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Sentou Mecha Xabungle
Xabungle is a mish-mash of genres combining westerns, mecha action, sci-fi, and comedy focused on a young man named Jiron Amos who partners up with a gang of sand bandits and the crew of the landship known as the Iron Gear to seek out the whereabouts of the murderer of his family named Timp Sharon. Within the world of Xabungle, mechs called Walker Machines are used by landships to combat one another and there is a three-day rule in place where all crimes have to be resolved within that time or else they are pardoned. In addition, there exist two living beings within the series: the Innocent who live lavishly in domed cities and the Civilians who live out in the harsh planet landscape.|
Xabungle was directed by famous mecha anime director Yoshiyuki Tomino, sandwiched between his work on the more darker and serious Space Runaway Ideon and Aura Battler Dunbine. The series is more lighter fare with its focus on Jiron and other characters as comedy rears its presence frequently throughout the series to parody typical tropes of the mecha genre and usually breaking the fourth wall with characters being self-aware of their status as fictional characters and whatever roles they have to fulfill within the series. Some characters even aspire to be greater than the roles they personify or attempting to seem tough and intimidating, yet their comical and klutzy behavior goes against whatever role they are attempting to come off as. The comedy actually helps to allow Xabungle to stick out from the many mecha titles that were made throughout the 1980s trying to come off as serious, as the series is self-aware of its roots and doesn't take itself seriously on enough occasions throughout its 50-episode run.
Outside of the comedy, Xabungle also sticks out for the rather unique world it has to offer up in its mixing of sci-fi and western story elements. On the surface, the series seems to be a western with the attire, settings, and weaponry employed; mixed in with the more advanced technology such as the Walker Machines and landships used by the Civilians. But as episodes progress, more is revealed about the workings of the world that Xabungle is set in that eventually leads up to a conflict between the crew of the Iron Gear and those under the influence of the Innocent. A good chunk of what is revealed is pretty typical of sci-fi and mecha focused anime, but the mentioned comedy rears its head enough to keep things from getting too overly serious.
In regards to characters, the series has a fairly large cast considering its length and the scale of which its main conflict onfolds. Some characters, notably the villains, are pretty standard with their motives and character types. Others, like major characters among the Iron Gear, do get a good deal of fleshing out that let them have more to them beyond their character types as Xabungle shows how a number of characters are affected by the escalating conflict with the Innocent and there are a few characters within the Innocent concerned about how things are escalating with their influence on the Civilians. In spite of how typical a number of the character types are, Xabungle still does a solid job with exploring how each side is affected by the developing conflict between Civilians and Innocent.
Overall, Xabungle makes for a fun and engaging mecha show thanks to the humor coming off its self-awareness of being a mecha anime, as well as the unique blend of western and sci-fi storytelling tropes implemented in its exploration of the Iron Gear's conflict with the Innocent. Old-school mecha fans looking for something unique for the genre should definitely consider giving this a watch.
Last updated Sunday, August 18 2019. Created Sunday, August 18 2019.