Director Masami Obari (Fatal Fury) handles the action sequences, space battles, and fist fights between giant robots with his usual skill. He's less successful at presenting Hideki Kakinuma's convoluted story, a needlessly complicate d mixture of flashbacks, fantasies, quasi-religious mysticism and warnings about the dangers of tampering with human evolution that is simultaneously too complicated and too simple for its two-and-a-half-hour length. --Charles Solomon, Amazon.com
One of the ferrivorous appeals of Anime is that it's like watching your most ecstatic, high-pitched boyhood/girlhood fantasies come true. The kind of stories you made up in your head when you were a kid playing the SNES. They often take place in advanced, futuristic cities or in space, involve some kind of massive robot/starship/battle and always end in some kinetic, wayward frenzy. Orgun follows that pattern. The budget required to make it into a live action movie would alleviate the national debts of seven third-world countries.
The story commences in the year 2292. A young student named Tomaru lives in a hyper-clean futuristic city floating above the Earth's equator. Life holds little thrills for him as he explains to his friends. He is saddled with depression at the thought of leaving University to spend the rest of his life working a futile, empty existence. His only means of escape is via the use of a video-game like console that attaches to the head during sleep, giving one the ability to play games in one's dreams. But soon, something strange begins to happen. Tomaru's dreams start being invaded by visions of a giant robot that seems to know who he is and begs him, vaguely, to fight. Around the same time, the Earth's military forces are nearing completion of a project they began a year prior to the film's beginning, when they began to recieve a signal from an unknown and unexplored sector of the galaxy. The signal contained instructions for some kind of new technology and to the scientists working on the project, it looks for all the world like some kind of giant robot. Meanwhile, in deep space, something terrifying is approaching Earth...
Like I said, Anime is a place where the writer's imaginations can run riot which can be a lot of fun. The biggest plus to Detonator Orgun is its sheer thrill and excitement value, coupled with an epic sense of mystery and wonder. The battle sequences in Orgun are very well handled and never become boring.
The film falls down when it comes to character. Tomaru, the hero, is well developed and we get to understand a lot of him throughout the film. He is restless and sad, unhappy with the course of his life - he will provide plenty for Anime fans to relate to. Outside of him however, the characters are there merely to service the story. The genius scientist Dr. Kanzaki is labelled with all the explanatory dialogue and otherwise just provides someone to fall in love with Tomaru. Other characters drift in and out of the story with little relevance and those that had some potential to be interesting are left frustratingly undeveloped.
Character however is not the point here. This is the Anime equivalent of a thoughtful summer blockbuster. It's an old-school Mecha Anime that stays rooted in science-fiction and is rivetingly entertaining. A great primer for things like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Robotech.
The plot itself is both complex and simplistic and takes a while to get started. Tomoru Shindo a young adult who is obsessed with an archaic sense of taste decides that the machine controlled world he belongs to being boring wishes for more action. With the arrival of Orgun he has his wish granted albeit in a much higher proportion than he could have ever expected.
What is good about this film is the combat scenes, from the city wide battle at the start to the awesome real time space war at the end you feel gripped during these scenes.
However the main weakness of this film is that it is way too long. Any film to last two and half hours successfully must have a diverse enough plot to grip but not bore and this is a problem for detonator orgun. The film has essentially the correct approach and has a solid plot involving a mysterious enemy intent on destroying all in its path and the way that Earth is a sitting duck to this new threat. However the plot simply does not survive without dipping into the realms of tedious and ridiculousness. The chants of Orgun by the commander of the enemy just gets annoying and the romantic plot of Tomoru and the woman scientist professor Kanzaki just seems wooden, typically love at first sight Mills and Boon trash.
However I feel that I am being over critical here. Should you persevere you shall find enjoyment here and what makes it good is that scientific language. Constant talk of compounds and such like adds that sense of realism. Also the animation is very effective as it can be both simnple outline and graphic detail together.
This is an anime that you should only consider if you are a real fan. It is definitely not the type of manga I say that all newcomers should rush out and buy. However you won't be totally disappointed should you buy it, better than most.
This is one of the best mecha series ever made. Read more
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions