Tag: Gunbuster

Gunbuster 2: Diebuster

Gunbuster 2: Diebuster

Gunbuster 2: Diebuster anime series cover art
Gunbuster 2: Diebuster

Series Overview

Gunbuster 2 (Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster / トップをねらえ2!DIEBUSTER), also known as Diebuster, is the sequel to 1988’s Gunbuster. It released in 2004 for studio Gainax’s 20th anniversary. However, this series has much more in common with 2007’s Gurren Lagann than it does with its own prequel.

This review is going to involve a lot of spoilers for every part of the show. If you don’t want to be spoiled, I highly suggest watching both Gunbuster and Diebuster before proceeding.

Diebuster takes place long after the events of Gunbuster. To illustrate how long after, both series actually end with the same scene from different perspectives. That’s to say, Diebuster takes place 12,000 years after the events of Gunbuster. And this difference in time setting is very important for the plot.

In Gunbuster, humanity was fighting against space monsters that wanted to destroy the Earth. That’s not quite what’s happening in Diebuster. By this time, the space monsters have effectively been wiped out thanks to the black hole bomb Noriko and Kazumi set off in their nest.

But, the current humans don’t seem to realize that. They believe that the space monsters are still around and that they’ve been fighting them for thousands of years after humanity had been pushed back to the Sol system as their last refuge. In fact, what they’ve been fighting are robots originally designed to protect humanity and the Earth.

Basically, in this future, nobody knows what’s going on and humanity is just fighting everything they see regardless of what it is. Oh, and to top it all off, they attempt to use the Earth itself as a battering ram to destroy their enemies. It’s crazy how in 12,000 years they went from turning other planets into black hole bombs to just crashing the Earth into things.

Main Characters

There are only three characters that truly matter in this series: Nono, Lal’C, and Tycho. Nono is the protagonist of the series who dreams of one day becoming a Topless and piloting a buster machine. Topless is the term used for buster machine pilots (I don’t know why), and Nono takes the term very literally.

She also looks up to someone she refers to as Nono Riri, who turns out to actually be Noriko from Gunbuster (which wasn’t much of a surprise).

About halfway through, it’s randomly revealed that Nono is actually a robot, not a human. Then, it’s revealed even later that she’s actually a buster machine herself. None of this really makes sense and I’m not quite sure why it was written this way.

Nono and Lal'C from the anime series Gunbuster 2: Diebuster
Nono and Lal’C

Lal’C Melk Mark probably has the best name in the series. I couldn’t really explain why even if I tried, but it’s a cute name. Lal’c is a Topless who pilots one of the buster machines and is referred to as “princess,” “curve destroyer,” and later “planet mover.”

Her role in this series is effectively the same as Kazumi’s in Gunbuster. She’s an ace buster machine pilot who the protagonist looks up to. But over the course of the series, she becomes jealous of the protagonist’s natural talent. In the end, they become friends again.

Tycho Science definitely has the worst name of the three, but I do like her character design and plotline the most. She doesn’t believe dreams can come true because her own dreams have been crushed in the past. But, eventually, she’s able to move past this with the help of Nono. It sounds pretty cheesy, but I think the way it was executed was good.

Where Gunbuster Went to Die

As you may have picked up on already, I didn’t particularly like Diebuster. In fact, I would go so far as to call Diebuster bad, which is a shame considering I ended up liking Gunbuster a lot more than I thought I would. The big issue with Diebuster is that it takes everything I liked about Gunbuster and throws it out.

What was the best part of Gunbuster? For me, it was easily how the series explored the effects of deep space travel on the human psyche. I loved seeing how the characters coped with the phenomenon of time dilation as they traveled at near-light speeds. Diebuster didn’t have any of that.

At no point in this series did I feel like it was exploring unique concepts. It didn’t really even have much sci-fi influence, which might sound odd considering it’s a mecha series set in space. What I mean by that is that it didn’t use scientific concepts. Rather, it effectively used magic, such as the Topless being able to summon their buster machines out of thin air by peeling a sticker off their foreheads.

Tycho Science from the anime series Gunbuster 2: Diebuster
Tycho Science

Another issue I have with Diebuster is tangentially related to my main issue. It focuses a lot more on the mechs, which are much more super-robot-like than the mechs from Gunbuster. In Gunbuster, the mechs were tools that didn’t really have a huge influence on the series. They could just as well have been space ships.

In Diebuster, the buster machines are a huge focus. Each one has its own personality, special attacks, etc. When people dismiss mecha anime simply because they’re mecha, this is the kind of mecha anime they’re most often thinking of. And I’ll admit it’s not my favorite either.

There are some exceptions, such as Gurren Lagann, but generally speaking, I prefer real-robot mecha series over super-robot ones. I like when the mechs are simply tools being used within a story that doesn’t necessarily focus on them. I don’t like when the mechs themselves are basically characters.

Conclusion

Gunbuster 2: Diebuster was a huge disappointment to me after the surprisingly good Gunbuster. In the end, I think it’s a 4/10 compared to the 8/10 of the original. It removes all of what I would consider to be the good parts of the series and then doubles down on the least interesting aspects.

I will say that the OP song “Groovin’ Magic” is good. But the OP visuals left a lot to be desired. Around 90% of the OP visuals were just ripped from the content of the episodes (which is the same as with Gunbuster). But I forgave Gunbuster for that more since it was 1988, not 2004.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month and for recommending both Gunbuster and Diebuster. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Gunbuster

Gunbuster

Gunbuster anime series cover art
Gunbuster

Series Overview

Gunbuster (Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster / トップをねらえ! GunBuster) is one of the early original anime by the studio Gainax and is basically responsible for putting them on the map. It also heavily influenced many of Gainax’s later mecha series, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.

In fact, you can still see the influence of Gunbuster in studio Trigger’s anime. I feel like this is pretty common knowledge, but Trigger was created by ex-Gainax employees and is in many ways the spiritual successor to Gainax.

But, what exactly is Gunbuster about?

Set in 2015 (the series is from 1988, so forgive them for thinking 2015 would look like this), humanity has expanded beyond Earth — sort of. Earth is still the only planet humans inhabit, but humanity has a large fleet of city-sized ships that can travel at light-speed throughout the galaxy.

However, a mysterious enemy has emerged from the center of the galaxy to destroy humanity. I don’t feel like this enemy was ever named, but they’re basically some bug-like biological entity. And so, the premise of Gunbuster is that humanity has to fight back against this enemy in deep space so they don’t reach Earth.

The plot isn’t really all that involved. Instead, it’s the various perspectives regarding deep space travel that made the series interesting to me. I’ll explain this more in the final section, but I really enjoyed how the series explored the effects of deep space travel on the human psyche.

One of the not-so-good parts of Gunbuster, however, was the often out of place nudity. There were some obvious fan service scenes, which is fine. But then there were other scenes that included random nudity that didn’t seem to be meant as fan service but also didn’t add anything.

Main Characters

Noriko Takaya is the protagonist of the series and eventual pilot of the mech known as Gunbuster. If you think that’s a spoiler, I’m not really sure what else you expected to happen. Anyway, her dream has always been to go into space to follow in the footsteps of her father — a ship captain who was lost in battle protecting humanity.

In a lot of ways, Noriko being the protagonist is pretty annoying. She has no talent for piloting mechs, she doesn’t work as hard as other cadets, and yet she’s still chosen to pilot Gunbuster because of who her father was. It’s not the same as Shinji piloting Eva-01 because, in Noriko’s case, there are many other candidates who are better options than she is.

Noriko Takaya from the anime series Gunbuster
Noriko Takaya

Kazumi Amano is the other pilot of Gunbuster, though that role doesn’t really make much sense. Throughout the whole series, we’re told how important it is for her and Noriko to work together to pilot Gunbuster. But at the same time, we see that Gunbuster can be piloted just fine by a single person.

Really, Kazumi is just there to be another main character who isn’t Noriko. There’s no logical reason for her to be kept around in an important role if it’s already been decided that Noriko is going to be Gunbuster’s main pilot. Also, she had some awkward character development towards the end.

And while not exactly a main character, the third mech pilot who’s somewhat important is Jung Freud. Jung is a Soviet (yes, the Soviet Union still exists) pilot who’s a romantic rival of Kazumi. She and Kazumi are both in love with their commander, Kouichirou Oota.

Jung is kind of just a third-wheel since Noriko and Kazumi are the designated pilots for Gunbuster.

Interesting Perspectives

My favorite parts of Gunbuster were the sci-fi concepts and unique perspectives it introduced surrounding deep space travel. To discuss these, I’m going to need to spoil the entire series. So skip to the conclusion if you don’t want to be spoiled.

At the end of the series, humanity constructs a black hole bomb that I thought was really cool. Essentially, they somehow compressed Jupiter down to about the size of Earth’s moon and then caused it to implode into a black hole by pumping energy into it. I have no idea how that would work, but I thought it was a cool concept for a sci-fi weapon.

Now, what I really liked about this series was how it handled light-speed and near light-speed travel (for the most part). In case you haven’t taken physics classes that have covered this, the closer you get to light-speed, the slower time moves for you. This concept is known as time dilation. And technically speaking, at light-speed, time stops.

Gunbuster from the anime series Gunbuster
Gunbuster

So how is time dilation used in Gunbuster? Well, when people leave Earth and go to travel the galaxy, they’re moving at a significant percentage of light-speed. And in this series we sometimes see them travel between 98-100% light-speed for brief periods of (relative) time. What that means is that time for them is different than time for people on Earth.

Noriko and Kazumi leave Earth at about the age of 17 and travel through space for around 6 months relative to themselves. But when they return to Earth for the first time, 10 years have passed there. So, while Noriko is still 17, one of her friends from school is now 27 with a child.

Although time dilation is a very real and measurable thing, I haven’t actually seen any other sci-fi series ever make use of it. It was really interesting to see how Noriko and Kazumi come to terms with this phenomenon and what it means for their relationships with other people.

Conclusion

After watching the first episode, I was expecting Gunbuster to be a 5 or 6. But with every passing episode, of which there are only six, I found myself liking it more and more. The start is definitely slow, but by the time I got to the end I felt like it was a solid 8/10.

One last thing I do want to mention about this series is that the sixth and final episode is all in black and white. This was an artistic choice, not the product of Gainax running out of time. However, I don’t really think that choice added anything to the episode. It didn’t hurt it, but I would have rather it just been in full color like the previous five.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month and recommending I watch Gunbuster. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Gunbuster 2: Diebuster, is available here.

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