I'm such a big fan of the "Gunbuster" and "Diebuster" OAV series. The original 1988 OAV series is among my personal favorites and the newer 2003 series was pretty cool and nicely tied with the first OAV series and both featured cool storylines and a lot of action.
In 2006, GAINAX went to create two film versions, which are more or less a condensed to 2-hour film from the episodes of the OAV series. And to celebrate the 20th Year Anniversary of "GUNBUSTER" in 2008, Bandai Visual/Honneamise released the "GUNBUSTER vs. DIEBUSTER - Aim for the Top! The GATTAI! MOVIE" DVD Box set which I reviewed back in August.
But when it was announced that a Blu-ray version of the box set was being released in Japan which would feature interviews, footage from the movie premieres and interviews galore, Gunbuster fans were salivating over this release.
And now it is released in the US and how does it stack up against the original DVD box set? The only word I can think of, after I watched the Blu-ray Limited Edition box set was "beautiful".
First, there is no difference in terms of the storyline of the films from the DVD box set and the Blu-ray box set BUT the quality differences is tremendous. Also, you get more for your money as the Blu-ray box set comes with special features, while the previous version came with nothing. But you did get postcards, booklets and a certification exam.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The first thing I noticed when watching "GUNBUSTER the Movie" is that for a digitally remastered film, the high-definition version looked clean and the colors are much more vibrant. I was literally in awe that this film created in the 1980s, looked so beautiful today in Blu-ray. The video is featured in 1080p High Definition and the majority of the film is in 4:3 but once you get to the final segment of the film (when it goes black and white), the film is presented in 16:9. But the video just looked phenomenal.
As for audio, you get Dolby TrueHD (5.1 ch surround) and if you thought Bandai Visual didn't skimp on audio on their DVD releases, the same goes with the Blu-ray version.
It also helps that many of the original cast members returned back to re-record their lines and thus GAINAX and rework the audio for modern times. But all in all, "GUNBUSTER the Movie" looks and sounds incredible in this Blu-ray Box Set.
As for "DIEBUSTER the Movie", since this film is only five years old, it's a newer, digital film as opposed to the handdrawn original. But again, the colors are vibrant and everything looks quite beautiful in the Blu-ray release and the video is presented in 16:9 (1080p High Definition) and also the audio is featured in Dolby TrueHD (5.1ch Surround).
Also, I found the clarity of the special features on the bonus disc to be very cool. I mean, you can see the skin pores and makeup so much clearly on the Blu-ray disc. The majority of the bonus features are featured in 16:9 (1080i High Definition). Audio is presented in Linear PCM (2.0ch Stereo).
This is where the Blu-ray blows out the original DVD box set. The special features include:
* The GATTAI!!! Movie - Stage Appearance by Cast and Staff. This is a 31-minute portion where the staff of both films meet with the lucky fans who got to see the movie and the staff. This was pretty fun to watch as you learn how both staff admire each other especially DIEBUSTER actress Yukari Fukui (Nono) of Noriko Hidaka (Noriko), especially when it came to the Lightning Kick scenes.
* GUNBUSTER: Interview on Re-recording session - This 26 min. featurette was very cool as the seiyuu had the chance to talk about re-recording their lines or preparing for the role. It was cool to see the actual footage during the recording of the original "GUNBUSTER" film.
* From DIEBUSTER to THE GATTAI! Movie - This 30 min. featurette featured the DIEBUSTER staff talking about how they decided to make the DIEBUSTER OAV series to the movie and what they hoped to accomplish. Also, some insight to the characters and how Nono was based off of Yukari Fukui.
* The GATTAI!! Movie Trailer - A 2-minute trailer of both films
* WEB MESSAGE CAMPAIGN - This section is only available if you select the Japanese menu on the beginning of the disc. This allows you to hear A LOT of audio clips, in almost like a radio drama (short audio segments) featuring the characters of the film.
Also, included are the booklets of the two films and a fold-out informative print piece that is like a primer.
Of course, I'm very biased towards the OAV series because there was more time to focus on the character development. But with the series as a film and having to condense and pretty much eliminating certain episodes, you do miss a lot of the emotional storylines and watching how these heroines got from point A to to point B in becoming talented pilots.
But the overall goal of the film is accomplished by showcasing two cool storylines and fans of the original to the new fans of the anime series can definitely enjoy. As mentioned in my review for the films on the DVD box set, I saw this as an additional compliment to the OAV series.
But focusing on the Blu-ray Limited Edition of "The GATTAI!! Movie", this literally blows away the regular DVD box set. Not only is the quality and audio much better but for fans that wanted interviews and any footage of the talent from the movie premieres or interviews with the staff, this box set has all that!
For me, just to see the original 80s staff was just remarkable and to hear and see Noriko Hidaka again was just awesome! So, for me, this is truly an awesome 20th Anniversary box set. Seeing the past and present on stage together was a sight to behold for fans of GUNBUSTER and DIEBUSTER but to see how lengthy the footage for each featurette was, this box set is pretty awesome! You definitely feel you get your money's worth.
If you are a GUNBUSTER or DIEBUSTER fan, this limited edition Blu-ray disc box set is worth it! Highly recommended!