There are some legendary shows that you’re just not going to avoid. Shows that though you may have never seen a screenshot, have been engrained into your psyche simply through reference and word of mouth. That show for me was the famed GUNBUSTER. Once I finally got hold of the show, I had but one question. “Would it live up to the hype?”
Well… YES! Gunbuster is a lesson in the unexpected. The show captured my heart not just with the mecha, the titular beast doesn’t show up for awhile, but with the guts of these girls as they fight ludicrous odds to save Earth, their loved ones, theirselves. Who could imagine such small dainty girls could be as GAR as any muscle bound man you’ll ever see? The show constantly grows bigger and bolder. The stakes go from very small and homegrown, with dreams of stars dancing through the heads of our travelers, to the very crushing reality that the universe where those stars reside is not a beautiful, peaceful place. Instead, it seems that humanity’s very existence in the universe is a smear and annoyance to whatever is living out there now.
The fact may very well be enough to crush the hopes of our protagonists, if it weren’t for “Coachy”. Okay, “Coachy” isn’t his real name, or even how this nickname is spelled. He’s really just “Coach”. It’s just one of those strange things about how the Japanese pronounce english words. “Coachy’s” real name is Ota Koichiro. And he is the one driving constant in this show. Always professional, always driving his pupils forward. He is the backbone of humanity through these girls.
At first, I found the show embarrassingly dated, embarrassingly 80’s. It was obviously inspired in one way or another by Top Gun. Coachy with his aviator glasses, the female trainees with their headbands and Flashdance inspired gear. But soon I was drawn in, an underlying theme was creeping into the show. Time and distance. As these girls fought harder and harder for what they loved, it drew them farther and farther from who and what they loved. One of those things was Coachy.
Mind you, the show is intensely surreal. Not only is time manipulated, but somehow humanity manages to compress and transport Jupiter in a ploy to blow up the center of the universe. Even someone like me who has seen some fantastic and ridiculous things in anime and media had to stand up and say, “bullsh*t!” To think that there is something this old that competed with the scale and awe of TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN itself. To think, these two girls, no, WOMEN would hold the torch for GAINAX for so long. Before the show was completed, I understood why the show was so revered and legendary.
All this is culminated by one of the most bittersweet, beautiful endings you will EVER see in an anime. That is high praise! I have to say GAINAX, congratulations! If Coachy were still here, he would be very proud!
Anyone out there who hasn’t seen this, get off your ass and find it by any means necessary! See a piece of GAINAX, mecha and anime history!
A glimpse into the future of Gunbuster.
“Breaking into the super robot genre has proven difficult for me..” http://superfani.com/2009/06/04/of-diebuster-structure-and-the-parents-of-gods/
Somebody else who I think gets it.
“The desolation of time and space are the heart breaking truths at the centre of Gunbuster’s moving drama.” http://www.bateszi.me/2007/03/27/gunbuster-i-love-you-but-ive-chosen-darkness/
One Year Ago…
WRL published the first of two posts on Ghost in the Shell, which had a remastered release with new CG [->]