Detonator Orgun -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: NA

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 159
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Detonator Orgun

Detonator Orgun

    September 11, 2001
Release Date: September 11, 2001

Detonator Orgun
© Central Park Media

What They Say
Just months prior to graduating from the university, Tomoru's Shindo's biggest decisions are the normal ones for a young man in his position: what to do after graduation and beating the latest game on his Pysch-Sim. But life is about to get a lot more complicated!
Tomoru's dreams are being invaded by a mysterious life form from beyond our solar system! It warns him of impending danger to the entire planet and urges him to prepare for battle. As he struggles to grasp what is happening, Michi, a young Earth Defense Forces Intelligence Researcher along with Izack, a super computer, race to unlock the secrets of a suit of alien armor. But the armor seems to have an agenda all of its own!

A force of hostile aliens arrives and dispatches a killing machine in Tomoru's city. Its mission: destroy the renegade soldier, Orgun. But what it finds is a confused Tomoru, who now has to fight an enemy straight out of his nightmares!

The Review!
Overall Rating: 3.5
(on a scale of 1-5)

-Technical Ratings-
Sound: 5
Picture: 5
Menu: 3
Presentation: 5
Goodies: 5
Overall: 4.6

-Content Ratings-
Animation: 3
Sound: 3
Plot: 3
Acting: 2
Music: 2
Entertainment: 1
Overall: 2.3


It was strange watching this right after watching such a good film earlier in the day. Compared to "Night on the Galactic Railroad" this OAV series was really poor. Wow. My soul was sucked out by this puppy. I think it’s Mystery Science Theatre time for "Detonator Orgun"!

-Technical Review-

The technical work on the series was pretty good. The sound and picture were very good. This series was made in the early 90’s and so I wasn’t expecting full surround. But the picture was pretty clear, the master must have been good. The menu is fairly standard. It has music and motion and reacts quickly to your choices. Once again the back side of the cover has info and art on it, but the keepcase isn’t clear! Kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? The cover contains all the info you need including Region coding, Rating, Channels of sound, Length of disc and number of episodes. It also lists all the extras you get. There is a fun little trivia game. Basically you watch a short clip and then answer a question about it (most of the questions deal with numbers on data screens so keep your eyes peeled). You get some fun animation if you get it wrong and if you get it right (this was better than the actual show!). You also get CPM’s trailer for the series, and an art gallery including stills and promotional art. On the DVD ROM side you get the script to all three episodes and the art gallery in a slideshow format (unfortunately its the same group of art on the regular DVD, I like when they include more art on the DVD ROM section. CPM never skimps on the goodies so it gets top score there. Technically is a good disc!

-Content Review-

If you are a big fan of anime clichés, boring stories, long drawn out talky scenes (in an action series) and suspense free action scenes, then this series is for you. Although it has a semi-interesting premise Detonator Orgun just misses the fun elements by a mile and falls flat on its face. This series managed to drag itself from a 159 minute running time to a 12 hour running time. I’m telling you, my soul was sucked right out of my body. Ouch...

The plot revolves around Tomoru a young man who is stuck in a rut. His life seems to be empty and he spends time going to the museum staring at the World War II exhibit and playing video games (It looks like Recall, from Total Recall). Oh yes and this all happens in the distant FUTURE! Anyway we flash to SPACE! A huge mecha is doing battle with space fighters. Explosions and destruction. Then there is the cute professor Michi Kanzaki and her Max Headroom-esque super computer I-Zack. They are working for the government to construct something based on strange pulse info from beyond SPACE! They build a mecha that looks just like the one doing battle in SPACE! Well I’ll cut to the chase. Tomoru has a strange dream about the mecha. Evil mecha attack the city. A tough red-head named Miturugi flies her mecha jet against it and gets shot down. Poor tough chick! Tomoru meets up with the professor and becomes one with the mecha she created. He is Orgun... defender of the universe... well kinda. He battles evil mecha. Then a large Death Star –esque planet thingie arrives and it’s filled with evil mecha. Can Orgun and the tough chick defend earth? What is the secret behind the evil mecha and their "Battle Planet" (aka Death Star). It’s non-stop action and adventure in Detonator Orgun.

Or at least, it’s supposed to be.

The animation and sound aren’t too bad. They are just what you’d expect for this type of story. The character design is pretty good. The mecha are kinda neat looking. I did like the look and feel of the city and some of the military weaponry that is used. Most of the sound effects fit the series and didn’t detract from the creation of this world. The big minus is the huge Death Star thingie. I mean, it really looks exactly the like the famous planet destroyer. So when a character declares that it can destroy all of earth with a single blast, you can’t help but wonder where Darth Vader is hiding out. There were also some really nice scene shifts, like a cityscape transforms into stars rushing by in a space dogfight. But by itself that doesn’t make a great film. There was also some interesting use of hand held motion during some action scenes. Again, it was unique to see that in anime, but it doesn’t help the overall story.

The basic plot is nothing new. But I’ve seen series that manage to take a simple plot or one that’s been done to death and make it interesting. For example, Outlaw Star takes your basic space adventure and makes it fun. And the story, aliens coming to earth to destroy it, is something we are all familiar with. We know that the hero will go forth and do battle and save us all. He’s gonna get the girl and evil will be punished. This is nothing earth shattering, and handled correctly it can be fun. But the problem is it isn’t handled correctly. On it’s own, the plot is fine.

The English acting is below average. The leads Tomoru and Professor Kanzaki do a pretty good job. Tomoru comes across as a young man struggling with the idea of combining with Orgun. Kanzaki is cute, smart and a little weak willed. She isn’t screaming every five seconds and being helpless (luckily). Both English actors do a pretty good job. But the rest of the cast ranges from over-the-top to unsure how play the part. If the whole cast had been over the top it might have been more fun, or if they had all played it deadly serious it might have worked. Instead we got a mish mash of styles that doesn’t seem to flow well. Some of the supporting cast was really weak and really pulled me out of the story. Part of the problem may be that the dub cast didn’t have much to work with here. These characters aren’t too exciting and while they do get some moments of depth, they mostly are two-dimensional. I ended p switching to the Japanese dub about half way through.

The music was pretty bad. It was all done on a synthesizer and was just like the acting. It was overdone in parts and at others it wasn’t noticeable in the least. The end theme is kinda traditional sounding, but not very memorable. Going against the grain, there are no opening credits, the story just starts with a pre-title sequence.

Detonator Orgun should have gone for a more fast and fun route, instead it gets bogged down in long explanations and long drawn out mecha battles. Scenes that should be kinetic and snappy end up being bland. And the talky scenes are just plain excruciating. I’m not sure if it’s the director’s fault or the writers’ but this series with its fun premise and twist ending should have been pure fantasy and pure fun. Instead you count the minutes as they pass. I think the idea was to create a action anime with some drama in it. But what ended up happening was that the character building scenes really slowed the pacing down, and the action scenes lacked any real suspense to them. I was never really afraid for any of the characters or their situation. I think the basic idea should have shifted to a more over the top presentation. Pure entertainment and less drama would have worked better with this story line. Oh well. It does make for some good MST3K material.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Phillips Flatscreen (27 Inch), Sony Playstation 2


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