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Aura Battler Dunbine - Heroes of Byston (Vol. 2)

ADV Films // Unrated // August 26, 2003
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Don Houston | posted September 8, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Movie: Movie: ADV's latest release to combine elements of fantasy, science, mech-robots, and freedom fighting in the name of justice is also an oldie, Aura Battler Dunbine: Tales Of Byston Wells 2. The series is 20 years old but had a lot to like, in a retro sort of way, and it reminded me of the original Gundam series in terms of anime style and the overall sequence of events.

The show tells the story of a young man, Show Zama, whom forces from another dimension abduct. Apparently, some people on Earth have powerful auras that allow them to make use of a special kind of technology that powers a form of mech-robot. Otherwise, the dimension is medieval in terms of how things work and a major war is about to start, hence the need for additional pilots. As the series progressed, the lead character finds he's working for the wrong side and switches over to fight with the rebellion. This does not, of course, sit well with the people that brought him there to fight for them. Here's a brief breakdown of the 4 episodes included on this initial dvd.

Episode 6: Tragedy at the Forest of the Moon:
Show is sent on a reconnaissance mission to oversee a supply convoy bringing vital replacement parts and supplies to Neal's forces. Show saves the day but Luft's forces capture Neal's dad. In a race to save him, Show must choose between doing the right thing for everyone and saving his leader's dad.

Episode 7: Night Before the Dawn of War:
Show, wondering if his own limitations make him a danger to the rebellion, considers leaving and seeking a way back to Earth on his own. Neal sets out to rescue Emily at great personal risk to himself.

Episode 8: Laas Wau Once Again:
Show, after deciding to stick it out with the rebellion a little while longer, points out that the town of Laas Wau would be a good target since it's poorly defended and Neal agrees. During the raid, Show must decide between returning a captured Silky (his only way home) and seeing Emily killed.

Episode 9: Earth and Sky:
While Luft's forces rampage the countryside, Show and Neal's forces go on a mission to gain support from the fairies in hopes of using their power to stop their foes. Needless to say, Things don't work out as they're supposed to and the crew end up in Dallas, Texas (admittedly better than anyplace outside of Texas whether slumming or not) but continue their journey and end up where they started.

This was a cute little oldie from years gone by. I think it merited a rating of Recommended, despite its limitations and age. Retro anime that showed a crew who lost most of their initial battles made for a nice change of pace and even though the print wasn't great, it was clear enough to enjoy.

Picture: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. There were some scratches on the print but considering it's age, that's not a big problem. I didn't notice any artifacts and some of the colors were washed out at times, but ADV did a good job with what they had to work with.

Sound: The sound was presented in Dolby Digital mono with a choice of either the original Japanese track with English subtitles, an English dub, and the dub with song subtitles. It was a decent audio track for its age.

Extras: There was a paper insert that provided a summary of the Mechs and there specifications along with a brief essay on their design. There were also a number of trailers, a clean opening and closing sequence, and a photogallery included on the dvd.

Final Thoughts: I liked this one for what it was, just as I said in my review of Volume 1. If you like Mech Robot anime, this would be a solid choice for you, especially if you like the older stuff.

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