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Yoshiyuki Tomino and produced by Sunrise Studios. Dunbine is set in Byston Well, a parallel world that resembles the countryside of 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, flying about offering help or hindrance depending on their mood. The main draw to the series were the insect-like Aura Battlers, used by the population of Byston Well to fight their wars.
These fighting suits are powered by a powerful energy called “aura” or “life energy. Certain people are strong enough with the aura-energy to act as power-supply to these mecha, making them Aura Warriors. The series aired on Nagoya TV from February 5, 1983 to January 21, 1984, totaling for 49 episodes.
The series was later dubbed by ADV Films and was released to DVD in North America, along with the original Japanese version in 2003. However, it quickly became out of print, and as of 2017, is only now available as a digital purchase from Daisuki. The series followed Shō Zama, as he suddenly finds himself pulled to the world of Byston Well during a vehicular incident with one of his rivals. 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 Shō 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 elaborate 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 Battlers, although there are lots of standard airships, smaller fighters, and large warships as well.
Shō 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 Givun and his freedom fighters in their resistance to Luft’s military advances.
Shō’s Aura Power increases to near infinite levels, while control over his power correspondingly weakens. To further complicate matters, he comes to harbor intimate feelings for Marvel.
However, the stresses of war prevent them from actively pursuing their relationship. 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 Givun to overthrow Luft. She and Shō Zama first meet as enemies, but, between her getting him to question his allegiance, and his guilt when House Luft attacks House Givun and kills Nie’s mother, he soon allies with her. Her fighting abilities are on par with Shō, but she lags far behind him in Aura Power.