Aim for the Top! Gunbuster [Orange Farm Archive]

Totally unforseen review….

The title music is pretty nice, too ^^;

Since it just seems that not enough people know about this, I’m going to do a review of this 6 episode OVA. It’s a Super Robot series created in, oh, 1989 or so, and is every bit as epic as Code Geass and TTGL.

The problem with Gunbuster is, not many people are overly interested in it, perhaps since it’s from nearly two decades ago. ^^; Because of that, I’m not going to try to spoil too much.

First off, Gunbuster gets done in 6 episodes what it takes Gurren Lagann 26 to do – the main character goes from nearly nothing to OMGWTF awesome epic hot-blooded hero. Best part? The main character is female.

Best female character, like, ever

Noriko is probably my number 1 favorite female character in a robot series, and by far my favorite female lead in… well, anything – for all you TTGL-tards, take episode26!Simon and make him into a girl. In true super robot spirit, she shouts every attack name at the top of her lungs, while looking badass and cute at the same time. Noriko’s character development is just perfect – again, going from nothing to hero of mankind over the course of a few episodes. I can’t really spoil too much for you here.

The original o-nee-san

Another part I like is how well the supporting characters are developed in this timespan – all three of them. (Four if you count the captain of the Exellion/Eltreum; he’s awesome, but not really a lead character) Kazumi plays the “big sister” role for Noriko, which is a common way to build the main character’s personality, but the part I really like is how much depth she had as a person. You can all say that Kamina was incredibly awesome, you can say that Gai Daigoji was incredibly awesome, and they both went out in an awesome way, but neither of them had any time for character development. Think of it this way: the series is 6 episodes, and Kamina dies in episode 7 – but he had no development whatsoever, and frankly, was pretty one-dimensional, for the most part. The support characters here, though, have quite a bit of depth, even right from the start, especially Kazumi.

(Note that I do love TTGL, and Gai Daigoji is one of my favorite characters ever, but I stand by what I’m saying here)

That’s Captain Toshiro on the left

Jung plays the “rival character” from the Soviet Union(or whatever they’re calling it in Gunbuster). But not just to Noriko – she’s actually Kazumi’s rival for some of the series as well. At first she comes off as a total bitch, but after a certain event, she really lightens up. (She never loses the bitch side to her, though.) I guess you could say she’s a tsundere? She starts out hating Noriko, but the end will give you a tearful scene that shows just how close they have become over the course of the series.

Don’t worry, you’ll get to see him with his glasses off

And of course, we have Oota, the “coach” character. He’s around pretty much since the beginning, and fits the whole plot together with “well, Noriko, you suck; no, I mean, you REALLY FAIL at this game; but I’m choosing you anyway, because you have awesome potential”. Mind you, this kind of plot point is fairly cliche, but you get to see another side of his personality in Episode 5(I think that’s the one). Otherwise, he’s just there to give Noriko level-ups in Badass and to stand there and look cool.

Now, of course, the mecha portion of this mecha anime review/teaser/advertisement. It starts out pretty normal, with these mass-production type suits with fairly “primitive” control systems(this is the late 1980’s):

It’s a school, with robots. How great is that?

However, the main robot, Gunbuster, is one of my favorite robots of all time. It’s badass. And 200 meters tall, a new record in EPIC for the time period:

One of the most epic scenes in the show.

Gunbuster’s pose is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The machine itself uses a motion sensor system, which is good for Noriko, because lots of screens and dials totally overwhelm her. It’s actually made of two parts, but that doesn’t come in until episode 6. It’s got all sorts of super robot-type attacks. Leave it to Super Robot Wars to add in Buster Home Run(it never appeared in the show)~

It’s not just about the mecha, though. The battleship otaku in all of us will be impressed by the design of the starships they use, as well as their scale – the Exellion-class is around 2 kilometers long, but the Eltreum in the final episode spans a whopping 11km. The Exellion is simple and utilitarian, while the Eltreum is a stunningly beautiful piece of work. They have missiles that can shoot into lightspeed, too. What’s not to love?

And then we have the most epic faceless enemy hordes in existence – STMC(Space Terrible Monster Crowd – i know, funny engrish name is epic win). These things have… one grunt unit, and I think five classes of starship-type units. The biggest one, by the way, is something like twenty clicks long, and almost as wide. They’re really cool, in a creepy, biological monster sort of way. They’re basically out to annihilate mankind from existence; at some point, they’re likened to the white blood cells that rid your body of viruses.

They’re from space, they’re terrible, they’re monsters, and they’re… uh, a crowd

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, a few more points. The anime was done by GAINAX, and you may have heard of it for starting the famous “GAINAX Bounce”. It’s not overdone or anything(like a lot of shows today), but there is actually quite a bit of fanservice for an anime so short. Overall, the animation for the whole series is great for something that came out in 1989, but I guess that just goes to show how awesome OVAs are. The music is top-notch, as well, and really underscores the theme of “deep space fleet battle”.

As a DVD-only bonus, there is a series of 6 mini-videos titled “Gunbuster Science Lessons” that basically explain all the BS physics that went into making this particular super robot show, as well as explain the starships, STMC, and the Buster Machines. Actually, the physics BS in this show is probably the most believable stuff I know of.

One of my favorite plot devices was the fact that going into hyperspace actually significantly slows time down for you, while the rest of the universe races ahead. It’s pretty scary when you think about it, really. There is quite a bit of character development(on everyone’s part) because of this.

In conclusion? If you’re a man, you will cry manly tears at least once during this series. Also, you will shit bricks. This series gets a 10/10 in my book, for its plot, characters, animation, and music all being simply stellar.

Shut up, that wasn’t lame.

If you’re still reading this, pat yourself on the back, then go watch. You can do it in a day, and you will be rewarded.

“We’ll show them what mankind can do when driven into a corner!”
Captain Toshiro of the Eltreum


4 Responses to “Aim for the Top! Gunbuster [Orange Farm Archive]”

  1. 1 komidol
    October 13, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    Gunbuster may be more popular than you think. I heard alot of people are into diebuster, this season.

  2. 2 Khayal101
    October 26, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    This series kicks so much ass, it does have a small circle of popularity due to Diebuster. Unlike Gundam, were the ,main character is a newtype and can pilot Gundams without training or exercise, Gunbuster is all about Will power and effort. You arn’t born awsome, you have to work for it, Gunbuster is a masterpiece and under rated to, I love Diebuster as well, but old school fans wine and complain that it sucks. Also Srw didn’t add Buster homerun, It was in the sound drama. Wemon in anime are so steriotyped to what appeals to otaku, but Gunbuster reminds us that they can kick ass, I wounder what Gainax will do for their 30th anniversery? Gunbuster 3? many people think TTGL is gunbuster 3, but TTGL is a love letter to the mecha genre in all its form, each of 4 story arcs is a different decade of mecha, and near the end it also includes Gunbuster, and Evangelion. Gainax’s first classic should always be remembered, an everlasting badass show will have even the toughest Otaku crying in the end.

  3. 3 darkslime
    October 26, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    Yes. Thanks for the comment, Khayal101. It’s so amazing that I think I’m writing my final paper in one of my classes on it.

  4. 4 aaaaaaa
    September 23, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Exelion class ships are 7km, the Eltreum is 70km.

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