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 (original idea there). These robots are piloted by the best and brightest of Earth's youth, picked from training schools around the world.
Our story begins in the year 2023, - so in other words about 10 years - 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. Joined by the beautiful and talented Kazumi Amano, Noriko will fight to overcome the trauma of war, the doubts of her peers, and her own lack of confidence.
Gunbuster is an unusual but impressive anime classic. It is often overlooked in favor of Gainax's later Evangelion, for which Gunbuster served as something of the prototype. It starts out as a mostly-silly parody of girl's sports anime, but develops into so much more that it is worth seeing through to the end. If you look past the unevenness, melodrama, and occasional experimental failure, the characters are emotionally involving, the story is exciting and substantial, the attention to sci-fi detail is commendable, and the whole thing just works as both entertainment and sly war drama.
Those who can't stomach shoujo-like style should probably stay away, but it is a must-see for both mecha anime fans and anyone who can appreciate a creative twist on a classic genre.
Not perfect, but a fine piece of animation, and has substance to boot.
As a whole the series would rank 13-up, even if it doesn't look like it at first, although the extended bath scene in episode 2 probably pushes it into 16-up territory.
Violence-2 Never graphic, but there's a great deal of death and destruction.
Nudity-2 One extended bath scene in part 2, and one or two bits elsewhere (plus a lot of skimpy uniforms).
Mature Themes-1 Some hints at romance, but nothing physical.
Language-1 Nothing noteworthy.
Available in North America from Bandai on their Honneamise label as a 3-dvd Box set. Honneamise also released the "movie version" on Blu-ray, both alone and as a set with the movie edition of Gunbuster 2 and a disc of bonus material; the latter set is creatively titled "Gunbuster vs. Diebuster: Aim for the Top! The Gattai."
However, they are aren't offerimg to renew their liscences for any of their anime so if you want this ova try to get it as soon as possible.
...Aim For The Ace with mecha instead of tennis for a couple episodes, then turns into Gundam plus the serious but-not-crazy parts of Evangelion.