Top wo Nerae!

Title:Top wo Nerae!
Gunbuster: Aim For The Top!
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: ANNO Hideaki
Animation - Gainax
OKADA Toshio
OOKI Tamio
R1 License - Bandai (Defunct)
Enthusiastic but inept, Noriko is chosen to join the crew of the starship Exelion to fight the aliens who killed her father. Friendship and love clash with the realities of war and lightspeed travel.
[OVA, 1988-89, 6 episodes]
[edit] The ↗Top wo Nerae! franchise:
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 8 8 6 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:154#1552]
This being Gainax's original homage to the "super robot" genre of mecha anime before Tengen Toppa Gurren-lagann, Gunbuster did have quite a bit to keep me entertained throughout its six episode run, even it isn't the deepest and most thought-provoking title I've come across. It does feature a likeable female lead in the form of Noriko as despite being seemingly klutzy in her first episode appearance, she does gradually grow into a competent mecha pilot who overcomes her prior hesitations in her role from the title's first half. It starts off as a light-hearted title focused around Noriko's struggles in becoming a mecha pilot through her strict mentor, Koichiro Ohta, before the alien threat make things take on a more serious mood after some events shake up Noriko's resolve and some effective drama getting introduced through time dilation as Noriko and others travel at lightspeed while preparing against alien threats. Visuals to the OAV are not too shabby for a late 1980s series featuring clean details with putting together shots of scenery (especially while in space) and mecha designs. Much like fellow mecha title Gundam: Char's Counterattack released around the same time, Gunbuster's character designs do look fairly outdated compared to modern designs though the animation quality makes said characters look better polished compared to TV anime titles designed around the same period. The only major thing I have to fuss about is that the pacing for Gunbuster's second half does seem to get fairly rushed at points leading to some sloppy handling in the plot narrative between events. Otherwise if you are a fan of Gainax and/or mecha anime, you can't go wrong with giving Gunbuster a look.

Last updated Friday, October 07 2011. Created Friday, October 07 2011.
Buy 9 10 Stretch [series:154#628]
Reading about how this classic OVA is finally getting a DVD release prompted me to dust off my old VHS tapes once again. I recall that I, too, was not particularly impressed by this series the first time I watched it. I picked up a copy at a place where you paid $4.95 then had the option of keeping the tape or returning it within a week to get most of your money back. "Gunbuster" seemed like a silly title, and after watching the first two episodes I decided to return. Fortunately, reading internet reviews persuaded me to watch the rest of the series. If you stay 'til the end you will realise that this is a true classic. Though it may seem to be a little slow getting started, it in fact features a brilliantly streamlined plot, with little if any wasted time or dialogue. Having watched infinitely more anime than I'd seen the first time I watched Gunbuster, I realise it's supposed to be corny and stereotypical at first ("Thunder Kick!!"). Numerous clever touches have stuck in my memory--robots with tangled cables in their heads that look like brains; the devilish laugh of Noriko's space academy tormentor, Kashiwara; and what Noriko finds in the room of a comrade who is lost in action. The scene of Noriko's baptism of fire was brilliant, giving possibly the most realistic feeling depiction of the fear and confusion which one feels in combat that I've ever seen in anime. I recognize the distinctive character designs of Haruhiko Mikimoto--virtually impossible to put into words, just distinctive (which is all-important in animation). And of course there's the wonderfully upbeat theme song, which is surely one of the top ten most memorable pieces of anime music ever (the silly ED song is fun, too). Omake "science lessons" about the fictional science the show is based on, are also amusing. Not many shows can claim the "feel good effect" that Gunbuster has--for example, when Noriko comes back alive after a seemingly hopeless battle in episode four. I remember reading a review in which a critic said that this was one of only a handful of Anime which deserved the title of genuine science fiction. One of the most touching scenes was when Noriko returns to Earth, only to find that because time passes more slowly when you are travelling at nearly the speed of light, her childhood friend is now ten years older than her, is married and has several children! The final episode is shown in black-and-white to emphasize how serious the situation is (I read it was intended as a tribute to WWII movies) as Noriko and Amano assume responsibility for a mission that will determine the fate of the entire human race. I'd better not tell you too much, but the first time I watched the final scene, in which they wonder if anyone besides themselves has indeed survived, I nearly wound up crying myself. I swear, no other "mecha" series has achieved the emotional depth of Gunbuster! Since it was originally released around 1988, I'm surprised to see that mine is only the second review to appear here at Mikomi/CAR. Considering how popular Anno Hideaki's Evangelion is, you would think a few people would be willing to give this series a try. Whereas Eva left me feeling confused and frustrated, the Gunbuster story has perfect closure. Truly an underappreciated work of art!

My favorite line: "The moon is great! You're weightless--on Earth your bra's too tight, your shoulders are in knots, and soon your boobs sag" --Jung Freud


Last updated Saturday, February 10 2007. Created Wednesday, July 16 2003.
Unevaluated 4 5 3 2 The Coyote [series:154#64]
Not really a very interesting series the mix of athleats that fight wars is a little wierd they don't develop the story line fast enough and irritate me enough to stop me from watching the rest of this series.

Last updated Tuesday, December 04 2001. Created Monday, August 07 2000.
Buy 7 8 7 10 10 Dan42 [series:154#21]
Like most others who have seen Gunbuster, I wasn't that impressed at first. The animation was a bit dated and the cheese factor was quite high in some places (mechs doing push-ups? triangle punch? super-something flying kick? c'mon, gimme a break...) But it wasn't too bad either, there were some good points, especially in character development. Noriko's feelings when being picked on by her classmates were very well done. So I kept on watching.
The second episode gave me my first big positive impression. In addition to some impressive animation, they actually (and intelligently) used Einstein's Special Relativity Theory as a plot device. Although the numbers used didn't quite fit together, the idea of months passing on Earth while only a few minutes have passed at near-light-speed was simply beautiful. The continuous intelligent use of time dilation in the rest of the episodes is a major selling point for me, as it makes for incredibly dramatic separations from friends and loved ones who age at an accelerated rate from the viewpoint of the space travellers. This is one of the most powerful techniques in modern science-fiction and it's a shame it isn't used more in anime.
The character development I loved from the first episode doesn't let up; the evolution of Noriko's personality is simply wonderful to behold. You get to see as the various events she experiences help to shape her from a frightened girl into a confident young woman. SPOILER: Such pivotal moments as Smith's death really have a visible effect on her character. This last one, by the way, was really well done. There's no bang, there's no wimper... one moment he's there, the next he's gone. And Noriko was completely powerless to help him. War Is Hell.
The mechanical designs for the spaceships score another very good point. For once, space travel and sub-space jumps aren't simple operations. They require precise intrumention and complex machinery. Unlike shows where warp speed is only a button-push away, this approach with its low-tech flavor is infinitely more realistic. Warp jump does not come from a black-box widget, but rather from complex human technology. The mechanical designs for the mechs are another story, though. I'm afraid they're rather old-fashioned, in all their giant-super-robot-fighter glory. The Gunbuster robot, especially, is a prime example of "if they have technology this powerful, how come they don't use it anywhere else?" This is the major reason why I can't give this anime a perfect rating; everything is so realistic, except the Giant Robot (which is downright cheesy).
There are a bit too many flaws for Gunbuster to get a perfect note, but there are enough strengths to make this a must-see.

Last updated Thursday, May 25 2000. Created Thursday, May 25 2000.

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