Revisiting: Detonator Orgun


I recently rewatched episode 1 of Detonator Orgun, I haven’t watched this show in ages. I was original going to tweet about this, but I ended up writing way too much.

The last time I watched Detonator Orgun was probably when I purchased it. I bought it based on someone’s recommendation. My gut reaction after watching it at the time was, it was way too long and found it to be some cheap Tekkaman Blade x Evangelion knock off. I really didn’t enjoy this OVA back then. Thinking back it was most likely the terrible 90s dub that came on the DVD which really made me dislike the show. The main character’s name is “Tomoru” but everyone completely mispronounces it as “Tomorrow”. It also bugged me that there was no JP Audio track as an alternative. The reason it was so long it seems was the dubbers sliced off the Openings and Endings and merged all 3 episodes into one really long movie.

This time I decided to turn on the audio commentary track from Jonathan Clements. He only talks for episode 1 (sadly) and he had lots of great things to say in general. Clements brings up a lot of interesting points about Orgun, from what Orgun was inspired from, to what anime fandom was like in the 90s. I’ll write about this another time.

Any way, about why I thought it was a Tekkaman Blade x Evangelion knock off was because there were design elements, visual cues and plot elements which seem to indicate such. The truth of the matter was Detonator Orgun predates both. Tekkaman Blade began airing a few months after Orgun was released and Evangelion did not air for another 3 years. It also didn’t help that from what I had heard about the show was, Detonatur Orgun was based off thrown away designs from Tekkaman Blade.

In reality, Detonator Orgun was devised to be as a big homage to Space Knight Tekkaman from the 70s. Masami Obari who was Orgun’s Director, recently cleared this up on twitter after someone tweeted to him they thought Orgun was quite similar to Blade. He also tweeted how the original idea was to call the show “銀走戦士オーグ” – Ginsou Senshi Org/Silverian Warrior Org. Most likely their intent to show it was a homage to the original Tekkaman which goes by the name of Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman. The name got changed to Orgul for a while, but then Obari was a big fan of Professional Wrestling and during the 90s Hulk Hogan was really popular, so he decided to rename the title to Orgun as a homage to the Hulkster. The pronunciations of ‘Hogan’ and ‘Organ’ are very similar when spoken in Japanese. His love for wrestling can later be seen when he sneaks in a few cheeky homages into Gravion.

Digging around a bit more I found out that due to Detonator Orgun actually being quite popular, while Tatsunoko were in the process of  remaking Tekkaman as Tekkaman Blade, the staff liked it so much they decided to copy several stylisms and design elements from Orgun. There are even some people who believe Masami Obari himself worked on episodes, because the style was so much like his. Tatsunoko went and called up Obari and asked him to direct and animate the Openings for Tekkaman Blade, in their orders their main request was to “Make it like Detonator Orgun” – Obari’s original intent in the storyboards to have a very battle orientated opening, but this all came crashing down when he got the music he had to work with and had to rework it all.

Going back to Orgun, I will most likely rewatch the show in Japanese and maybe perhaps have a different outlook on it now that I know more about Masami Obari and have generally improved my knowledge about anime in general.

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