March 1, 2007

Aim for the Top!

February is over. Good riddance.

However, February did bring at least one good thing. And that is the long awaited DVD release of the classic anime series, Gunbuster!

Gunbuster is a totally cool 6-episode show from the 80’s about girls and giant robots. What’s not to like about that? I had never seen it, but knew it from reputation, so I felt comfortable buying it right away. It was the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, who of course would later go on to great fame as the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion. As he and the rest of the Gainax studio were formed as a bunch of hardcore anime fans, it has a lot of parody and homage to many classic shows. It’s a very pure series, created not to sell toys or adapt comics. It’s anime for the sake of the art form. So from a historical perspective, it’s very important and a total must see for anyone that considers themselves a serious anime fan. It’s also the first anime that contains, well, “bounce“, if you catch my drift… so take that for what you will.

The DVD set is released by Bandai Visual’s Honneamise label. The 6 episodes are on 3 disks, and the visual quality is superb considering that the first episode is almost 20 years old. There is no English dub. In fact, as far as I can tell, there has never been an English dub, even when it released on VHS back in the day. I don’t miss it because I’m perfectly comfortable reading subtitles, but I suppose it’d have been nice to have. The major negative side, however, is the price. At about $60 for the set, it’s pretty expensive. That comes to around $10 per episode. With anything else, I’d say that’s just too much. But this is Gunbuster, so it’s worth it.

The show itself is really enjoyable, and spans many years despite only being 6 episodes long. The message of the show, that hard work and guts will bear fruit, is very simple and universal. One can imagine that was the motto of the artists working on it while in production, since they were really just a bunch of fanboys. It uses a lot of hard science that probably make sense if you care to figure it all out. It doesn’t really take itself all that seriously at times, but it can often be very deep. One of the most interesting topics that the show covers is time dilation, how characters in outer space age differently than characters on Earth. The final episode looks completely different than the rest of the series, and is a very satisfying and beautiful conclusion.

It’s not ending there, though. Just a few years ago, Gainax went back to the old well and pulled out Diebuster, the sequel to GunBuster. That’ll be getting a licensed DVD release here in North America at some point this spring, and I’ll definitely be picking that up too.

So go watch Gunbuster, and aim for the top!



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