|Aim For The Top! Gunbuster, or as it is known in Japan, Top O Nerae! Gunbuster ( トップをねらえ！), was released
by Bandai Visual/Victor Entertainment during the late eighties. It is perhaps one of the most endearing anime series to
ever come out of Japan. It was also Gainax Studio's first foray in producing quality animation in the OVA format, being
as the company's founders were themselves serious fans of anime. Aim for the Top! Gunbuster basically started off as a
parody of the giant robot genre in anime which had become such a fixture in Japanese pop culture. The creators even
went so far as to parody a series that had aired on television during the 1970's, Ace O Nerae! (Aim for the Ace!), which
served as the basis for Gunbuster's story. Both stories were somewhat similar, almost to the point of sheer copyright
infringement. In both, each lead character had to beat impossible odds to achieve what they most wanted out of life
(One wanting to be a top pilot, and the other wanting to become the best tennis player). Elements of other works of art
were also to be found in Gunbuster. If you look hard enough, you'll find that Gunbuster shares a similarity to Robert
Heinlein's book Starship Troopers as well as Paramount Picture's Top Gun.
And while the basis of the series as a parody began to unfold, Aim for the Top! suddenly made an unexpected turn and
became something which surprised its viewers: the narrative began to gradually tilt toward serious drama. The
psychological turmoil of the lead character Noriko Takaya set a precedent amount of events into motion which gave the
series' ending a rather dramatic climax. This sense of drama coupled with the comedic intention of a parody created a
classic anime series which still to this day holds up to the test of time. Studio Gainax's in-jokes were also quite easy to
find if you were careful to look. Noriko turned out to be an otaku (fan of anime; or more accurately, obsessed fan). Two
of her favorite shows were Space Battleship Yamato and Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. She also loved heavy metal
music as was evident by the Van Halen poster hanging in her living quarters. There was even a shot of the miniature
submarine from the 20th Century-Fox movie Fantastic Voyage floating over the hull of the Exelion. Most of the
characters were also loosely named off of real employees at Gainax. The character of Smith Toren is actually a real
person who provided help on translating the series into English and provides some background voice work. He founded
the company Studio Proteus here in America. The name of Jung-Freud was a joke in itself also, being as it's the name
of two famous psychologists.
Other things to note which were humorous were the 'science lessons' given by super-deformed versions of Noriko and
Kazumi in-between episodes. Most of the science was conjured up totally out of nothing, while the phenomenon of time
dilation used in the series is something which is believed to be possible. This last fact is rather interesting to note as
while years pass by with unprecedented speed, Noriko is basically the same age by episode six as when the series
started. And this last fact is what is generally thought of as Gunbuster's strongest point, and why it as a series remains
so endearingly popular. And because of this popularity, Gainax has seen fit to produce a sequel, aptly titled Aim for the
Top! 2, the first volume of which was released in November of 2004.
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The Gunbuster Index is copyright © 1999, 2021 Carl E. Lindblom Jr. Any
unauthorized reproduction of the author's published materials without expressed
written consent is a violation of law. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2021 Exelion Production Committee.