Otakon is still underway, but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve heard the best news of the con already. Gainax’s Aim for the Top! Gunbuster will be coming to Blu-ray thanks to Discotek! The epic six-part mecha anime has been out of print for quite a while. So the new release means a whole new generation of fans will get to discover it.
But if you’re feeling a little lost, we’re here to help. Here’s why you’ll need Gunbuster in your life, and on your shelf, once it comes out:
A Multi-Genre Pastiche
The six-part Gunbuster OVA came out between 1988 and 1989, and is a mix of several different series. Inspired by 1986’s Top Gun and classic 1970s tennis series Aim for the Ace! (hence the title), the series also mixes in mecha action, alternative-universe science, romance, and big scary aliens.
The action starts on Earth as hopeful mecha pilot trainee Noriko vies to join her beloved upperclassman Kazumi on an exclusive mission. Two pilots from each school will join the ongoing battle against giant aliens bent on destroying the human race. Only the best and brightest, though, will pilot the anime’s title robot.
Going Big Before Gurren Lagann
Gunbuster, the series’s title robot, is nothing to sneeze at. The enormous combiner stands 240m tall (that’s 60m taller than the world’s current tallest statue!) and can fire lasers, use a cape-shield, and deliver a debilitating Inazuma Kick. Among other things. This massive mecha is the world’s best and last hope against the series’s invading aliens.
Nowadays, of course, Gainax has gone even bigger. The mecha in the finale of Gurren Lagann stand literal light years tall instead of just measly meters. But for a while, the Gunbuster was the studio’s biggest hitter, and completely changed our view of how “giant” a giant robot could be.
Love and Friendship Across Time
There’s one more little twist that makes Gunbuster extra complex: near-lightspeed travel. In the retooled sci-fi world of the series, it’s just part of the job for pilots. That means time dilation is in effect. So you could graduate, get married, and have a kid while your pilot friend stays young. Or you could be out in space fighting aliens as the precious final days of a loved one’s life tick away in a matter of minutes.
Gunbuster has romances and friendships at all levels, and they’re always on the line. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, but not just because fighting aliens is a dangerous job. Minutes could turn to days, weeks, months, or more. What will be left when you’ve saved the world?
Discotek is preparing to release Gunbuster on Blu-ray in the near future. Will you be watching?