Review - Gunbuster - Aim for the Top

This will be a collecting point for my past anime reviews and future reviews. Please note that there will be the inevitable time references in these as they have been lifted from my old LiveJournal (I'll keep the existing ones there for now)

Review - Gunbuster - Aim for the Top

Postby mistie710 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:35 pm

I've been neglecting the classics lately, so this is one that absolutely has to be revisited.

It's an anime that is now over 20 years old now but is still spoken of with reverence from when it was released by US Renditions (Kiseki Films in the UK) with those awful oversized subtitles and one or two mistakes. It was made as an affectionate parody of mecha anime at the time and, if you look carefully throughout the series of six episodes plus the "Science Lectures", you might just see a number of references to older mecha.

Noriko is the focal chara of the series, the daughter of Admiral Takaya, in command of the Luxion and its fleet. As the story opens, she is a cadet training for space as the pilot of a machine weapon (a very similar design to a sort of mobile suit (Gundam) or labor (Patlabor)). And not a very good one to start with. She falls over, she can't control the thing and when a new coach, Ohta, turns up and selects her as partner for Amano, the best pilot in the school and something of an idol for Noriko, she is singled out for bullying and all sorts of other hardships. With help, she makes it into space but the problems don't stop there as we are introduced to the blobs that are the enemy, a sort of flying space crud that want to destroy humanity, or so we are told. All this because Ohta believes that Noriko has the talent to pilot the Gunbuster, a new weapon that is humanity's last hope.

A major plot point is time dilation and its effect on the human condition as Noriko in particular sees her friends age around her each time she returns from a mission including her best friend Kimiko who goes from being the cheerful megane-ko sidekick in episode one to a middle-aged mother in episode four while Noriko ages by only a few months. And that's nothing compared with the effect over the total amount of time that passes through the entire series, especially as we approach the last couple of episodes. The series is accompanied by a series of Science Lectures hosted by Noriko and Kasumi in super-deformed guise with guest appearances from Ohta.

This series is good in its own right but is historically important for its links with later popular series including Patlabor and Neon Genesis Evangelion as far as production goes (Hideaki Anno on director credits) with Mikimoto on designs (another connection there, this time to the whole Macross saga amongst others), even the seiyuu being fairly famous including Hidaka Noriko playing the lead role (and if you don't know who that is by now, I'll sic Akane Tendo on you!)

I still have my VHS copy, one of those that Kiseki accidentally let through unedited with the intact bath house scene, and it's a series that I can honestly say is still a favourite after all these years. Setting the boobies aside, there is little to offend and much to enjoy, even though Noriko starts off as a bit of a moeblob before events overtake her and she is forced to develop a spine. The fact that fans continued to push for a re-release after its licence expired is proof, if it were needed, that this is a show that is a must-watch for anyone that is serious about anime.
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