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Super Dimension Century Orguss
Super Dimension Century Orguss
Super Dimension Century Orguss
Anime DVD Review

Super Dimension Century Orguss had everything that you could ask for in an early 80s anime show an intricate science fiction plotline, hot looking mecha, compelling characters, and even some half decent animation (well for a television budget, after all this wasn't a feature film). So, how could this classic anime series have been over-looked for so long?

Debuting in 1983 Orguss was the follow-up series to Macross, which was a groudbreaking anime series on every level and arguably the most important anime franchise of that decade. When Macross was bought over to America as "Robotech" an entire generation of American fanboys were introduced to anime for the first time. However, sadly, Orguss was never rolled into Robotech and thus an entire generation of American otaku would never know about the series. Orguss would not make it over to the United States until the early 90s, which was a few years after the film Akira came out and revolutionized what people would expect to see in anime. Then, adding insult to injury only 17 out of 35 episodes made their way to poorly-dubbed VHS tapes.

Mome from Super Dimension Century Orguss.Orguss deserves a second chance with American fans. Here's why:

The storyline in Orguss is much more sophisticated and daring than its older brother Macross. While Macross centers on a bunch of humans fighting "those nasty aliens who don't like us", in Orguss the humans are the cause of the chaos. Macross is littered with stereotypical characters who don't develop or change as the show advances, however Orguss has real human interactions and deals with emotion even if the characters are aliens or androids. Orguss was a more "grown up" version of Macross without all of the "golly gee wiz look at our huge bad ass spaceship/giant robot that does cool things we haven't even figured out yet!" attitude.

The first episode throws you right in the middle of an epic battle in the year 2065 with two superpowers clashing over ownerships rights to a space elevator (an idea which is only now being seriously studied by scientists at NASA). In additional to all the old fashioned weapons of mass destruction (like atomic bombs, biological and chemical weapons) our heroes are attempting to try out a new 'dimensional weapon' which is a space/time oscillation bomb. At the last minute cooler heads prevail and the attack is called off, however in a fit of rage a fighter pilot (Kei Katsuragi) haphazardly sets off the bomb. Kei is then thrown into a strange "Land of the Lost" world where several dimensions have collided together.

Mome, Kei and Mimsy from Super Dimension Century Orguss.Kei joins up with a team of humanoid aliens known as the Emaan who travel around in a large trading vessel. The Emaan are pretty much like humans except that they have tendrils growing out of their backs. In addition to the Emaan there's also a character know as Jabby who's a dinosauroid creature from an alternate Earth where dinosaurs became the dominant species. And for added cuteness there's Mome is a medical android, who looks like a little girl. Orguss makes good use of this wide range of characters, all who have interesting back stories that come out of the course of the series.

In addition to the well done story the other thing that stands out about Orguss is the look of the show itself. Orguss was designed by Studio Nue which was the powerhouse behind some of the best mecha design of the 70s and 80s. Their giant robot and spaceship designs can be found in anime classics like Raideen, Tosho Daimos, Captain Harlock, Mobile Suit Gundam and Escaflowne. The robo-fighters showcased on Orguss are more evolutionary than revolutionary; however the designs still look handsome and hold up well today. And while the show didn't feature the largest transforming robot spaceship, the concept of the space elevator is much more daring in terms of being a centerpiece of the show. And the design work doesn't just end with the mecha, even the costume design was innovative and does a nice job of giving a futuristic twist on 80s fashion trends, thus giving the show a unique look.

So if you grew up on Robotech, love the space opera of Cowboy Bebop, and would like to revisit the 80s for just a few hours Super Dimension Century Orguss is well worth checking out.

Reviewed by Michael Pinto, August 2007

Below: Some of the characters from Orguss are (top to bottom) Kei Katsuragi (Human), Mimsy (Emaan), Shaya (Emaan) with Mome (android), Athena (Terram), and Jaby.

Super Dimension Century Orguss: Kei Katsuragi

Super Dimension Century Orguss: Mimsy (Emaan)

Super Dimension Century Orguss: Shaya (Emaan) with Mome (android)

Super Dimension Century Orguss: Athena (Terram)

Super Dimension Century Orguss: Jaby

Below: A character design sheet from Orguss.

A character design sheet from Super Dimension Century Orguss

Below: Examples of mecha design from Orguss.


Mecha design from Super Dimension Century Orguss

Mecha design from Super Dimension Century Orguss

Mecha design from Super Dimension Century Orguss

Below: Mecha drawings from Orguss. Click on each image to view at full size...



Mecha design from Super Dimension Century Orguss

Mecha design from Super Dimension Century Orguss



Orguss

Orguss Website Links:

Orguss at Gears Online

Super Dimension Century Orguss (tv) at Anime News Network

Orguss Viewer's Guide (Orguss fansite)

Super Dimension Century Orguss Shrine (Orguss fansite)

Wikipedia Entry for Super Dimension Century Orguss

Below: An 80s toy commercial for Orguss.



Below: The DVD trailer for Orguss.



Below: The cover from 'This is Animation 8' which featured Orguss. Click on the image to see it at full size...


The cover from 'This is Animation 8' which featured Orguss

Below: A 'Gals Collection' page from 'This is Animation 8' which featured Orguss. Click on the image to see it at full size...

A 'Gals Collection' page from 'This is Animation 8' which featured Orguss.

Below: An animation drawing from Orguss. Click on the image to see it at full size...

An animation drawing from Orguss.

Below: A painting for a model kit for Orguss. Click on the image to see it at full size...


A painting for a model kit for Orguss.

Below: Covers and an interior from an Orguss photo manga. Click on each image to view at full size...

Cover from an Orguss photo manga.

Cover from an Orguss photo manga.

Interior pages from an Orguss photo manga.

Below: Cover from the January 1984 issue of Animedia magazine which features Mome from Orguss. Click on the image to see it at full size...

Cover from the January 1984 issue of Animedia magazine which features Mome from Orguss.



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