Reviews: Die Buster

I saw no reason to continue watching

I enjoyed Gunbuster, a short show, had its flaw but still managed to be a mark in the animé story. So, it was only natural that I watched its sequel Diebuster. However I couldn't pass from the first episode.

The main reason for this was Nono. It starts with the first scene, I start to have problems with her design: why the heck is she wearing a skirt in the middle of the winter?

Episode goes, it shows her working in the restaurant, having Twenty Minutes With Jerks and fangirling over Lal'C, nothing happens until the attack of the Space Monster, military is useless, so it's up to the ace Lal'C to save the world and then she can't do it alone and Nono helps, because she is the protagonist.

During the episode, Nono was portrayed as an immature, brash girl, she has an energetic personality, but it just came out as an annoying girl for me, but the main problem was the "fanservice" (notice the quotation marks). I once wrote that "to deny fanservice in a shonen anime would be an act on par with clubbing baby dolphins to death with carcasses of dead baby seals", so we just have to live with it and enjoy (after all, it's a Guilty Pleasure), after all isn't there an internet rule about it? But that's not the main problem: fanservice can be seen as annoying because a character shouldn't be defined by its looks only (especially in the case of women) and even alienating (during the Brazilian military dictatorship, there was a Culture Police that prohibited anything that could be seen as against the system and the only thing they allowed without restrictions were the 'pornochanchadas', softcore porn that were used as Bread And Circuses).

And it seemed to me like that every fetish of the production team was sewn in one character. The climax was that Nono rips off her clothes only for the sake of a pun. That was too much for me, I decided to abandon Diebuster at that point (compare with Gunbuster, Noriko rips off her clothes in the final battle, but it was a dramatic moment, there was nudity it wasn't fanservice-y).

And then I read the spoilers in the main page, it was even worse, because it showed another facet: Noriko had potential and had to work hard to make it work, while Nono works hard but it seems independent from her power, she was just Born Lucky, and I think it subverts the original intent.

A Superb Mecha Classic

On the surface, the lighthearted fanservice and Nono seem overwhelming. But as a companion piece to "Gunbuster", it completes the powerful theme of effort and guts overcoming fear. The Topless were given their power through no effort of their own, and so act like spoiled children. But, if watched after Gunbuster, it soon becomes apparent that all of humanity is as childish as the Topless for reasons no one can remember. Nono isn't the hero — she's a guide and hope for the world, and helps Lal'C overcome her fears and become a true hero.

To say nothing of the fights. If the fanservice turns you away, if interesting character interaction isn't your thing, then at least stay for the most epic fights in mecha history. This is the big sister series of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and it shows. The sheer scale is so overwhelmingly vast that it can scarcely be believed. It truly feels as if the fate of the universe is at stake. They may be short, but they are some of the most memorable sequences in anime.

Overall, Gunbuster seems to be the more beloved series for its direct, well-executed message, and Nono's surprise strength does feel at odds with her message at times. But Die Buster shows incredible subtlety with its themes, and is a well crafted coming of age story space opera. "Die Buster" is an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you laughing, cheering, and crying like a baby.

With a little fanservice for some fun.