Aim for the Top 2! / Diebuster – The Movie – Retro Review

How far would you go to achieve your dreams and protect what matters to you? The 2006 GAINAX film Aim for the Top 2! – Diebuster explores this question with an expansive and lightning-paced narrative that makes many leaps in physical scale, like the later GAINAX series Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Nono, the android heroine, begins her long journey by leaving her snowy home by train and getting a job as a waitress in a city, yearning to pilot a buster machine, something only humans of a certain age are able to do.

By the climax of the film, she’s basically transformed into mankind’s last hope against impossibly huge fleets of space monsters and gravity well creatures larger than planets. Enormously epic space battles and elaborate weapons and explosions abound in this film, which a compression of the six-episode OVA that came out way back in 2004. Any detailed character development or plot nuance takes a back seat to the action in this compression, which is the usual gloriously over-caffinated audio-visual spectacle one has come to expect from GAINAX in the wake of their other major works: Evangelion, FLCL, Abenobashi, and Gurren Lagann. In fact, a lot of the charcter design, universe style, and politics of Diebuster are derived from FLCL, which is one of my all-time favorite animes.

Compared to these older works, GAINAX’s colaboration with Feel, Shikabane Hime, simply wasn’t on the same level, and from the look of it, neither will GAINAX’s latest effort out this October, Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt. Watching their older works makes me yearn for another high-quality six-episode OVA like Diebuster or FLCL to sink my teeth into, but such a work still seems a ways off, and at this point, would have to offer something new and innovative. To conclude, I preferred the Diebuster OVA to this film, which seemed too rushed and inconsequential. Film Rating: 3.