
- Internet chatter has it that Dunbine sold so badly that the print runs were cut down to a few hundred discs for volumes 11 and 12.
- Kill'Em All: Nearly every named character on the cast is killed during the final battle, including the hero.
- Possibly averted: Maybe they all just went back to Byston Well. After all "Byston Well is the birthplace of peoples' souls."
- Of course, this is averted in the Super Robot Wars episodes where Dunbine makes an appearance. There, all the good-aligned characters get to live. And sometimes, even Todd, though to be fair he's not actually that bad...
- Mask Power: The Black Knight
- Mid-Season Upgrade: From the Dunbine to the Billbine.
- Mini-Mecha: Aura Battlers are pretty small by Humongous Mecha standards. For perspective, Dunbine's entire torso is about the size of that protruding red bit on Mobile Suit Gundam's abdomen where its cockpit hatch is.
- Offing the Offspring: A very chilling example near the end. Also counts as a crossing of the Moral Event Horizon.
- The Punishment: In the Tales of Neo Byston Well OVA, it turn out that as the head developer of Aura Machines, Shot Weapon was cursed to live forever even if his body become rotten.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Riml's death
- Psycho for Hire: Jerril
- Rebellious Princess: Riml, Drake's daughter. She cares about her father, but hates what he's doing.
- The Rival: Both Todd and Bern.
- Schizo-Tech: Essentially defines this series.
- Shout-Out: Featured in the series are three ace pilots who bear an uncanny resemblance to Mobile Suit Gundam 's Black Tri-Stars.
- Spell My Name with an "S": A lot of the names suffer from this. The official DVD subtitles even change spellings half-way through!
- Super Robot Wars: Has appeared in a few including EX, 4, F, FF, Alpha, Compact, Compact 2 Trilogy, Impact and Compact 3.
- Trapped in Another World
- You Will Be Spared: "We will spare the city of Boston out of respect for Todd Guinness."