Anime studio Gainax, who released the infamous Neon Genesis Evangelion series, has had a quite a few hits in the past that most anime viewers have forgotten about or never heard of before. One of those is the Gunbuster OAV series that Hideaki Anno directed and helped write long before he did the Neon Genesis show that featured what most people think all anime is about, guns, girls and giant robots. Say what you will, but the series was such a success, movies were bound to follow as they did with Gunbuster: The Movie. Running a little over an hour and a half, it’s a solid piece of anime for those who love old school titles or something fun to watch.
The story takes place in a future where insect-like aliens have been attacking Earth for awhile and mankind has the technology for spaceships and giant robots to fight them off. One Admiral of a fleet of these spaceships sacrificed himself to save the world and hold back the aliens, which worked until recently when they started attacking again. Luckily his daughter, Noriko has been training to pilot one of the giant robots to help save the world as her father did. The only bad thing is she isn’t that good and doubts she can ever try to take the place of her dad. Things take a fortunate turn however when Coach Ohta, the sole survivor of the Noriko’s father’s fleet, decides to work with her and and another young lady named Kazumi on a special project to pilot a super robot known as Gunbuster. It’s up to the two of them to work and train together in order to save the world, if they can put their differences aside that is.
Serving as a condensed version of the OAV series, this movie was originally shown with its sequel in theaters (which hopefully Section 23 will get the rights to and release soon) and was released on Blu-ray before from Bandai. I’m glad to say it still holds up well and looks just as great as the previous high definition release. The story and characters are ripped straight from the cheese that ruled the 80’s (young underdog fights and believes their way to the top, etc), but it works and fits perfectly here.
While everything looks and sounds great, the only things that might throw some viewers off is the mix of not only fullscreen and widescreen segments, but how they alternate between black and white and color as well. While it might be nitpicky for some, I just thought it was worth mentioning. The extras here are pretty nice, as there’s audio commentary by the Japanese cast and crew, interviews with them as well, trailers and other promotional stuff that will keep viewers watching long after the film ends.
Gunbuster: The Movie is a great film to watch for fans of 80’s anime or those looking for something fun to play on their Blu-ray players. A cliched but awesome story and characters keep things lively while the great artwork and animation play out on the screen that’s packed with action and drama. So if you’re looking to aim your way to the top of some anime fun, this title is a great place to start.