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
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 04:48 PM)
    You know when Shinji was talking to Rin. You could have said something Lancer.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 04:47 PM)
    @Bam, Ouch. Come on I think comparing him to Kirito is a bit much. You think that Kirito would every be shown getting this much of a beating?
    I do argee that lancer should have jumped in sooner…but he did get a spear though the chest and likely did need some time to rest after attacking Kirei. But a “HEY FECK OFF YOU LITTLE SHIT” would have been appreciated.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 20

This episode wasn’t quite what I expected. It is true that I didn’t get the big fight I was looking for, though there were clashes going on. However this still was a very good episode. So on the matters of Kirei, Rin, Lancer and Shinji it was all done perfectly. Well there was this weird […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 3-6

So far the focus has been pretty heavily on Tsumugi, the chimera. Who is strangely moefied. Its really odd to see what is essentially a giant  tentacled monster display the characteristics of a innocent cutsy little girl. Still she is to me one of the better characters of the show. Untainted by the negative aspects […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 19

Oh my god, I can’t believe that Archer is the future Shirou Emiya!….said no one who watched this episode. But yes the cat is out of the bag. Archer is Shirou turned cynical and jaded after playing executioner for a couple of decades. There was a small bit showing how he contracted with the world […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 18

Well here it is. The name drop. The very thing the route is called after. And its….its…kinda bad. Of all the places to make the first visual blunder, why did it have to be here? Well Archers reality marble/noble phantasm Unlimited Blade Works was unleashed and Ufotable thought the best treatment would be to render […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 1-2

Even after a long break its nice to see that Sidonia hasn’t lost its edge. The story is still engaging and CG robot battles dynamic. However…was the CG this bad before? I remember it took some time to get used to the CG animation of the last season but this seems especially stiff. The easy […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 16

So at the start of this episode featured the big moment of Gilgamesh ripping out Illya’s heart and it was surprisingly underwhelming. It is true that in context this makes more sense and fits his character better. But it is a little disappointing. Strangely this wasn’t how it was in the visual novel and this […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 15

The word that encompasses this episode in a nutshell would be brutal. Whether you love her or hate her, I say few would believe that Illya deserved this fate. The tragedy is ever more pungent if you know the full details of her past. Anime only viewers may not get the most out of this […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 14

As a reader of the Fate/stay night visual novel I can confirm that the majority of this episode was anime original content. However instead of being about castors history like I thought, it’s of his backstory with her first master. In all honestly making the episode be about her history with Jason would have been […]

Some Quick First Impressions: DanMachi, Denpa Kyoushi and Arslan Senki

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to be an RPG pimp I am getting SAO reminders already. Let me talk about something for a moment. You see when I first played the game dark souls I was frustrated and angry at myself because of my own […]

Latest Reviews

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: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]