Gunbuster and Diebuster - one a masterpiece, the other trash
Oppdatert: 13. des. 2019
I'm a pretty big fan of Hideaki Anno. Well, as big a fan you can be of someone when you've only watched their most popular work. NGE and End of Evangelion are really freaking good, they're defintely some of my favourite anime. Heck, NGE even used to be in my top 10, although it isn't anymore. But this isn't a post discussing Evangelion, nor is it a post detailing all of Anno's work. This is a simple post where I talk about just how fucking awesome Anno's directorial debut, 'Top wo Nerae: GunBuster' is, why it's my favourite anime, and why its sequel, DieBuster, is trash.
The main character is Takiya Noriko, and her dad was the pilot of a large spaceship. Sadly, he was killed by evil space aliens. However, Takiya having set her sights on journeying into space herself, joined a training school for robot pilots. Even so, her skills just can't seem to improve, no matter her conviction, and she starts mistaking 'hard work' for 'natural talent'. However, one day, one of the trainers shows Takiya how one of the top students, Amano Kazumi trains. Realizing just how weak her conviction is in comparison to those at the top, Takiya is now determined to train harder. She then travels into space to fight the alien menace. So exactly why do I love GunBuster so much? Well, the most common reasons I have for enjoying shows is because I relate to the characters. Or if I don't relate to them, I at least think the characters are really cool, such as Jotaro from JoJo, for example. However, for me, GunBuster is different. Now of course, that's not to say that I don't like the characters, quite the contrary, I love them! But the reason I enjoy GunBuster is because I relate to the creator, Hideaki Anno. I don't think i'm alone in this at all, reading and watching interviews with him makes it clear that he's very much an otaku himself, who's also just really good at making stuff. And I feel really happy for Anno, and he's a very big inspiration to me. When I read about what shows and media he's into, and I now see him get to work on those exact properties, I think that's awesome. Whether it's something small like storyboarding the OP for Yamato 2199, or getting to direct an entire Ultraman film, I just can't help but feel happy.
There's even a Yamato poster in Takiya's room, and Anno has said before that it's his favourite anime. If nothing, the guy's got taste.
DieBuster on the other hand, is trash. It's really bad. OK, it's not on the level of some total garbage, so it's not akin to something like RErideD, Girly Air Force or Kamichama Karin, but it's still really bad. So, let me explain why. Episode 1, it's bad from the start. Why is the main character kicking a dog? I don't like that. Dogs are cute, it's played off as a joke, I don't think it works. The main character gets a job, then learns just how hard it is to actually be a space pilot. Also, she's a robot. Now this all seems good, right? We have a main character from the middle of nowhere, who moved to the city to realize her dreams. The fact that she's not a human also adds the possibility of exploring some deeper themes. Well, throw all of that outta the window, cause it's all irrelevant! Instead of, I don't know, managing to get to space through hard work and willpower, Nono, the main character, just gets her dream realized through circumstance and luck! She just so happened to meet an important person, and just happened to be at the right place at the right time when the alien attacked. That's all narrative though, and that's the least of my criticisms. DieBuster may not look bad, but it certainly does when compared to GunBuster. That crisp 80's artstyle? Gone, we have this glossy looking garbage look that all modern anime apparently need to have now. Adorable P.E uniforms? Gone, instead we have a poorly designed maid outfit that's gone after the first episode. Also, Nono's voice is... just too exaggerated. Takiya's voice in GunBuster was already really moe, but this? It's too much. And the mecha designs, how could I forget.
They look horrible. While the original mecha designs in GunBuster didn't exactly have that many edges, they at least looked mechanical. And the transformation scenes where you got to see the insides of the mechs? There's nothing of the sort in DieBuster. Instead, we have round designs that occasionally turn into CG (eww).
But... why. Why do I feel so strongly about disliking 'DieBuster'? It's simple. It doesn't feel Anno anymore. 'GunBuster' was the first time I felt like I related to the creator, not the character. I felt like Anno was talking to me, and understood what he was trying to say. I feel none of the sort while watching DieBuster, and even the OP is really fucking good, it's not better than GunBuster's OP. Episodes 3-5 of DieBuster aren't really any better, in fact I'd almost say they're worse. They just stop saying the title during the eyecatch for no reason, and Nono's character goes completely off the rails. I do not get hell even happened during these episodes. Nono is revealed to be some... ancient person who has super powers? Or something? I don't get it. Then her mentor gets an inferiority complex, Nono almost gets raped, which comes completely out of left field. Most of these choices probably could have been solved if they didn't choose to keep themselves to six episodes. One of the great things about OVA's were that the creators basically just had as much time as they wanted to complete the project, and they didn't have to feel bound by a strict 13 or 24 episodes that all have to be 24 minutes. Which is exactly why they imposed this dumb thing onto themselves.
DieBuster feels more like the Giant Robo OVA on LSD than a sequel to GunBuster. Episode 6 isn't anything better. It's just some boring action, some pretentious dialouge about 'singularity', and a quick nod to the original. I heard that even if I woudn't enjoy most of the series, I would at least like episode 6, but no, I didn't.
And just a quick thing before I conclude, a thing I really enjoy about mecha is the idea of a "bond" between the pilot and the machine. Like in Iron Blooded Orphans, it's often implied that Barbatos and Mikazuki share a sort of connection, though it's always kept ambigious. In DieBuster? I don't even know what thet were going for. The humans are the ones who produce the mechas, so why do they almost seem like they're living on their whims? The mechs in DieBuster seem more like a combination of Ideon and Gundam, than anything else.
DieBuster is really just different from GunBuster. Sometimes, thats good. Other times, like in this situation, it's not. GunBuster is a 10/10, my undisputed favourite anime. DieBuster? Eh, just some bad 4/10.