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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. Besides the series, Orgun also appeared on the video game Super Robot Wars W.
Part 1 - Birth
Tomoru Shindo is a college student in City 5. Only months away from graduating, he cannot decide what he wants to do with his life, he ponders continuing in his family's footsteps of working in intra-stellar shipping or joining the Earth Defense Force (EDF). Tomoru begins having strange dreams where he is protecting a woman from mecha monsters. He also dreams about a mecha named Orgun fleeing from other mechas. They attack Orgun on the moon and are destroyed.
The supercomputer I-ZACK informs a professor, Kanzaki, that it is receiving signals from the moon. A meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere and is headed for City 5, when it suddenly changes course and splashes down in the ocean. The Earth Defense Force deploys a squadron of "bird-man" aircraft to investigate. The EDF bird-men engage the object, a hostile mecha, but cannot defeat it.
Without fully understanding the process, Kanzaki and I-ZACK have rebuilt Orgun's body, which wakes up and breaks out of its underground lab. Tomoru and Professor Kanzaki try to get to a vantage point to see the alien attacker, which targets them. The situation turns into a replica of one of Tomoru's dreams. Orgun shows up and invites Tomoru to fight. He takes the offer, joins with the mecha and defeats the invader, as well as a second one that has appeared.
After the battle Tomoru is released from the mecha. He has gained alien memories from the experience, saying the mecha's name is Orgun and that he has travelled 260 million years to get to Earth. Orgun whose appearances in Tomoru's dreams mark a psychic link between them, is a defector of the same race as the invaders, a species known as the Evoluders, who plan to destroy Earth with the Battle Planet Zohma's antimatter cannon. Meanwhile, the blind oracle Kumi Jefferson predicts the destruction of Earth.
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 is revealed that the Evoluder are 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 dilated time. The harshness of space has evolved them into half-human, half-machine hybrids. 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 the Evoluders, and Orgun. Zoa, the Evoluder military commander, ignores the orders of Mhiku, whom he has installed as a puppet regent, and personally joins the fight. He fires the main anti-matter cannon, Orgun can stop it with his Grand Cross attack, however, 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 on 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 is also criticized, described as "a mediocre Telecine transfer with noticeable rainbow artifacting."
- Chapman, Paul Thomas. "The Vault of Error: Detonator Orgun". Otaku USA. Sovereign Media.
- Hirasawa, Susumu. "introduction movie - introduction #02". The Aggregated Past KANGENSHUGI 8760 HOURS (in Japanese). Chaos Union. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Hirasawa, Susumu. "introduction/self-interview text version 平沢ソロのできるまで - introduction #2 エンジニアリング". The Aggregated Past KANGENSHUGI 8760 HOURS (in Japanese). Chaos Union. Retrieved 17 July 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. 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. Harper Design. p. 55. ISBN 978-0061474507.