Gunbuster Review — B+


Noriko saves the world from aliens with the power of hard work, guts, xenophobia and skimpy gym clothes.

It’s the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, and it shows. Kids pilot mechas to save the world in the face of insurmountable odds, with adults who are mostly terrible people.

Overall I liked it. The battles were hilarious, and put Gurren-Laggan to shame in terms of epicness. At one point they fight a swarm of aliens that fit in 80 square astronomical units singlehandedly… Yeah. Also the way the robot combines is amusing.

The best part was how this show dealt with near light-speed travel and the effects of time dilation. Noriko watches her friends grow old and die, which has an enormous psychological impact on her. At the end of the series

One of the most distinctive aspects of the show is that the entire final episode was in black and white. Quite unexpected (did they just run out of budget?) but it ended up creating a nice effect.

My biggest complaint was that the fanservice was rather heavy-handed (bizarre, hideous uniforms, lots of bath scenes, exposed breasts while lying in bed, etc.). This was made worse by the fact that the animation was not good enough for me to want to see that level of fanservice.

If you watch this series, I highly recommend doing so in concert with Animekritik‘s excellent series of posts on imperialism in Gunbuster.

  • Storytelling – B – Some transitions were abrupt and I got a bit lost.
  • Voice – A – Great background setting as detailed in AK’s posts.
  • Characters – B – Noriko’s kind of boring. And the way she instantly transforms from a wuss to a badass makes no sense.
  • Attention Grab – A – Perfect length not to lose any interest.
  • Production – C – Has not aged well.
  • Overall – B+

Recommendations – Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Laggan

3 thoughts on “Gunbuster Review — B+

  1. I hear that the B/W was, for once, a directorial choice and not Gainax running out of money and just make-doing. But yeah, the science and time dilation in Gunbuster’s pretty great, as is the final battle. The fanservice? Don’t care much either way, though I definitely was surprised to see… le gasp… NIPPLES!

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