volume 1 sleeve volume 2 sleeve

Official Blurb:


"Owing to huge demand by anime fans to see some more mecha, KISEKI FILMS is proud to announce the release of the GUNBUSTER series in its original Japanese form - with English subtitles."

"GUNBUSTER is the saga of an Earth invasion by monstrous space creatures. Noriko Takaya is a young girl struggling to be part of the Earth Space Force like her legendary father. Under the guidance of Coach Ota and "Big Sister" Kazumi Amano, Moriko must master the skills of mecha combat in order to challenge the alien threat."

"Episode One sees Noriko struggling at the Space High School for Girls. Surprisingiy, she is selected to join Kazumi Amano and advance to The Earth Space Force. Noriko is challenged by a school rival who is out to prove that she was picked only because of her legendary father...."

"In Episode Two, the pair arrives in space and Kazumi is challenged by the pilot "genius" Jung-Freud. Noriko and Kazumi are sent to investigate an alien object which has entered the solar system. Noriko is brought face to face with her greatest nightmare!"

Director:         Hideaki Anno
Screenplay:       Toshio Okada
Character Design: Haruhiko Mikimoto
Mecha Design:     Kazuki Miyatake & Koichi Ohata
Copyright:        Victor/Gainax/B.M.D.

Label:            Kiseki Films
Language Format:  Japanese Language, English Subtitles

Volume no.:       1              2              3
Running time:     55             55             55
Certificate:      PG             PG(cut)        PG
Catalogue no:     KIS 94006      KIS 94014      KIS 94023
Price:            £10.99         £10.99         £10.99
Release Date:     20th Apr 1994  16th May 1994  25th Jul 1994

All three volumes were re-released in 1996 for £5.99
each, and again in 2000 for £7.99 each.

Compilation version:
Label:            Kiseki Films
Language Format:  Japanese Language, English Subtitles
Running time:     ?
Certificate:      PG
Catalogue no:     KIS 95002
Price:            £19.99
Release Date:     5th December 1994

DVD version:
Label:            Kiseki Films
Language Format:  Japanese Language, English Subtitles
Running time:     165 mins
Certificate:      PG
Catalogue no:     PAR 61110
Price:            £19.99
Release Date:     23rd April 2001


Volume 1:

The first episode of Gunbuster was one of the first subtitled anime I ever saw, and it remains one of my favourites. The story concerns Noriko Takaya, an ambitious student whose only wish is to follow in her late fathers footsteps as a space pilot. Noriko's wish is granted, as she is chosen along with Kazumi Amano to join the Earth Space Force, created to defend against an approaching alien invasion. The story details Noriko's progression from high school student to world saviour in the course of months. Or depending on your point of view it could be years, since Einstein's theory of relativity is adhered to strictly in Gunbuster, with time passing more rapidly on Earth during Noriko's time in space. When this first happens, she only misses a few months, but as the series progresses she finds her school friends aging rapidly while she remains sixteen. This is just one of the themes of the series which is handled well.

The tone in these first two episodes is very light hearted at times, but becomes gradually more serious as the series progresses. The production is by the now legendary Gainax studio, whose origin as fans themselves shows through in many aspects of the series. The most famous example is the well known 'Gainax Bounce'TM (a cute jiggle that the female characters have) which appeared here for the first time, and has been adopted my many animators since. The series parodies a lot of traditional anime themes, particularly sports anime and big robot shows, but never becomes camp enough to detract from the story. An essential purchase for anime fans everywhere. [Jonathan Weeks]

Volume 2:

The story continues! Like Jonathan, who reviewed Vol. 1 last issue, I came across Gunbuster quite soon after entering anime-fandom. It is great to see it released over here at a very reasonable £10.99.

These 2 episodes are a mixture of mecha, madness and sadness. In the first episode 'First Love, First Sortie' Noriko meets Smith while she is on a dare and she soon falls in love with him.

When 'Big Sister' loses confidence in Noriko, and splits their partnership, Noriko teams up with Smith. Tragically Smith gets killed when they go into battle for the first time.

In the second episode 'The uncompleted final weapon' Noriko and the rest of the fleet are heading back to The Earth when they are attacked by the enemy. Although most of the ships are destroyed, the 'top' team are sent to attack the aliens. Because she has lost her nerve Coach stops Noriko from going with the others, and she is forced to stay on board the ship.

This is the final straw, and she really feels sorry for herself, and she decides that she has to buck her ideas up. Unauthorised, she takes out the Gunbuster and attacks the alien mothership, and somehow she manages to destroy it. The aliens retreat and Noriko returns a hero.

Gunbuster is full of contrasts, Cute girls controlling mecha, that smash the hell out of aliens. The sadness of Smith's death also contrasts with the lunacy of the SD pseudo science lessons.

It may be a parody, but Smith's death gets to me every time which is a sign of good anime. If you have not bought it already, go out and buy it. [Steve Whitcher]

Volume 3:

Episode 5 "Hope! Time for Love!": Although only a few months have passed for the crew of the Excelion, ten years have passed on Earth. Noriko and Kazumi receive their school diplomas ten years after their class mates.

High command are planning to evacuate the planet, as they have detected a swarm of space monsters are heading for the earth. Unfortunately there are neither enough ships for a full evacuation, nor enough firepower to counter the invasion.

Coach Ota is dying, but as Gunbuster is humanity's only hope, Noriko and Kazumi have to pilot the Gunbuster. The plan is to escort the Excelion to the centre of the swarm, and to blow it up causing a black hole to suck up the swarm. Will the plan work.......

Episode 6: Fifteen years have passed since the last battle. Kazumi bids farewell to her dead husband Coach Ota, she is about to go into space again. Kazumi is going to pilot Buster 3, a black hole bomb, formed by compressing the planet Jupiter. She meets Noriko for the first time in 15 years, but for Noriko it was only 6 months. The space monsters are not going to be wiped out so easily, and hundreds of thousands of humans are killed defending Buster 3. The Buster 3 doesn't have the power to implode by its self. Noriko and Kazumi decide to use Gunbuster to jump start Buster 3, they will be killed in the implosion, but humanity will be saved.

The Gunbuster just about struggles to get away from the Buster 3, but is enveloped in extreme slow time created by the implosion. Gunbuster limps back to earth where 12 thousand years have passed. The 2 pilots feel apprehensive, as they wonder what has happened to the earth in 12 thousand years. The word "Okaerinasai" ("Welcome Home") appears in lights on the planet's surface.

As I said in my review of volume 2, It may be parody, but the sadness, the self sacrifice gets to me every time. If you haven't bought it get, go out and buy it. [Steve Whitcher]

If all anime was this good, would we still need human actors? (Well, actually, yes, as anime and live action are two different kettles of sushi). I hope, however, you get my point. I've been consistently impressed by this series since episode 1 and the finale hasn't disappointed, except for the stupid positioning of the timecode across the sub-title strip which left me guessing what some of the dialogue was.

Gunbuster has a good script, excellent characterisation and mecha that looks like it could work. Also, the sociological problems of time dilation are dealt with better than anywhere else in the cinema - Star Wars, for instance, totally ignores it.

The only dislikes I have are the nudity which, whilst not pornographic, is obviously meant to titillate and is therefore unnecessary, and the Gunbuster itself, a technological marvel but yet another transformer and I'm fed up with transformers. Having said that, it's the best one I've seen.

I was a little nonplussed when the last episode came up in black and white, but it works very well, as does the almost surreal use of still sketches to show the last fleet-to-fleet action.

All in all, thoroughly recommended. Both episodes stand up as individual stories, but see the previous episodes first to get the best out of these ones. [Marlon Seton]

Comment from newsgroups:

Gunbuster has got to be a classic - a wonderful story of a girl overcoming
her self doubts and becoming a strong human being.  The animation is
incredible - if you love Sci-fi you will love how they explain their laws of
physics (which they do - in detail)

highly recommend it to anybody.

Am I the only person who thinks Gunbuster is 
silly?  I mean, silly in a "God I don't want to watch any more ham-handed 
attempts at drama, even if they're supposed to be mocking it".  It wasn't 
quite a drama, it wasn't quite a parody - it was just silly.  And I REALLY 
didn't appreciate all the damn fan-service and Gainax "bounce" in it.  I was 
really pissed about it, frankly.  I felt it took any credibility you could 
scrape together from the script, and just chucked it out the window.

And, I swear, if Noriko cried one more time......UUUGGGHHH!
Though Vol II, the one where Noriko loves and looses Smith, is 
very well done.  I wish the rest of the series could have adopted the 
integrity of Vol II.

Anand Chelian:
I found that the secret to enjoying Gunbuster is to be able to enjoy
both the parody and the plot at the same time.  Granted this is not as
easy as it sounds.  Perhaps Gunbuster should be watched twice, once
for plot, and once for parody.

Gunbuster manages to have the same section serve as both plot and
parody, which probably pisses a lot of people off.  I personally liked
it a lot.

Robyn, Duke of Amber:
The who point of Gunbuster is that it is
 "the Parody that walks like an Epic"
  it is also the is a glorious piece of work.....
 It is what happens when you say
 "Let's make a stupid girl and a giant robot movie" 
 and it becomes more than becomes an opera (abet a comic one at 
times) which has the strength to draw emotions from both the comic andthe 
tragic. It also deals with the coming of age and matuation process. It 
strives to show growth and determination really do suceed even if you are 
making fun of these things at the same time.
 Gunbuster as you can guess is a favorite of mine....
 It does not suck......Hell, I'dd want to go into space like my father as