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Choujikuu Seiki Orguss

Choujikuu Seiki Orguss

Released Year : July 3, 1983 to April 8, 1984

No of Episodes : 35

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Genre : Adventure,Mecha,Sci-Fi,Shounen

Plot : In the year 2062, the world's two superpowers are fighting a long and brutal war. In a desperate attempt to win, pilot Kei Katsuragi is given the mission to detonate a super weapon called the Space/Time Oscillation Bomb. The bomb explodes but the results are completely unexpected: a multitude of dimensions, times, and realities are unleashed into the world. Can Kei reverse the effects and bring life back to normal? (Source: ImaginAsian Entertainment)

Our Review : It took me a long time to get around to watching Orguss because nobody seemed to have anything good to say about it, and well, after watching it, I don't really get why it's so disliked/overlooked. It's not the best anime in the world (maybe people are comparing it to Macross because it's Studio Nue and most of the same staff worked on it?) but it's definitely an enjoyable little show that's worth watching at least once.

Without giving too much away, the basic plot of the show centers around two pilots, Kei Katsuragi and Orson Verne, whose mission is to set off a "trans-dimensional bomb". It's the "near" future and the two factions that govern the world are fighting over the control of an orbital elevator. When it comes to this conflict, we don't get much more detail than that, but we don't need it, because as soon as the bomb goes off, Kei is transported to another earth, one where dimensions phase in and out and the earth's atmosphere is affected by some sort of extreme greenhouse effect.

Kei is immediately discovered by a group of people who call themselves Emarns, a business-minded people who typically travel from place to place selling goods in sort of a floating spaceship-esque caravan, the Groma. Kei soon learns that he is one of two "differential points" (I kind of wonder if this could've been translated another way) -- this basically just means is that Kei is key to the restoration of the earth, which is becoming increasingly unstable. There is an antagonistic faction on the planet called Chiram who want Kei for their own purposes, and to complicate things, our heroes also have to contend with an entire civilization of genocidal robots hell bent on destroying all humans.

From there, politics get a bit more complicated, as to be expected from an anime directed by Noburo Ishiguro; it's not as sophisticated as some of the other anime he has directed such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes or even Macross, but it's still complex enough that the story plays more like a pulpy late 60s sci-fi novel than your typical 80s mecha anime. Unfortunately, due to the pacing of the show (there is some filler and the last handful of episodes seem rather rushed, and the ending is completely abrupt) the story suffers a bit. The story really begins to pick up around episode 15, after Orson is reintroduced into the show (my favorite character by far and probably the best example of a "main hero b" I've seen in a mecha anime). I also feel like the conflict with the Muu robots could've been introduced a lot sooner than it was. With some better pacing this show could've been a lot better, but it's not hard to see what they were shooting for and the show is still enjoyable to watch. There are several WTF moments (Palm tree monsters! Gigantic grapes!) but those just add to the charm of the series and are imaginative, I mean, in a world where different dimensions phase in and out, why not have fun with it?

The characters in this show are fun. Most of them are deeply flawed, but to get into detail about their flaws would spoil a lot of the show. The protagonist, Kei, is a "player" type of guy but has more charm than your typical Ataru Moroboshi-ish horny male anime lead. I started off really disliking him as his constant attempts to get with Mimsy were really annoying me, but over time you get to see a softer side of the character, a guy who is attracted to women but simultaneously genuinely cares for and respects not only women but everyone around him. In fact, this proves to be a major problem for him later in the series.

Basically, Orguss is a really fun show with some great art (great example of early 80s Haruhiko Mikimoto character designs, which I absolutely love) and sporadic bits of decent animation, with an intriguing and original story, and really good music. (My absolute favorite OP and some of the BGM is actually quite good -- listen for the Morricone-ripoff theme!) Watch and judge for yourself, don't listen to the haters.

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