Aim for the Simulwatch! It's Gunbuster

Neil.T

Guild Member
Episode 3

"I'm telling you: I cannot fight with Noriko as my partner!"

But before that devastating revelation, we have...

IMG_20190909_181855097.jpg
"Excerpt from Kazumi Amano's speech during the 2021 Japan High School Physics Debate Convention"

πŸ˜΅β‰

πŸ˜…
That on-screen text clashes quite masterfully with the accompanying karaoke audio.

@NoSurprises, @orgun: What does the opening text crawl look like in the version(s) you're watching?


But wow, what a visually complex episode this actually is! Anno must've been in his element with this one, having some battleship scenes and technobabble-filled launch sequences to direct.

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He loves his Yamato-inspired stuff, doesn't he? πŸ˜„


The costume designs continue to be outstanding. Just look at these examples:

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Incorporating the classic sailor collar

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From the front, with bonus 1980s anime expression

These are neat. They look comfortable and functional like sports gear, which ties in nicely with the series' themes:
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The RX-7 launch sequence is also rather track-and-field-inspired, with the robots getting down "on their marks". It also feels a bit reminiscent of bobsled racing, maybe?

During the subsequent space battle itself, you could really feel Noriko's fear at how out of her depth she was, and how fast everything was happening around her β€” far too fast to be able to process much of it when even just piloting the robot is a challenge in itself. Her emotional state following Smith's demise was really well executed, too.

As Noriko found herself outside the door to the men's quarters, I spotted another little Eva crossover: the sign on the door uses two obsolete kanji (ヱ and ヲ) in the name "Excelion" that are also used to spell "Evangelion" in the titles of the Rebuild films. (ヱヴゑンゲγƒͺヲン in Rebuild, versus エヴゑンゲγƒͺγ‚ͺン in the original series.)

And much to my delight, I stand corrected on the post-episode Science Lessons: numbers 2, 3 and 4 are included on the Kiseki DVD, right after episode 3.
Hard work and guts!
It wasn't until I watched #2 that I got that reference.
 

WMD

Adventurer
Episode 3

Really enjoyed the beginning where we got to see various parts of the ship. And little things throughout the episode giving you a feel for normal life on the ship like the Captains table big platters of food. And that they have plants everywhere, which for oxygen production would be useful, but also make the place feel more normal to live in.

The sequence of the ship going into orbit was awesome! No wonder they used it twice!
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I love that they are still using all the high school tropes even in space. The ghost stories, test of courage, having a normal looking train on the ship was all really fun and again lured us into a place of light hearted contentment before things got serious.

The montage of the ship getting ready for combat was great and had so much detail going on in the animation!

The combat section was also great. So tense and claustrophobic with all the extreme close ups of Norikos face and the alarm constantly going off!

Poor Smith I really liked him. He really went out of his way to help Noriko in a real low moment after being betrayed by Amano. The music was so sad and the way it carried on as we saw the alien egg/star hatch has really upped the ante for next time!

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Neil.T

Guild Member
Really enjoyed the beginning where we got to see various parts of the ship.
I really enjoyed that aspect, too; so much effort has been put into it, and the level of detail is phenomenal.

And little things throughout the episode giving you a feel for normal life on the ship like the Captains table big platters of food.
That was another bit that really grabbed my attention! I liked how they'd moved an entire dining table into the bridge. That's the height of decadence! πŸ˜†

I now fully understand this from @NoSurprises' first post in the thread:

And that they have plants everywhere, which for oxygen production would be useful, but also make the place feel more normal to live in.
You've hit upon something else I like about the ship's design work there: it becomes plausible because it's practical β€” just like those costume designs.

The Excelion genuinely offers a feeling of being lived in, and of having been designed (in-universe as well as perhaps in the actual production of the anime) with its inhabitants needs and comfort at heart.
 

NoSurprises

Straw Hat Pirate
Episode 3 down

I often forget that it takes half the OVA for its namesake or the enemy to turn up! I also have a bit of trouble getting attached to Smith, considering he's only around for 10 minutes or so (poor guy only gets like 30 seconds in the compilation!). Overall this episode seems to act more of a set up for future character motivations, and to introduce the series main focus.

@NoSurprises, @orgun: What does the opening text crawl look like in the version(s) you're watching?
Unintelligible:


Anime vending machines always make for amazing shots:


Both the star and subspace effects are pretty cool looking, I really like the design of the Excelion:


The sequence of the ship going into orbit was awesome! No wonder they used it twice!
If I recall the ships coming out of warp later in the OVA are even better! They use some sort of glass breaking sound bite for whatever reason.
 
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orgun

Death Scythe
Episode 3

Episode 3

"I'm telling you: I cannot fight with Noriko as my partner!"

But before that devastating revelation, we have...

View attachment 10434
"Excerpt from Kazumi Amano's speech during the 2021 Japan High School Physics Debate Convention"

πŸ˜΅β‰

πŸ˜…
That on-screen text clashes quite masterfully with the accompanying karaoke audio.

@NoSurprises, @orgun: What does the opening text crawl look like in the version(s) you're watching?
The Honneamise subtitle track that the version I'm watching uses translates the text crawl in it's entirety and based on your screen grab says the same thing. The test crawl subtitles are at the top of the screen and the episode dialogue is at the bottom which makes the screen very busy.

Episode 3
During the subsequent space battle itself, you could really feel Noriko's fear at how out of her depth she was, and how fast everything was happening around her β€” far too fast to be able to process much of it when even just piloting the robot is a challenge in itself. Her emotional state following Smith's demise was really well executed, too.
I really agree this is and what I really liked about this scene was that there was no background music in it which really helped to create the sense of isolation that Noriko was feeling while out in space on her own.

The glimpses of the GunBuster and the aliens at the end were good teases for the next episodes.
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
Episode 4

"I don't want to go out into space!"

Another episode, another chance for some fun comparisons. πŸ˜€
Have a look at this shot of an activation sequence aboard the Excelion...

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... and compare it to this one on board the Nautilus in Nadia:

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πŸ˜‰


This episode also brings something I've been looking forward to seeing in action: it's the Gunbuster pose!! πŸ˜ƒ
It's doubly interesting to witness the original after first seeing the tribute to it in...
... the opening 10 minutes of Evangelion 3.0+1.0:

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Mari strikes the Gunbuster pose

Also, another mild Eva Rebuild spoiler here, but a couple of aspects of the Gunbuster's design (namely the dark colour scheme and the shape of its head) can't help but remind me of Eva Mark.06.

The similarities are not limited to Evangelion, though. Proving that Gunbuster continues to have an influence on anime 30 years after its release, the design of the big space monster seems to have informed the appearance of the VIRM fleet in DARLING in the FRANXX.

Also, the halberd-like weapons that the pilots wield in their RX-7s have seemingly provided the inspiration for the similar ones seen in FRANXX.
 

WMD

Adventurer
Episode 4

In a turn around of tone today we start off in a much more sombre mood. Theres a real melancholy running through this episode and the score does really well to highlight it and create the feeling.

The sense of dread just kept building from the intro with the scientist essentially saying it's a war we cant win. They will some until we are eradicated. Pretty heavy place to start.

Thank god Coach has been there to keep reminding Noriko she can be worthy if she tries and works for it. Otherwise I dont think she'd have been able to go out in Gunbuster.

This episode also brings something I've been looking forward to seeing in action: it's the Gunbuster pose!! πŸ˜ƒ
The pose was so good. Such a boss way to enter the fray. And all the battle scenes were so well drawn! The alien designs are so cool and vivid!

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The panic of the human fleet just aiming randomly in the hope of hitting the enemy really emphasised the lack of hope and melancholy of the episode.
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Especially like this shot during the final confrontation:
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WMD

Adventurer
. It is somewhat depressing that this kind of loving, knowing homage and genre parody (see also: Slayers) seems to have died a death and been replaced largely by straight-up shameless imitation and trope regurgitation (see: just about every isekai ever).
The similarities are not limited to Evangelion, though. Proving that Gunbuster continues to have an influence on anime 30 years after its release, the design of the big space monster seems to have informed the appearance of the VIRM fleet in DARLING in the FRANXX
I was thinking that Franxx the modern version of these old style homages. It also clearly loves the shows its inspired by, and regardless of how successful you think it is as a show it creates something new while paying tribute to what's come before.
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
what I really liked about this scene was that there was no background music in it which really helped to create the sense of isolation that Noriko was feeling while out in space on her own
Isolation, yes! That's the perfect description of it. πŸ˜€

According to that wiki page Smith apparently added some background voices to Gunbuster!
I've been at work and so haven't even read the article myself yet. πŸ˜…
I will definitely get around to it, though.

I was thinking that Franxx the modern version of these old style homages. It also clearly loves the shows its inspired by, and regardless of how successful you think it is as a show it creates something new while paying tribute to what's come before.
Yes! πŸ˜ƒ
You see, this is another one of the reasons I really rate FRANXX. I think that it's very clear that the people who made it love Evangelion, Gurren Lagann and Gunbuster and aspire to create something like that. It's a delight to see.

I honestly couldn't agree more with you, dude. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

Actually, speaking of Gurren Lagann...
The pose was so good. Such a boss way to enter the fray.
So boss, in fact, that it must've made an impression on one Hiroyuki Imaishi at Gainax:
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Enter the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann!
 

NoSurprises

Straw Hat Pirate
Episode 4 down.

The last 5 or so minutes of this episode are just so good it's difficult to put into words. All of Noriko's experiences culminate into an incredibly well animated high stakes space battle with a soundtrack that's still stuck in my head.

There's a cut of a few seconds that I really feel summarises it all:


Also coach is still a badass:


Episode 4 plays out very much like the end (it probably was at one point!), and would've been a totally satisfying conclusion. But the remaining 2 episodes really do step it up a notch.
 

ActionFaust

Thousand Master
Episodes 2-4 (Yeah I kinda failed the idea of a simulwatch there)

While still feeling rushed, this still proves to be a fun enough series that sets the foundation for future Gainax works (and eventually Trigger with series like Darling in the Franxx being the obvious). The closing five minutes of episode 4 really do represent Gainax so well with how ridiculous it can get. The music is also pretty great.
 

orgun

Death Scythe
Episode 4

The action really kicked in during this episode and we got that icon shot of the GunBuster rising from the Exelion with its arms crossed.

The only other thing I'll say about this episode is that Noriko's change from sacred little girl to heroine of the Earth did feel rather rushed.

Episode 5

I really liked Noriko's reunion with Kimiko and how the effects of the time dilation affect everyone's lives in general through the episode.

From the episode 3 I've really been able to spot some of the visual and audio ques that Anno would use in Evangelion and this episode was full of them, the still shot of the shopping bag with the eggs falling, the fast cuts from one scene to the next with descriptive text, the hysterical pilot in the cockpit during battle, solemn train journeys etc. etc..

Like most OVAs from this era I just love the pure, glorious science fiction that runs everything.
 

WMD

Adventurer
Episode 5

Well that was an escalation!

Really interesting to see how the world just carried on without them while they were gone and Norikos insecurity not knowing where she belongs in this world now that everyone she knew has grown up and moved on.

Then the ultimate threat to Earth! That was a seriously large invasion force! And good old Coach having a last ditch plan!

The scene with Coach and Amano and then Noriko was pretty intense though I don't see why Noriko was then so surprised that he might only have 6 months to live!

Again all the animation was great and the action scenes were awesome. The silence as the ship detonated was really effective!

I'm intrigued to see what will happen in the final episode as the way this ended with the war seemingly over and Coach still around to reunite with Amano certainly felt like an ending!
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
@orgun and @WMD have already done a grand job covering the content of this episode (and boy does it have a heavy and sombre atmosphere), so I'll just throw some visual observations into the mix here.

Episode 5: Please! Save Some Time for Love or "How Gunbuster became Bustgunner" πŸ˜›

"You don't understand, do you? Coach has space-radiation sickness. He may not last six months...

... and I may never see him again."



First, obligatory Eva comparison:

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NERV escalator, anyone?

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Couldn't help but chortle at this pair of Ghibli posters on Noriko's wall:

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Anno's nod to his mentor?


Also on Noriko's wall...

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Van Halen: big in the year 2021?

Akira successfully predicted the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Let's see if Gunbuster is just as much on the money. 😏


This yelled "Eva" at me as well:

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Spine, ribs, shoulder blades, circulatory system and internal organs in a robot? This shot seems to pre-empt Evangelion by some seven years

(Also, the pods that launch Buster Machines nos. 1 and 2 into space resemble the similar pods seen...
... in the opening scene of Evangelion 3.33.)

And lastly, nothing to do with this particular episode, but I feel compelled to point out that someone's made an a*se of the OVA's title on Kiseki's DVD menu screen:

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β™ͺWho you gonna call? Gunbusters!β™ͺ
 

NoSurprises

Straw Hat Pirate
Episode 5 down

Will probably write up more thoughts tomorrow. In short; effects of time skip are made particularly grounding with the late graduation and the re-introduction of Kimiko. Desperation of the people on Earth in the face of space monster annihilation, with Kimiko offering up her daughter to Noriko. It's wild that they destroy part of the solar system, and by proxy wreck the earth in an attempt to save it.




Also this panning shot is great.


All kinds of nudity in this episode too, so I imagine there's some weird cuts all over the Kiseki DVD @Neil.T @WMD.
 

Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
Fell behind a bit due to a mishap with my VCR, in that it's eaten a tape (mercifully not one of the Gunbuster ones) and now refuses to spit it out. I have now located another one to use though, so should catch up in time for the end. And we'll not mention how this happened on Wednesday, but I just spent two hours glued to Yakuza 0 last night instead.

Something that did surprise me when I put the second volume in the machine was that Kiseki had trailers! Have I really seen so few of their releases that I didn't know? Considered attempting to rip these for posterity, but someone on youtube's already done the honours.


Their dubbing (perhaps done by US Renditions) sounds pretty rotten, but more importantly, I wonder what the AUK phone-in lines were like?

Episode 3

Unfortunately, I'd already had the reveal of Smith's death spoiled for me quite some time ago. Even knowing it was coming though, I felt they handled it surprisingly well. I can get why some people feel Smith should have had more screen time to give his death more impact, but I sort of feel like what he had was enough? His death is so sudden and unceremonious, it feels more real. From what you hear about war from those who've had the misfortune to fight in a real one, death often is so sudden you can barely register it - your friends are there one moment and gone the next, then you're left trying to process how that happened.

Did have trouble taking it entirely seriously though. I've heard of Toren Smith before and knew he had a character named for him in an anime, but I didn't know it was this one - I burst out laughing the moment he introduced himself...

That aside, I'd also like to mention how much I really love the spaceship aesthetics of the show. It's just the little details like the main ship having its own internal monorail that looks like the Tokyo subway or the myriad of LED displays inside the cockpit of the RX-7. With the internal red-light and the numerical overlay on the monitor, that cockpit looks like something you'd genuinely find inside a cold-war fighter plane and I can't think of any other show that's done that so convincingly.

Oh and "Star Leaf", kek.

Episode 4

That does feel a bit like they've skipped a step somewhere (was Gunbuster ever considered for a full tv series?), but at the same time, it's sort of in keeping with how Gainax are playing it so far. Of course 'Gunbuster' is the name of hero mech, the clue was in the title. Of course Noriko was going to pilot it, she's the main character.

Y'all talk about Smith not having much screen time? Pour one out for poor Linda, I don't think she even had a spoken line of dialogue.

The ED is noticeably different this time too; instead of the usual closing theme with shots of Noriko training, we get a reprise of the opener with plain credits. The next episode preview is also setting up another Gainax staple of using the storyboards because nothing's finished yet :)

Finally, the tape ends rather sweetly with a US mailing address you can write to if you'd like to order a Gunbuster T-shirt, accompanied by a written description of what it looks like. No fancy on-screen images here.

 

Neil.T

Guild Member
All kinds of nudity in this episode too, so I imagine there's some weird cuts all over the Kiseki DVD
The very presence of bare flesh put me on alert for any obvious editing. (I dislike the idea of cuts having been made to something I'm watching, on the grounds that it meddles with the creator's intent.)

Believe it or not, there's actually nothing noticeably butchered like there was in episode 2 here. 🀨
Though I suppose the rather rapid editing of this episode (which @orgun has already confirmed in his version) might serve to make any cuts less noticeable.

The shots I remember involving any nudity that've survived intact on Kiseki's DVD are:
– Noriko falling back on her bed;
– Noriko clutching the framed photo of her father;
– Jung and Noriko talking on the beach;
– Noriko sitting thinking in the bath;
– Noriko getting up out of the bath;
– Noriko turning to face the mirror.

Anything not listed there has presumably gone missing from Kiseki's DVD by being cut out entirely rather than by the visuals being edited like before. If there's anything either of you can add to this, @NoSurprises and @orgun... πŸ‘

###

Also this panning shot is great.
Wow, the Gunbuster's imposing shoulder adornments really explain the huge drills incorporated into the design of the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann:
So boss, in fact, that it must've made an impression on one Hiroyuki Imaishi at Gainax:
View attachment 10461
Enter the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann!
πŸ˜ƒ
 
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