Fleeing from his own race, Orgun—an alien being with superhuman abilities and unearthly weapons—travels to Earth to find an answer to his origin. There, he bonds with a young man named Tomoru to defend Earth against the Evoluders, who seek nothing but destruction of other civilizations.
The 3-episode OVA Detonator Orgun released from 1991 to 1992 is one of the most unusual mecha/scifi I have seen. Directed by the famous Masami Obari who has some reputation in the genre and he is more respected than any of his works is. In Detonator Orgun you can clearly see where Obari succeeds and where he fails most of times.
In a far far future where you can turn on/off the tv or the lights by snapping your fingers (wow), a young man named Tomoru is having some disturbing dreams in the last days. In one of these dreams he encounters a robot named
Orgun and other mechanical aliens. The dreams would turn out premonition given that an alien robot is attacking the city. Meanwhile, in a military lab, we see a robot that was rescued on the moon and that was rebuilt by Professor Kanzaki, a smart young woman, who is trying to find out what it actually is, when it breaks out from the lab and sets out to stop the other alien. This Robot, who is actually Orgun from Tomoru's dreams finds and asks to merge with him so they can beat the hostile robot. By merging with Orgun, Tomoru gets some information about it and the enemies. Once they defeated the hostile robot, Tomoru tells Professor Kanzaki and the military that robotics invaders are actually an alien race called Evoluder who intend to destroy the Earth. Orgun is this alien race’s defector who traveled here to protect Earth.
The story begins a bit slow, in the first episode the protagonist has almost exactly the same dream twice and only by the end of the episode he met with Orgun.
The anime works with cool sci-fi ideas like human evolution and space travel. But unfortunately these ideas are not very well explored. There’s a lot of stuff going on and some irrelevant characters with a considerably amount of screen time. The OVA being so short it felt really rushed and underdeveloped in many parts.
The main character Tomoru is bland, he has no clear motivations, even when he understood Orgun and the threat of enemies, he spend the whole second episode bitching about piloting the mecha (get in the robot, Shinji). The dialogues with him are always boring and confusing as he is always indecisive and empty of any purpose. The only thing we understand about him is that he likes things from the 20th century’s stuff. And the anime is CONSTANTLY reminding you of that, his two dreams in the first episode had this weird WWII setting, he seems to have a obsession with the local museum, once its shown him in the movie theater watching a WWII film. There is even one scene in the first episode where in the middle of an alien attack, he is almost hit by Professor Kanzaki’s vintage car by accident and after almost dying the first thing he says is "Woow, the 1962 Jaguar E". What's the point of all this? None, they never explored / explained why these things are important to him.
Professor Kanzaki is the best character in this. She is the military scientist who is working on Orgun and, with her super computer I-Zack, is investigating the mystery behind the alien race. She is actually an artificial human created meant to have superior intelligence and abilities so it would to be exploited in times of war. She says she first resent these abilities, but then starts reflecting on overcoming the brilliant scientists who created her and now she wants to see what she is capable of. There is a romance between Professor Kanzaki and Tomoru that might have been good if it wasn’t for the lack of focus of this anime. They had like 3 short scenes together by the end of episode 2 and this was still played like a big thing in the final.
There’s this other woman, Yoko, who is an Earth’s military commander, but honestly she is not relevant at all. We don’t know many things about her she is not a crucial character, bt she is always there wasting screen time that could be better spent in any of the other things the anime was trying to do. She kisses Tomoru in the second episode, out of nowhere for no good reasons, so I think we have a love triangle now. Thanks anime, another pointless thing.
There’s this other kid who is an esper and is always is telling the future in TV. Later she becomes able to communicate with the aliens, and at the last battle she manages to move the sun because it would be somehow convenient to Orgun defeat the aliens. This felt like absolute bullshit, even for this anime. Also, she can move the damn sun, why the hell can’t she defeat he aliens by herself
The animation is quite good for its time and the last battle had really beautiful action scenes. The Orgun has a pretty cool design, it’s not a giant mech, is slightly bigger than a human, so it disassembles Tomoru’s body to fit him inside. It creates some tension when it’s revealed if Tomoru spend too much time merged with Orgun he might not be able to come back. But why his body come back to normal after being disassembled inside Orgun is never explained, they simply say that maybe there's something special with him.
The music is good, I loved the closing songs. It is expected since it was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, known for his work in Berserk and some of Satoshi Kon’s anime.
Detonator Orgun is a cheesy anime with some audiovisuals and interesting ideas, there are many bad things about the story and characters but I can’t say it was boring. If you really are into Mecha and Sci-Fi stuff you might have some fun watching this.