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Gunbuster 

Top wo Nerae! (original title)
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1:25 | Trailer
A young pilot, daughter of a deceased space captain, is selected to pilot a colossal robot as the key point of Earth's defence in a space war.
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1  
1989   1988  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Noriko Hidaka Noriko Hidaka ...  Noriko Takaya unknown episodes
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Storyline

In the future, Earth is under attack by gigantic aliens. Noriko Takaya, daughter of a famous captain in the battle against the aliens, enlists in the military to combat the aliens, but must struggle with her memories, the pressures of training, the ridicule of her classmates, and herself to make herself ready to be a mech pilot. She is eventually partnered up with her rival/idol, and given control of one of two Gunbuster mechs, Earth's most powerful weapon to combat the aliens. With the fate of the earth in her hands, Noriko flies off to meet her destiny... Written by Jason A. Cormier <wildrose@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Gainax Net [Japan]

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Gunbuster See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The method of travel is explained in the story as being part of an effect known as the "Tannhauser Gate." Tannhauser Gate was the name of a battle mentioned by Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982). See more »

Quotes

Jung Freud: The moon is great, you're weightless! On Earth, your bra's too tight, your shoulders are in knots, and soon your boobs sag.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Due to music which intentionally resembled that from Chariots of Fire, the score for the training montage was replaced on the US R1 dvd version of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Super Robot Wars Z3: Tengoku-Hen (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atrocious first half, but has a phenomenal ending
24 July 2019 | by LlamaLopezSee all my reviews

Marking Hideaki Anno's directorial debut and regarded as the spiritual predecessor to the critically acclaimed Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gunbuster is nothing short of a classic. Comprised of only 6 episodes, each a mere 25 minutes, Gunbuster makes for a quick and easy watch. Despite its short duration, it provides plenty to think about.

{ Story 7/10 } To put it bluntly, the first 2-3 episodes of Gunbuster suck. Character motivations make little sense and plot elements lack any reason behind them. Very little of interest happens in these first few episodes and the things that do happen really shouldn't have in the first place. To their credit, the mystery of the aliens plaguing mankind and their interesting designs do provide some intrigue, though it isn't explored extensively within these episodes. At best, they deserve a 5/10 for at least providing some semblance of continuity and not being entirely unwatchable. On the other hand, Gunbuster's final episodes are absolutely fantastic. They bring a concept I've yet to see elsewhere in Sci-Fi (except in the movie Interstellar), the idea that travelling at the speed of light causes the traveller to experience a distorted sense of time. With this comes the heartbreak of seeing childhood friends grow up in what seems like months to the person travelling. Off fighting the aliens threatening humanity, the main character, Noriko, is faced with this exact problem but must keep moving forward (both literally and figuratively). It creates a sense of isolation in that the world is moving on without Noriko and gives the second half a more depressing, melancholy mood. Gunbuster's slightly controversial final episode is one I found to be absolutely phenomenal and very emotional with its use of a sacrifice beyond that of even death. Though I'll admit it is a bit cheesy, its bittersweet finale has stuck with me as one of the best, if not the greatest, anime endings of all time (or endings, period). I found this to be surprising, considering it was only given 6 episodes of buildup; however, Gunbuster managed to pull off a memorable and emotional ending in a timespan I'd previously thought would make such a feat impossible. The jump in story quality for the last few episodes earn themselves a 9/10 as they yield a plot that's expertly told (ironically despite Hideaki Anno being an amateur at the time). Sadly, let down by its first episodes which are required viewing for the series, Gunbuster's story is hurt considerably.

{ Characters 5/10 } The characters of Gunbuster are about as flat as I've seen. Very little depth is given to its rather small cast of characters, though I suppose nothing more should be expected of a 6 episode series. One character in particular, Freud Jung, is the perfect example of a terribly written character, with her personality switching on the fly to suit the story. The side characters of Gunbuster; however, are not its focus. Noriko, being the main character, receives proper development and feels like a real human. Her upward climb to reach the top, lack of self-confidence to do so, struggle to come to terms with being responsible for another person's death, and the toll of light speed travel, among other things, are all well portrayed in Noriko's character. The difficulties she's faced with and her responses to them feel genuine; as though they make a permanent impact on her personality. In short, Gunbuster's overall character quality is hurt by its poor side characters, even if its main character is well written.

{ Art 8/10 } The animation of Gunbuster is dated, but looks great nonetheless, especially for its time. Character designs are alright, though hair color is the main distinction between the girls. The final episode, filmed in black and white, came as a surprise, but made the color used in its final moments stand out much more than it would have otherwise. Because they couldn't use hair color to identify the female characters in the final episode, a clever trick was used with regard to its plot (that I can't name for spoiler reasons) that simultaneously made the characters distinguishable and added to their character development in a meaningful way. The use of black and white in the final episode came off as more artistic than anything and was just as visually pleasing as the rest of the series. Though it's not fantastic by today's standards, the hand-painted animations still hold up remarkably well.

{ Sound 8/10 } Gunbuster's soundtrack screams 80's with its many old superhero sounding tracks and eurobeat-esque songs. For the most part, they sound nice and perform their job in adding excitement to the series, though they're nothing outstanding. The sadder and more emotional tracks of the show; however, are absolutely phenomenal, with some even being my favorite musical pieces in all of anime. Examples include Noriko's theme, Oneesama's theme, and Kanashimi, which all sound beautiful and invoke plenty of emotion during their respective scenes. As for the voice actors, they definitely have their moments where they're able to shine, but, generally, they sound pretty average. The series' wonderfully composed tracks are sadly dragged down by its other much more average sounding pieces.

{ Enjoyment 8/10 } The first few episodes were very difficult to get through. The sheer stupidity of them felt like an insult to my own intelligence and required some patience. Boy am I glad I stayed though, otherwise I would've missed the breathtaking final episodes and ending. My suggestion is to push through the boring beginning, especially considering it's only 2-3 episodes- a total of 60ish minutes, if only to watch the last few episodes.

{ Overall 7/10 } A trend that should've been made apparent throughout this review is that Gunbuster has many stunning elements to it- from its beautiful tracks, to its amazing use of the effects of light travel, to its well written main character- that all suffer from its other painfully subpar qualities. The final episodes alone would receive an easy 10/10 from me, but the shaky beginning that precede them do nothing but damage the series as a whole. In the end, Hideaki Anno's vision falls short of being a masterpiece due to the many half-baked components that compose its start. As poorly as I've described Gunbuster though, I feel it's an experience that should not be missed by anyone. I urge those reading to power through its first episodes and watch the entire show, something that'd only take a few hours considering how short the series is and could be realistically completed in a fraction of a day.


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