Mike:In Gunbuster, it’s assumed. In Diebuster, it has to be recovered. (Well–arguably, Nono always believes in it.) Both Gunbuster and Diebuster feature really, really outrageous battle scenes which are powered by konjo–and said so explicitly.
Ray:Uh…konjo was denied by Lal’C flat out. Only in the end, she explained where that is. This “believe in your heart” crap makes puke. And Gunbuster’s battle is much grander – there are millions and millions of these Space Monsters at once! Throw a planet at them? Big deal! There are almost billions of these things! It takes a black hole in the middle of the galaxy to take them out! Diebuster may seen grander in scale, but look at it closely it’s just not true.
Mike:Actually, I wonder, are you talking about the scene when Nono first appears as “Buster Machine #7”? In that she says that the Buster Machine is in your heart. In her case, of course, it’s literally true.
And that leads me to my main complaint about Diebuster. At the end of the day, everything wrong with it can be summed up in one word: sequel. It’s parasitic on the first one. It really isn’t all that special except in relation to the first one. It’s an extended homage to the first one at best. Its self-conscious humor is almost all dependent on knowing references from the first one (as opposed to knowing references from other anime, which was there in Gunbuster).
Anyway, konjo is NOT just in your “heart”. Gunbuster proved that it takes hard work. Maybe the line was directly taken, but you missed the point entirely if that’s all you felt. There was no significant hard work in Diebuster – Lark had psychic abilities and Nono was Buster Machine 7 all along.
Mike:I agree. We constantly see Noriko undergoing hardship in ways we don’t see the characters in Diebuster do so. The closest I think was Tycho in episode 3, maybe, and in episode 4 (which, incidentally, was the one episode Anno worked on actively). Episode 4 happens to be probably the grandest in Gunbuster too, incidentally. Next to the ending of 6, of course.
Ray:Yes. That’s the classic savior that I want to see. No wimps, no cop outs for the sake of GL. Rising above the ship, the guardian flies toward the battlefield, littered with broken mecha and hopes of humanity: that’s what the scene spoke.
Where when Nono first appeared as Diebuster, she came only because Lal’C was going to die. Well, OK, that’s more realistic, but not all that heroic.
One thing too is that Diebuster just did not have the OP that the old one did. Gunbuster’s OP worked really well as a cap off for episode 4.
Mike:You know, I actually think one of the reasons why it works is that Gunbuster does a pretty good job of making things actually seem hopeless just before the eucatastrophe (Tolkien’s term) comes. Anno took that of course and plunged it over the edge in Eva.
Mike:Tolkien argued that this is the primal human story, the story that every culture tells as the expression of its highest hopes. It’s why it’s so powerful. For him, as a Christian, this is ultimately fulfilled in the story of the death and resurrection of Christ. Gunbuster follows this ancient story pattern to a T, it should be noted.
Mike:Eva is more about self-realization than redemption. If anything, it paved the way for everything you don’t like about Diebuster. It’s much more inward looking, much more pessimistic. It will be very interesting to see if Anno is going to do something differently in the remake movies. Because Gainax itself, with Gurren-Lagann, seems to have gone back to basics. After watching Gunbuster–I realized, hey, that’s where Gurren Lagann gets its ideas from! Instead of “hard work and guts” it’s “manliness” but it’s the same idea.
Mike:For one, there isn’t nearly as much of it in Diebuster. Whatever there is is usually a reference to the first one (shirt ripping, etc). Also, in a really weird way–I felt that Gunbuster paid more attention to the lives of these girls in ways that Diebuster didn’t do in the same way. It may be because there are no real male main characters other than Coach.
Plus, I’m surprised you didn’t see the very clear (to me) GL overtones in Gunbuster! To me it was much more overt and straightforward than in Diebuster, where it was played partly for laughs. (I mean, Nono literally says “moe moe”)
Was there anything you liked about Diebuster?
I mean, not comparing with the Gunbuster, it’s not a bad show, and it’s even got epic battles of interplanetary level. Its animation is nice. But really, the original Gunbuster has taken my heart hostage and Diebuster simply, to me, DOESN’T CUT IT.
Mike:It’s funny, as I started by watching Diebuster first. And I have to say that I found the second half to still be quite good, more moving the second time than the first. But then I watched Gunbuster and it really does pale in comparison. The spirit is quite different. It’s a fairly good barometer to the degree anime changed in the 15 year gap between them.
Ray:Like I said, guts, hard work and passion changed to where hard work seems to disappear (working as a bar maid doesn’t count), and guts now grows in your heart. The music and the presentation changed, too. “Everything will be ok at the end” changed to “well, maybe it’ll work out.”
Mike:Well, no–the ending of Diebuster is unequivocally happy. I mean it ends the same way as the first, but from a different perspective. But it definitely had a staleness to it. I think maybe in the long run it might be seen really as the warm up exercise toward Gurren Lagann. Or, more negatively, as the last gasp of the old Gainax (dir: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Anno’s former right hand man) They threw planets in Diebuster; they throw galaxies and KICK REASON TO THE CURB in Gurren Lagann!