Metal Armor Dragonar (機甲戦記ドラグナー Kikō Senki Doragunā?) is a 48-episode mecha anime series, created by Sunrise and aired from 1987 to 1988. Devised shortly after the release of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Dragonar was intended to be both a "starter" series to get new fans into mecha anime, and a potential successor to the Gundam franchise. Though the series enjoyed good ratings and earned a loyal fan following, it failed to surpass Gundam and ended up as a single series, probably due to its light, ZZ Gundam-like take on the real robot mecha genre. Game developer Banpresto had Dragonar appear in two of its popular franchises, Super Robot Wars and Another Century's Episode; fans responded positively, and Sunrise acknowledged them in 2005 by releasing a memorial DVD collection of the series, a remastered version of the previous two-part LD boxset releases years before.
Dragonar takes place in the year 2087, when a military force called the Lunar Empire of Giganos has risen and captured the Moon. Their stated goal is the rebirth of mankind, but their primary intention by some of its members is the destruction of all those who dwell on Earth. To this end, the Empire uses humanoid battle machines called Metal Armors, as well as a gigantic mass driver cannon. Originally intended to send lunar material to Earth orbit for later retrieval, the Mass driver is reconfigured to launch small meteorites towards the home world. By the time the story takes place many bombardments have already taken place. The Earth Alliance, unable to compete with the Giganos military might, manages to steal three prototype Metal Armors with plans to reverse-engineer them with the help of exiled Giganos scientists. However, the ship carrying the Dragonars (posing as a refugee ship) is chased to a neutral colony by Giganos, and an attack is staged to retrieve them. Kaine, Tapp and Light, three friends and EA trainees, are on the colony during the attack, and find a dying Giganos spy who gives them three disks. Chased by Giganos' weapons, the trio enters the colony's dock and finds the Dragonars. Using the disks, they activate the machines and use them to protect the colony. However, since the Dragonars are keyed to only be operable by their initial user, the three friends find themselves forced to become the Earth Alliance's first Metal Armor pilots, faced against the advanced technology and veterans of the Giganos forces...
Kaine Wakaba (ケーン・ワカバ Kēn Wakaba?) - The pilot of Dragonar-1 and the main character of the story. A sixteen-year-old Earth Alliance trainee who graduated in Japan, Kaine lives on Alucard with his mother, who helps manage the colony. His parents are divorced, and Kaine resents his father for putting his work before his family. When his mother is apparently killed in the attack on Alucard, he is more than willing to help fight Giganos. Voiced by Masami Kikuchi
Tapp Oceano (タップ・オセアノ Tappu Oseano?) - One of Kaine's best friends and the pilot of Dragonar-2. Tapp is an African-American New Yorker and graduated from an American training academy and was transferred to the astronaut academy on Alucard. Tapp tends to be cheerful and laid back, even in situations where Kaine and Light are stressing out. Even so, he can be serious when the need arises. Voiced by Hōchū Ōtsuka.
Light Newman (ライト・ニューマン Raito Nyūman?) - Kaine and Tapp's friend and the pilot of Dragonar-3. A native Briton, Light's grandfather was in the Parliament and his father leads the Federation's European branch. However, he prefers to avoid positions of leadership, showing a natural aptitude for information-gathering and electronic warfare, which makes him the perfect pilot for Dragonar-3 (which he affectionately calls "D3-chan"). Voiced by Kenyuu Horiuchi.
Linda Plato (リンダ・プラート Rinda Purāto?) - Meio's younger sister, she becomes an enlisted member of the Alliance after the attack on the Alucard colony. Combined with her role as a communications officer/operator for the Earth Alliance, she is very much an homage to Sayla Mass from Mobile Suit Gundam.
Rose Patterson (ローズ・パテントン Rōzu Patenton?) - Rose was born on the Moon and became a refugee when Giganos declared independence. She escapes to Alucard and later boards the Idaho before the colony is destroyed. At 16 she is a warm and charming personality who assists in supervising the refugee children. Her character is possibly a nod at Mobile Suit Gundam's Frau Bow.
Ben Rooney (ベン・ルーニー Ben Rūnī?) - Kaine, Tapp and Light's direct superior, a gruff but caring soldier who takes the three trainees under his wing and instructs them in piloting. Often nicknamed 'Umiboozu' (sea monster) by Kaine because of his large size. Has a close relationship with Lt. Diane Lance, whom he marries at the end of the series.
Diane Lance (ダイアン・ランス Daian Ransu?) - Diane was thought to be a refugee but turns out to be a Lt for the Earth Alliance. She works in the information branch and is active in the 1st and 2nd arc but is later reassigned and only returns in the ending, which shows her marrying Ben Rooney.
Jim Austin - Kaine's father who left his family behind for the Earth Alliance. He is an excellent pilot.
Aoi Wakaba - Kaine's mother, who administered the space colony Alucard and was initially presumed dead after a Giganos attack, but later found to be alive but captured by Giganos and used as a threat against Kaine Wakaba as part of their plan to bring down the Federation.
Lunar Empire of Giganos
Meio Plato - Giganos' top ace pilot, nicknamed the Blue Hawk (蒼き鷹 Aoki Taka?). He gained fame piloting the Falguen and is fiercely loyal to Guiltorre. His father Lang Plato is the engineer who helped develop the Dragonars, and he has a younger sister, Linda, who opposes the war. Despite his calm nature and popularity with younger pilots, he is repeatedly looked down on by his superiors for failing to capture the Dragonars and begins to chaffe under Dorchenov's command, eventually being framed for murder of Guiltorre by Dorchenov. In the end, he and Kaine set aside their differences and defeat Dorchenov by exploting Dorchenov's machine's weakness and attacking with a volley of missiles and finished by a combination attack using their beam swords (which was recognised and implemented into Super Robot Wars). He is very much an homage to Char Aznable from Gundam. Voiced by Juurouta Kosugi
Dan Kruger Practice Squad member. Fiercely loyal to Meio Plato. Out of the Plato Squad Members, he is the only one to die, which happens while he protects Meio and the rest of the squadron from enemy fire as the rest escape to cover while their sensors were damaged earlier.
Welner Fritz Practice Squad member. Fiercely loyal to Meio Plato.
Karl Geiner Practice Squad member. Fiercely loyal to Meio Plato.
Marshal Guiltorre The supreme commander of Giganos. Though he declares war on the Earth Federation, he truly treasures the Earth for its beauty, eventually questioning himself whether declaring war was really the right option, moments before he was murdered by Dorchenov.
Chephov Giganos Lt. stationed on an abandoned satellite, who captured the three Dragonar but then began to train and befriend them. Shot by Meio Plato for refusing Guiltorre's orders that the Dragonar pilots be taken into his custody. Given a funeral ceremony by Kaine, Tapp, and Light.
Gon Jem Leader of the "Gon Jem Shittenoh" platoon and pilot of the YAMA-13 Geyzam, and later the YGMA-14 Gilgazamune. Ridiculed with the nickname of "Garbage of Giganos". Despite his infamy, he respects and values his subordinates Gold, Ganan, Zin and Min to the point of swearing revenge against the Dragonar Team for the death of the first three.
Lee Sue Min Gon Jem Shittenoh member, and pilot of the Stark Deins. Eventually joins Meio Plato's platoon when fighting against Dorchenov. Her machine is best known for the chainsaws attached onto the arms, which makes her a deadly opponent when close-up.
Gol Gon Jem Shittenoh member, and pilot of the Stark Gewei. He is usually seen carrying a chaingun and is prone to fire it at random during fits of rage. Because of his savage nature, low level of intellect and size, he is nicknamed "Gorilla", something that he hates being called.
Ganan Gon Jem Shittenoh member, and pilot of the Stark Gan-Dolla. He is known for carrying a knife (or more) wherever he goes. His last words are a cry for help after Kaine slashes his unit in half with his laser sword, which destroys the robot unit and sends the motorcycle unit, with Ganan on board, crashing into a cliff, killing him instantly.
Zin Gon Jem Shittenoh member, and pilot of the Stark Dauzhen. The womanizer and somewhat more civilized one of the group. His weapon of choice is a pair of Sai. Zin's machine's unique attribute is the ability to generate holograms of itself to confuse the opponent, though it can be negated by D-3's jammers.
Dorchenov - Dorchenov is an ambitious officer of Giganos who, while not seen much early on, becomes the main villain of the series when he wages a coup d'état of the Empire and assassinates Guiltorre, and putting the blame on Giganos ace Meio Plato who also happens to be at the scene. Though mostly a political figure in Giganos, he is just as capable as a pilot in a Metal Armor.
XD-01 Dragonar-1 - Piloted by Kaine Wakaba, Dragonar-1 (also called D-1) is a general purpose Metal Armor. Its primary weapons include a rapid-firing hand railgun, laser sabers that combine to form a lancer, and a number of grenades and thrown bombs. D-1 was also designed to work with the XC-00 Cavalier Zero an armored support unit mounting extra weapons. Later on, D-1 is given a missile-laden flight unit and redesignated XDFU-01 Dragonar-1 Lifter.
XD-02 Dragonar-2 - Piloted by Tapp Oceano, Dragonar-2 (also called D-2) focused on long-range firepower. It mounts a pair of powerful railcannons on its backpack, along with a set of rear-firing machineguns for defense, and can also carry a double Gatling gun or mount extra missile pods on its legs. Like D-1, D-2 is eventually upgraded into the XDFU-02 Dragonar-2 Lifter, gaining missile launchers and the ability to fly.
XD-03 Dragonar-3 - Piloted by Light Newman, Dragonar-3 (also called D-3) is an electronic warfare unit. Its oddly-shaped head and chest contain a number of powerful sensors, as well as jammers and ECM equipment. Playing a mostly supportive role, D-3 only carries a hand railgun and an assault knife. Even when upgraded into the XDFU-03 Dragonar-3 Lifter thus giving it flight, its only change in armanent is missile-launch capability located in the Lifter Module. Unlike D-1 and D-2, D-3 was never given a custom variant, mainly because D-3's unique role made it difficult to modify further.
XD-01SR Dragonar-1 Custom
XD-02SR Dragonar-2 Custom
MBD-1A Dragoon - The Federation's mass-produced metal armor, created from data gathered by all three of the Dragonars. A single railcannon is mounted on the right shoulder for mid/long-range attacks, and it also carries a single laser saber and a hand railgun. On the chest is a variety of sensors similar to the D-3's, albeit not as powerful. A Lifter flight system is also standard, with missile launchers mounted on the wings. The Dragoon is easily a match for many of the Giganos Empire's standard metal armors, and can be especially formidable with a skilled pilot in the cockpit.
Lunar Empire of Giganos
MAFFU-05 Gebaye MAFFU
FMA-04A Dyne (Ground Type)
MAFFU-04 Dyne MAFFU
XMFA-09 Falguen (Pilot: Meio Plato)
MAFFU-09 Falguen MAFFU (Pilot: Meio Plato)
Falguen Custom(Pilot: Meio Plato) The Falugen Custom is designed by original mecha design Kunio Okawara in official fanbook of Sunrise in 2007, almost 20 years after the original anime. The armaments are later appeared in PS2 cross-over mecha game series Another Century's Episode 3, as Meio's upgrade of original Falugen MAFFU. The Falguen Custom mainly put all characteristics of D-1,D-2, and D-3 onto the base of Falugen, which give strong firepower and ECM ability to become a more-all rounded Metal Armor, virtually becomes a perfect form of a Metal Armor.
YFMA-08A Gelf (Pilot: Dan Kruger)
MAFFU-08 Gelf MAFFU (Pilot: Dan Kruger)
YAMA-08B Jagd Gelf (Pilot: Welner Fritz)
MAFFU-08B Jagd Gelf MAFFU (Pilot: Welner Fritz)
YRMA-08C Reb Gelf (Pilot: Karl Geiner)
MAFFU-08C Reb Gelf MAFFU (Pilot: Karl Geiner)
AMA-03G Stark Gebaye (Pilot: Gol)
FMA-04G Stark Dyne (Pilot: Lee Sue Min)
AFA-03G Stark Dowtwen (Pilot: Zin)
Stark Gundora (No code) (Pilot: Ganan)
YAMA-13 Geyzam (Pilot: Gon Jem)
YGMA-14 Gilgazamune (Hydelnecken Colors) (Pilot: Hydelnecken)
YGMA-14 Gilgazamune (Dorchenov Colors) (Pilot: Dorchenov)
YGMA-14 Gilgazamune (Gon Jem Colors) (Pilot: Gon Jem)
- Opening themes
- "Dream-Colored Chaser" (夢色チェイサー Yume-Iro Cheisā?) (episodes #1-26)
- "Starlight Serenade" (スターライト・セレナーデ Sutāraito Serenāde?) (episodes #27-48)
- Performed by Mami Yamase
- Music by Daisuke Inōe
- Lyrics by Yukinojō Mori
- Arrangement by Kazuo Ōtani
- Ending themes
- "Searching for an Illusion (イリュージョンをさがして Iryūjon wo Sagashite?) (episodes #1-26)
- Performed by Mami Ayukawa
- Music by Kōji Makaino
- Lyrics by Machiko Ryū
- Arrangement by Shirō Sagisu
- "Shiny Boy" (episodes #27-48)
- Performed by Mami Yamase
- Music by Daisuke Inōe
- Lyrics by Yukinojō Mori
- Arrangement by Kazuo Ōtani
Though it has no dedicated games, Dragonar has appeared in several related games. Its earliest known appearance is in the PlayStation game developed by Banpresto titled "Real Robots Final Attack", which is a Third-Person VS Shooter similar to Sega's Virtual-On series. Later, the series appeared in the 2001 game Super Robot Wars Advance, in which Kaine and friends were (unwillingly) mentored first by Gundam Wing's Lucrezia Noin, then later by Gundam 0083's South Burning. The series would later appear in the 2004 game Super Robot Wars MX, where Giganos took center stage as the primary Real Robot antagonists, even usurping the Titans and Neo-Zeon from the so-called "Holy Trinity of Gundam" (Zeta, Double-Zeta, and Char's Counterattack). A late 2004 release saw Dragonar in Super Robot Wars GC/XO, using Giganos as an ally to Zeon, with the Dragonar storyline being closely tied in with the original Mobile Suit Gundam; upon being disabled (i.e. having their head and limbs destroyed and their body crippled), mass-produced Giganos units can be captured by the player's mothership, and then be sold for money, broken down for money and parts, or assigned to any pilot from the series. Dragonar's next video game appearance was in the 2005 game Another Century's Episode, a 3D action game produced by the team of Banpresto and From Software. The game allowed players to control the D-1, D-2, D-3 and, surprisingly, the Gilgazamune, but not the Falguen. The year 2006 brings about Another Century's Episode 2, which features the Custom versions of the Dragonars, as well as the ability to use Meio's Falguen MAFFU and Min's Stark Dyne, as well as Gon Jem's Gilgazamune from the first game. And they are still in part in the Another Century's Episode 3. Although the original type of D-1, D-2, and D-3 are gone, Meio's Falguen Custom, which never appears in the anime, will be added into the game. The series also appear in Harobots, because as Sunrise's series, this series' units can be act as 'wild' units, or player's units.
Much confusion had surrounded the early release of this series even before it went on the air. The Japanese anime magazine Animec for example, still hailed the title under the working name "Stillevar", not "Dragonar", despite the fact that the mecha and character designs were already approved. Before the series went to air, there were fans in North America who believed this to be a Gundam prequel.
Character Designer: Kenichi Ohnuki
Mecha Designer: Kunio Okawara
Dragonar first opening directed by: Masami Obari