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Arcade in the Sky Blog: Gunbuster 2

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gunbuster 2

The other day I went out for a drive, just to clear my head. I found myself at the mall where my old haunt, Saturday Night Matinee was still up and running. They were still stocked with all sorts of anime. I browsed their anime wall to find that they seemed to have a new policy of buying back anime and reselling it cheap, not unlike GameStop and video games. There was some good deals there, but one hit me like a ton of bricks. Gunbuster 2 volume 1 for 4.99. The Gunbuster box set never came down below 62 dollar-last I checked, and Gunbuster 2 was a whopping 32 dollars a volume. They're selling it for $4.99? Are they insane? In inspected the box of this too-good-to-be-true deal to find the plastic had ripped, but the box was unopened. I got it right away before any store clerk could realize the error.

Of course, now I'm hooked into buying the other two volumes at full price, but for now lets look at volume 1...

For those who read my thoughts on the first Gunbuster, you'll know that the first two episodes don't indicate where the series will end up, at least in tone. Knowing this, it should be fun to review each volume of Gunbuster 2 separately.

The series starts with Nono, a young girl from a snowy mountain town who travels to the big city to be a space pilot. Her journey is burdened by her clumsiness and the fact that almost everything she touches breaks (or more accurately, splits). She needs to wear a maid costume with a ridiculously short skirt. Fan Service! She is saved from some Giant mechs on shore leave by a girl and her sticker on her forehead. She is a member of the topless, a group of space pilots with the ability to shed the top layer of their psyche and bend reality with their mind powers. A necessity for piloting giant robots, or "Buster Machines".

I don't need point out how poorly chosen that name is. Even the mentally challenged Nono points this out.

I'll stop there to avoid spoilers, but I will say that the story is crazy and filled with action. It's tone is informed more from FLCL than Gunbuster, which is fine by me. The design work is very refreshing and "out there". While the first episodes seem filled with silliness, I'm forced to note that the first Gunbuster was that way also.

I really like the music and art. The first episode lacks the opening title, which I find to be a good choice. Sci-fi first episodes are burdened with establishing all the characters as well as the setting and all the special rules that come along with it. Jumping straight into the story is a wise choice. Plus, opening titles often recycle animation from later in the episodes, so it sort of amounts to a spoiler. The songs they did use in the opening and end titles are delightful.

I'm going to stick with this, but don't think I won't sneak off to Saturday Night Matinee to look for some more deals. I'm a cheap bastard.
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