Designed by: Idong Ekong
Every director wants to make their “The Godfather“. Every writer wants to write their “Catch 22“. Every video game developer wants to create their “Legend of Zelda“. Sure, it’s a noble cause but the truth is that the world contains so much media that doesn’t quite reach timeless status. However, that doesn’t mean they’re bad! Sometimes, they’re good and fun, if perhaps a little chaotic! So, that’s where we exist – Positive Reviews looks at the slightly offbeat, the under-the-radar, the almost forgotten. Today? We’re looking at “Gunbuster“!
What’s It About?
“Gunbuster” is the story of Noriko, known as the “Daughter of Defeat” due to her father’s defeat in battle against an alien enemy. Aiming to follow in his footsteps, she trains to become a mecha pilot to fight the enemy. However, there’s one problem – Noriko isn’t very good. Whatsoever.
Her idol, Kazumi, is the golden standard for young pilots. Through a little encouragement – and plenty of shouting from Coach Ohta – Noriko sets about achieving her goals.
The Golden Days of Gainax
“Gunbuster” is the brainchild of Hideaki Anno – he of “Evangelion” fame – and this represents one of the earlier outputs from the studio. It would be easy for the fledgling team to put together an immature showing. Fortunately, “Gunbuster” really excels. The designs are very much of the 1980s – each character was designed by Haruhiko Mikimoto of “Megazone 23” fame and the mecha is what you’d expect from geeks who grew up on the likes of “Gundam”. At its core, though, is Noriko’s journey from a scared young girl to hero. However, it doesn’t come instantly, as she struggles early and often. It makes you really care for her and when she does make that transition, you feel a real sense of joy having watched it.
Lovingly Recreated For Your Consideration
A condensed version of “Gunbuster” existed for several years, with only a Japanese dub. The original sound effects track was thought lost. Japan released a remastered version several years ago allowing for the West to finally get their very own dubbed version. This also included the Science Lessons between each episode, which see Noriko and Amano teaching us about the sci-fi elements of the show.
What Could Be Better?
The creators of “Gunbuster” should be happy with their baby. Although, the addition of weird nudity always seems to ruin some scenes. Yes, it’s fanservice for young men – but as an adult trying to watch something for their own amusement, the nudity often seems odd and out of place. Aside from this gripe, “Gunbuster” doesn’t have many faults.
To see “Gunbuster” on Blu-ray – with a brand-new dub and remastered in high-definition – is absolutely fantastic. It highlights the skills of the young Gainax staff that gave them their name in the late 80s and early 90s. It gives us a protagonist that we want to root for and who we care about. The choice of 6 episodes allows the story to be told in greater detail than a movie. They don’t have to introduce extra padding that could have come with a 26-episode series. To see the show thriving after all these years is great – and any anime fan should actively check it out given half a chance.