It’s difficult to talk about this without going into some measure of depth how incredibly and needlessly complicated this is, Detonator Orgun was one of those anime’s that I watched rather regularly on recorded VHS from the Sci-Fi Channel’s anime broadcasting which helped shape my interest, like most things however as I got older I started to see the errors that plague certain elements of it that make this a part of nostalgia that you want to look at and shrug off. Not to mention at times when you enjoyed something from a younger age by the time you get older you are completely annoyed and frustrated by it, that’s what the effect of this leaves the more you watch it.
As that develops he encounters a genetically engineered researcher called Professor Michi Kanzaki, who looks eerily like the woman from his dreams that he was trying to protect. As the story proceeds he develops a crush on her all whilst the earth has been invaded by the Evoluder, a race of galaxy hopping Mech warriors. One of the Evoluder, Orgun leaves his race to go to the earth to find what the anime keeps referencing as “Something important”. Tomoru manages to unlock the memories from Orgun due to a psychic bond they share with each other and how his desertion from the Evoluder will lead to uncovering the truth of Orgun’s mission.
That’s the long and short of this story and how it unfolds, which from afar you’d be quite hyped about. What I think really makes this Anime suffer not from its dated look is how Dire everything about it is, especially as well how convoluted the plot can be when you don’t pay attention. This is an OVA that while its fun to watch from an animation perspective which gives you some level of appreciation for the studio who worked on this, plot wise again it feels Dire. From the characters to the story and how it steamrolls along which really drags on forever and can at times fail to keep an interest.
The Characters first of all, some of them to be honest are not that interesting. Tomoru Shindo (while his current status in that lifestyle is relatable) is not very engaging as a person, he tends to whine about his dissatisfaction with current society and harbours on about how “I was born in the wrong time” and “I should have been born around this era” which the more you hear it the more boring it starts to get.
Michi Kanzaki while her profession and her role in the story helps bring her closer to Tomoru, there is very little to her character as well which makes it hard to connect with since she doesn’t give out much information about her and she feels like a wet blanket.
Which doesn’t help when some of the scenes were we see her and Tomoru interact feel incredibly forced and rather unwelcoming at times based on what Tomoru has to go through.
Other characters such as Kumi Jefferson - a prophet child whose main purpose in the story really is to predict what happens in the plot, Youko Mitsurugi – The EDF’s best female fighter and Nokk – Tomoru’s college friend really don’t seem that interesting. The problem with a majority of the cast is they aren’t written to a point where you are invested that much in what they are doing and how our lack of information about them helps us care about them. Even when things are at stake when they are attacked by the Evoluder you feel like in the time we have spent with them we should have felt something.
The biggest issue which shows that the Anime needs you to pay close and minuscule details is the backstory of the Evoluder. The backstory with them is how 200 years ago an exploration team was launched into the Cygnus Galaxy and due to the experiences of Time Dilation they have evolved into mechanical creatures incapable of feeling emotions outside of war and destruction, basically the Evoluder are evolved humans from a different time line which explains how Orgun and Tomoru Shindo have a connection with eachother, as well as characters such as Kumi Jefferson & Lady Mihku (The supreme commander of the Evoluder). What makes this an issue is how underwhelming and kind of silly their origin is and how by the end of it their mission feels like a complete misunderstanding, nothing feels earned from this and you can’t help but laugh at how it’s explained in the most contrived way possible.
Now the Animation for the most part of this from the character designs, to the movement, to every fight scene done in this is actually rather good. Directed by Masami Ōbari (Angel Blade, Voogie's Angel, Marine a Go Go) this was before he eventually moved into the direct-to-hentai format and you would think this wouldn’t be his work, surprisingly his mark has been left mostly on the mecha outlook of this mostly with the Evoluder and how they move and function.
The dire and easily the most difficult part of this are from an audio perspective. The score done by Susumu Hirasawa is probably the most agonizingly, painfully, brutally and easily most repetitive thing about this. This was before he ended up composing scores to anime such as Berserk and the filmography of Satoshi Kon, now I’m a big fan of Susumu Hirasawa and I highly respect him as a great musician with a very influential and highly mechanical sound to his music as well as an underrated and incredibly underused composer which shows how much of a genius he really is, in Detonator Orgun you don’t get that result. The score to this goes really all over the place and plays at the most awkward and unwelcome of moments, when there should be just dialogue the score comes out of nowhere and proceeds to beat you into the ground over and over again with the same song that the more you listen to it you feel like reacting to it, it doesn’t help when the songs drown out a majority of dialogue in this as well. The lyrical songs however really are enough of a reward because they are captivating and enjoyable to listen to, so the score from such a unique musician is rather mixed.
An interesting point as well from a design aspect from this regarding the design of Orgun, the design features and the asthetics are very similar to the anime Tekkaman Blade (Teknoman) which aired around the same time, so it’s possible that one ended up being inspired by the other thanks to Masami Obari.
Robots put against other robots in the fight to save the planet earth which for an Anime you can’t get more out of it than that.
Despite the problems I've mentioned it’s a watchable Anime, recommended..
Sami Sadek is a lifelong Transformers and Anime fan, and can often be found propping up bars or appearing in the background of Auto Assembly vids. He has also talks on Youtube, Tumbls on Tumblr and doodles on Deviantart. He has never had a swordfight atop a church whilst a crow watches. Honest.