harakiri's Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Ova Review

Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Screenshot L`Arc is the best pilot. Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Screenshot A giant buster machine is launched. Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Screenshot Nono really wants to become a pilot. Top o Nerae! Gunbuster Screenshot Chiko doesn`t like Nono.

Top o Nerae! Gunbuster ova Review

Despite her talent, and her desire to follow her dead father into space, Noriko Takaya is a perennial underachiever at the Okinawa high school for girl pilots. But her life it turned upside down when new coach Ota picks her to go into space along with "big sister" Kazumi Amano. But the enemy that humanity faces is unreasonable and powerful, without being evil. Can Noriko overcome her personal demons and lack of practice to become a key part of humanity's fight? And what if they return? At the speeds their ships go at, what seem like weeks become years on Earth. What might ultimately be the cost of savng humanity?

Gunbuster blends parody, action and drama, and has inspired a (so far, lighter) sequel.

Credits: minebann

Story & Playability

This is a review of Diebuster (Gunbuster 2), not Gunbuster from 1988.

Top wo Nerae 2 is the remake of the similarly named series from 1988 that was directed by Hideaki Anno. Celebrating its 20th birthday in 2004 GAINAX launched this series (vintage 2004-2006) that is directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki. The series is about a handfull of young people who pilot giant robots in a battle against space monsters. Nono is a waitress but wants to become a space pilot, too. By coincidence she is saved from a pinch by a real pilot called L`Arc - that is when the adventure begins.

With the six episodes being released in the very long period of two years every episode needs to be an episodic story but still needs to fit into the overall context. I think the "monster of the week" (or rather of "four months") was combined very well with the climatic storytelling heading towards an over-the-top final so that the episodic nature is conceiled.

The characters are quite nice and diversified. Nono is standing out because of her happy and goofy nature. She changes during the show and developes a rather deep personality at the end. The other characters have interesting stories and goals, too.

Rating: 7


The art and animation is splendid. The characters where design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto who already did the designs for Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL (Furi Kuri) and a lot of other GAINAX shows. The quiet and elegant designs were interpreted by the animators in a hyper dynamic manner that is similar to the animation style in FLCL (Furi Kuri).
But it is not the same as in FLCL. With the latter show relying on soft colours, few shadowing and light effects, Top wo Nerae 2 is totally different. It is almost overloaded with explosions, blue sparkling and cartoonish metallic reflections. It is very pleasant to see that those special effects were mostly hand drawn and not digitally generated by a computer. The use of computer generated imagery (3D) is rather low. Most of the battle scences are in good old hand drawn 2D style but manage to show work-intense and detailed battle moves. This makes this series and outstanding example for dynamic and very stylish animation as we love it from studio GAINAX.

Rating: 10


Here and there the music is the same as in Anno�´s original work from 1988 and fits in very well. It strongly sets the mood and influences the way the viewer recepts the visuals positively. Giant battle scences are even more gigantic and quiet scences are even sadder with monumental orchestra-tracks or quiet piano works, respectively. The sound effects fit in very well and are similar to those in other GAINAX shows.

Rating: 10


This series is presented in an over the top and exagerrated manner that is very typical for Kazuya Tsurumaki who already created and directed FLCL (Furi Kuri) and who is responsible for the direction in Rebuild of Evangelion (theatrical series). Some scences defy scientific logic but are visually entertaining and impressing. If you regard Top wo Nerae 2 just an action series then the presentation would be flawless.
Unfortunately the over all pacing may be not balanced that well. With episode one to four heading twords an action laden climax, episode 5 seems rather slowly paced and a bit out of place because of its chilly and calm mood. Fortunately the final episode returns to the original over the top style.

Fans who expect Top wo Nerae 2 to be a worthy sequel to the related series from 1988 might be disappointed because the new show does not manage to be as sophisticated as Anno�´s original work.
Although containg a lot of dramatic scences and turning points Top wo Nerae still remains a rather light hearted and a style-over-substance animation series because its strongpoints lies in fighting mechs and exploding things. Its final episode though remains in mind for a long time because of its style and creativity.

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

8.00 (good)

Reviewed by harakiri, Jan 11, 2007


  1. shoujoboy Jan 12, 2007

    Overall not a bad review but I have two slight recommendations. One, be a bit more descriptive. While the sound department was mentioned in terms of music, the specifics weren't mentioned like voice acting. The other is I'm not sure if you are typing into MS Word or something before you put it on the site, but you have to make sure that the format transfers over correctly. Things like Anno

  2. valerie34896 Jan 14, 2007

    nice art i like them!i like the forth pic awsome ! (:

  3. Zyndarius Jan 26, 2007

    Pretty good, nice intro and that of the separated section was really comfortable to read ^^

  4. SchRita Jan 15, 2010

    Thanks for the review!

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