Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster


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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
Licensors: Bandai Visual USA
Studios: Gainax
Source: Original
Genres: ActionAction, ComedyComedy, DramaDrama, MechaMecha, MilitaryMilitary, Sci-FiSci-Fi, ShounenShounen, SpaceSpace
Duration: 30 min. per ep.
Rating: R+ - Mild Nudity


Score: 7.891 (scored by 4295942,959 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #7042
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #1476
Members: 100,198
Favorites: 2,369
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Jan 4, 2009
Archaeon (All reviews)
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
Jul 1, 2010
Lindle (All reviews)
[Spoiler Warning]

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 read more
May 29, 2013
Ghadis_God (All reviews)
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
Jun 3, 2008
Nezerchin (All reviews)
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
Jan 8, 2008
pachu (All reviews)
I watch anime for many many years, i had stages of my life that i watch mostly anime and stages that i pass years without seeing any anime. And someday, when i was searching on the net, i found a recommendation for Gunbuster, Top wo Nerae! (Aim for the top).

It was aired on 1988, but on the first time i saw, i didnt noted, i think it was proposital to have old look style, and only later after seeing the first episode that i got to know that was from 1988. It only has 6 chapters, and in the first chapter, it is kinda cliche-style read more
Oct 31, 2008
Ocelot67 (All reviews)
Top wo Nerae!, better known as Gunbuster, is the first notable work put out by Gainax. Directed by Hideaki Anno, who would later go on to head the ground-breaking Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gunbuster clearly exhibits ideas and characterizations similar to those featured prominently in Eva.

The problem is how they are delivered. Noriko, the main protagonist, is hesitant to pilot a mech (and later Gunbuster) due to her father's death in battle against the aliens. Almost every episode involves her bemoaning her losses, yet her despair doesn't give insight to her character as much as it makes her unlikable. Other characters share this flaw, with emotions read more
Apr 15, 2017
LIQfilms (All reviews)
Let's take a trip back to the 80s. A time of MANLY men doing MANLY things such as Fist of the North Star, space operas in the vein of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and mecha shows such as Gundam. It was a time where many genres were being shaped and moulded into what we see today, and, of course, by this time, the OVA was gaining large traction and popularity by anime fans and it allowed for plenty of creators to experiment and create their own shows cheaply and efficiently, allowing them to be break into the industry and be recognised by greater talent. read more
Aug 9, 2018
TakamakiJoker (All reviews)
After watching the horrendously bad final 5 episodes of Darling in the Franxx where it ripped off so many elements from many mecha series from the past I decided to go back and re-watch Gunbuster.  A series that I use to hate on my first watch back in 2012. However, as time went and I re-watched it over the course of 2016 and onward I started to like and appreciate the series a lot and also no surprise after my latest re-watch of Gunbuter where I finished the final episode a day after the final episode of Darling in the Franxx. I can definitely say read more
Jan 10, 2011
DirtyMidnighter (All reviews)
This is a review of the 1988 OVA series Gunbuster. Be sure to also read my review of Diebuster, the second part of the Aim For The Top! series. I had never seen either before so I decided that watching both, one after the other, would be a great way to witness the progress of Gainax as a studio and perhaps to observe trends in the anime genre at large. After all, Gainax's productions has always had a certain effect on the industry. This is the one that started it all for this studio, so it's importance is inarguable.
I feel like the Aim For the read more
Nov 21, 2014
ChickenBlocker (All reviews)
Top wo Nerae or Gunbuster was created by Gainax in 1988 and was Hideaki Anno’s debut production. Though the show is only 6 episodes long it is regarded as a work on par with his much more famed Neon Genesis Evangelion. Top wo Nerae’s title was inspired by both “Aim for the Ace” (Classic tennis anime) and “Top Gun” (Hollywood Film). When watching Gunbuster some aspects of the show can almost immediately be drawn as similar to that of Neon Genesis, such as both protagonists having practically the same character archetype. The art, soundtrack, etc. can also be viewed as similar but that is read more
Jun 3, 2015
RoarkTenjouin (All reviews)
Well, since my last 3 anime reviews have all been negative, I think I'll write a positive review. And since I'm currently watching Diebuster as of writing this, why not review it's prequel? Since the 2 halves are very different, I'm going to be averaging out the score on most of them.

Story - 7/10 (first half gets a 5/10; second half gets a 9/10)
In a way, Gunbuster is basically half NGE and half Gurren Lagann - in that order. The story is basically what would happen if a female version of Shinji got chosen to pilot a robot to defend humanity, and read more
Jul 28, 2008
bjtdevera (All reviews)
The Good:
- Plot progression is fast.
- Action scenes are old-fashioned, but still fun to watch.
- Characters are likeable.

The Bad:
- Plot is very simple (which can also be a good thing).
- Can be ridiculous at times.

This one's a bit over the top, which means if you want to enjoy it, you'll have to put your brain aside. If you just sit back and enjoy the super robot kicks, the laughable drama, the ignorant human-centric logic, and the brief nudity, you'll have a great ride.
Jul 24, 2019
ktulu007 (All reviews)
Gunbuster was a Gainax OVA released in the late 80s. That's right, the same studio behind Evangelion, Gurren Lagann & Panty and Stocking.  So, not a good track record. This was actually one of the early anime I watched way back when I was in my final years of High school. I remember it being kind of "meh" but that was a long time ago and I wasn't nearly as good at thinking about the media I consumed. So, we'll see what happens when I re-watch it. 


Our heroine is Takaya Noriko, a student at a mecha piloting academy. Unfortunately, she's a terrible pilot. Fortunately, one of her read more
Sep 9, 2012
Nonyflah (All reviews)
First, allow me to put this up front: I am compelled to call this show "Gunbuster". This is how it was titled in North America decades ago and what I watched it under at that time. You can guess that I am a little bit biased toward it, based on those two sentences.

There are flaws in Gunbuster. I've lived with this series for long enough that I'm able to admit that. But the question is whether it's strong enough to overcome these flaws. This is what this review endeavours to determine.


This is the reason that I love this show. Hideaki Ano chose to use time read more
Aug 20, 2010
Parabellum25 (All reviews)
I think it was a few year ago that the name Gunbuster was introduced to me. Gurren Lagann had just ended and after finding myself dissatisfied with its ending, I asked some friends for some similar series. One of them mentioned Diebuster, another said that I shouldn't watch it until I had watched Gunbuster. Alas, I never actually bothered to watch any of the other super robot shows they named other than G Gundam. It was at a convention that I was again reminded of this amazing 6 episode OVA that I had neglected to watch. A friend of mine was cosplaying Noriko and after read more
Jan 19, 2015
BearDandy (All reviews)
There are many shows in anime that deserve more attention in the medium than they get. There can be many reasons as to why this attention is never obtained: the budget was low, the show came from an unknown studio/director, the animation was off, the show was ahead of its time, and so forth.
Gunbuster is one such series. The directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, Gunbuster is a short 6 episode anime that was highly influential to the industry, presenting new forms of story telling, and a firm grasp of world-building and characterization that propelled the read more
Apr 17, 2012
ramimanify (All reviews)
The Drama of space.

First off, I tried this based on a review that was comparing it with Neon Genesis Evangelion, or rather be-dwarfing NGE instead when compared with Top wo Nerae

well, I won't judge harshly and I won't take sides, but if you're in for some major heart-wrenching scenes from the world of Anno, Hideaki, then you're in for a treat.

Coming from the same famed director of NGE, this series comprises heavy emphasis on human relationships in a sci-fi outer space setting, when the world of man is facing total annihilation at the hand of super-insect alien race, man has to invent ways and tools read more
May 1, 2015
shehrozeameen (All reviews)
This is a 6 episode classic. Nothing less than a classic honestly.

The characters of Norika and Amano really hold this series sincerely, and in my opinion, it has the best 6th episode (albeit with an ending that was a little too gaily for me to swallow, but I'll accept it as being part of the canon and as a part of its overall atmosphere, logical in the emotions being portrayed), and its progression really was good (especially after the middle of episode 1.

Construction wise, its a gem to watch - the emotions felt, the brevity of all the characters and their motivations, the depth of read more
Dec 12, 2015
BowlingJD (All reviews)
One of the first by Studio Gainax (Royal Space Force, Evangelion) and the first series worked on by Hideaki Anno (Royal Space Force, Evangelion), Aim For the Top Gunbusters has much of the same art, music, character designs, mech designs as Evangelion and has similar action focusing on women piloting mechs.

The story begins in 2023, not long after humanities first contact with insectoid aliens threatening their existence. Humanity, needing to defend themselves, develop massive space battleships, mechs, and the people to pilot them in order to defeat these invaders.

Noriko Takaya is the main focus whom is a trainee pilot. She wants to go into space read more
Feb 8, 2019
FrighteningBee (All reviews)
Gunbuster should’ve been a porn parody.

It already has all it needs to become one:
unique and attractive character designs – especially Takaya;
hilariously cheesy and dumb dialogue;
nonsensical actions and mood swings shown by all of the characters;
beautifully animated boobies.

In all honesty, the only reason I kept watching it till the end was because I wanted to see all the boob scenes. Nothing else is all that noteworthy, anyway. Sometimes the show hits the mark with its usage of sci-fi elements – the battleship interior, for instance, is crafted with scrupulous attention to details. I really loved the idea of using a railway to traverse it. Gunbuster also read more