Nono, a clumsy young girl living in the backwater countryside of Mars, dreams of becoming a space pilot. But when Nono witnesses Lal'C, a real space pilot called a Topless, and her brutal fight with one of the invading space monsters, she discovers that it may not be so easy as she's rocketed into orbit alongside Lal'C in the ensuing struggle. With guts and effort her only recourse, Nono reaches for the stars to become a "Nonoriri" and a Topless alongside her Onee-sama, as well as to fight back against hordes of space monsters!
Some things need to stand alone.Sequels are a gamble, especially when the time gap between original and sequel grows and grows. They tend to be put under more scrutiny than their predecessors, as they not only have to deal with standing tall as installments in their own right, but they need to provide merit as a sequel to a product that never needed one. The trickiest prospect involved is the anniversary sequel, as that is where you’re most likely to enact the gambit. Some projects of this nature can pay off in a way that respects the original and becomes its own product, perhaps even succeeding it in the process. However, not everyone can do a Turn A Gundam, and instead, they might end up creating an absolute mess. Hence the existence of Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster: a show that aimed for the top and ravaged a franchise.Put it simply, it fails both ways. As a series, it features mediocre at best and largely uninteresting characters, half-assed power-up moments, and tons of convoluted and barely explained sci-fi superpower bullshit & worldbuilding. When the highlight in terms of memorable character moments was a rape attempt, you know you’ve failed, and you abandon an important sci-fi element of the original in the process, you know you’ve fucked up. As a sequel, it is almost insulting. The writers made a completely different type of show -a mediocre one at that- a sequel to Gunbuster. It would be like making Aldnoah.Zero the sequel to Macross. As such, everything about the already poorly-crafted and convoluted world-building (galaxy building?) is brimming with incompatibility. Buster machines are now biomechanical machines that can only be piloted by people with some hereditary superpower gene rather than robots that take skill for any able-bodied person in general to pilot. They each come with different powers including the ability to freeze space creatures in space with quantum temperatures, and controlling and turning other ships into creatures to use during battle via psychic powers or something akin to that. They have colonized entirely new planets with futuristic military technology, yet transportation technology and all things not inherently related to war against space creatures has yet to advance beyond 2004 -the year this OVA first aired- until the finale outright contradicts that. The finale also proves that it takes place during a specific portion of the original’s finale, as if to self-destruct while getting its idol caught in the explosion. Additionally, whereas Gunbuster used real, hard science for its science fiction, Diebuster uses pseudoscience superpower nonsense. This and more serve as only a taste of how incompatible (for lack of a better word) the world-building is, and why crafting a coherent world is always important. Otherwise, we get two pieces that just cannot fit.There’s also the fact that the mere existence of the events in Die -even discounting the monumentally awful finale- ultimately sully the finale of the original Gunbuster, as not only did it end phenomenally, but it did so in a way in which no real sequel could be warranted. This isn’t even touching on the worldbuilding element; Gunbuster ended so conclusively that to continue would be to retroactively take back part of the point of the finale. This show really should have been its own thing. It would have been a mediocre at best show, but better a mediocre separate celebration installment than a show that accidentally knocks over its predecessor’s grave, especially when said predecessor became one of the two foundational anime of its studio. However, it would probably require heavy rewrites towards the end in particular. After all, the more it goes on, the worse it gets, peaking in its concluding episodes in terms of sheer atrocity, as the show stops caring almost entirely and ends up outright ruining the ending of the original. To cover the positive -read: superficial- aspects of this asteroid, the music is better than last time, and the visuals are still mostly well-crafted. Even with the awful mech designs excessive amounts of usually terrible CGI, the show’s visuals are worthwhile. The character designs are fine enough -particularly that of Nono- and the action animation is smooth, kinetic, and kept track of extremely well...as long as the characters aren’t running. It may not hold up compared to the immaculately detailed and stylized predecessor of yore, but disregarding that leaves you with visuals that were on par with that best at the time, at least animation-wise. The sense of scale is quite large, to add on top of that. Lastly, the music is honestly a tad superior than the original, at least when it isn’t remixing tracks. The OP and ED themes are ok and the background music is serviceable, though that is all I can praise.Ultimately, the more this show goes on, the more horrible a sequel it becomes. As if it wouldn’t be a bad enough show on its own, it just had to throw a classic series under the bus in a drunken attempt at paying homage and joining a franchise. Barring the prospect of bastardizing a returning cast, Diebuster commits every sin a sequel can commit -including ones I never thought were possible- and ends up shattering itself into pieces upon its obnoxious attempts at trying to send-up and one-up. On its own, it's a mediocre turned bad show too ambitious for its own good. As a sequel, it is so...so much worse. Way to go Gainax, producing the worst thing in your repertoire to celebrate 20 years!
Gunbuster 2, AKA Diebuster is the sequel to the 1988 series, Gunbuster. To read my review of the original series, click here. Story: Nono is a country girl, and her one dream is to be a Space Pilot, to control a powerful Buster Machine. Unfortunately, she's a bit of ditz. Eventually she finds herself in contact with an organization of teenage pilots, called Topless, and she has a chance to realize her dream. Will she be a successful pilot, or will she flounder pathetically? The story of Diebuster is very different from that of Gunbuster. The sequel is much less serious, more fun and playful, than the original. The story of Diebuster is also much simpler, without the interesting twists and turns brought on by Lighstpeed travel like what was seen in Gunbuster. The Mecha, now called Buster Machines, play a much larger role in Diebuster, so Mecha fans will probably have a bit to look forward to in this one. Animation: The animation was completely different from that of the Gunbuster, with much more vibrant colors. The change reflected the time-gap between the two series (12,000 years), and made it easy to see Diebuster as taking place in a much different world than the original series. The character designs were much more wild and stylistic than in Gunbuster, another difference between the two. Pink hair and wildly colored outfits are commonplace in Diebuster, so don't expect as realistic an experience as you get with Gunbuster. There is a lot of fanservice in this series. I think it might actually deserve an Ecchi tag. If you like that kind of stuff, you'll enjoy this series more than other might. Sound: Like all other aspects of Diebuster, the music and voice acting have a much lighter tone than those of its predecessor. The music was light and cheerful for the most part, and the opening was absolutely wonderful. It puts you in a good mood right away. Nono's voice, in contrast to Takaya's voice from Gunbuster is childish and whiny sounding, which can get a bit annoying after a while. Characters: Characters were much more shallow in Diebuster than Gunbuster. There isn't enough development as the series progresses, and you are left wanting to know more about the characters at the end of the series. Nono, while very cute and sometimes loveable, is an idiot. Many of you will have problems watching an anime where the main character is stupid...just a warning. Final Thoughts: This Anime Is... A Tribute. Rather than an actual sequel to Gunbuster, Diebuster felt like a tribute to the original work. It used many of the same themes, but twisted them into a playful little thing rather than a deep, dramatic work. It could've been a lot better I believe. Should I Watch This Anime? Maybe. If you really like Gunbuster, I would watch it. Otherwise, there's not much reason to, unless you really want to see the fanservice, and feel like you can sit through Nono's idiocy to get to it.
Yay! My first review! Story - Okay, so anyway Gunbuster 2/ Diebuster takes place many many MANY years after Gunbuster and is the story of Nono and how she becomes a space pilot. Er, tries to become a space pilot. It's more interesting than it sounds, I swear. In just the first episode you are told that it's been quite a long time (try OVER 10,000 YEARS) since Noriko and Kazumi left to finish off the aliens attacking Earth, in which an organization called Faternity takes on special people called "Topless" that can summon giant robot suits with their foreheads (FLCL much? Lovely.) just by removing a sticker. Nono decides she's going to become a "Nonoriri"/space pilot (play on Noriko's name, obviously) and quickly dubs Lal'C, a highly respected Topless, as her "onee-sama." So, Fraternity must fight these ominous swarms of aliens to protect humanity and such. You know, the usual. It's not the most original, but it's still highly enjoyable. Well, except for the boobs every two episodes, but it's sort of relevant to the story, and at least Gainax can do it right (animation for most ecchi is disappointing). The story reminisces a good bit of what Gunbuster is, even down to it's music that has been redone. There are lots of nods to other works from Gainax as well, and it's truly a well played out story. They even stayed in budget! Good job, guys (Seriously, watch Gunbuster and you will understand). Animation - It's Gainax. Need I say more? Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and Okama do beautiful art/character designs for the show as well. I'm in love. Sound - I found the music to be well suited to the scenes and the overall mood of the show. Even when it starts getting to the more serious end, the oh-so-happy OP theme is cut and the ending theme is just peppy enough to cheer you up while the message is still melancholy. In short: Music = WIN. Characters - Throughout the series, just about every character changes somehow, which is fantastic. Nono finds who she is and becomes a stronger person, Lal'C becomes more compassionate and definitely less selfish, Tycho also becomes a nicer person, and Nicola becomes a jerk, which is really my only problem, but it shows that even these powerful beings (the Topless) can fall from their high horse and be like everyone else again. Hey, I didn't say the changes were good :\ Even so, the characters have a loveable personality (and such awesome voice actors!! Nono is "MOE MOE DESUUUUUU!!!") and even the Buster Machines are memorable. I can always picture Lal'C in my head saying "Dix Neuf!" and then that BEASTLY ARM coming out of her shadow. I'm seriously in love with this show. Overall - Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. If you hate mecha you will still love this show. The characters, the art, the music, it's just really well done and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I recommend this to any and everyone.
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