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.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Wings of Rean

17 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:

    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.

    • what? says:

      “I don’t remember much about Diebuster other than I didn’t like it at all. Characters in Diebuster are annoying.”

      This anime had me in tears and you thought they were “annoying?!” Wow! Wannabe critics ALWAYS SUCK!

  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:


    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


Mail will not be published
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    I think any emotional response from undertale for melargely came from that it gave me this great sense of nostalgia bomb, but I’m okay with that totes =)
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    And as a dork, I can say its to me personally funniest crap I have played in long time because it appeals to my sense of humor so well that I realized things about my sense of humor that I hadn’t noticed before while playing the game <_< I mean, its really darn silly game, even with the emotional moments.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

One Punch Man – 08

I wish I knew just what that girl at the beginning was parodying as she’s clearly been overdrawn in a completely different style. My closest guess would be the poster girls of creature features in the 60s and 70s as she wouldn’t look out of place if pasted into a movie poster. I don’t think […]

Young BlackJack – 08

While I find the level of risk in this two part arc to be inconsequential, I must admit that I like how it all turned out. For this is the first time in this series that Blackjack failed. While he was able to discern the cause of Johnny’s lack of pain, he was unable to […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 07

Oh those poor seiyūs that had to act in today’s episode. I can only imagine the horror when a Japanese speaking seiyū is told they need to have an entire conversation in English in a fairly dialogue heavy show. Japanese and English happen to be two of the hardest languages to learn so if they […]

One Punch Man – 07

This episode mainly focused on a giant Meteor about to annihilate the city and the introduction if S class heroes, Metal Knight and Bang. Bang makes it a point to say how the top class heroes are hardly very heroic with most not showing up at all to stop a city’s total destruction. Even one […]

Young BlackJack – 07

Racism is always a thorny topic to deal with. Regardless of intent there are just so many ways of messing it up, be it by using strawmen or one dimensional caricatures. It’s a topic that requires a delicate hand to prevent pushing it to its extreme all to make an obvious point of Racism being […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 06

I can’t say I enjoyed this episode of Subete too much, mainly because there was less investigating and more character building. That wouldn’t be a problem if the character building wasn’t so focused on our main leads. The leads are fine, what we need is to expand on the other characters present on the island […]

One Punch Man – 06

It is interesting that the challenges that Saitama faces that get him worried that truly the most mundane and ordinary. Saitama can punch a monster into oblivion but when it comes to essays or going to sales he’s powerless. Here we have him about to be kicked out of the hero association if he doesn’t […]

Young BlackJack – 06

There are times when Blackjacks over the top nature can be entertaining presentation wise and others when it can remove any sense of surprise. While I do like the things Blackjack explores, it is very clear cut on how it shows it. In this episode the man that Blackjack and the army Medic have been […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 05

The more I hear about Magata’s DID, the more suspect it becomes. According to this episode, Magata didn’t conceive DID out of trauma or accident but instead intentionally crafted alternate personalities so well to the point that it became DID. I personally find the mechanics of this rather fantastical as I don’t think anyone can […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]