Posted by psgels on 19 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




I had my problems with the original cast of Gunbuster, but that was mostly because they didn’t try hard enough to step away from the stereotypes that they would later inspire. It’s also a bit of a matter of flat characterization, but overall I would not really call any character annoying.

Enter Nono, the lead character of Diebuster.

I’ll be honest here: the first half of Diebuster was a bit of a chore to sit through. Nono is not a likable main character at all with her one-sided overacted klutziness and stupidity, and the pointless fanservice actually gets in the way of the story. The drama in this movie also didn’t really impress; the major theme of this series is characters, refusing to grow up. This leads to characters refusing to accept reality, angsting quite a bit and and making a whole lot of dumb decisions. This drama is consistent (in fact, it’s about the only consistent part of this OVA), but it also just wasn’t interesting.

Nevertheless, this was written by Yoji Enokido. He shows this in the second half (and especially the final two episodes) by just going “screw being plausible, we’re just going over 9000 here”. The final two episodes are full of nice and awesome ideas that I very much suspect ended up as the inspiration for Gurren Lagann’s finale. Unlike the first Gunbuster, Diebuster doesn’t try to be physically plausible in the slightest, but that does allow it to to go with some interesting science fiction ideas.

Ideas which ultimately are reflected best into the graphics of this show. Seriously, the graphics look awesome here and are IMO the biggest reason to check out this OVA. They’re really imaginative and make excellent use of the creativity in the plot.

Above I mentioned that this is a very inconsistent series. That’s both a good and a bad thing. I mean, you don’t want to watch this for its cohesive plot, because the story is a bit of an undirected mess, not to mention the angst not being that impressive, but on the other hand this did make this OVA evolve through its episodes, and it prevented Nono’s annoying antics to ruin the entire OVA (she really gets better as the anime goes on).

Oh, and on one final side-note: I keep seeing everywhere that you need to have seen the original Gunbuster before watching this OVA, but I don’t really think that that is the case. You can watch them in any order really.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Not the best at drama, but when it’s on fire it really entertains.
Characters: 7/10 – Nono is annoying, and none of the cast really end up making this up.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous, full of excellent artwork and ideas.
Setting: 8/10 – Not as interesting as Gunbuster or FLCL, but still full of nice ideas and concepts.

Suggestions:
– FLCL
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Wings of Rean

16 Responses

  1. gandalf8 says:

    “Oh, and on one final side-note: I keep seeing everywhere that you need to have seen the original Gunbuster before watching this OVA, but I don’t really think that that is the case.”

    If I’m not mistaken, to really understand the ending in Diebuster, you really need to watch Gunbuster first. Although at first glance there looks to be no connection between Diebuster and Gunbuster, if you really paid attention there are a few subtle hints that pertain to their connection. So, I really advise anyone who wants to watch this, watch Gunbuster first.

  2. Watcherzero says:

    I think your belief that these people refuse to grow up and accept reality is quite poignant as their technology is based on reality distortion and self deception like the Espers in Railgun. I thought the whole humanity evoloution concept was significant too (and something you would only understand from seeing Gunbuster) but theres lots of stuff you need to have seen the first series for.

    Firstly Nono appears in Gunbuster under a different name but you wont realise that unless you saw it first.

    The ending only makes sense if you saw the ending of Gunbuster 12,000 years earlier.

    You wouldnt understand the solar system Defence system and why it was attacking unless you saw Gunbuster first.

    You wouldnt understand why the drive was removed from dix-neuf.

  3. Solaris says:

    I didn’t see Diebuster, but really this time I want to praise the review as it is as insightful as I remember your review were before.
    You just extracted the important pieces of information and presented them without spoilers too. Now I’d like to see the oav. I didn’t feel moved to watch something you reviewed since a long time. (Well except Level E for other reasons here).
    Now the last thing I yet have to understand is the meaning of the hellish rating system. As that same 80/100 given to Gunbuster looked understated, as in, ‘yeah the show is ok but all of these flaws let me lower the grade’, this time with Diebuster that 80/100 looks overrated such as in ‘uhm, the show was mah but it gained substance in the finale, so i0m praising it’.
    Did I get it right?

  4. signorRossi says:

    I agree with Gandalf and Watcherzero, Gunbuster should be watched first. Other than that, an excellent and right to the point review, Nono and the needless fanservice got on my nerves, too.
    But where does Nono appear in Gunbuster? I don’t remember seeing her.

  5. m says:

    Solaris, let me propose a toy for thinking about this, since you seem to spend a lot of time puzzling over the results of the rating system.

    Suppose that you have independent and identically distributed discrete random variables X_1,…,X_4. What is your intuition about the shape of the pmf for X_1 + … + X_4? (easy) Now suppose that the sample space is {7,8,9,10}. What do you think the expected value of X_1 + … X_4 might be?

    It’s a simplified way to look at the problem, but other than quibbling over whether the variables are actually independent, most of the changes we would make to fit our toy to reality will tend to push the curve to the left (to your dismay). For simple combinatorial reasons, the distribution would have to favor 9s and 10s for any given show you think is spectacular to achieve a particularly high score, unless there were considerable overlap between how you and psgels happen to rate things.

  6. Watcherzero says:

    @ signorRossi, Remember the charachter in Gunbuster who was left behind and said she would wait for them to return? The implication is that she volunteered to become the Cyborg so that she could live to greet them when they returned in 12,000 years.

    • DangerousK says:

      @watcherzero this is an extremely late reply and you’ll probably never see this, but what the hell? Where did you get the idea that Jung Freud volunteered to be a cyborg from? Did you make it up yourself? When she says ill be there to say welcome back in the last episode, it’s referring to when gunbuster comes back 12,000 years later and the Earth remembers them and uses lights to say “Welcome Back” meaning she kept her promise after all.

  7. Solaris says:

    Well, thank you M for clarifying. I got the score was the average of the partial ratings, but I can’t see how the review comes to down to that yet. It’s like the two, the textual review and the numerical scores are mostly unrelated.

  8. signorRossi says:

    @Watcherzero
    Ah, thanks! Will check it out in the case that I find the DVD with Gunbuster on it again. :)

  9. Da5id says:

    Already watched them both. I’m oddly glad both got the same score, because they’re both really good for different reasons. But yes, you DO need to watch Gunbuster first.

    Another thing I found odd but pleasing is Gunbuster, being directed by Anno, seems like a proto-Eva, while Diebuster, being directed by his protege Tsurumaki, seems like a post-FLCL. Those are both awesome things.

  10. tk007 says:

    “You can watch them in any order really.”

    I’ve have to disagree with you and agree with everyone else here. The ending of Diebuster WILL lose alot of impact if the viewer did not watch Gunbuster first.

  11. Watcherzero says:

    @Da5id I agree totally.

  12. yojimbo says:

    I don’t remember much about Diebuster other than I didn’t like it at all. Characters in Diebuster are annoying. The original OVA was much better. In addition, these series seem so different so I the order don’t really matter; actually just better to forget that Diebuster exist.

  13. Penguin_Factory says:

    If I’m not mistaken, to really understand the ending in Diebuster, you really need to watch Gunbuster first

    That was my experience with it. In particular, the very last scene of the series was clearly meant to be a huge dramatic “wow” moment for fans of the original, but I had no idea what was happening.

  14. Da5id says:

    @yojimbo

    And so the black sheep rears it’s head…

  15. Anon says:

    Other reviewers often panned Diebuster as being inferior to Gunbuster, but I enjoyed this over-the-top screw-common-sense-and-physics science-fantasy romp just as much as the original. And I totally agree that it was definitely a template for Gurren Lagann, which took the last two episodes of this and upscaled them to a universal level.

    Klutzy Nono did not bother me, but I would’ve been happier had Nono gotten a different ending than what happened here.

    At the end of it all, the only truly negative thing for me was that we did not see Noriko at the end. After a dozen years, it wouldn’t have killed them to show us the two of them disembarking at the end. I really felt cheated out of my happy ending there, it’s like two sides eternally reaching out for each other but never touching – first we got Noriko’s perspective back around 1989 and a decade later the counter-perspective, but no contact :-(

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 07

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens […]

Death Parade – 07

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional […]

Durarara!!X2 – 06

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I […]

Death Parade – 06

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But […]

Durarara!!X2 – 05

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves […]

Death Parade – 05

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between […]

Durarara!!X2 – 04

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to […]

Death Parade – 04

Now this is more like it. An arcade game between two strangers with dark pasts. Excellent. But both did have a similar problem. That being they are both people who couldn’t see past themselves. It’s nice to see people react differently to the game. Here we have the two of them mistaking it for a […]

Durarara!!X2 – 03

If its one thing you to can credit Narita for it that just when you think he cannot possibly make a stranger character, he then does. So the monster that Shizu smashed into the air in the last moment gets their story told and I am sure there are not many who would have guessed […]

Latest Reviews

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. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]