Posted by psgels on 17 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews



Okay, so I ended up liking Gunbuster for a whole different reason than I thought I would. From one of Hideaki Anno’s earliest works, I expected this fun homage OVA to the giant robot genre with excellent action scenes, but that’s probably not going to be what I’ll end up remembering about this thing.

Now, Gunbuster is definitely a homage, but it doesn’t really do much for the giant robot genre. It’s got a very typical set-up with a lot of cliches and fanservice, but ends up playing a lot of them a bit too straight at times. The result is yet another teenager who ends up saving the world multiple times on a giant robot that she somehow ends up piloting. There also is quite a bit of romance, but that also doesn’t really get anywhere beyond your average cheese shop.

Instead, this IOVA is all about the science fiction. Instead of coming with your usual explanations and backstories, Gunbuster interestingly weaves pseudo quantum science with fantasy into a time travelling epic. It’s also one of those stories that changes significantly with every airing episode, making good use of its unpredictability to spiral out of control, despite the large amount of cliches that are in the story and characters.

If you’re wondering where the science fiction is when you start to watch it: the best episode of this OVA does remain the sixth and final one. It’s here where the creators say “screw it” and abandon the cliches in favor of its neat ideas, setting and background, and yet another proof of how Hideaki Anno is in his element when he goes over-budget.

Speaking of the guy, of course Gunbuster is very well animated. I can’t fault this show for looking pretty, and especially for its time it has detailed animation and a pretty nice direction. I can imagine how this movie was a big trendsetter, but it’s just a shame that half of the trends it set ended up horribly abused during the past decade. Overall I don’t think that Gunbuster is anything amazing, but it definitely has its good points and I still enjoyed watching it despite its cliches.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Makes up for its cliches pretty nicely with its good direction and constantly changing story.
Characters: 7/10 – A bit too many cliches and cheese, though it does have interesting character development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty impressive, though nothing amazing.
Setting: 9/10 – Great background stories and ideas.

Suggestions:
Noein
Macross Frontier
Soukou no Strain

19 Responses

  1. Souther says:

    I’d say you have given higher ratings to worse shows but well…at least you found one way to enjoy it. That’s good enough for me.

    I’d say the science fiction elements in Gunbuster weren’t just for showing off, however, but they served as a key part of the development -as stereotypical as it may ultimately be in general terms- of the characters, particularly Noriko herself.

    I don’t think the last episode was a sudden change born out of the desire to “abandon” anything but rather a logical or at least natural progression of what had already been established before. Time dilation was important from the beginning of the story.

    Incidentally, I think Gunbuster still has one of my favorite anime endings. It combines a sense of permanent loss with a lot of hope for the future and thus finds a great point of equilibrium between conflicting emotions.

  2. Watcherzero says:

    Now the ending partially by accident has an epic and grandiose feeling, however you know this series has great potential for an Evangelion style remake to fix the black and white stills.

    Are you going to watch Diebuster while this series is fresh in your mind Psgels? I really suggest you do to get some of the references. Plus you would never have thought they could top the final weapon of Gunbuster but they do decades before Gurren Lagaan.

  3. Alael says:

    The whole time dilatation effect due to near-light speed travels is where’s the meat of this anime. A really interesting setting.

  4. ultama121 says:

    You know, I kinda have to say this:

    GUN BUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

  5. ultama121 says:

    Er… I didn’t think that had that effect on the page. My apologies. D:

    (It turned out kinda epic though :3 )

  6. gandalf8 says:

    The main draw of the show for me was the way they incorporated the science fiction aspect to drive the story. Although nowadays the other aspects of the show has been done to death already, the way they used relatively sound scientific principles concerning travel at light speed elevates it in my opinion as a unique anime that any anime lover worth his salt would do well to watch at least once.

  7. Kiavik says:

    Oh please, Gunbuster is one of the best and most influential anime ever released. You must show respect. Remember this was made in 1988, way before Evangelion; weak characters like Noriko were unheard of at the time, especially in the Giant Robot genre. She doesnt even pilot the titular robot until after half the series!
    The series also brought pseudo-real science fiction into the genre, something nobody even attempted before; the time travel plot remains unique to this very day.
    Also the ending will be remembered forever as the best ending in the history of anime. You can’t top that.
    So please, stop reviewing vintage anime and giving these low grades; you clearly don’t know the historical importance of what you’re reviewing, and you end up making a fool out of yourself.
    What’s next? You reviewing the original ghost in the shell and akira movies and giving them a grade in the low 70s? I dare you :)

  8. ultama121 says:

    ^Wow there’s a lot of buttmad there. What the hell happened to subjectivity? Sorry bro, but not everyone has an inherent “respect” (more like worship in a normal person’s terms) of classic anime just because they’re classic anime.

    Anyway I loved the anime enough to give it a 10 on MAL (more like somewhere in the 90s), but realistically, I can see why anyone wouldn’t give it that high of a rating. This anime has some seriously glaring flaws that in all honesty, really hurt it. Psgels writes his reviews out of his honest opinions and you have no right to call him a fool for conflicting with his opinions. :/

  9. Solaris says:

    Kyavik, as long as Psgels’ grades make no sense at all, I urge to notice 80 is still a very good mark.
    The blogger is two generations younger than this, so he has different standards to judge such classic animations: He’d rather compare classic animation to today animation than the opposite way around, which is pretty much wrong.
    I pointed out this before. Look at Slayers and Casshern Sins review for reference. Just be happy he rated it ‘good’.

  10. m says:

    With the simplest assumptions it’s not a surprise when a final score for a show you like isn’t high when using this methodology. Even when his bias toward the high end is taken into account, he would still have to doll out 10s like pharmaceutical companies doll out pens to placate the demands of shows’ fans. That’s without touching the issue of whether one should bias scores based upon historical significance or bias scores in favor of contemporary enjoyability.

  11. Solaris says:

    M, If you take in account History here, then all of the ‘clichés’ Psgels failed to evaluate here are indeed proof of originality and key elements that have been so much overused in later animation they eventually became clichés. That is the real bias.
    And still I still have to find a show that used real implications of relativity so proficiently as Gunbuster did 22 years ago.

  12. psgels psgels says:

    Um, just a note: when I review an old anime, I do so with today’s standards. The reason for this is that I’ve seen enough older series (which were much older than Gunbuster, by the way) that I absolutely loved, so I see no reason to give them special treatment.

  13. Wetter says:

    Gunbuster is epic by Gainax :3.

    I love the Details in the Animation.

  14. Cerrian says:

    Isn’t this where we first see the “Gainax Bounce”?

    And yes, the ending is definitely one the of the best in the entire anime medium.

  15. Watcherzero says:

    Gainax bounce indeed….. That reminds me psgels should review the Daicon 3 and 4 convention shorts that they did as amateurs before they founded Gainax!

    Truly legendary!

    (make sure you grab the digitally remastered versinos)

    Also while talking of suggestions do SD Gundam MkIV, the parody of wacky races!

  16. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Alael said ….
    “The whole time dilatation effect due to near-light speed travels is where’s the meat of this anime. A really interesting setting.”

    THIS .. this is one of the main reasons this show is so impressive .. also .. the attention to detail and superb animation courtesy of Gainax.

    @psgels
    It isn’t about special treatment .. it’s about the fact that the so called cliches you mentioned weren’t cliches when the show first aired .. i can understand rating the art/animation using today’s standards (even it that’s a little harsh) but these things you called cliches actually were pretty much started/popularized by this anime .. this is a fact that doesn’t change no matter how much time passes .. and IMO you can’t wrong the show becasue you watched it a dozen or more years late.

    Oh .. and watch Die Buster … can’t say it’s a sequel .. but it is a must watch for anyone who enjoyed Gun Buster .. you will understand why when you watch it.

  17. Will says:

    Gunbuster is really the anime I always recommend for everyone who is looking for a good science-fiction anime.

    I am not a fan of Diebuster. The way they wanted to create the same kind of ending was simply way over the top.

  18. Dekion says:

    Okies. I had to post a comment about this. I watched Gunbuster shortly after it came out back in the day. I was totally blown away by the detail, the science fiction aspects, and the stories of the main characters. As the story progresses, I believe the characters mature. This is something I haven’t seen in too many animes nowadays. The animation is still great in today’s standard imo. Gunbuster is one of those anime’s that got me hooked on anime for then on.

    Anyhow, I also just wanted to disagree with the reviewing process. Obviously, I respect someone elses opinion. But I feel that the anime should be rated based on when it came out. Not compared to today’s standards. The cliches mentioned in the show was new for back then. It is overused nowadays, but I don’t think it was back then. Anyways, keep up the good work.

  19. Aeralure says:

    One of my favorite all-time anime. Such a beautiful thing.

    I agree if its looked at only from today’s point of view then one’s opinion of it might be lessened, but not if one keeps things in context. While this is my favorite anime blog and I come here often to get second opinions on things I havent seen yet before I do, I suppose I err on the side of those that might review older titles differently. Its a small point though, as it happens often on other sites too and I always take lower scores on older titles with a grain of salt.

    So anyhow, thanks psgels for all the work done here. I love the site and your reviews.

    Ultraman121: that was indeed epic! Thank you lol. I was going to try and compete but alas, I cannot.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:51 AM)
    Fury, like blackhawk down, weren’t really of note, they were just action movies, never poor, never great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:49 AM)
    Theres an old French documentary, it might be from the 50s or a bit later than that which dealt with the holocaust.
    Shoah is another long loooong doc about WWII.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:46 AM)
    Haven’t heard of men behind the sun.
    And I actually didn’t want to watch inglorious basterds because I was certain it was gonna treat a serious subject unseriously.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:45 AM)
    @;(: I had to watch boy in the striped pajamas twice to really appreciate it.
    Pianist is more my thing because its bleaker and in general I’m quite the fan of Polanski’s films.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:43 AM)
    @Emma: actually I found boy in the striped pajamas to be underwhelming in comperasion to how holocaust stories are. And the pianist is a great movie. But when you think about it, the guy kind of avoided a much worse fate by hiding and never being found.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:42 AM)
    I still need to see all quiet on the western front.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:41 AM)
    *goofy
    Men behind the sun shows the torture of the Chinese under the Japanese, its on the wrong side of exploitation cinema.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:39 AM)
    Some war movies go the goo route like inglorious basterds and the black book.
    Unfortunately there are also films such as men behind the sun.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:37 AM)
    @Emma:
    Yes, it is controversial there.
    Both the attacks they received and especially dealt seem to be a taboo subject there. I think they omitt most of what they did in China from their history classes in highschool.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:37 AM)
    @;(: The bombing scene in Gen is still a pretty powerful thing. I believe theres something biographical in grave of the fireflies…

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gangsta. – 08

Some focus on Alex this time around as with the drug out of her system she remembered that she had a younger brother. A pretty startling revelation for her as forgot about him the whole time she was under Barry’s control. It was done well on just how much this shocked her but I must […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 08

Itami continues to be a mystery as he is shown not only to be a ranger but also a member of special forces. Its not really confirmed whether he is a genius in hiding or a slacker who was tossed into high profile positions and got through it with minimum effort. The big part of […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 07

This episode has been a weaker episode than those so far. The opening has gone through a number of changes now that we have reached over the halfway point. Megumi’s part of the opening has been replaced by a shot of her grave, the colourful transition after showing the title is now a series of […]

Gangsta. – 07

Now the past has been mostly revealed, Worick’s friendship with Nicholas has become a more complex thing. Worick seems to see him as a good friend yet resent him for going kill crazy and murdering his whole family. Though the murder of his father looked to be an order he himself made to Nicholas and […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 07

I understand that for an anime adaption some character designs need to be simplified in order for an easier time to keep them in proportion in animation. But while the characters who suffer in this episode because of this are indeed minor characters, its really a shame to see them become something unrecognisable. The two […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 06

Well the story continues on from the flashback, showing Miki first joining the club. Right off the bat the episode pushes to answer the question of Megumi’s existence. It’s a answer that was pretty obvious by this point as the foreshadowing was pretty heavy on this particular detail but this episode makes it crystal clear. […]

Gangsta. – 06

When taking into account the show so far, I find that the quiet character moment stand out far more than the over the top fight scenes with knife wielding psychos on rooftops. The dialogue between characters is much more engaging that two characters jumping around like Bleach Soul Reapers. In particular it great seeing Worick […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 06

Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” is a fairly iconic piece of music in pop culture. So much so that after Apocalypse Now (1979) whenever there is a helicopter assault in any piece of media, it’s practically obligatory to play Ride of the Valkyries. Even just today when finishing Far Cry 3 and had a […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 05

As these episodes go on it really is something to wonder about the matter of Yuki being a hindrance or a help. I have said previously that she does push the group in the right direction but it is still a case where her mentality is dangerous. The group need to come up with excuses […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]