Discussion and art from similar fictional worlds to Panzer Dragoon. This article was extracted from the discontinued website, The Art of Panzer Dragoon.
While the Panzer Dragoon Series has had some of the most original art direction in the history of video games, there have been many similar “worlds” created by other artists in other fields. While none of these have Team Andromeda “lifted”, there are enough interesting similarities that fans of Panzer Dragoon’s unique art style might want to discover these as well.
This small group of references are by no means definitive, and I welcome any suggestions and recommendations. Some readers have recently suggested Dinotopia, and I would have to agree.
The role of Moebius in the creation of the Panzer Dragoon Universe has always been something of a mystery. In the credits of the original Panzer Dragoon, SEGA gives credit to Moebius for “Image Illustrations”, but not referring to the “Ending Illustrations”, which was done by Ryuichiro Kutsuzawa. Since he did not do those illustrations, what illustrations did Moebius do?
Two illustrations from the original Panzer Dragoon are by Moebius, but it seems he would have done more than these to get such credit for the series. Since I don’t have the fabled “Panzer Dragoon Book” that the press got a while back, I can only speculate. In any case, here are some more examples of Moebius’ work for the curious. In the first picture I have included a picture of an airship to show how design ideas can be formed.
Miyazaki’s first masterpiece, supposedly to be re-released by Disney very soon. While Nausicaä’s story synopsis can be found in many places on the Internet, which I urge you to seek out, I want to point out the obvious similarities. Both worlds were once “normal” thousands of years ago, but now it has been taken over with mutated exoskeleton monsters. There are large airships, two legged riding beasts, and both have a messiah-like main character who flies around to save the world from itself. Original Nausicaa sketches even show her riding a dragon.
The world of Nausicaä is home to a toxic jungle called The Sea of Corruption. The monsters look like giant insects. Like Panzer Dragoon, humanity was pushed to the brink of extinction in a technological war that took place 1000 years prior to the main story in an event called The Seven Days of Fire.
Aura Battler (Dunbine)
Yutaka Izubunchi’s (Record of Lodoss War, Patlabor, Nu Gundam: Char’s Attack) unique bio-organic designs still have not been bettered. While the TV show had “Bandai colorful mass appeal”, the OVA (and books) produced some of the most stunning mecha designs ever.
It was the first time bio-organic mechs were really done right, with their huge “shell” armor, their internal muscle system, and the decaying crumbling look of these breathing mecha.
Aura Battlers are giant insect-like fighting suits powered by the auras (also known as life energy) of their pilots, hence the name. These are unique mechas because they are organic as opposed to mechanical like we see with many mecha designs.
Aura Battler Dunbine merges medieval fantasy (with castles and monarchs) with mecha, which are two genres that are almost impossible to merge unless they go mostly into the realm of science fiction. The organic nature of the mechas reconciles these genres because the mechas look almost natural.
While Kow Yokoyama SF3D world, with its neo-retro mecha designs, may seem quite unlike Panzer Dragoon’s Bio-organic world, there still are some similar shapes and motifs used. Kow also designed mecha for Carnage Heart and the Square’s First Front Mission game among others.
Check out Maschinen Krieger for more info.