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OP/ED A Day #87: Gunbuster Double bill

Title: Groovin' Magic | Artist: Round Table feat. Nino | Anime: Diebuster


Note: Due to time dilatation this has jumped a week in the future.

Description: AH! AH AH AH! AH! AH AH AH! -Funk-

Why I Picked it: The last OP I'll be posting for Mecha march and since I've already used 2 Gainex mecha show's for OP/ED I might as well post my third and final favourite (though by no means the last song from a Gainex show). I only got round to watching the original Gunbuster two years ago and the ending made me cry way more than I'd like to admit, so going straight into the funky bass-driven OP of the sequel was pretty much just what I needed. The song will always put a smile on my face no matter what mood I'm in and every time it reminds me how much I enjoyed those 12 OVAs (and makes me pull my hair out that I can't find them in print anywhere in this country).


Usually I'd post the full version of the song here so you can hear the song in all it's glory but this time I'm going to leave you with someone much more qualified to speak about the show:

OP/ED a Day #87.5: Gunbuster March ( From Special Guest Exile)

Title: Gunbuster March | Artist: Kohei Tanaka | Show: Gunbuster


This is one of the most simply and purely badass tracks in anime as a whole: from the opening drums leading to the rousing trumpets, it is music that will make you want to stand and start moving forward, regardless of however battered or broken you may feel. It takes four episodes for the Gunbuster to appear, and it does so heralded by this. And it works. Indeed, this music is so profoundly well thought of, it has an homage in the true arbiter of quality: Muv Luv Alternative, with the track "Howling Spirit"


I first watched Gunbuster years ago; a random purchase I picked up on holiday in the US I think, and one picked just because it had a giant robot on the cover and a cool name. Anime was still establishing itself outside of Japan (yeah, I'm old, fuck you) and I knew very little about the genre, including my own preferences. As time has moved on and I have discovered I'm not actually a fan of Super Robot shows, Gunbuster endures as the exception to that rule. And it is exceptional.

The original six OVAs follow one Noriko Takaya, a rare example of the female hot-blooded mecha pilot and in my opinion one of the best protagonists anime has ever produced. She's not superhuman; talented, yes, but but only in potential, and even her true advantage of being a Determinator is something she has to work to manifest. She does not have an easy time of it, but she is one of those rare individuals who responds to adversity by growing stronger, without limit, a concept that underpins the entire theme of the franchise: working to be the best, or "The Top" (The anime is actually a combination of Top Gun and a tennis anime called Aim for the Ace! and has the Japanese title of Aim for the Top!) Something which is ultimately returned to in the sequel in a completion of the characters' journey in coming back to what motivated the original cast.


The titular mecha, on the other hand, has become iconic; thanks mainly to the sheer badassery of its standard pose. The first time it appears, it takes a full minute to unfold its arms. That minute includes appearance, lift-off and flying through space. Amusingly enough, said pose (which has become known as the Gunbuster Pose) is itself a copy of Getter Dragon's usual way of standing, quite possibly explainable in-universe as Noriko is a gigantic anime nerd (she gets to meet the Getter Robo team in the Super Robot Wars games) and will probably be far more familiar to recent fans anime as the common stance used by members of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Indeed, watching Gunbuster with the knowledge of TTGL in mind, it's easy to see how the latter borrowed from the former. Though, perhaps controversially, I'd say that Gunbuster still manges to edge the lead. TTGL goes to utterly insane levels of scope, it's true, unlikely to ever be matched or surpassed. But Gunbuster just manages to make it feel more, possibly because in a show that's used uncommonly applied Hard SF elements to give the characters a hard time (Radiation sickness from exposure to space/technology, time dilation leading to the loss of everything you knew), going from having a difficulty with the basic mooks of the Space Monsters to combating thousands of enemies with contemptuous ease, to turning Jupiter into a bomb to kill the galaxy remains grounded in a certain sense, making it even more unbelievable and incredible.

Another bit of trivia for you all: Gunbuster was what lead to Studio Gainax becoming so well regarded, and was the first anime Hideki Anno ever directed. Yes, that Anno. Now think to where the name of the character Jung Freud might come from, heh.


To end, I think providing the glorious scene itself might be in order. Spoilers of course. But watch it anyway, your life needs more Awesome.

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