The directorial debut of acclaimed creator Hideaki Anno, GUNBUSTER is a legendary anime fan favorite that casts pretty girls and giant robots into a moving epic of interstellar naval war. Newly translated and re-mastered in HD 24P format, Gunbuster has never before been available on DVD in North America...until now! 2015: Earth's first faster-than-light ship, the Luxion, is lost, attacked by unidentified space monsters in the Perseus Arm. Six years later, Noriko Takaya, daughter of the Luxion's commander, enters the Okinawa Girls' Space Pilot High School, vowing to be a pilot and follow her father's trail to the stars. But is she prepared for the intense training to become a member of the elite Top Squadron? Noriko's fight has just begun and the fate of all humanity depends on her meeting the challenge!
The OAV Gunbuster
(a.k.a. "Aim for the Top") proved so popular it spawned a manga series, the sequel Diebuster
(2004) and a theatrical feature (2006). When she was a child, Noriko Takaya's father was killed in humanity's first encounter with aliens from the core of the galaxy. Her desire to follow him into space leads Noriko to the Okinawa Girls' Space Pilot High School, where she meets her future partner Kazumi Amano and Coach Koichiro Ohta. Noriko displays little aptitude for steering mecha
, but Ohta sees the potential beneath the maladroit exterior. Soon Noriko is in space, piloting the experimental robot-suit Gunbuster and fighting aliens who look like the monsters in Gahan Wilson cartoons. Gunbuster
plays like a mixture of Patlabor
, Star Wars
, and Robotech
, with a generous helping of fan service nudity. In the intervening years, Noriko's mixture of weepy ineptitude and I'll-do-my-best fire has become an anime archetype. And there's simply too much story for a six-part OAV: characters appear and disappear with little effect.
Gunbuster has received a great deal of attention because it marked the first commercial success from the fledgling Gainax studio and the directorial debut of Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno. It's hard to see much foreshadowing of Anno's later brilliance, except for the dramatic use of a black and white palate and still artwork in the last episode, set 12,000 years in the future. Spreading six episodes with minimal extras over three discs seems chintzy, as the material could easily fit on two or even one. (Rated 16 and older: violence, nudity, minor risqué humor) --Charles Solomon