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Episode 1: Please let me call you "Big Sister!"

 

Review by Peter Laliberte

April 1, 2011

 

Summary

 

A girl named Nono sneaks out of her house in the middle of the night. She makes it through a blizzard and boards a train. She wonders if she was stupid for running away from home. The next morning she arrives in a city. She declares that she'll become a space pilot no matter what. Some time later, Nono works as a waitress at a restaurant. The owner berates her for always breaking plates, frying pans and even refrigerators. She suggests Nono go home and forget about her stupid dream. Three soldiers in their EVO-III Machine Weapon units enter and ask for the usual. They tease Nono about her dream, and the Captain reveals that he used to be a space pilot trainee. He explains that it's a fifteen year process to become one, and that he gave up part way. As she tries to open a can of wax, Nono says she won't give up. It takes hard work and guts. One of the soldiers uses his EVO-III to open the can of wax for her, but he also plays around with her. Another customer, Lal'C Mellk Mal, gets up to leave. She takes a seal off her forehead and a giant hand shoots out of her shadow. It frees Nono from the EVO-III and smashes through the roof. Nono stares in awe as Lal'C leaves. The Captain identifies her as a Topless, which the owner tells Nono is a real space pilot. Nono chases after Lal'C, calling her 'big sister.' She thanks her, and says she'll help her out next time. Nono asks if she a space pilot, and Lal'C explains that she's a member of Fraternity's Space Monster Interception Squad. Nono says she wants to be a space pilot so she can protect everyone and become a 'Nono-Riri.' Lal'C wraps her scarf around Nono and slaps a seal on her forehead. The seal breaks, and Lal'C says Nono can't join. She says they don't need anyone who isn't a Topless.

 

Lal'C watches the sunset and is joined by a cat. Tycho Science, speaking through the cat, asks her how it feels to be back on the ground, but Lal'C doesn't like it. Lal'C says the Serpentine twins' predictions had been off lately but Tycho says she predicted it as well, and a suspicious meteorite was confirmed. A Space Monster is definitely there. Lal'C wonders why the evacuation alarm hasn't gone off yet. A centipede like creature makes its way to land. The soldiers find Nono sulking and tell her that the restaurant owner is out looking for her. One of the soldiers finds the centipede creature and yanks on it, causing a bigger creature to come out of the water. The EVO-IIIs attack it, but are easily defeated. A damaged arm goes flying at Nono, but Lal'C saves her. Lal'C comments that she's never seen that type of Space Monster before. She summons her Buster Machine, Dix-Neuf. Lal'C orders it to subdue the Monster, but the Monster fires a beam. Lal'C says she'll handle it and boards Dix-Neuf. Lal'C activates her Exotic Maneuver, powering up Dix-Neuf. Lal'C beats up the Space Monster, and blocks its beam attack. The restaurant owner arrives in her van and tries to get to Nono. The Space Monster lands on the van, trapping the owner inside. Nono tries to lift up the Space Monster's limb, but the owner tells her to run away. Nono says Nono-Riri never gives up. Nono's eyes start glowing and she lifts the limb up. Nono gets caught on the limb when the Space Monster wakes up. Dix-Neuf grabs onto the Monster as it blasts up into space. Now in orbit around Mars, Lal'C sees Nono's charred body on the Space Monster. In a fit of rage, Lal'C attacks with her Buster Gaiter, but Dix-Neuf stops. The Space Monster fires its beam, but Dix-Neuf blocks it. Lal'C asks why Dix-Neuf stopped, but she sees that Nono is still alive. Nono gets up and rips off her shirt to free herself. She runs up and shatters the Space Monster's head with an Inazuma Kick. Lal'C finishes it off with a Buster Beam. Nono lands on Dix-Neuf's hand and declares that she's topless now. Lal'C wonders who Nono is.

 

Commentary

 

Gainax's 20th anniversary project, this supposed sequel to Gunbuster feels more like a continuation of FLCL (which isn't surprising, since they have the same director). It certainly takes a far more cartoony approach to things. We're introduced to Nono, a girl of boundless optimism chasing her dream to become a 'Nono-Riri,' whatever that is. Nono is no ordinary girl though. She shows inhuman strength and can survive in the vacuum of space. We're also introduced to Lal'C, who is the big sister character this time around. She tries to act all aloof, but we can see that she does worry about others. It doesn't say how long after Gunbuster this takes place, but the level of technology is vastly different. Lal'C can summon parts of Dix-Neuf (Nineteen, for the French challenged) out of nowhere, and Dix-Neuf itself is autonomous and rather organic looking. The animation during the fight was quite smooth, and it was cool to see Lal'C kicking the crap out of the Space Monster rather than just spamming it with special attacks. In typical Gainax style, we get plenty of fanservice, especially when Nono literally becomes topless at the end. Diebuster is off to a good start.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Buy the collection (eps 1-6) on DVD from Amazon
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