Review Toy

Review: Revoltech Gunbuster

Revoltech Gunbuster

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 Pose" – a time-honoured GAINAX tradition.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Final Say

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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.

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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.

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  • 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”

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20 replies on “Review: Revoltech Gunbuster”

Ah I watched this show a few months ago, I was a bit shocked as I saw what anime from the late eighties looked like ^^.
But look isn’t everything and so I’ve enjoyed the story and the great action, also the DVD Box of it looks very nice 😉

This Gunbuster has a nice design, oldschool and bulky that’s how I like my mechs.
The color combination with these bright orange accents isreally cool.
I think his poses you’ve made with him are cool and interesting,
but its a shame that he can’t cross his arms like he should to look like in the anime.

…Are you bad-mouthing 80s anime???

Hehe, I get what you mean. The dated-looking character designs don’t hold up well to today’s moe-moe standards, but the amount of detail in the cels and the animation in Gunbuster still puts most modern day TV anime to shame… Well, that’s not really a good comparison. The style of anime has shifted to a simpler and cleaner style since the 80s. Old-schoolers still LOVE to complain about the transition, though!

Thanks! I tried my best with the poses. I was lucky to have the Revoltech Gurren Lagann — he’s a fantastic sparring partner for Gunbuster.

Kaiyodo’s 2005 Gunbuster toy actually included an extra pair of fixed arms for the exact purpose of having the arm-crossing pose, so it’s not as if they’re completely oblivious to the idea. The 2005 designers knew what they were doing. I can understand Kaiyodo for wanting to try something different from what they did 6 years ago, but they should have not screwed with those arms!

haha no no not in particular^^, maybe the material they’ve put on the dvd wasn’t high quality or something like that.
I had the feeling that the first two parts looked not as good as the others ones. Well I also dislike a too simplistic and clean animation style, in some of the new shows it emits a some kind of sterile and cold atmosphere.

Ah I see, so the normal arms from the old Kaiyodo Gunbuster weren’t made for crossing either.
too bad that they didn’t included the fixed crossed arms in the new version of the Gunbuster figure, as well.

Oh jeezum how long has it been since I watched the original Gunbuster…I remember liking it a bit and the whole black and white bit was neat, but thats about it. I think maybe it gets overridden by the more recent memories of Gunbuster 2. >_<

Buy a Nono figure and review that! 😛

It’s been a while for me as well, I remember being pretty bored with the first 3 episodes, but episode 4-6 were super hardcore. I like Gunbuster 2 and all, but as far as scale goes, the original is in a league of its own.

With that said, the Gunbuster 2 girls are definitely cuter. Too bad there aren’t any good Nono figures out there, though. Also, I link I’d like a L’arc figure more. There aren’t nearly enough brown girls in the figure market.

I suppose I should watch that series someday.

It’d be really evil, but I’m wondering if Kaiyodo was planning to make more versions of Gunbuster that would have had more/different accessories and whatnot, but now they won’t since this first one seems to have been not very well received. It’s even on sale at HLJ already.
Or maybe Gunbuster’s development was under-staffed and under-funded because Kaiyodo was concentrating on yet another Evangelion Revoltech.

Well, at least it seems Jehuty turned out pretty awesome, from what people are saying, and hopefully I’ll have that next week.

This this is already hitting the bargain bin? God damnit! I knew I should’ve read up on it before I bought the figure, but I thought I would surprise myself in order to make a more interesting review, but it just ended up with me bitching a lot about the accessories. I waffled on Jehuty, but now I kind of regret not getting it, since it looks like a bunch more interesting toy to photograph. Still, I like the Gunbuster anime a lot, so I’m far from unhappy with this Revoltech even if it’s short on accessories. Do check the OVA out!

Btw, I absolutely refuse to buy another Eva Revoltech, at least until the last Rebuild movie is out. What’s the point in getting a toy when an updated version is always around the corner? I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this way, and I hope the sales reflects this. Even the fat teet of the EVA cash cow is going to run dry at some point, and Kaiyodo’s shamelessness is pulling on it way too often!

Nice poses! And a shame about the lack of accessories. And what a useless transformation gimmick. I can’t imagine anyone displaying it with the 2 ships unless they bought multiples and at 3k yen, thats an expensive dedication. I haven’t watched Gunbuster but any show with ‘The Pose’ and that is full of badassness needs to be given a watch. Love the scenes of him fighting with Gurren Lagann, especially that one where he’s smashing his face.

Hehe, the GL beatdown photos is definitely my favourite shot out of the bunch. I was hoping to have Gunbuster electrocute him, shoot him, and beat him with a baseball bat, but too bad the accessories weren’t there. Hmm, actually, I should have taken a shot with GL being rammed from both sides by the ships. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I take photos.

Let me know when you finish Gunbuster! It starts off a little slow, but the rewards in the second half are sooooo worth it. It’s like a combination of Getter Robo, Top Gun, Rocky, and some yuri series all in one. If that isn’t a great combination, then I don’t know what is!

I ended up downloading it and watching all 6 episodes last night. While I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t overflowing with badassness like Gurren Lagann, I did appreciate the scientific nerdiness that tempered it a bit instead of the over-the-top craziness that GL had. I recognize though that had I seen Gunbuster even 10 years ago, I would have thought it was the most badass thing ever. I did cheer when Gunbuster first came out in ‘the pose’ but no home run Buster! I suppose I’ll need to watch Gunbuster 2 for that…

Hehe, I doubt anything will top Gurren Lagann when it comes to over-the-top. I did find the sight of a bunch of robots running laps HILARIOUS, though!

I’m pretty sure Gunbuster whipped out his baseball bat briefly in one of the fight scenes out of nowhere, but it certainly wasn’t an prominently featured weapon. Actually, wouldn’t it be hilarious if a giant super robot went around beating bad guys with a baseball bat. Just imagine — a school delinquient with a heart of gold comes across the controls to a giant robot. Now he’s laying the smackdown on
school gangs, ONE SWING AT A TIME!

But yeah, defnitely watch Gunbuster 2 if you enjoyed the original. It’s got a pretty different feel, but it’s great fun nonetheless!

My biggest disappointment is the lack of crossing arms, something like Kirino figma would have been fun. Still lack of accessories to recreate those iconic attacks Gunbuster really is photogenic. Awesome pictures, I could think of no other mecha to “spar” with Gurren Lagann.

Thanks Miette-chan! The Revoltech GL is truly a fantastic toy. I had the image of a Gunbuster as Vietnam veteran father beating on his grown-up upstart son in mind — “you will respect your elders, boy!” Too bad Gunbuster is visibly smaller than Gurren Lagann, though. Still, I’m pretty glad with how they turned out, and I’ll definitely try doing similar stuff in the future!

Hey man! I come back to visit your blog, apologies for my extended absence. As a fan of Gainax Gunbuster and in particular, I happy to see your shooting!

I really debated whether to get this or not, mainly for nostalgic sake. Gunbuster was one of those classic animes that really stuck in my head. Everytime I hear that ending music I can feel a tear building up in the corner of my eye. lol In the end I think I’ll just keep it in my memories, I’m not all too keen on “parts-formers”, especially the Revoltech/Figma type. I love their pose-ability and all but I’m just too lazy to pose them (and I just know I’ll lose parts).

It’s always fun to take pictures of Figmas/Revoltech/GN-DOU in poses though, really like what you did at the end. =P

I’m with you on these part-formers, dude. Considering how much part-swapping there is, they should’ve just thrown in completed, one-piece versions of the Buster Machines if Kaiyodo wanted to include them so badly. Frankly I’m amazed that I managed to not loose a single part during the whole review process. Eh, but at the end of the day, I still love the anime, and there really aren’t many other reasonable choices out there when it come sot Gunbuster toys, so I don’t really regret it.

Hehe, I’m glad you liked the GB/GL slugfest! Getting around the limitations of the articulation for these toys can be time-consuming and aggravating at times, but when you DO find the right pose, it’s pretty rewarding. That said, I can’t imagine getting too creative with the photography in these figure reviews — it would just take too much time combining the right props with the right lighting with the right pose!

I hear’ya, that’s also one reason I haven’t jumped at reviewing any of my Valkyries yet. Getting into the transformations and photos is way too time consuming for me, especially a one man operation. I wish I can just take the pictures and have someone else do the post processing. LOL

 Having the SoC Gunbuster, I was almost considering going for this to have the ship modes along side, but it just doesn’t look worth it. 

Value is completely subjective, and the ships modes look decent, but given the price and small size of these things, I’m incline to agree with you. Besides, these would look like absolute jokes next to the SoC, haha.

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