Mecha Character Profile: Noriko Takaya – Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster

Super Robot pilots are usually males, and hot-blooded pilots are also usually males. And female pilots are usually calm and collected during battle. But Director Hideaki Anno has smashed that expectation with Gunbuster where he introduced a fiery female mecha pilot: Noriko Takaya. Her determined shouts still ring in the souls of pilots till this day.

I. Background:
– Noriko Takaya (Japanese name タカヤ・ノリコ) is the main character of the Gunbuster OVA. She is a sweet and naive teenage girl who idolizes her father – an Admiral of the spaceship Luxion. Her father – Yuzo Takaya – along with his ship vanished in 2015 in space while traveling with sub-lightspeed speed. She aims to become a space pilot to one day chase after her father.

– Noriko was born on September 12 in 2006. Her birthplace is Osaka, Japan. When she became a teenager, she enrolled in the Okinawa Girls High to train to become a space pilot. Eventually, she was chosen to go into space, but she was bullied for it because other students think she was favored because she was the daughter of an Admiral. At the time, Noriko’s piloting skill wasn’t up to par. But she trained hard after being chosen and proved to everyone that she deserved to go into space.

– However, when Noriko reached space, she was met with many challenges that pushed her to the brink of mental breakdown. A friend that she just made – a guy that she developed a crush on – lost his life in battle against the Space Monster where Noriko wasn’t able to do anything. This prompted her into a depression streak, but Coach’s words were able to push her forward and renew her determination.

– After recollecting herself, she was assigned to pilot the ultimate Super Robot – the Gunbuster. She was able to defeat the apparent Space Monster swarm that threaten the Federation Fleet. She then went on to pilot the Gunbuster in many battles – subsequently being hailed as a hero of humanity.

II. Skills & Abilities:
– Noriko is a relatively ordinary girl with typical Japanese female statue. Initially she has short attention span and under average hand-eye coordination which is crucial for mecha pilots. However, after intense training sessions with Coach Oota (Rocky style), she improved immensely. Her physical ability became similar to that of an astronaut. Her piloting skills also improved significantly, able to perform intricate moves even with her eyes closed.

– Noriko is also inexperienced at first, showing poor adaptability and on-the-spot reaction when sortieing for the first time in space. She has good technical skills but her mental preparedness wasn’t up to par. It wasn’t until she recovered from Smith’s loss and boarded the Gunbuster that she became a true warrior.

– It was noted that Noriko is a fan of 20th century anime, which is why she shouted out attack names while piloting the Gunbuster. She is fearless and quick-witted during battles, knowing how much damage the Gunbuster can take and which attack to use during certain situations. With the support of Kazumi as her co-pilot, Noriko’s Gunbuster is near invincible even when facing millions of Space Monsters. After Kazumi’s leave for Earth, Noriko continued to pilot the Gunbuster with great success.

– Noriko is a gentle girl with a bit of a fragile teenage heart. She get emotional easily when it comes to people she cared about. She isn’t good at dealing with losses or saying goodbyes. However, when the situation call for it, she became a fearless and self-sacrificial heroine that always pull through. Her unwavering trust in Coach’s Gunbuster abilities give her absolute confidence when she is in the pilot seat.

III. Gallery:

See Also: