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|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
For the most part, Orguss is a typical mecha anime of the 1980s milking the tropes of the time period with a hotshot flirting fighter pilot of a male lead being whisked away to another world, getting caught up in the middle of a three-way conflict between alien races, having a number of alien girls among the traveling caravan he journeys with with their own varying character archetypes, getting in a love triangle with a couple aboard the caravan and eventually learning some shocking truths concerning the world he is in and the fates of his comrades before getting to the alien world. These revelations help to provide some solid world exploration and engaging plot development to Orguss that keep things somewhat engaging throughout its 35-episode run and keep it from otherwise being a forgettable entry in the mecha genre. The animation is typical TV quality for an 80s anime and the soundtrack is a bit of an oddity as the upbeat tracks clash rather badly with the series, especially the ending song "Kokoro wa Gypsy" which sounds like a 70s American pop song. Still if you love dabbling into old-school mecha anime, Orguss is a somewhat decent entry in the genre in spite of it not doing much to break any new ground for the genre.
Last updated Sunday, January 17 2016. Created Sunday, January 17 2016.
After watching Orguss 02 and being surprised how much I liked it, I did some website research and discovered that the original Orguss had been a TV series that came out way back in 1983. Hoping that the quality of this series might be similar to it's sequel, I ordered Volume 1 off Amazon.Com. After viewing episodes 1-3, I was pleased to find that, though not nearly as good, I still liked it!|
Mind you, being as old as it is, the quality leaves something to be desired. During the battles cheap tricks like repeating clips were used, and there were plenty of fireball explosions, but they were not particularly realistic or impressive. The initial battle didn't seem very dramatic. This was a dubbed version (the only version available here in America), and the voices initially seemed out of sync with the animation, but the people responsible must have learned their lesson because this problem quickly disappeared. Several professional reviewers have described the English voice acting as near-atrocious, and even I could tell at times that what I was hearing was in fact unenthusiastic actors reading lines. You'd probably need to be an afficionado of antique anime to really enjoy this.
What makes all of these shortcomings forgivable is the intriguing technology, the fairly original storyline, and most of all the interesting characters. Orguss would certainly have been in deep trouble had it not been for the hilarious, devil-may-care personality of main character Kei Katsuragi himself. He is a shameless womanizer--in fact, at the very beginning of the first episode he's in bed with a girlfriend, and must flee when her father comes after him with a rifle. If you watch closely you just might see the nude pinup displayed momentarily on the video screen of his ship, the "Bronco II". After the Space/Time Oscillation Bomb goes off, he finds himself with the Emaan, a group of "techno-gypsies" who fortunately include a number of beautiful women whose only oddity is the antenna they sprout. I repeatedly found myself laughing out loud at his unexpected comments as he interprets deadly serious events from his simple minded perspective. After a desperate battle, for example, the Emaan girls wonder how he managed to come out on top. His reply: "Hey, is that some sort of a come-on?". They ask him to promise he won't desert them, and he reasons "There's a lot of cute girls here, and the food is pretty good. It'll be a nice place to stay for awhile". Unknown to Kei, however, he has become what's known as a "Differentiated Idioblast", and appears to be a very hot commodity which both the Emaan and their enemy, the Chiram, are eager to get their hands on. Will his hosts, including his new girlfriend, Mimsy, betray him? I, for one, cannot wait to find out! Other amusing characters include Jabi, the alien among the crew of the Glomar, Mome, the little girl who is in fact an android, and "The Colonel", a combat android that Mome built in her spare time.
Having seen 11 of the 17 available episodes, my impression is that Orguss lies halfway between a children's cartoon and the sophisticated anime available today. That's fine with me; sometimes I don't want a complicated show, I want a simple story that's just plain fun. Some episodes seemed like ridiculous filler material which had little or nothing to do with the main plotline, which is especially frustrating when you know you may never get to see the entire series anyway. Sometimes I don't know if I'm laughing with Orguss or at it--but either way, it's still fairly entertaining. Since only 17 out of 35 episodes were released in this country by a company called "US Renditions" in 1992, and they were scarce and expensive, I lost interest in collecting the remainder of the series. However, I hear a California foreign language TV station has been showing the series recently (2007, that is).
P.S.: Some interesting Orguss trivia, courtesy of other websites:
1. Orguss was almost included as part of Robotech;
2. The US Renditions version includes the voices of Dorothy Melendrez (Meryl from Trigun), plus David Lucas and Melissa Charles (Spike and Ed from Cowboy Bebop).
My favorite line: After Mimsy leaps into the cockpit of Kei's ship, and lands on top of him in an embarassing position, he says "Don't move--you'll wreck the mood"
Last updated Saturday, March 08 2008. Created Saturday, May 24 2003.
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