I’ve always liked “Aura Battler Dunbine.” But that being said, I find the actual animated show a real snoozer. Dungeons and Dragons meets Gundam in a half-assed world of swords, sorcery, and angst-ridden teenagers riding enormous robot insects.
Perhaps I should qualify: I’ve always liked the robots from Dunbine.
Whatever the case, fate dealt me this set of Clover Dunbine figures during my near-uninterrupted slide in recent years into the reeking bowels of toydom. And what a glorious set it was: four, count ’em, four Dunbine robots molded in that supple yet fragrant material known as polyvinyl chloride, sculpted to capture the every detail, nay, the very essence of each character.
Or so they appeared in the thumbnail-sized scan in the auction. Reality proved slightly different.
The crown jewel of the lot has to be Drumlo. Although this squat, beetle-like mechanical character appears to be nearly ball-shaped in the show, Clover’s vinyl “engineers” had to make some sacrifices to shoehorn him into the blister package. It looks less like a giant robot and more like one of those mushroom creatures from Super Mario Brothers. And while Drumlo retains the same bulky waistline as ever, the portrayal, somehow, lacks… depth. It’s as if Slim-fast worked front-to-back rather than side-to-side.
Do these capture the glory of the characters as they appeared in the anime? Hell, no (although they DO capture their inherent marshmallow-y goodness). So do I feel ripped off? Hell, no. One collector’s vinyl trash is another’s treasure. And these are a treasure that burn so very, very brightly. Especially if brought anywhere near an open flame.
“Never need another”…? Yeah, right. Less than five minutes after opening the package, I found myself surfing the auctions for more Clover vinyl goodness. God help me….