From its arrival in the late 1980’s up until the first ecchi boom of the early 2000’s, Gunbuster was the most prominent fanservice anime for many otaku.
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Original version of bath scene
Production Company: GAINAX (w/ Bandai Visual and Victor Entertainment)
Nipple sightings from other GAINAX produced anime:
Diebuster, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cutey Honey (OVA), This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, He is my Master, Mahoromatic, Otaku no Video, Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water
Other notable / recently relevant (non-nude) mainstream anime from GAINAX:
FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, The Wings of Honneamise, Kare Kano, Appleseed
Noriko Hidaka as Noriko Takaya
Noriko Hidaka is also known for her roles as:
Rei Sakuma as Kazumi Amano
Rei Sakuma is also known for her roles as:
Norio Wakamoto as Kouichiro Ohta
Thoughts on the anime
Similar to how American action movies from the 70s, 80s, and 90s would often casually throw in bare boobs and think nothing of it, there was a similar kind of carefree attitude about nudity in anime during the same time. Nudity just sweetened the pot, it added a little bit of extra fun, but it didn’t domineer the anime.
People understood that anime was for adults and anime was often thought of in very similar terms to R-rated movies of the time. You might get a pointless nude scene every now and then to stimulate the target audience, but the focus on the plot only temporarily wavered.
Because there wasn’t much of a stigma against casual nudity, they not only showed nudity whenever they felt like it, but they could portray nudity in more realistic ways and get away with showing some things than companies today would have a harder time showing.
Gunbuster is the epitome of 20th century fanservice. Bounce, bounce, battle, battle, boobs, battle, bounce, boobs, battle, boobs. Fanservice is a near constant presence, but like most anime of its time it’s careful to weave that service around the action and plot. Action and plot still come first.
But when Gunbuster did provide service, GAINAX made it memorable.
It’s been almost a decade now since GAINAX provided us with nude fanservice. They’ve kept their noses clean, though I think that has as much to do with GAINAX just being a very different company than they used to be in every possible way. New GAINAX hardly even resembles the pre-2007 GAINAX.
But as recently as 2005, GAINAX was arguably the face of nude ecchi. Not only was Gunbuster a classic, but the popularity of Mahoromatic and Diebuster helped fuel a mini-boom for nude ecchi in 2004-2005. GAINAX would ride that wave themselves, releasing three very good nude fanservice series during that brief mid-oughts fanservice explosion (Cutey Honey (OVA), This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, He is my Master).
By the end of 2005, nobody had a better track record for nude ecchi than GAINAX. It’s really a shame that had to change. I’d love to see them get back into nude ecchi once again, as they have such a strong history with fanservice anime.
Today I learned that Gunbuster’s lead roles shared the same voices as Akane and Shampoo from Ranma 1/2, which began the same year Gunbuster ended: 1989. That’s neat.
A young sounding Norio Wakamoto plays the mech coach Kouichiro Ohta, a character that is truly a man among men. It’s a role that would have made anyone sound badass, though Wakamoto (best known as the voice of the emperor in Code Geass) certainly doesn’t need help in that regard.
Though the fanservice in this anime is impressive by 1980s standards, I wouldn’t really consider this show to be a trail blazer. It was a pretty typical OVA anime for it’s time, it just took nude fanservice a bit further than comparable shows of the time like Bubblegum Crisis and Megazone 23.
Thoughts on the fanservice video
It’s really short. I had originally planned on doing Gunbuster and Diebuster in the same video, but the animation styles clash so violently that it just felt “off.” That plus, I wanted to get the OP/ED sequences for both shows in the video regardless. It just ended up being a lot less awkward having them separate.
Any time I do a video for a series this old, crappy VHS is typical. DVD source is a lucky get. 1080p blu-ray source is extremely uncommon and a very good get. Thankfully, this show had multiple 1080p BD rips as GAINAX released a special remastered blu-ray version some time ago.
I think this is actually a pretty effective video, and that’s mostly because of episode two’s lengthy bathhouse scene.
Jung Freud (the redhead). It’s such a shame that natural curves aren’t more common in anime. Her big scene in episode two is the stuff of legend.