Gunbuster's subtitle "Aim For the Top!" is an apt summary of this optimistic, never-say-die tale of courage, determination, and friendship.
Young Takaya Noriko had always wanted to be a pilot like her father, who was killed in space during an alien attack. Despite her inexperience and youth, Noriko is chosen from her academy along with Kazumi, an older, more experienced student to represent Japan in the war against the same alien force who killed her father.
Space is a different world from the earth, though, and soon Noriko finds herself almost unable to cope with the bizarre and traumatic events which begin to unfold around her regarding the war. Humanity's future lies in the balance as Noriko learns lessons about death, life, love, friendship, and courage as she deals with her own inadequacies...and pilots the Gunbuster.
First of all, let me get it clear that I absolutely love this series.
Just about everything you could ask for in an anime is contained here within Gunbuster: giant, overpowered mecha, great animation, science, humor, romance, action, and a real cutie of a main character, too! It's amazing how much can be packed within a three-volume series.
Although superfically, the plot resembles another "aliens attack the Earth again" story, the characters and such are what drive Gunbuster. Characterization is very strong and fully-realized throughout the story, and you honestly feel that you know each character by the end of the series.
The overall tone is a semi-serious one that never quite forgets its lighter side. It has been said that when Gunbuster was first written, Gainax studios had originally planned for it to be a parody rather than a serious anime. The story starts out pretty light and fun, but quickly begins to undergo more serious tones by the middle. It's a very nice effect which ties in well with Noriko growing up and discovering what war is really like.
Also remarkable about this series is the painstaking detail the producers used in dealing with supra-light travel and its effects. Between episodes are humorous "science lessons" that deal with the physics behind some of the technology used in Gunbuster, and time-dilation effects due to supra-light travel are always present within the plot. A very nice touch.
Add to this a highly emotional soundtrack that never fails to enhance the current mood, and you've got yourself a winner on your hands. This is one of my all time favorites.
Recommended Audience: Nothing terribly objectionable here. There are a few rather extended scenes of casual nudity scattered throughout the anime, and most of the deaths are fairly clean ones, except for one later in the series.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Gunbuster © 1988 Bandai / Victor / Gainax
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