Cover of English Detonator Orgun DVD.
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Masami Ōbari|
|Produced by||Noburo Ishida
|Written by||Hideki Kakinuma|
|Music by||Susumu Hirasawa|
|Released||July 25, 1991 – March 25, 1993|
|Runtime||50 minutes (each)|
|Written by||Hideki Kakinuma|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Original run||August 1991 – March 1992|
|Released||July 31, 1992|
Detonator Orgun (Japanese: デトネイター・オーガン Hepburn: Detoneitā Ōgan?) is a 1991 Japanese original video animation series by AIC and Artmic, directed by Masami Ōbari with character designs by Kia Asamiya, working under his real name Michitaka Kikuchi. The series started planning in 1989, but the animation process did not start until 1991. A month before the first episode's release in Japan, a making of VHS tape with cast & crew interviews marked "episode 0" was released exclusively in Japan. It was released on DVD by Central Park Media in the United States in 2001 (re-released in 2003 with a lower MSRP), by Happinet Pictures in Japan on 2002 (in a limited edition boxset with episode 0) and by Manga Entertainment in the United Kingdom in 2003. Orgun later appeared in the Super Robot Wars W video game.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2015)|
Part 1 - Birth
Tomoru Shindo, a City 5 college student months away from graduating, cannot decide what he wants to do with his life, be it continuing in his family's footsteps of working in intra-stellar shipping or joining the Earth Defense Force (EDF). He begins having strange dreams with mecha monsters, either protecting a woman from them or of battles where they are destroyed by a mecha named Orgun. While on a train, he develops a crush on the genetically engineered EDF researcher Professor Kanzaki. She's informed by the supercomputer I-ZACK that it's receiving signals from the moon, transmitted by a crash-landed Orgun. A meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere heading for City 5, suddenly changing course and splashing down in the ocean, revealing itself to be a hostile mecha, which cannot be beaten by normal EDF forces. Kanzaki and I-ZACK rebuild Orgun, who wakes up and breaks out of their underground lab. In a situation identical to one of Tomoru's dreams, he and Kanzaki are targeted by the alien attacker when they try to get to a vantage point to see it. Orgun appears and invites Tomoru to fight together, which he accepts, defeating the invading force. Tomoru gains alien memories from the experience, learning Orgun's name and that he traveled 260 million lightyears to reach Earth. Orgun, whose recurrence in Tomoru's dreams mark a psychic link between them, is a defector of the same race as the invading Evoluders, who plan to destroy Earth with the Battle Planet Zohma's antimatter cannon. Meanwhile, the blind oracle Kumi Jefferson predicts the planet's destruction.
Part 2 - Pursuit
The EDF builds replicas of Orgun to defend Earth. Orgun and Tomoru meet two Evoluders: Leave, who dies protecting Orgun, and Lang, who battles Orgun in anger for his treason. It's revealed that the Evoluders are the descendants of a disappeared space probe launched into the Cygnus galaxy 200 years ago. Due to the effects of special relativity, they have experienced millions of years of time dilation, which caused them to evolve into humanoid forms. Some of the Evoluder have humans linked to them, such as Tomoru with the rebel Orgun and Kumi with the Evoluder leader Mhiku.
Part 3 - Showdown
The Evoluders attack Earth. They are eventually repelled by the EDF, equipped with the same type of armor suits as Orgun. Zoa, the Evoluder military commander, ignores the orders of Mhiku, whom he has installed as a puppet regent, and personally joins the fight, firing the main anti-matter cannon. Orgun can stop it with his Grand Cross attack, while he is in the dark side of Earth when the cannon is fired. Kumi uses her telekinectic powers to move the sun so that Orgun can save the planet. Orgun crashes in beach, dying in the process, while Tomoru survives. Zoa is killed and Mhiku resumes ruling the Evoluders, who peacefully leave Earth. Tomoru and Kanzaki walk off into the sunset while Orgun's remains are displayed in a museum.
- Youko Mitsurugi
- Voiced by: Emi Shinohara / Katherine Devaney (US) / Sara Williams (UK)
- Voiced by: Nobuo Tanaka / Justin Thompson (US)
- Professor Michi Kanzaki
- Voiced by: Yumi Tōma / Angela Parks (US) / Joanna MacInnes (UK)
- Voiced by: Bōya Ueda / Robert Chase (UK)
- Kumi Jefferson/Mhiku
- Commander Zoa
- Voiced by: Kenji Utsumi / Matthew Bray (US) / William Roberts (UK)
- Voiced by: Masashi Ebara
- Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto
- Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki / Corey Carthew (US) / Daniel Marinker (UK)
ORIGINAL VIDEO ANIME SOUNDTRACK
|Soundtrack album by Susumu Hirasawa|
|Released||July 25, 1991
October 25, 1991 (2)
March 25, 1992 (3)
|Susumu Hirasawa soundtrack chronology|
|Singles from Detonator Orgun 1|
Detonator Orgun 2
Detonator Orgun 3
Polydor K.K., a member of the series' production committee, recommended Susumu Hirasawa, an artist from their roster, for the series composer role. Hirasawa took the role because of a wish to work with producer Kaito Kichijōji, whose personality drew Hirasawa in. The composer was asked to write the anime's main theme first, it was presented to Kichijōji and director Masami Ōbari in late 1990, before animation had started.
Hirasawa wrote and performed all the music for the OVA, in his film score composer debut (previous soundtrack work amounted to commercial jingles and pro wrestling entrance themes). Similarly to his solo albums Water in Time and Space, The Ghost in Science and Virtual Rabbit, Hirasawa mixed together electronic and symphonic sounds, using elements across a broad range of music styles, with a large focus on classical music. At the time, Hirasawa thought of anime and movie soundtracks only as enhancements and not as standalone works, and made the soundtracks considering it as "a job" and "entertainment", employing an epic tone and dramatic exaggeration in his composing. He drew songwriting elements from his solo albums throughout the soundtrack, and used already-made songs from them as ending themes and insert songs.
Hirasawa eventually got tired of working on the series, and considers Detonator Orgun 3 to be the worst album of his solo career, yet also considers the experience helpful in making later soundtracks, in particular the music for the Berserk series and regards the "grand and delicate" technique for orchestral tones he developed through this soundtrack as guidance for his later works in general. Series writer Hideki Kakinuma enjoyed the soundtrack, later commissioning Hirasawa to compose for his fantasy manga Glory Wars, this music was later released as an image EP of the same name.
To promote the album, the remix of "Bandiria Travellers" used as the ending theme of episode 1 was released a month ahead as a single and a sampler Mini CD with the opening and ending themes of episode 1 was distributed to interested parties. Besides the individual episode soundtracks, a drama CD, containing select tracks from the soundtracks and audio from the series itself, was also released.
The series' main theme was included on the 2007 compilation Music For Movies: World of Susumu Hirasawa Soundtracks. Hirasawa had the soundtracks remastered for the 2012 boxset Haldyn Dome; his former record label did the same for the 2014 compilation Symphonic Code (since those were catalog-wide projects, songs that were also present on other albums were omitted to avoid duplication, being either included on earlier discs of the boxset or on the Archetype compilation); Glory Wars ended up bundled together with the soundtracks for these reissues.
Hirasawa has not brought up his soundtracks for the series in his overall career much. Some P-Model material originated out of the soundtrack. In his 1994 shows, the title theme was played over the PA system before they began; Hirasawa usually opened his shows with "Frozen Beach'94", a rearrangement of "YOHKO Mitsurugi" with the lyrics of "Frozen Beach". A studio recording of this version, simply titled "FROZEN BEACH", was released a year later on the Scuba Recycle album.
All songs written and composed by Susumu Hirasawa. "Bandiria Travellers" & "SUNSET" have string & choral arrangements by Hirasawa & Kayo "Kokubo" Matsumoto. "Root of Spirit" titled by Toshiaki Minejima with string arrangement by Jun Miyake.
|Detonator Orgun 1|
|9.||"PROPAGANDA of E.D.F."||1:39|
|12.||"Bandiria Travellers (Physical Navigation Version)" (バンディリア旅行団 Bandiria Ryōkōdan)||5:01|
|Detonator Orgun 2|
|2.||"Clear Mountain Top" (山頂晴れて Sanchō Harete)||4:08|
|7.||"YOHKO & TOMORU"||1:16|
|8.||"ORGUN & TOMORU"||0:59|
|9.||"Venus" (金星 Kinsei)||3:16|
|Detonator Orgun 3|
|2.||"PROPAGANDA of E.D.F. II"||0:32|
|5.||"TOMORU & MICHI"||1:12|
|6.||"Water in Time and Space (Full Size)" (時空の水 Jikū no Mizu)||4:01|
|11.||"Root of Spirit" (魂のふる里 Tamashii no Furusato)||5:43|
- Susumu Hirasawa - Synthesizers, Drum machine, Sampler, Sequencers, Amiga 2500, Programming, Vocals, Electric guitar, Classical guitar, Production
- Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus - Backing Vocals on "Bandiria Travellers"
- Teru Uchida Strings - Strings on "Bandiria Travellers" and "SUNSET"
- Jun Togawa - Vocals on "Clear Mountain Top"
- THE GROOVERS, Osamu Takeuchi and Chūju Yamaguchi - Backing Vocals on "Clear Mountain Top"
- Shingo Tomoda - Drums on "Venus"
- Kayo "Kokubo" Matsumoto - Acoustic Piano on "Water in Time and Space (Full Size)"
- Asuka Kaneko's Section - Violins, Cellos, Violas and Contrabasses on "Root of Spirit"
- Yoshiaki Kondo - Engineering on "Venus" and "Root of Spirit"
- Masanori Chinzei - Engineering, Backing Vocals on "Clear Mountain Top"
- Yūichi Kenjo - Executive Production, Backing Vocals on "Clear Mountain Top"
- Michitaka Kikuchi - Illustrations (1 & 2)
- Masami Ōbari - Illustrations (3)
Ben Carlton of Manga Mania praised the series' art; "Tomoru lives in a future world which is bright, clean, and scarily antiseptic. The military look like plastic toys in their chunky armour and craft. [...] skies are as rich and beautiful as any in Macross Plus [...]", also noting that "Tomoru's world is also sharp and crisp as only anime can make it, with every edge and colour defined, giving more tension to the robot battles and dream sequences, where with every major change or impact the image loses definition in a sudden blur of brightness or shadow." On the other hand, Carlton criticized the UK dub's mixing, describing it as "sadly, disappointing, with uneven levels and what sounds like some nice music almost drowned out."
Helen McCarthy in 500 Essential Anime Movies called the anime an "intriguingly fresh take on the traditions of giant robot shows", noting that three "hour-long episodes allow plenty of time to develop concepts and characters".
Paul Thomas Chapman, writing retrospectively for Otaku USA, criticized the series, stating that "it starts off dull, proceeds to take an interesting twist and mangle it beyond recognition, and concludes in a manner that can only be described as complete and utter nonsense, even by anime standards;" When he talks about a scene where Kumi moves the sun with telekinetic powers, Chapman states "I don’t have enough exclamations points to describe how ridiculous that is." Comparing the series the other works by its staff, he notes that "it’s no surprise that the themes explored in Detonator Orgun—trans-humanism, the loneliness of space, the cyclical nature of history, and the sense of futility experienced by cultures consumed by war—are so similar to those explored in Gall Force [...] But whereas Gall Force felt like a sincere work of popular science fiction, Orgun feels like [Hideki] Kakinuma repeating himself, chewing over an idea he’s already examined more thoroughly and with greater skill. As for future utopias and transformation as a metaphor for self-actualization, I’ve seen this kind of imagery from Masami Obari before and since," comparing the series to Angel Blade. The 2001 DVD release of the series was also criticized as "a mediocre Telecine transfer with noticeable rainbow artifacting."
- "吉祥寺怪人 on Twitter: "【オーガンと音楽：１】 OVAとして'89年から企画され、最初は玩具メーカーで発売予定だったが色々あって音楽メーカーP社に決定。色々なかったら平沢さんとの出会いもなかったことになる。 いや、出会いとかを越え、オーガンの音楽はすでにそこにあった…そんな感覚が正しいかも。"". Twitter. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- Chapman, Paul Thomas (24 March 2014). "The Vault of Error: Detonator Orgun". Otaku USA. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "吉祥寺怪人 on Twitter: "【オーガンと音楽：２】 '90年、P社から音楽は平沢さんはどうかと推薦され、さっそく本社で会議。作品の世界観をひととおりご説明すると「なにもそこまで!?…という感じでよいのですね」という平沢さんの発言で会議は無事終了した。"". Twitter. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- Hirasawa, Susumu. "introduction/self-interview movie 平沢ソロのできるまで - #02 Engineering". The Aggregated Past KANGENSHUGI 8760 HOURS (in Japanese). Chaos Union. Retrieved 17 July 2015. · "text version".
- "吉祥寺怪人 on Twitter: "【オーガンと音楽：３】 まずテーマ曲を先行して作曲していただくことになった。 '90年の年末近く、山中湖のスタジオで『DETONATOR ORGUN』を聴かせていただいた。 「平沢さん…なにもそこまで…！」と思わず言ってしまいそうになるほどの躍動に震えた。"". Twitter. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "吉祥寺怪人 on Twitter: "【オーガンと音楽：４】 興奮のまま帰社した私は大張監督に電話をかけ、テープを再生しスピーカーに受話器を押し当て試聴してもらった。 電話の向こうで監督は本作の勝利を確信したという。 まだ１カットも動く画面のない状況下、平沢さんの曲の中には、既にオーガンが躍動していたからである。"". Twitter. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- Hirasawa, Susumu (2012). Haldyn Dome (liner notes) (in Japanese). Chaos Union, TESLAKITE. CHTE-0061.
- "RocketBaby's interview w/Susumu Hirasawa". RocketBaby. Neo Cosmic Industries. Archived from the original on 2001-03-03. Retrieved 3 March 2001.
- Carlton, Ben (1997). "postmortem". Manga Mania (London: Titan Magazines) (42): 83. ISSN 0968-9575.
- McCarthy, Helen (2008). 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. New York: Collins Design. p. 55. ISBN 9780061474507.