August 14, 2008 by  

“Both ‘Gunbuster’ and ‘Gunbuster 2’ series get a film adaption but that means a trimming of scenes from the OAV series but on the positive side, new audio is featured for the original ‘Gunbuster’ and new footage included for ‘Gunbuster 2’.”


DVD TITLE: GUNBUSTER vs DIEBUSTER – THE GATTAI!! MOVIE – AIM FOR THE TOP! DVD-BOX (aka Top o Nerae 2! & Top o Nerae! Gattai Gekijouban)

DURATION: 190 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital Stereo, Japanese language, English Subtitles, Region 1

CATALOG #: BUDH0138/013

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honnemaise

Released back in 2004

Gunbuster the Movie – As humanity sets out for distance space, a Machine Weapon squadron is created to combat the onrushing opposition of the Space Monsters! To avenger her father’s death and to win victory for all mankind, Noriko Takaya, scouted for her potential, joins her “One-sama,” Kazumi Amano, aiming to become an elite pilot -a “Top!” The curtain rises on their hard and perilous battle!! – Diebuster the Movie – In a future where the Space Monsters resume their invasion of the Sol System, the abilities of the young men and women known as the Topless, and their Buster Machines, are mankind’s final line of defense! One day, runaway girl Nono sets out for the capital to become a space pilot, and meets the figther ace Lal’C…neither realizing that the future of humanity rests on both of them!

I love this series so much. I needed to get that out first.

With my reviews for the first “Gunbuster” (Top o Nerae!) box set and then the DVD’s for “Gunbuster 2” (Top o Nerae! 2 aka Diebuster), when I first heard about the film projects, which literally are abridged versions of the OAV series, at first I was a bit skeptical because there is so much storyline and character development, to try and make a movies out of these series, something has to suffer right?

Well, part of the exciting experiences of being a “Gunbuster” fan was the realization that the original voice actors were going to re-record their lines, there would be new sound effects and a 5.1 digital audio track.

As for “Gunbuster 2”, the film would feature new footage.

While my original reviews go into more detail on the films, I’ll give my impressions of each film.

For “Top o Nerae” (Aim for the Top Gunbuster) or “Gunbuster” was the directorial debut of acclaimed director Hideaki Anno, Gunbuster is a legendary anime fan favorite that casts pretty girls and giant robots into a moving epic of insterstellar naval war.

2015: Earth’s first faster-than-light ship, the Luxion, is lost, attacked by unidentified space monsters in the Perseus Arm. Six years later, Noriko Takaya, daughter of the Luxion’s commander, enters the Okinawa girls’ Space Pilot High School, vowing to be a pilot and follow her father’s trail to the stars. But is she prepared for the intense training to become a member of the elite Top Squadron? Noriko’s fight has just begun-and the fate of all humanity depends on her meeting the challenge!

The film features parts of the six OAV’s spliced together in one film. You lose a lot of the character development and the challenges that made the OAV really special. So, the things that you may have enjoyed from OAV episodes 1-3 which feature the struggles and challenges Noriko had to overcome, these are the segments that are cut the most and only a few parts are featured in the film.

But despite the cuts, the film manages to take the essential parts from the series and in all sense and purpose, the main focus and storyline of Takaya Noriko become a beginner and then training to become a talented pilot is featured.

And again, it’s understandable because it is a film and the cuts were necessary, otherwise if we didn’t want to watch it with the cuts, you can always forego film and focus on the OAV series.

If anything, the fourth and the fifth final OAV from “Gunbuster” is probably the only part from the series that doesn’t receive that many cuts or any cuts at all.

As mentioned before, with a new digital 5.1 track, that would mean that the film would have to be recreated audio-wise. Bringing back the original actors for voice work and adding more special effects.

The audio is indeed clearer and truthfully, I did not notice much of a difference between Hidaka Noriko’s voice work of the main character Noriko but those who have seen the film have said her voicework is much more polished.

So, overall staying with what Bandai Visual/Honneamise are known best for, it’s providing a high quality video and audio encoding on the DVD. And by saying that, as a Bandai Visual release, there is no English dub. So, if you are really hoping the new audio would bring possibly an English dub release, you won’t find it in this box set.

Unfortunately, the special features are just text bios and unfortunately, there are no video interviews or anything. (note: An announcement was made that the Japanese Blu-ray edition will feature interviews and more special features, let’s hope the film receives the same treatment if there is a Blu-ray release in the US.)

As for “Top o Nerae 2 – Diebuster” (or Gunbuster 2),the original “Gunbuster” OAV series had Anno Hideaki directing, the new series would feature “FLCL’s” Tsurumaki Kazuya as the original planner and director, Enokido Yoji writing the screenplay and character designs by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki. So, that alone had people guessing how three of the people behind “FLCL” would do in creating “Gunbuster 2″ would definitely be interesting.

For “Gunbuster 2”, we are introduced to Nono and Lal’C. Lal’C is part of the group know as the “topless” who are Gunbuster pilots and members of the Anti-Space Monster Interception Squad of the Fraternity. For Nono, she wants to be like the historic pilot known as Nono-Riri. And her first meeting with a “topless” has made her want to become a Gunbuster pilot even more. But what was revealed is that Nono is not your average type of person. She is a robot that happens to have some special abilities. You also start to realize that the space monsters are still there and ruthless than before.

As for the film, similar to “Gunbuster”, parts of the OAV series are cut to make an abridged film version. Whereas the original was created in 1988 and had to feature a new soundtrack, “Gunbuster 2” was created in 2004 and featured newer footage and the cuts made weren’t too bad.

Where “Gunbuster” really took you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, the main focus of “Gunbuster 2” of an android Nono who wants to be a pilot is there.

There wasn’t that much of an emotional ride in “Gunbuster 2” until later in the series and thus, a lot of that emotional bond between Nono and Lal’c remains in the film.

There are some noticeable changes such as the scene from the OAV series starting out with Nono getting her name (Nono Riri) from Noriko (main character from the original Gunbuster) and also, the film does not feature Nono’s amazing attack abilities that she displayed in the first episode, it’s not featured in the early part of the film.

Also, instead of focusing on other pilots and how Nono was treated by them, the main focus is on the friendship between Nono and Lal’C.

So, of the two films, “Gunbuster 2” came out the best mainly because the majority of the story really kicks in during the latter half of the OAV series whereas the original, I felt that each episode was equally important.

Nevertheless, the ending scene from “Gunbuster 2” and how it ties into the first “Gunbuster” was just touching and overall, I enjoyed the film version of “Gunbuster 2”.

As for video and audio quality, top notch audio and video encoding from Bandai Visual/Honneamise since it’s a newer anime series and the colors are quite vibrant. Sound very clear and good use of audio direction coming from the speakers. And for those looking for an English dub, there is no English audio option for this DVD as well.

Of course, the OAV series featured important special features and featurettes that made me enjoy “Gunbuster 2” so much more, there are only text bios of the staff featured on the disc. No special features in terms of interviews or featurettes.

What the box set does include are two booklets for both films with some technical jargon definitions, character bios and information on the mecha and spacecraft.

Included are 11 post cards which feature a heroine comparison between Takaya Noriko and Nono, Kazumi and Lal’C, Gunbuster’s Top Squadron and Gunbuster 2’s Fraternity and more. Also, comparisons for costumes, machine weapons, buster machine, cockpit, space monster, flagship comparisons and much more.

Last but not least, included is a Certification Exam for the hardcore “Gunbuster” fans and fans can take the exam online from the Bandai Visual website.

I guess the big question people wonder is if you own the OAV series, would you want the “Gattaii!! Movie” box-set?

My feeling on this is that, personally, I would go nuts if I was a “Gunbuster” fan and knew that despite the cuts made to the OAV series to make a feature film, not only do you get a film with a new audio track and another film with new footage.

Similar to Mobile Suit Gundam’s 08th MS Team “Miller Report” anime special, for that you only received several minutes of new footage and some people felt it wasn’t worth it. I felt that extra footage 1 minutes or more minutes, it’s still worth owning if you were a big fan and really enjoyed the series. The same goes with this box set.

And the same goes with this film. There is more than just a few minutes, you get the original cast from the first OAV series (which was created back in 1988) and having them redub the vocals over 15 years later. That’s pretty cool! Granted, I wish there were special features featuring those character’s return and an interview with them.

But of course, if you truly want to enjoy the series thoroughly, I highly recommend purchasing the OAV series.

And if you own the OAV series for both “Gunbuster” and “Gunbuster 2”, this “GATTAI!! MOVIE” box set is worth it because it’s two “Gunbuster” films and it features some new audio or footage

As for the personal experience, I’ll be truthful that the enjoyment for both series was watching the original OAV series. And the inclusion of the booklets and special features, especially for “Gunbuster 2” really enhanced my appreciation for it.

This movie box set was more of a side dish after a wonderful dinner. The question is if you are hungry enough to purchase that side dish.

I have no idea if the Blu-Ray version of this set will be coming out, because if it is, you may want to wait since the Japanese version just announced mentioned interviews included in the special features.

But if it’s not going to be released and if you don’t own the OAV series yet, I recommend purchasing the OAV series first. The OAV series in its original format are just a blast to watch, do come with some special features especially for “Gunbuster 2”. And both come with informative booklets that really make you appreciate the OAV series even more.

And if you enjoy and fell in love with both OAV series like I did, then definitely check out this box set!

UPDATE: The Blu-ray for this box set will be released in the US. In addition to 1080p High Definition visuals and lossless audio, the first titles will be subtitled in English and French, and multi-lingual dubbing is being decided on a title-by-title basis. The products, to be released in Japan, North America, France and UK, will be identical to domestic Japanese products except that translated notes may be added in some cases.

Street Date: November 21, 2008 (Japan); Nov. 25 (USA); Dec. 2 (France); Nov. 24 (UK)
Pricing: 14,800 JPY(Japan); 99.98 USD(USA); 64.99 EUR(France); 49.99 GBP (UK)
Product: Three (3) Blu-ray Disc Box Set/COLOR(partly B/W)/approx. 280 min. /
Japanese Language/English & French Subtitles
Technical: Disc 1 (GUNBUSTER The Movie): Dolby True HD 5.1ch (Linear PCM
Stereo) / AVC / BD-50G /4:3, partly 16:9 [1080p Hi-Def]
Disc 2 (DIEBUSTER The Movie): Dolby True HD 5.1ch (Linear PCM
Stereo) / AVC / BD-50G /16:9 [1080p Hi-Def]
Disc 3 (Bonus Disc): Linear PCM Stereo / AVC / BD-50G /16:9, partly 4:3
[1080p Hi-Def]
Bonus Items: Two (2) Booklets with English/French translation notes.

+ Anything “Gunbuster” related is a plus!

+ New audio for “Gunbuster”, new footage for “Gunbuster 2”

+ Both “Gunbuster” and “Gunbuster 2” OAV series get the film treatment

– Because they are films, the OAV series had to be trimmed and a lot of the character development between the main character and other characters are not explored thoroughly in the film version.

– No English dub for those who want that option.


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