We’re joined by longtime mecha enthusiast Rob Lantz as we offer up a mostly spoiler-free review of Gerald’s favorite OVA series of all time: 1988’s Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, the pro directorial debut of Hideaki Anno and one of the first subtitled anime ever legally released in the United States which is now available on Blu-Ray. It’s uh, kind of a big deal.
Introduction (0:00 – 46:55)
As a member of what he calls the second generation of American anime fandom, Rob tells us about how he discovered Japanese animation along with his forays into East Coast anime conventions starting in the mid-1990s. With the Spring 2023 anime season having just concluded, we go over what we finished up watching recently. As the Summer 2023 anime season just starting off is decidedly slim as far as offerings that appeal to us (56 shows, and maybe only 1 or 2 that seem to have potential), most of us are using the opportunity to go through some of the neverending backlog. You’ll probably want to do the same!
Promo: Shoujo Sundae (10:27 – 10:58)
It’s been ages since we got one of these, so as a reminder: if you have an anime podcast that’s been running for more than 10 episodes, send us your 30-60 second promo and we’ll run it! I suppose in return you could run our promo, but it dawns on us that we only ever really made one promo which consists primarily of someone that isn’t any of us speaking. Anyway, Giana Luna and Chika Supreme are doing an ACTUAL weekly podcast in which they cover anime targeted to girls and have just finished up their rewatch of the classic shoujo series Ouran High School Host Club. Yes, we regret to inform you that the manga for Ouran is now over 20 years old and the anime is now from 17 years ago, so it’s now considered a classic. Even our review of it was from 2006.
Promo: Right Stuf Anime (46:56 – 49:13)
It’s Right Stuf’s 36th birthday sale! That means pretty much everything is on sale this month, and every day there are 24-hour Mega Deals with even deeper discounts. (If you missed one, usually you get a second chance at the end of the month when all the previous mega deals are active for a day.) Also included are manga/artbook/novel bundles, plus there are weekly contests to enter! As always, any purchases made after visiting Right Stuf from our affiliate links will grant us a small commission fee, which we’ll put towards paying for our hosting as well as our Discord Nitro. Be sure to check the AWO Discord (viewable to all, but Patreon backers can post) for details regarding our upcoming virtual panels and such!
Review: Aim for the Top! Gunbuster (49:13 – 1:50:18)
No pressure or anything, as it’s only Gerald’s favorite OVA of all time. 1988’s Aim for the Top! Gunbuster might not have been the first thing they made, and maybe this other thing from the 1990s became far more popular, and maybe in different decades the studio came to embody very different things for very different generations of anime fans, but when we think of the definitive “Gainax anime,” this is the one. The (professional) directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, practically every single person who worked on Gunbuster became a top-tier talent in their respective field. Entire books/podcasts/YouTube channels/social media accounts can be devoted to drilling down into the histories and resumes of everybody who brought this into existence, but all you have to know is that after years and years, you can once again–get this–WATCH GUNBUSTER. Because we are operating under the blind optimism that there is a generation of people out there who haven’t seen Gunbuster but have heard of its reputation, we (for the most part) do not delve heavily into the specifics of what happens in Gunbuster past the first episode or two.
Discotek has released a pretty great Blu-Ray which you can buy here, and for the first time you can watch it as well as the series that inspired its initial beginnings: Aim for the Ace!. If you’re daunted by the notion of watching a half century old cartoon made for TV, consider watching the far more lavishly animated (and far shorter) Aim For the Ace: The Movie instead.
Rob got to hang out with Noriko Hidaka once. She may have several high-profile roles, but if you’re going to get a line recital video, there is truly only one choice to make: