Type: OVA (6 episodes)
Previous in series:
Also known as: Gunbuster 2
In the distant future, humans claimed victory over the alien threat to the galaxy (featured in Gunbuster). A new alien onslaught pushed nearly all of humanity back into the boundaries of the solar system. Humanity has faired well, but remains in a precarious position as aliens could overwhelm everything at any time. Occasionally monsters do appear, and it's the job of young Buster Machine pilots known as the "Topless" to stop them. Nono has high hopes of becoming a space pilot, but it doesn't seem like she'll ever make it. A chance encounter with ace pilot Lal'C gives her the opening she needs to show her stuff.
Actually Lal'C doesn't even like Nono much, but some of the other pilots believe she's got potential. Over time these two would develop a friendship that the fate of the human race might depend on.
There are two perspectives for this review: either you've seen Gunbuster or you haven't. Do you need to see Gunbuster to watch Diebuster? No. In fact it might be better if you didn't. No scratch that, Gunbuster is awesome. Watch it! Gunbuster starts out kind of lame, but emerges one of the most epic shows in anime by the end. Studio Gainax decided for their anniversary, to invoke the name of Gunbuster in a new series. Which is strange because Diebuster looks like it was produced by someone who has never seen Gunbuster, or possibly confused it with Giant Robo, and tried to turn it into FLCL. Diebuster adopts some elements of the original, but it's the most irrelevant ones. Mainly the soundtrack. More frustrating still is that Diebuster could have been BETTER if it had cut ties with the original and tried to do it's own thing. Instead it gets distracted by it's heritage.
Diebuster looks nice. It has attractive character designs. The mecha are... not so hot, but many of the space battles are on a grand scale which is fun to watch. They're tossing entire planets around! The hard science fiction of Gunbuster wasn't carried over, and it's a bunch of tech fantasy BS now, but there are a few quaint sci-fi ideas sprinkled here and there. Basically it's got a decent environment, and it looks attractive. For some people that's enough.
The characters kinda suck. They feel weak and poorly thought out. They don't develop well either. Nono is a hyper cheerful girl who tries to win the friendship of the aloof and testy Lal'C. Both of them are annoying in their own way. Becoming friends is a major plot point, but it fails to show this well. It's almost a surprise when they turn out to be friends. In the later episodes, Nono disappears, and Lal'C has flashbacks of the good times she spent with Nono. I'm like, wait they're friends now? As a 6 part OVA nothing substantial ever forms in the story by the end, or in any single episode. It's not bad, but kind of... meh.
Two more points. There's a lot of fan service in this one. The original Gunbuster didn't shy away from service either considering pilots were girls in leotards, and it didn't earn the nickname Bustgunner for nothing. Diebuster however sinks to a level of pandering, and it really cheapens the show. Story wise, near the end, humans decide to destroy the alien invader by slamming the rocket propelled Earth into it. That invalidates a lot of what Gunbuster was about: saving the cradle of humanity. Why not use Venus instead? It's almost the same size and doesn't even rotate properly.
On it's own merits, Diebuster is an ok anime. It's attractive, has a lot of cool explosions on an immense scale. Not particularly bad for a generic "anime stuff happens" kind of title. If you're looking at this from a Gunbuster fan perspective, you may find this title insulting as it misses nearly every good point about the original. I could probably write another few pages on those points alone, but I'll leave it at that. I'm left mostly indifferent about this one.
Note that there's a movie version of this title that cuts about 50% of the story. Diebuster is shaky to begin with, so the movie version is a total waste of time.
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