Good lord, it’s been no less than five months since my last mecha-related review! Since then this place has fallen to the wiles of these hordes of plastic harlots! I wonder whether if all the mecha-oriented readers have left by this point. I sure hope not, because after a two-month break from reviews, it’s time to reward the faithful. Besides, I can’t let Ashlotte run the show here forever!
The 1988 OVA Aim for the Top! (also known as Gunbuster overseas) is gem of the mecha genre. Created by GAINAX, Gunbuster is known for many things. It’s one of the only sci-fi anime to portray the effect of time dilation. It also pioneered the Gainax jiggle – the use of distracting breast physics that we all know and love. But most importantly, it’s known for the gigantic super robot that kill millions of aliens while assuming The Pose, as well as its young pilot Takaya Noriko, whose innocent visage belies the soul of a true badass. Protip: never underestimate the willpower of a girl when blistering lesbian passion is involved.
But we’re not here to talk about lesbians (at least not today) – we’re here for the long-overdue mecha review. Long story short: The Revoltech Gunbuster is a good toy, but it suffers from a very questionable design decision. What do I mean by that? Find out after the jump!
In the anime, Gunbuster is one of the biggest super robot conceived to date. It stands over 200m tall – more than ten times the height of the RX-78-2 Gundam. Conversely, the Revoltech Gunbuster is on the small side of things, measuring in at only 12 cm from the bottom of its feet to the top of its head (13.5 cm if you count the shoulders). When compared to the original design, the Revoltech Gunbuster is pretty accurate. Other than the reduced size of the shoulder armour, Gunbuster is here in all its thick and bulky glory.
Metallic grey and glossy orange makes up for almost the entirety of the figure’s colour palette. The quality control is decent with some minor overpaint and underpaint here and there, typical for Revoltech figures.
Gunbuster only comes with one hand-held accessory – a clear-yellow effect part meant to represent one of its degeneracy reactors. Also included is a wire used to connect the reactor to the interior of Gunbuster’s chest and a right hand designed specifically to hold it (I received two of these hands in my box – lucky me!). Naturally, for this to be possible, the chest plate is made to be removable. I don’t want to spoil ending to Gunbuster too much, so I’ll just say that the degeneracy reactor is central to the climax of the series, and I am very happy that Kaiyodo decided to include the accessory with the figure.
But as glad as I am about the inclusion of the shining degeneracy reactor, there is a rather long list of omissions. There is no sign of the buster missile, buster shield, buster tomahawk, buster home-run, and buster collider, nor are the buster beam and homing laser represented with effect parts. In fact, the only special attack that received a nod from the Revoltech Gunbuster is the Super Inazuma Kick, and even that is just a pink version of the same old effect base that Kaiyodo has been using for its Revoltech figures for quite some time now.
Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed by the underwhelming accessory count. Before the package arrived, I was looking forward to make up for my extended absence with a boatload of photos showing off all of Gunbuster’s gadgets. In retrospect, I should’ve looked at the promo photos more closely, but given the Revoltech line’s reputation for accessories and effect parts, I simply assumed that parts for the major attacks would be thrown in. I still tried to put Gunbuster into as many poses as I could think of for this review, but creativity is not easy when all you have to work with is a pair of fists and a pair of splayed hands.
While on the topic of accessories, the Revoltech Gunbuster really could’ve used a set of arms (and maybe an alternate chest plate) for “The Pose”. The most iconic images of Gunbuster by far are the ones in which it has its arms crossed. As it stands, what you see above is about the closest I can get to “The Pose”, which sadly wasn’t fooling anyone.
This does not mean that Kaiyodo slacked on the Revoltech Gunbuster, as it comes with an unexpected transformation gimmick. The word ‘transformation” is used loosely here, as there is a lot of part-swapping involved, and after you transform Gunbuster into Buster Machine #1 and #2, you’ll be left with a pile of leftover parts.
The transformed Buster Machines look accurate and feel sturdy, but as a pair of chunky spaceships, they’re pretty unexciting. There is no articulation to speak of, save for the swiveling cannons under the wings of Buster Machine #2. An extra block is included along with the usual Revoltech display base, which allows one to display both vehicles together on the same base.
Because of the transformation gimmick, there is a bunch of parts on Gunbuster designed to be removed during the transformation process. Some of these parts, like the shoulder fins, the inner calf plate and the outer knee plates have a tendency to fall off during play.
As the initial intrigue from the transformation evaporated, I was left with the question “was it worth it?” The sheer number extra parts utilized by the transformation gimmick probably conflicted directly with the inclusion of weapon accessories during the design process of this figure, and as much as I found the combination aspect of Gunbuster’s design interesting, it’s not what I remember the mech for – rather, it’s the Gunbuster’s wide arsenal of fantastic weapons that made it so amazing to watch in action. I would’ve taken an extra set of “buster collider” limbs over these transformation parts…hell, I’d even take the ridiculous baseball bat used during “buster home-run” over these parts – at least that would mean I wouldn’t have to deal with these transformation parts that keep on falling off.
Gunbuster is pretty flexible for such a chunky mech. It has a great double-jointed neck design that allows the head – which is attached to the neck via an open ball-joint – to look all the way up. An extra swivel joint is found below each shoulder to compensate for the bulkiness of the shoulder armour. The waist is wrapped with a flexible belt in the middle, which allows for a wide range of movement without sacrificing much in terms of outward appearance. The only real complaint I have with regards to the articulation on this figure is the hips, which is made of a single piece of hard plastic. This means that you can’t lift Gunbuster’s legs up very high, which gets in the way of quite a few action poses.
As you can see from the photos, I’ve had a lot of fun with the Revoltech Gunbuster. It’s very photogenic, and its badass poses does the mech justice. Taken objectively, it’s a pretty good toy. However, the problem with the Revoltech Gunbuster is that it could’ve been so much better. It could’ve been bigger and it could’ve had more accessories, but instead the focus was shifted to the transformation gimmick. Does anyone out there really give two shits about the two flying space-bricks? I’m amazed that the folks at Kaiyodo gave the transformation aspect of Gunbuster so much priority, given that it never played a significant role in the anime.
So is it worth the 3,000 yen? That’s tough to say. All the rest of the Gunbuster toys out there are either super-expensive, super-old or super-deformed, so if you’re a Gunbuster fan, this may be your only feasible option. It may not have all of Gunbuster’s toys, but it’s still the ass-kicking robot you know and love. However, for those who aren’t fans of the anime, it’s hard for me to recommend this. For its price tag, you could easily get another Revoltech figure that’s both bigger and more playable.
- Great overall articulation
- Degeneracy reactor accessory looks cool
- Severe lack of accessories
- Transformation gimmick means that some parts are prone to falling off
- Lacks “The Pose”