Xabungle (anime review)

Title: Xabungle on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan

U. S. Release Date: Dec. 18th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 50 Episodes / 1334 Minutes

Genre: Space Western, Mecha, Drama, Comedy

Age Rating: MA

Overall Personal Rating: C


Xabungle contains episodes 1-50 of the anime directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino plus the movie in standard definition on blu-ray discs.

On the planet Zola, the statute of limitations for any crime is just three days, so when Jiron Amos’ family is murdered and he fails to catch their killer before he receives full immunity, Jiron snaps and continues to pursue his quest for revenge; even though that now makes HIM the lawbreaker! 

With the help of desert drifter Rag and her gang of Sand Rats, Jiron soon finds the opportunity to steal the perfect weapon for his quest: a giant robot called the Xabungle. Taking the Xabungle, however, entangles our heroes with culture-obsessed rich girl Elchi Cargo, the highly dysfunctional crew of the giant land ship Iron Gear, a bevy of chorus girls, gun-toting toddlers, a Man with No Name named Timp, and an insanely escalating series of increasingly strange plot twists in the weirdest, wildest and most hilarious parody of outer space westerns ever animated: Blue Gale Xabungle!


What happens when Gundam meet a Serio Leone film. Well unfortunately, it is Xabungle. I find it rather curious that Xabungle is listed as a comedy when in fact it is not very funny. Granted there are some rather strange things going on, but on a whole it is rather heavy handed.

Xabungle shows just how big a deal space westerns were in the early 1980’s thanks in part the popularity of Star Wars and in Japan it included Mobil Suit Gundam (also directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino). I found it interesting that Tomino managed to find a way to revise a popular ideal that was at its hight in the late 1960′ and early 1970’s and blend it with the more timely genre of the space sci fi. Serio Leone gave the world some rather weird spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood the found immense popularity and also many copy cat shows popped up. Of course, there is no reason why the Japanese wouldn’t find a way to mold this odd genre in there own special way. It should be noted that in the late 1990’s series like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop were created and are now considered to be true classics.

Overall Grade: C

It is always fun to see some historical series that manage to blend the popular genre of the day, but the one thing that these rebirth also show is that the animation of the period does not age very well. There is also a glaring reminder of how the anime industry was a high production sweat shop industry and it is not just the animation that suffered from the high pressure production levels. The writing and voice acting also suffered greatly. In the case of Xabungle the rush to produce provides a series that misses more than it hits.

I will say that fans of the Space Western / Mecha series will find that Xabungle provides a great window into what was really happening 35 to 40 years ago. I have to hand it to Maiden Japan for giving us the opportunity to visit the past that is often left in the vault.

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