Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Xabungle’s pilot episode certainly feels…full, there isn’t much else I can say about it. Bloated with action sequences and universe specific jargon, episode one attempts to cover a lot of ground in 24 short minutes. We are introduced to Jiron, our main character, the gang he finds himself involved with, the giant machines called “Walkers”, the current nasty villain, as well as some other world building pieces that leave everything feeling scatter-brained. What is this world anyway? What happened to it that sets the scene? Why does Jiron want this particular machine so badly? Why are the Sand Rats (the aforementioned gang) just kinda helping him out? These are just a sampling of some of the questions that even in show characters have asked but not had answered as of yet.
Originally produced in 1983, Combat Mecha Xabungle was one of Yoshiyuki Tomino’s first post-Gundam efforts and has now found its home on new streaming service HiDive. While some similarities to Mobile Suit Gundam exist, this show attempts a more light-hearted vibe palatable to children and teenagers over the adult themes present in the former. This is especially evident in the interaction between members of the Sand Rats gang led by Rag, a headstrong and adventurous young woman. With members Blume, Chill, and Dyke in tow, this young group of thieves (I think?) is introduced mid battle in the opening scene of the show, going toe-to-toe with a giant machine called a “walker”. Hoping to scavenge parts and whatever else they can for money, the gang zooms and weaves around the walker and its crew on their own flying devices (…hobuggies) when they run into Jiron, the main character. Impressed with his combat prowess, Rag accepts him almost immediately into the group and proceeds to carry out her plan to steal a giant walker to assist in whatever Jiron wants to do with it. That’s an awful lot of trust in a guy you just met if you ask me, and luckily I’m not the only one who believes that.
The rest of the episode is spent trying to carry out various aspects of this plan to rob Carrying Cargo of his precious walkers with varying degrees of success. This ranges from a kidnapping to a nighttime invasion that does a lot action wise but very little in the character development field. At this point you still don’t know anything about anybody besides their names and that they want this walker for an unknown reason. Hopefully, this is expounded upon in later episodes, as some of the members of the Sand Rats are interesting characters at first glance.
Jumping directly into the action as means of introduction, Combat Mecha Xabungle suffers from a lack of fine detail that leaves the pilot episode feeling like a motivation deprived blur. There are some characters that may be worth sticking around for, such as Rag, but as of now, I’m hoping that we can get a little more detail as to why virtually any of this is happening.
Streamed By: HiDive