Tag Archives: Gunbuster

Gunbuster 2: Diebuster – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Top o Nerae 2! Diebuster


Related: Gunbuster (prequel)

Similar: Gurren Lagann



Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Mecha Science Fiction Action Comedy

Length: 6 episodes



  • Vibrant art.


  • Incoherent structure.
  • Empty characters.
  • Not many jokes for a comedy.

Despite destroying the alien galaxy in Gunbuster, the war with the aliens continues in the distant future. How any aliens remain after a galactic nuke is beyond me, but go with it. This time around, we follow Nono, a bubbly girl confined to the dull life of a bar maid, a clumsy maid at that. When an elite pilot known as a TOPLESS (more literal than you think) helps her with some rowdy patrons, her life is thrown into the space conflict against the aliens.

If you expect more of Gunbuster, you will be disappointed with Diebuster – they may as well have no link. The team took a comedic, over-the-top direction this time, akin to their later and better-known anime Gurren Lagann. I commend them for trying something different. Gunbuster wrapped all threads and simply reviving it for more of the same would seem like a wasted effort. However, that is where my commendation ends, for Diebuster is rather a mess of plotting and characters.

If I were to liken a story to a tree with the central trunk as a story’s core and the branches representing the extras, the little details, the side events – the smaller the branch, the more inconsequential the event – then Diebuster is all branches and no trunk. I imagine the planning meeting went something like this:

“Alright, team, I have this great idea for an anime. It has giant robots, a girl with hair of fire inside an asteroid, and aliens!”

“Understood, sir. What about the cor—”

“Oh, and pilots tear their tops off to gain power in battle!”

“But, Mr Okada, how does that even wo—”

“Doesn’t matter, put it in! (That’s what she said.) Oh, and make the pilots sit on these!”

“But, sir, that looks like a phallu—”

“Doesn’t matter, put it in! Oh, and make sure a girl suplexes a giant alien at some point!”

“Yes, sir…”

It seems they had ideas for moments in the story, but never got around to setting a concrete trunk to attach them to. It would be Lord of the Rings with the Balrog fight, Boromir’s death, and escaping the Ringwraiths – awesome moments – yet without the quest to destroy the ring or any character arcs. (Don’t think I am saying Diebuster has any moments that match Lord of the Rings.) Diebuster is a series of decent spectacle moments rendered in colourful, well-animated art with an occasional joke in the mix, nothing more. By the end, I knew so little of these characters that they left no impact.

Gunbuster had its share of egregious problems, most of them worse than Diebuster’s errors, but at least they tried to tell a story. No amount of flashing and spectacle in the world could have made me interested in this anime. With no characters or plot to connect to, I was bored throughout.

Art – High

Vibrant art and energetic animation are Diebuster’s strengths. However, the alien designs leave a little to be desired – they looked better in Gunbuster.

Sound – Medium

Great voice actors brought to a bland script accompanied by forgettable music outside of the opening song.

Story – Low

A bubbly girl tags along with an elite pilot to fight the aliens. Diebuster has no concrete story to speak of, though some moments look cool.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: Even if you enjoyed Gunbuster, I find it hard to recommend Diebuster. This is a poor man’s Gurren Lagann; watch that instead.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None


Hollow World BuildingIncoherentNo DevelopmentShallow

Gunbuster – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Top o Nerae! Gunbuster


Related: Diebuster (sequel)

Similar: Voices of a Distant Star

Gurren Lagann

Martian Successor Nadesico


Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Mecha Science Fiction Action Drama

Length: 6 episodes



  • Brisk pacing.
  • Detailed art.


  • The characters, protagonist in particular.
  • Weak science.
  • Too much stupidity.
  • The final scene is laughably atrocious.

I have heard some decree Gunbuster as ‘the epitome of classic mecha anime’ and ‘the standards to which all future mecha anime should be based on.’ After seeing this for myself, I can only laugh at the absurdity of those comments. If Gunbuster was the classic mecha pinnacle, then damn was anime rubbish back then.

Gunbuster centres on a high school girl called Takaya, who lost her father to a space war. She is in training to be a mech pilot to find him and she is ultimately set to operate an almighty mech against the alien invasion.

I can’t go further without deconstructing Takaya, for I can’t imagine picking a worse character to play protagonist. See, her “endearing” quality is being rubbish. She’s rubbish in Mech School; she’s rubbish at controlling a mech; she’s rubbish at carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. And yet, despite all this, we are told she is the best person for the job. What we are shown is someone who has no discernible talent, especially for one who has to protect the world almost single-handedly. She can’t do the basics of mech control, but is one of two trainees selected to pilot Gunbuster, the giant mech capable of repelling the aliens. First, why didn’t they select veteran pilots who already knew what they were doing? Second, she’s bottom of the class. We are told that the reason for her selection is because the coach has “faith” in her. Truly? That is what you are going to base the world’s fate on? It gets worse.

An envious and superior classmate challenges her for the spot, and get this, Takaya turns off her monitor to ‘trust in the force’ Luke-style, somehow knows when to dodge an attack she can’t see, and despite having no combat training, she pulls off some supposedly incredible kick and wins. The rubbish can only pile so high in a story, and yet, this is only the first episode. It gets worse.

Before her and Onee-sama (the series has a fetish for that word) control Gunbuster, they undertake smaller missions. Guess what happens? Takaya still sucks and gets people killed. Now guess the coach’s reaction. Yep, he doesn’t have a problem with her whatsoever. How does she end up controlling Gunbuster to battle fleets of alien ships in the end? I don’t know…magic, I guess. There is never a point where she learns competence. She simply succeeds because the writer said so. Takaya has to be one of the worst protagonists I have ever witnessed.

This magical transformation makes even less sense when you see what passes for training here. They learn to fight by – can’t believe I am saying this – doing laps and push-ups while inside the mech. These mechs aren’t like Escaflowne’s Guymelefs, where the user’s strength creates movement; no, Gunbuster uses electronic Gundam-type mechs. This logic is so stupid that I couldn’t even muster enough energy to care about them wearing stripper swimwear as spacesuits, despite knowing of side effects from space travel. I wasn’t laughing with the anime, I was laughing at the anime – maybe that’s why some databases have the ‘Comedy’ genre tag.

Gunbuster could have been good – it doesn’t drag at six episodes long, the art is detailed, the scope is galactic – but when the very core is as corrupted with rubbish as this, it eclipses the rest, no matter how good it may be.

Art – Medium

Art was so close to a high rating for its detail – love the mech interiors – and good animation, but the final episode ran either out of time or out of money, resulting in a black and white episode where the key action scene is a series of concept stills. Dull mech designs, but the ships and aliens look interesting.

Sound – Medium

Audio quality sounds old from its cheery pop music to the tinny voice work. Not bad, but if oldness bothers you, this will be a problem. Overdramatic style of voice work, which is valid, but not to broad tastes. The coach in particular speaks as though every line is of utmost importance, you must understand him right now! The script is the biggest letdown here.

Story – Low

A girl is tasked with piloting a world destroying mech to fight off the alien invasion of our galaxy. An implausible, poorly developed protagonist coupled with collectively stupid decisions from humanity one after another leads to a disappointing story.

Overall Quality – Very Low

Recommendation: For those interested in seeing old mecha anime. For its time, Gunbuster would have been impressive with its animation and visuals, but bad characters and idiotic story will have always been bad. Worse than the sum of its parts.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None


DissapointingInduces StupidityMary Sue