Ranked #520

Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster

Alternative Titles

English: Gunbuster
Synonyms: Top wo Nerae!, Aim for the Top!
Japanese: トップをねらえ! GunBuster


Type: OVA
Episodes: 6
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 7, 1988 to Jul 7, 1989
Season: Fall 1988 to Summer 1989
Producers: Gainax, Studio Fantasia
Duration: 30 min. per ep.
Rating: R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company


Score: 8.001 (scored by 19,136 users)
Ranked: #5202
Popularity: #1035
Members: 38,928
Favorites: 905
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.


In the very near future, a race of huge, insect-like aliens is discovered traveling the galaxy. These aliens seem dedicated to the eradication of the human species as it takes its first steps away from the solar system, and they are getting closer and closer to Earth. Humanity has responded by developing space-going battleships and giant fighting robots. These robots are piloted by the best and brightest of Earth's youth, picked from training schools around the world.

The story begins in the year 2023, not long after the first battles with the aliens, and centers on young Noriko Takaya. Although Noriko's father was a famous captain in the space fleet who was killed during one of the first battles of the war, her own talents as a pilot are questionable. Nonetheless, she has entered a training school. Through the series Noriko, joined by the beautiful and talented Kazumi Amano, will fight to overcome the trauma of war, the doubts of her peers, and her own lack of confidence.

(Source: AniDB)


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Related Anime

Characters & Voice Actors

Takaya, Noriko
Takaya, Noriko
Hidaka, Noriko
Hidaka, Noriko
Oota, Kouichirou
Oota, Kouichirou
Wakamoto, Norio
Wakamoto, Norio
Amano, Kazumi
Amano, Kazumi
Sakuma, Rei
Sakuma, Rei
Freud, Jung
Freud, Jung
Kawamura, Maria
Kawamura, Maria


Watanabe, Shigeru
Watanabe, Shigeru
Anno, Hideaki
Anno, Hideaki
Director, Storyboard, Key Animation, Screenplay
Masuo, Shouichi
Masuo, Shouichi
Episode Director
Okada, Toshio
Okada, Toshio
Script, Theme Song Lyrics, Screenplay, Planning, Creator

More episodes Episodes(6/6)

# Episode Title Aired
1 Shock! Big Sister and I are Going to be Pilots Together?!
Shock! Watashi to Onee-sama ga Pilot!? (ショック!私とお姉様がパイロット!?)
Oct 7, 1988
2 Daring! The Girl Genius Challenger!!
Futeki! Tensai Shojo no Chosen!! (不敵!天才少女の挑戦!!)
Oct 17, 1988
3 First Love☆First Sortie
Hajimete no Tokimeki☆Hajimete no Shutsugeki (初めてのときめき☆初めての出撃)
Jan 1, 1989
4 Launch!! The Incomplete Ultimate Weapon!
Hasshin!! Mikan no Saishuu Heiki! (発進!!未完の最終兵器!)
Jan 1, 1989
5 Please!! Time Enough for Love!
Onegai!! Ai ni Jikan wo! (お願い!!愛に時間を!)
Jul 7, 1989

Opening Theme

"Active Heart" by Noriko Sakai (eps 1-3)

Ending Theme

#1: "Try Again" by Noriko Sakai (eps 1-3)
#2: "Active Heart" by Noriko Sakai (ep 4)
#3: "Toki no Kawa wo Koete..." by Kohei Tanaka (ep 6)

Write a review | More reviewsReviews

Jan 4, 2009 4:12 PM
There is an ongoing controversy about Neon Genesis Evangelion and it's status as an iconic anime. As much as I dislike the main characters, I have to agree that NGE is a classic anime for many reasons. However, many diehard fans of the show become blinded to NGE's superior onee-chan, the show which marked the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno in anime - Top wo Nerae!

In the simplest terms, if Top wo Nerae! didn't exist, the NGE would never have been made. Many of the themes from TwN are key themes of NGE, and although NGE took a more metaphysical route with it's story, Top read more
I found this review Helpful
May 29, 2013 6:58 PM
Gunbuster starts with a fairly simple formula. Monstrous alien life forms are threatening the Earth, a young and inexperienced pilot must rise to the occasion and use a super-powered mecha to lead humanity's counterattack against the enemy and save the planet. The execution of this premise, however, is among the best in the genre, and the seamless way this merely 6-episode OVA covers the main character Noriko's growth from student to hero while escalating both the stakes and scale of her battles is nothing short of masterful storytelling. From schoolyard bullying, to losing loved ones in battle, to shouldering the responsibility of the entire human read more
I found this review Helpful
Jun 3, 2008 8:07 PM
First and foremost, I should mention this is my first review for MAL.
Secondly, I am surprised it took me so long to see this Anime through to completion.

The story itself was well done. While the actual content can be summarized to "Giant Robot destroys an army of aliens," it is multitudes deeper than that. But just as important as the content itself, the pacing to this Anime is wonderful. It zips right along with just about nothing that seems like it could have been omitted, and yet never felt too fast. It was the perfect length to keep myself fully engrossed into the plot. read more
I found this review Helpful
Jul 1, 2010 12:47 PM
Gunbuster, or Top Wo Nerae! (Aim For The Top, in English), is considered to be the first thing the in/famous studio Gainax put out that is still known of today, and is often credited for putting them on the map. There are many people who consider Gunbuster to be an unprecedented classic, and a shining example of how mecha anime should be done, even 22 years later. And as was the case with another immensely overrated, 6-episode OVA made by Gainax that I shall not name, I'm sure I will hear no end of flak for this review, but let's make this clear right now: read more
I found this review Helpful


Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Apart from both being made by GAINAX, Gunbuster shares the same similar method of using absolute force of will to save the day.

You may also find a lot of references to Gunbuster within Gurren Lagann.

reportRecommended by BusterMachine0
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
I'm amazed that no one has actually made this recommendation yet.

Top wo Nerae is the Onee-chan of NGE by a good seven years. Both are works by Hideaki Anno, but NGE gets all the glory for being more recent (which is a shame in my opinion).

Top wo Nerae is a truly groundbreaking, character driven, Sci-Fi anime that is better NGE in many respects. If Top wo Nerae did not exist, then NGE may never have been made... 
reportRecommended by Archaeon
Anime: Hoshi no Koe
Gunbuster is the original pretty girls in mecha with heart wrenching emotions anime. VoaDS updates this theme to post Eva levels of teen angst. If you've seen one, you must see the other. 
reportRecommended by rocket
Anime: Ace wo Nerae!
Ace wo Nerae! (Aim for the Ace!) heavily inspired the idea behind Top wo Nerae (Aim for the Top!) It's near enough the exact same thing; but Aim for the Ace is about Tennis, not giant mechs fighting aliens. Hell, just look at the names!  
reportRecommended by GloriousHawk
Anime: Sidonia no Kishi
Aliens that threaten the existence of humanity (they also appear very similar in both) and the development of mechas to fend off against the aliens is present in both. The setting of both is similar and deals with top notch students training to become pilots of the mechas, who live in some sort of spaceship. 
reportRecommended by retii
Anime: Macross
Another 1980s series which has a similar romanticized, upbeat, and theatrical feel to this space military drama about young adults trying to make sense of the situation (and themselves) as they face an overwhelmingly unknown enemy. 
reportRecommended by MelonSama

Recent News

New Short Anime of Top wo Nerae To Be Bundled with Blu-ray Box

According to Bandai Visual, a Blu-ray box set of Top wo Nerae! was announced to be released on February 24th 2012. A new short anime and a newly recorded audio comme...read more

Recent Forum Discussion

Poll: Top wo Nerae! Episode 6 Discussion ( 1 2 )
MK - Aug 10, 2008
99 replies by bleachfan420 »»
Sep 26, 1:47 PM
Poll: Top wo Nerae! Episode 3 Discussion
naikou - Sep 29, 2008
24 replies by KenShiRo-Sama »»
Sep 6, 12:36 PM