If you’re like Nono in Gunbuster 2: Diebuster and your biggest dream is to be just like Noriko Takaya, help could be an eBay transaction and a PS2 hack away. Back in 2005, a PlayStation 2 game version of Gunbuster was released… and it has a whole lot more content than the OVA.
The game mimics the classic 1988 anime in a variety of ways: voice actors return to their roles, the OP and ED themes are the same (although they contain some new animation), and for a good portion of the game, they follow the same basic plot. You play as Noriko, the clumsy but hot-blooded pilot trainee who goes on to join the beautiful Kazumi in piloting the gigantic, super-powered robot known as Gunbuster. Your early missions and adventures follow the series extremely closely.
But there were 6 episodes. And this game has 26 “episodes” — kind of like a 2-cour anime.
That’s because this game turns Gunbuster into a 2-cour anime.
That’s right. Seventeen years after the fact, they went back and expanded the show (albeit in game form) to have the pacing and structure of a traditional anime series. The graphics consist of 3D sprites who may look a tiny bit awkward by today’s standards, but who are undoubtedly in the style of the original series. As Noriko you fight space battles and chat with fellow students to progress the plot. You also train — by way of push-ups, jumping rope, and other exercises executed as timing puzzles — in order to build up your strength and aptitude.
The game controls take some getting used to, and Gunbuster is a little trigger-happy (as one might expect). But once you get into the swing of it, it’s a fantastic game for long-time fans… and perhaps a way for new fans or viewers of Diebuster to begin exploring the original series.
Sadly, it was never localized, so getting your hands on a copy will take your usual level of Super Robot Wars spending and ingenuity. But once you have it, you’re hooked… and it brings all sorts of new context to both Gunbuster and its sequel!