Gunbuster (1988) OVAs: Aim for the Top!
トップをねらえ! (Top o Nerae!)


Gunbuster, known in Japan as Aim for the Top! (トップをねらえ! Toppu o Nerae!), is a Japanese OVA anime series produced by Gainax released from 1988 to 1989.

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 spacegoing battleships and giant fighting robots. These robots are piloted by the best and brightest of Earth’s youth, picked from training schools around the world. The story begins in the year 2023, not long after the first battles with the aliens, and centers on young Takaya Noriko.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by

TV Rating







October 7, 1988




  • The overall rating of the show.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • Animation quality and consistency for that time. 

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • How well the story flows and keeps you engaged.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


Character design
Character development
World building




Aim for the Top! Gunbuster was the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno, best known as the creator and director of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Interestingly, the title is a combination of the titles of classic tennis anime Aim for the Ace! and hit action drama film Top Gun, whose plot inspired Gunbuster’s.

Alternative title

– Aim for the Top! Gunbuster
– Punta al Top! Gunbuster
– Top o Nerae! Gunbuster
– トップをねらえ!
– 勇往直前
– กันบัสเตอร์
– Top wo Nerae
– Zirveyi Hedefle! Avcı Silah
– Дотянись до Неба

TL;DR Review

Aim for the Top! Gunbuster is one of my favorite anime series, and one of the reasons I am so much into anime at a young age. Despite being mainly a children medium at the time, Gunbuster was different as it touches on more mature subject like death, regret, and perseverance.

The animation aesthetic style matches those from the 80’s anime. What distinguishes this series from the rest is how it handle the action combat. It is incredibly satisfying and stunning even with today standard. The last episode is in black and white, so don’t be alarm.

The music of Gunbuster is very 80’s, which I do love. Some notable songs are “Active Heart” and “Try Again…!” by Noriko Sakai. I had a crush on Noriko Sakai back in the day.

The story and character are very well written. You feel for these character as they grieve and do what must be done.

I very highly recommend Aim for the Top! Gunbuster. Despite the anime being over 30 years old, it is still binge-watch worthy. Similarly, I would rank this along with Akira and the Ninja Scroll Movie of what the best of anime could be during that era, and even in some case this era. The OVA contain partial nudity (like one boob) and graphic violence. Intended for young adults.

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Featured Music

Gunbuster (1988) OVAs: Aim for the Top!

A collection of notable music and song from this series.


Opening Theme

– “Active Heart” (アクティブ・ハート) by Noriko Sakai

Closing Theme

– “Try Again…!” (トライAgain…!) by Noriko Sakai (eps 1-3)
– “Active Heart” (アクティブ・ハート) by Noriko Sakai (ep 4)
– “Toki no Kawa o Koete…” (時の河を越えて…; “The Timeless Stream”) by Kouhei Tanaka (instrumental; ep 6)

Insert/Image Theme

– “Otoko to Onna no Love Game” (男と女のラブゲーム) by Norio Wakamoto and Rei Sakuma (ep 3)
Play Video
Play Video

Featured Video

Gunbuster (1988) OVAs: Aim for the Top!

A collection of notable videos, ranging from a fan-created trailer, music video, opening, and ending clip.

Jung Freud
"The moon is great, you're weightless! On Earth, your bra's too tight, your shoulders are in knots, and soon your boobs sag."
Amano Kazum
"History will come to judge us. All we can do is survive at any cost."
Jung Freud
"Two people can't live the same life. After all, 'Meeting is the start of saying good-bye.' We only get one life to live, you know... I don't want to waste even a minute. 'Time stops for no man.'"
Oota Kouichirou "Coach"
"It's true that you're lacking in ability. That's because you don't work at it. However, you have a natural potential. That's why I chose you."



All images are copyright to their respective owners.

Photo by Nicolas LB, Jon Flobrant, and Yvette de Wit on Unsplash.

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