- Titles: Aim for the Top! 2, DieBuster
- Genre: Drama, crime, mystery
- Episodes: 6
- Studio: Gainax
Nono is just a normal girl with a dream. Well, “normal” is a bit debatable. What even is “normal” anyways? Also, her dream is to become a space hero. That part is normal, it was my dream too. But how is an ordinary girl supposed to achieve such a dream in the first place? She could just pack up her bags and hit the road hoping things would work out somehow. And for most ordinary girls, that might not be the most reasonable course of action. But for Nono, it’s the only way to go. And even though she’s just a normal girl, she might be exactly what humanity needs to save the galaxy!
When I put Gunbusters 2 on my watch list, I did a bit of research to make sure I would be able to jump into it even though I had not watched the original Gunbusters. Normally, I would simply start at season 1 but I couldn’t find it anywhere and I was intrigued by this second season. The internet assured me that Gunbusters 2 was completely independent of Gunbusters 1 and I wouldn’t even notice it was a sequel. So I took the internet’s word for it.
Gunbusters 2 is a decent looking show. There are some pretty nice splash scenes that are an obvious tribute to earlier mecha shows. Not in that they borrow visuals but the shot composition is similar. In fact, this is going to be a running theme. Gunbusters 2 is reminiscent of an earlier era of anime. Earlier compared to its release date of 2004. The odd thing is that this 6 episode series started in 2004 but ended in 2006. I’m not sure why.
I would say the art of Gunbusters 2 is alright. It’s not super detailed and is often inconsistent but the designs are nice and the bits of visual flare they add to certain scenes really appealed to me. Moreover, the animation is great. In my opinion, much better than the art style. There is often a lot of movement on the screen, and although the designs lose clarity, the movement itself looks fantastic.
I found the soundtrack to be a bit much on occasion but nothing dramatic. I bet I’ll forget all about it soon.
Story & Characters
I still have not watched Gunbusters so I can’t tell you if it’s likely to change something in your experience of watching Gunbusters 2. I can say that I had absolutely no problem keeping up with the story. Most of the characters seem new and they are all introduced and developed as if we aren’t supposed to already know them.
However, there is a character mentioned all the time that I’m pretty sure was from the first series. I thought so all along but it’s pretty much confirmed in the last episode. It’s not as if I feel like I missed something by not knowing this character, but I didn’t get any of the fanservice or nostalgia this was supposed to evoke. So it made the show a bit more emotionally hollow.
There’s also a LOT of lore in Gunbusters 2, especially for a 6 episode series. It pretty much tries to cram in the same amount of lore as other popular Mechas of 20 years ago, especially Eva, but in a quarter of the time. As such, a lot of stuff is glazed over. Like who the enemies actually are and what Buster machines are. I have a feeling all of that is explained in more detail in the first series.
However, I could be wrong. I have watched a lot of shows that underdeveloped their background lore more than Gunbuster 2 does. And really, aside from not being able to enjoy the fan service meant for viewers of the original, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.
But what is Gunbusters 2 anyways? Remember when I said that it was a nostalgic show? After 1 episode I got a strong wave of This is a 90s anime. Not so much in the production, which is pretty good, but in the structure and narrative style.
On the one hand, Gunbusters 2 is a dramatic action anime with giant robots. There are a lot of feelings, a lot of coming-of-age angst and some vague but seemingly metaphoric enemies. Yes, Eva is probably the best-known and most successful example of this type of anime but Eva also sparked a ton of copycats so for a while, shows exactly like this were very common. And Gunbusters 2 had some really epic scenes at times. It’s probably better than the average.
On the other hand, Gunbusters 2 is billed as a comedy which seems to be due to the fact that there’s a bunch of dirty old man jokes and just random fanservice thrown in. (quite a bit of nudity in the show). As well as some “fun” animal abuse here and there. I’m probably not describing it well but that’s also a type of humour that was pretty common in anime 20 to 30 years ago and maybe I’ve gotten too old to appreciate it properly.
To me, the two elements just never really mixed well together and were kind of weird as a unit. If you have a character that’s in a serious attempted rape scene and it’s an important part of the plot, using the same character for fanservice and having her top ripped off in combat is just not that fun. There’s a clash there. Anyways, there was for me. I found the balance was just off.
Another thing I had some issues with is that even though there are only 6 episodes, there was a lot of filler. Maybe not filler exactly. For example, there are a couple of characters referred to as the twins. For the first half of the show, we hardly see them but we hear about them here and there. They are mysterious and apparently powerful and we’re not quite sure where they stand. Their presence looms large and they are eccentric and overbearing. Towards the latter part of the series, they make what is seemingly a huge move that could change the course of events and then… nothing. They’re written off the show.
And the thing is, in retrospect, those characters serve no purpose for the main plot. They get all this build-up but there’s never time to actually develop them as characters and their actions seem ultimately purposeless. When I was watching this, the impression that I got was that the twins were relics of an earlier draft. That they had this huge story arc and probably developed backgrounds integrated into the rest of the story. But in cutting down the series to only 6 episodes, most of their contribution to the show was left on the cutting room floor so that now, they feel like tacked on extras and something is clearly missing.
And I felt that way about a lot of elements in the show. Not enough to make me dislike Gunbusters 2 but it was certainly a weakness.
At the end of the day, I think your enjoyment of Gunbusters 2 really depends on your mindset. Personally, I found it average. Not bad, not good. The nostalgia didn’t work so well on me past the first few episodes and the humour landed flat for my tastes, but I still thought there were some really great moments and the battle scenes were engaging and tense. If you want that 90s anime feel or if you were a fan of the first series, it’s definitely not a bad show and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
You might like this anime if:
You love OG mechas and fanservice.
My favourite character:
I don’t remember her name but it’s the manager of the bar/restaurant at the beginning of the show. The one selling an apple for 150 yen.
- Every time anyone says “Topless” – take a sip
- every time anyone is topless – spit it out
- Every time Nono’s eyes flash – take a sip
- Every time a space monster shows up – gasp!
- Every time Nono makes a speech – take notes
- Every time anyone calls Lal’C gets called a curve wrecker – take a sip
- Every time we see the twins – take a sip
- Every time you think Candian says Canadians – just me?
- Every time it snows – take a sip
- Every time anyone’s mean to Nono – sad
- Every time anyone removes their forehead seal – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.