Anime Meta-Review


Orguss 02


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Chojiku Seiki Orguss 02
  • seen: 1-4 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • made: 1993
  • Review created: Sun Oct 1 14:05:19 EST 2000
  • mod: none

Well, this was a suprise, being an awful lot more solid than I expected. Likewise while it was probably marketed as a mecha show, it actually spends most of its time on a far more human level. One central difference is that this culture can't actually make mecha, but it can dig up the remnants from a previous more high tech culture. Likewise politics has also reverted to a more primitive state, with the world being ruled by various kingdoms. And when all the power is focused in one place corruption, political maneuveuring and a casual cruelty seem to develop alongside. We follow a young engineer, working on excavating `armors' when a brewing war rather directly intervenes. In order to help some friends survive the encounter he signs up for four years of military service. Since he is not a noble he certainly won't be in a mech, but the nobles always have less glamorous tasks for expendable men. However given that this guy is heroic at all the wrong times, and in all the wrong ways, it's not too long before he comes to dislike the military and its command. But the possibly existence of a third faction, whom his actions seems to have involved him with, may offer new possibilities.

I hope I haven't given too many spoilers (I certainly did my best to avoid doing so) because this actually has a pretty solid story. While the mecha provide the background much of the action is political or dramatic, with a bit of spy and mecha action to keep the suspense and action quotient spinning. I should mention that the lead isn't a `tough guy', more someone brave, trusting and well intentioned, even without having any evidence of super powers (other than luck) so far. While the story isn't entirely unfamiliar it is solidly done, and the characters and dialog are really rather nice. This is greatly enhanced by the solid technical and world design that suggests a solid world much wider than the small section we see (even to the extent of having foriegn `languages'). The other suprise is that the story is pretty serious, and actually quite violent. The effects of war, torturing of prisoners and various other forms of human cruelty are well represented with some short, but pretty intense scenes. If you are hoping for some heroic posturing and mecha action then move on, because this is pretty grim and deadly. Fortunately, while the politics and war are no fun, some of the characters are good value, and it is easy to get drawn into the story through them. Add in the solid dialog, a couple of suprising twists and some good dramatic moments and this is pretty enjoyable stuff.

That said the animation does show some signs of age. The character stuff is quite decent, but the appearance lets you know that this is a bit dated. More serious is the technical design which is very `clunky' and strange looking. This might be intentional, but if you think mecha can be `sexy' and exciting then these strange, boxy looking, very utilitarian mecha will probably do nothing for you. They're detailed enough to force the action to be limited by the animation, but they're just not very attractive. Still, if you prize detailed and different over sleek and exciting the trade off might be worthwhile. The voices are quite good, even in the older dub (although I preferred the sub) although some of the music (especially the opening) is very foreign sounding (although given the attention to detail it might not be a Japanese sound either).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009