Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: All
- Region: 2 - Japan
- Released By: Bandai Visual
- MSRP: 36800¥
- Running time: 747
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Aura Battler Dunbine
Aura Battler Dunbine DVD Memorial Box 1
January 30, 2003
Release Date: June 25, 2000
What They Say
Those who can remember the story of Byston-Well are fortunate for their hearts are rich. Though we were born with this memory etched in our mind, it is part of our nature not to remember it.... That's why we will try to transmit Mi-Ferario's story....The Review!
The first half of Aura Battler Dunbine, a show from the creator of Gundam, finally comes to DVD in a 5 dual-layer disc, 30 episode box set. This almost unknown show from 1983 is similar to Vision of Escaflowne.
The audio on the discs is (of course) in Japanese. It's presented in mono, which is the way it was originally recorded. The sound is clean and undistorted (except for the opening song, which seems to fade in and out a little bit towards the end). The music fits in well with the on-screen action. Considering the age of the masters, this is about the best we can expect from them.
The video is also nice. It's recorded at a bitrate of around 8-9, so there's no detectable pixellation or moire effects. The masters have either been kept in impeccable condition or they cleaned them up for this release, because there's very little traces of dirt in the video. The picture can be a little shaky at times, but it only seems to affect certain shots, so it probably has more to do with the original masters than anything else. The animation quality is also very good for a series from the mid '80s. I only noticed a few animation flaws over the entire set.
The packaging is also very good. It has a nice thick cardboard box to hold the jewel cases. The jewel cases have a sturdier construction than most jewel cases, plus each has it's own piece of cover art. My first edition copy has a Ferario art cover, which is a plastic slip that goes over the outer box. The art cover isn't really anything spectacular.
The liner notes are really well done. It has a total of 36 pages of interviews, art, and information on Dunbine. It has interviews with Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, Character Designer Tomonori Kogawa, and Mechanical Designer Kazutaka Miyatake. It also has a Aura Battler Plastic Model Gallery, which highlights the new High Grade models, and artwork of the characters and Aura Battlers.
The menus are pretty nice for a Japanese release. They have a animated water effect when you load it up, and they also play music. Each disc has 3 seperate menus: one for episodes, and two for the chapter stops in the episodes. The chapter stop menus list the opening credits, the two acts, ending credits and promo for the next episode. The menus are also fast and responsive.
The extras are nice, if a little limited. The first disc has several TV spots used to promote the show before it originally aired. The second disc has the 1st opening sequence without credits. The third disc has a couple of plastic model commercials for the Dunbine models. The fourth disc has the ending sequence without credits, and the fifth disc has the 2nd opening sequence without credits.
Now that you know what's on the discs, you're probably asking "Is it any good though?" YES. Here's the basic story. Shou Zama is riding on his motorcycle when he's whisked away through the Aura Road to the world of Byston-Well. On Byston-Well battles are fought with flying insectoid robots called Aura Battlers. These Aura Battlers are powered by Aura Power (life-energy). Most people on Byston-Well don't have the Aura Power neccessary to fly them, so they have to kidnap people from Earth to use them effectively. People from Earth have high Aura Power, and thus make better pilots than anyone on Byston-Well. Shou becomes an Aura Battler pilot for Drake Luft, a local warlord. In Shou's first battle he meets a woman from Earth named Marvel Frozen who warns Shou about Drake's true intentions.
The characters in this show have similar levels of angst to the characters of Zeta Gundam. Every few episodes some significant supporting character gets killed off, adding to the angst. The charcters from Earth also bring themes like racial prejudice into the mix. The comic relief comes from the airhead Ferario (faeries). They mostly just fly around (or into) things and act stupid. But they don't get too annoying, so they're bearable.
The Aura Battlers are one of the coolest things about the show. They're the flying equilvalent to the guymelefs of Escaflowne. Every battle in this show happens in mid-air, which is a definite change from the more typical ground-based battles of other shows. The swordfights are well choreographed, with arms, legs, and Aura Converters getting lopped off left and right. They also have the futuristic looking Aura Ships (also powered by Aura Power) to get from place to place or fight big battles with.
The show is really good, though it does get a little goofy at times (imagine a bunch of guys in medieval armor, atop a medieval castle, firing machine guns). With 30 episodes you'll have a lot of Dunbine to keep you occupied. Highly recommended to fans of Escaflowne or Gundam.
Japanese Monoaural Soundtrack,TV Spots,Plastic Model Commercials,Creditless Openings and Ending,36-page liner notes
Hitachi 50UX7K 50" TV, Pioneer DV-525 codefree DVD player, Onkyo TX-SV535 Dolby Pro-Logic Stereo Receiver, Monster S-Video Cable and Audio Cables, and Paradigm speakers.