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Episode 1: The Aura Battlers

 

Review by Brian Shea

April 1, 2005

 

Summary

 

While driving on his motorcycle one night, Shou Zama suddenly vanishes in a flash of light. When he comes to he finds that he has been transported to a castle in the land of Byston Well, where a number of soldiers surround him. In the balcony above him the castle's lord, Drake Luft watches while his wife Louser leaves in disgust at the situation at hand. A confused Shou watches as Drake orders for Silkie, the green haired woman who summoned him, to be returned to her watery prison. A Ferario, which is a fairy like being, flies into the courtyard yelling at Shou to return to Upper Earth but is chased away by the soldier's arrows. After Silkie is locked up Shou is confronted by Bern Bunnings, who asks him to accompany him. A female soldier next to him named Garalia Nyamhee tells him he won't be able to return so he doesn't really have a choice. Upset, Shou attacks Bern but is quickly knocked out with a single punch. The next day a captive Shou and two other men are led by Bern to an armory. The two men accompanying him, Tokamk Robskiy from Russia and Todd Guiness from America, don't seem to mind the situation they're in considering how their lives were going on Earth at the time. As they arrive at the armory a UFO-like object that Bern calls a Doro flies by. Bern explains to them how how Shot Weapon, who came from Upper Earth like them combined living things with machineries to create powerful Aura Battlers which harness the energy of Aura Power. Bern leads them through the armory where they see Zet Light working on constructing parts for Aura Battlers and then shows them a completed one in detail, called a Drumlo. Bern tells them they can control an Aura Battler on their aura power alone but Shou is rather skeptical. Todd is very interested upon hearing the power they might get by being pilots for Drake. That night they attend a bazaar where they watch Bern use the Drumlo to defeat a monster. Drake afterwards publicly welcomes Shou and the others to Byston Well and says the fact that they came is a revelation telling Drake's forces to take over the world and peacefully rule over the country of Ah, which Drake's castle is but a small part of.

 

In the midst of his speech the celebration is suddenly attacked by both an Aura Ship, the Zelana, and an Aura Battler, Dana O'Shee, both from the House Given. Bern and Garalia with a force of Doros force them to flee. While riding back to the castle, Louser questions Drake about why he participates in the sale of the Aura Battlers that Shot created to other kingdoms which could result in attacks like what just happened. Drake replies that it both provides funds for his military and gives him the just cause to take down the House Given at a later time. Later that night Shou tries to sleep but is attacked by Chum Huau, the Ferario who appeared at the castle earlier. She again tells him to stop serving Drake and flies off. The next day Shou and the others try out their own Aura Battlers, called Dunbines. Bern tells Shou he won't be able to return to Upper Earth until his name echoes through the land of Ah and he and Shot have the three of them participate in a reconnaissance mission with Garalia, without giving them any weapons. Suddenly the group is attacked by the enemy, led by Nie Given on a motor glider, who quickly shoots down Tokamk. Also taking part in the attack is the same Dana O'Shee from the night before, whom Shou battles with. Its pilot, Marvel Frozen, who is also from Upper Earth tells Shou he's a stupid man and should stop serving Drake. Although she seeks to kill him, Shou is able to retreat. After the battle Bern gets upset at Todd for not participating adequately in the battle. Garalia seeks to attack the traitorous House Given, but Bern tells her to get Drake's permission first. Bern asks Shou once again to cooperate with him and Shou says he will, but can't stop thinking about what Marvel said to him.

 

Commentary

 

And so begins Aura Battler Dunbine. As one would except from a Tomino show, we are immediately thrown into the middle of things. While this is certainly confusing in the sense that we immediately have a bunch of different characters, kingdoms and mecha that we have to get to know, the result is that this episode is a lot faster paced and more interesting than most first episodes in the genre. The valient knight Bern Bunnings makes an immediate impression, as does Todd Guiness, who argues with Shou from the very beginning and does nothing to prove himself in battle. While Todd and Tokamk are excited from the start about being Aura Battlers, Shou is very reluctant. One wonders if that'll cause him to eventually take Chum and Marvel's advice.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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Dunbine Episode 1 Dunbine Episode 1
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