COMPLETE MACROSS GIGANTIC POLL!!

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So the big international Macross poll just happened and there is much tumult in a few VERY small circles about the results. There isn’t much that really surprises me, except for the low showing of the Macross 7 movie, which I think is EXCELLENT, one of the greatest Macross productions ever, but I guess we all have our complaints. In fairness, I didn’t vote for it, because I still think Do You Remember Love? is one of the greatest movies of all time.

(And yes, some of the votes were definitely split, unfairly. The YF-19 would’ve gotten WAY more votes had it not been divided between the Plus OVA and movie

Anyway, we have the results now, despite my complaints (although I have NO complaints about the lowest ranked production), and the complaints of other fortysomethings trying to convince themselves that nobody ever liked Delta (and they’re apparently REALLY invested in it failing, despite the fact that the failure of Delta means no more Macross), so here they are:

(If you want to see the breakdowns of gender and age, which is different than you might think, please check with Gwyn. He’s got all the screencaps.)

(And the results are here. Just click on 結果発表. It’ll give you the options of “Productions,” “Characters,” “Mecha,” and “Songs.”)

TOP PRODUCTIONS

  1. Macross Frontier (TV) (2007)
  2. Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Movie) (1984)
  3. Macross 7 (TV) (1994)
  4. Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~ (Movie) (2011)
  5. Super Dimension Fortress Macross (TV) (1982)
  6. Macross Delta (TV) (2015)
  7. Macross Plus (OVA) (1994)
  8. Macross Plus Movie Edition (Movie) (1995)
  9. Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre  (Movie) (2018)
  10. Macross Dynamite 7 (OVA) (1997)
  11. Macross Zero (OVA) 2002
  12. Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~ (Movie) (2009)
  13. Super Dimension Fortress Macross II – LOVERS AGAIN (OVA) (1992)
  14. Movie Macross 7: The Galaxy is Calling Me! (Movie) (1995)
  15. Super Dimension Fortress Macross Flashback 2012 (OVA) (1987)
  16. Macross FB7 (Movie) (2012)

 

TOP FIFTY CHARACTERS

  1. Sheryl Nome (Macross F)
  2. Basara Nekki (Macross 7)
  3. Ranka Lee (Macross F)
  4. Sheryl Nome (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  5. Kaname Buccaneer (Macross Delta)
  6. Lynn Minmay (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  7. Isamu Dyson (Macross Plus)
  8. Freyja Wion (Macross Delta)
  9. Roy Focker (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  10. Lynn Minmay (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  11. Misa Hayase (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  12. Roy Focker (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  13. Ranka Lee (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  14. Mikumo Guynemer (Macross Delta)
  15. Mylene Flare Jenius (Macross 7)
  16. Misa Hayase (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  17. Alto Saotome (Macross F)
  18. Messer Ihlefeld (Macross Delta)
  19. Sheryl Nome (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  20. Mikhail [Michael/Michel] Braun (Macross F)
  21. Maximilian Jenius (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  22. Klan Klang (Macross F)
  23. Makina Nakajima (Macross Delta)
  24. Kaname Buccaneer (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  25. Alto Saotome (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  26. Hikaru Ichijo (Super Dimension Fortress Macross) [FINALLY!!]
  27. Gamlin Kizaki (Macross 7)
  28. Guld Goa Bowman (Macross Plus)
  29. Hayao Kakizaki (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  30. Flower Girl (Macross 7)
  31. Reina Prowler (Macross Delta)
  32. Hikaru Ichijo (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  33. Brera Stern (Macross F)
  34. Sharon Apple (Macross Plus) [REALLY??]
  35. Basara Nekki (Macross Dynamite 7)
  36. Ozma Lee (Macross F)
  37. Hayate Immelman (Macross Delta)
  38. Milia Fallyna (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  39. Ranka Lee (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  40. Ishter (Super Dimension Fortress Macross II – LOVERS AGAIN)
  41. Maximilian Jenius (Macross 7)
  42. Keith Aero Windermere (Macross Delta)
  43. Hayao Kakizaki (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  44. Mirage Fallyna Jenius (Macross Delta)
  45. Messer Ihlefeld (Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  46. Freyja Wion (Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  47. Maximilian Jenius (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  48. Mikumo Guynemer (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  49. Gigil (Macross 7)
  50. Lynn Minmay (Super Dimension Fortress Macross Flashback 2012)

 

TOP FIFTY MECHA

  1. YF-19 (Macross Plus)
  2. VF-1S [Roy Focker Special] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  3. YF-29 Durandal [Alto Special] (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  4. VF-19 Custom Excalibur “Basara Nekki Special” (Macross 7)
  5. VF-1S Strike Valkyrie [Roy Focker Special] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  6. VF-1S Strike Valkyrie [Hikaru Special] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  7. YF-19 (Macross Plus Movie Edition)
  8. VF-31F Siegfried [Messer Use] (Macross Delta)
  9. VF-25F Messiah [Alto Type] (Macross F)
  10. VF-1J Valkyrie [Hikaru Type] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  11. SDF-1 Macross (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  12. VB-6 König Monster (Macross F)
  13. HWR-00-MkII Monster (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  14. YF-21 (Macross Plus)
  15. Sv-262Hs Draken III [Keith Use] (Macross Delta)
  16. SDF-1 Macross (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  17. VF-19EF/A “Isamu Special” (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  18. Macross Quarter (Macross F)
  19. VF-27γ Lucifer (Macross F)
  20. VF-25S Messiah [Ozma Special] (Macross F)
  21. VF-1A Super Valkyrie [Hikaru Type] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  22. YF-21 (Macross Plus Movie Edition)
  23. VF-25G Messiah [Michael Type] (Macross F)
  24. VF-1J Armored Valkyrie (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  25. HWR-00-MkII Monster (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  26. 26. VF-0S Phoenix (Macross Zero)
  27. VF-31J [Hayate Use] (Macross Delta)
  28. VF-31F [Messer Use] (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  29. VF-1S Super Valkyrie [Hikaru Special] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  30. VF-31F Siegfried [with Lilldrakens] (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  31. Reguld (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  32. VF-1A Valkyrie [Max Type] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  33. VF-25F Messiah [Alto Type] (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  34. VF-22S Sturmvögel II [Max Special] (Macross 7)
  35. Battle Frontier (Macross F)
  36. SLV-111 Daedalus (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  37. VF-4 Lightning III (Super Dimension Fortress Macross Flashback 2012)
  38. MBR-04-MkVI Tomahawk (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  39. VF-171EX Nightmare Plus EX [Alto Type] (Macross F)
  40. Sv-262Ba Draken III [Mirage Color] (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  41. VF-11 MAXL Custom [Mylene Type] (Macross 7)
  42. VF-31J Custom [Hayate Use] (Macross Delta)
  43. Glauj (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  44. VF-31C Siegfried [Mirage Use] (Macross Delta)
  45. VF-1J Valkyrie [Max Type] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  46. Macross Quarter (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  47. Ghost X-9 (Macross Plus)
  48. Queadluun-Rau [Milia Type] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  49. VF-19P Excalibur (Macross Dynamite 7)
  50. TIE. Battle 7 (Macross 7) / VB-6 König Monster (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~) / VF-31S Armored Siegfried (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)

 

TOP FIFTY SONGS

  1. “Do You Remember Love?” by Lynn Minmay [Mari Iijima] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  2. “Lion” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n/Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Macross F) [Funny… the single was only attributed to the singers, not the characters…]
  3. “Charging Loveheart” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  4. “Interstellar Journey” by Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Macross F)
  5. “The Wings of Farewell ~ The End of Triangle” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n, Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  6. “AXIA~I Love You but I Hate You” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  7. “Diamond Crevasse” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F)
  8. “Sagittarius 9PM Don’t Be Late” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F)
  9. “INFORMATION HIGH” by Sharon Apple [and NOT, again I must add, by Yoko Kanno] (Macross Plus)
  10. “An Angel’s Paints” by Lynn Minmay [Mari Iijima] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross – Do You Remember Love?)
  11. “Forbidden Borderline” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  12. “Northern Cross” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F)
  13. “TRY AGAIN” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  14. “VOICES” by Myung Fan Lone [Akino Arai] (Macross Plus)
  15. “Macross” by Makoto Fujiwara (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  16. “Nyan Nyan Service Medley” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n, Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Macross F)
  17. “Angel Voice” by Basara Nekki (Macross Dynamite 7)
  18. “Afterschool Overflow” by Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  19. “DYNAMITE EXPLOSION” by Fire Bomber (Macross Dynamite 7… naturally)
  20. “Empty Diamond Crevasse” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F) (this is the one where Michael dies)
  21. “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” by Lynn Minmay [Mari Iijima] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross) [The ORIGINAL Macross hit!!]
  22. “Obelisk” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  23. “Triangler” by Maaya Sakamoto (Macross F)
  24. “Absolute 5” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  25. “If I Love Only Once” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  26. “HOLY LONELY LIGHT” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  27. “SEVENTH MOON” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  28. “Universal Bunny” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  29. “Nyan Nya FINAL ATTACK – Frontier Greatest Hits” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n, Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  30. “Love Drifts Away” by Lynn Minmay [Mari Iijima] (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  31. “WANNA BE AN ANGEL” by Sharon Apple [Akino Arai] (Macross Plus Movie Edition)
  32. “Runner” by Makoto Fujiwara (Super Dimension Fortress Macross)
  33. “Walküre Won’t Betray You” by Walküre (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  34. “Our Battlefield” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  35. “AXIA~I Love You but I Hate You” by Walküre (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  36. “REMEMBER 16” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  37. “The Destruction of Innocence” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  38. “Change!!!!!” by Walküre (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  39. “GIRAFFE BLUES” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  40. “Hoshikira” by Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  41. “Walküre Won’t Stop” by Walküre (Movie Macross Delta: Passionate Walküre)
  42. “HEART&SOUL” by EMILIA with BASARA NEKKI (Movie Macross 7: The Galaxy is Calling Me!)
  43. “PLANET DANCE” by Fire Bomber (Macross 7)
  44. “Lion” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n/Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The False Diva~)
  45. “Fairy” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F)
  46. “dShooting Starb” by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n, Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  47. “Triangler (fight on Stage) by Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n, Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Macross F)
  48. “God Bless You” by Walküre (Macross Delta)
  49. “Rainbow Bear-Bear” by Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima (Movie Macross F ~The Wings of Farewell~)
  50. “What ’bout my star@Formo” by Ranka Lee=Megumi Nakajima, Sheryl Nome STARRING May’n (Macross F)

 

 

THE GREAT SOUTHERN CROSS REWATCH 1 – PRISONER

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SUPER DIMENSION CAVALRY SOUTHERN CROSS
EPISODE 1: PRISONER

ICONIC SCENE: Our fearless leader.

BROADCAST DATE: April 15, 1984

1. For a long time, I wasn’t really sure if I would tackle this series. It debuted the week after Orguss ended, in the same time slot, and although it’s technically part of the “Super Dimension Series,” virtually none of the same staff worked on it. It was even less successful than Orguss was, and was canceled prematurely, ending the experiment in Sunday afternoon science fiction anime that had begun two years prior with the debut of Macross (and Rainbowman, but no one remembers that show). It wasn’t until I was tackling Orguss that my good friend Showapop asked if I was going to do Southern Cross. When I was noncommittal, he said, “You HAVE to! You have to complete the trilogy!” It’s not really a trilogy, but otherwise, he may be right…

Here’s a good article about the making of the series, including the reasons why it flopped. One quibble I’d make with it is the talk about the poor time slot. Again, the Sunday 2:00 PM time slot was unusual for anime, but it’s the same slot that Macross was successful in, and that Orguss wasn’t a COMPLETE disaster in.

But yeah, Southern Cross debuted and hit the dirt fairly quickly.

2. Unlucky the show may be, but it definitely doesn’t lack for ambition (although perhaps not quite as much as Orguss had). For starters, unlike the earth-centric Macross and Orguss, this is set on a different planet, called Glorie (misnamed “Gloire” in the ADV subtitles). It’s also set in the early 22nd century. The three “Super Dimension” shows are manifestly not set in the same universe, but I like that each one is set further in the future than the last.

3. Can you think of a robot anime before this one that had a female protagonist? I sure can’t. Even afterwards, it was more of an OVA thing (Gall Force, Iczer-One, Dangaio…) than a TV thing. In a way, it makes sense here… most if not all ‘70s and ‘80s robot anime was aimed at young boys, to try to get them to buy robot toys. But this Sunday 2:00 PM time slot (again) was for more of a broad family audience, so being able to feature heroes who weren’t all young, earnest teenage boys was presumably something they could do.

(EDIT: a friend, MicroBry, points out the existence of the 1976 series Gowappa 5 Godam, which is apparently the first mecha series to feature a female protagonist.)

Anyway, we meet our main character, Jeanne Françaix, as she’s getting brought out of the brig, to be replaced by her squadron leader, Charles (pronounced the French way: “Sharl”), who’s getting locked up for sleeping with a high-ranking officer’s wife. The immediate vibe we get is that this squad is something of a “Bad News Bears” type of team that needs to be whipped into shape.

4. Knowing this, when we meet the other members of the squad, it’s clear that they’ve been made for maximum quirkiness. Most important are Andrzej (the he-man woman-hater), Louis (the nerdy brainiac with glasses), and Bowie (the sensitive-but-impulsive artist). Bowie, you may notice, is voiced by Arihiro Hase, who played Hikaru in Macross and the kid in Episode 5 of Orguss, making him one of the few actors to be in all three series.

Adrjez mentions something about someplace called “Aluce Base” getting destroyed, which is our first hint that bad things are about to happen.

5. Flying away from the barracks, they take they “Flash Clapper” hover bikes on a fairly dangerous joyride through the city. The scenery seems desolate, but the itself city looks big and has a lot of highways.

Oh, also, there are also some rather odd allusions among the signs on the buildings… my favorites being “Ultra 7,” “Norman Rockwell” and “How are you?”

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6. Anyway, they go to the outskirts and meet a squad from the Tactical Armored Space Corps, led by Marie Angel, who Jeanne calls “Cosmo Amazon,” and they all get into a brawl. Jeanne’s squad evades the military police, but Jeanne still gets ID’d, so she goes AWOL.

This is still before the commercial break.

7. Right then, the show switches gears, and an unidentified ship is discovered approaching the planet. Jeanne is rearrested, and the armed forces are all put on standby. UNFORTUNATELY, one of the guys in charge is a belligerent jerk, who assumes (not, perhaps, wrongly) that the ship is alien, and that the aliens have destroyed Aluce Base… and he wants revenge.

The alien ship launches some troop carriers, and the aforementioned guy in charge loses it and fires a bunch of missiles without orders.

Oops.

8. Rashly, as Jeanne is getting sentenced to three days in confinement, she escapes from the police and rejoins her squad. As robots that look suspiciously like Gundam’s Zakus come out of the alien landing craft, Jeanne’s 15th Squad get to their mecha, land-based hovering craft called a “Spartas.” Like a Valkyrie or a Nikick, it’s got a three-mode transformation. Like the Orguss and the Nikick, it doesn’t look like much of anything when it’s not in its robot mode. A lot of people criticize the open cockpit design, but I think it looks fairly cool, and (like the samurai-style armor all the characters wear) seems to hearken back to when the show was meant to be a science-fiction-y retelling of Japan’s Warring States Period.

9. In the battle, there’s a red enemy robot that (surprise, surprise) is better and moves faster than the others. Jeanne tries to shoot it, but misses. Her shot hits the landing craft, and the enemy retreats.

The battle over, the brass hears that Jeanne led her squadron to victory and protected the city, so she gets promoted over Charles, who himself has been demoted to buck private.

In the shower, Jeanne keeps thinking of the red enemy robot. And then the camera pulls back from the world, and we see that there are plenty more alien motherships…

10. So (as I asked after the first episode of Orguss) what are we to make of this? If you were the hypothetical ten-year-old (now probably eleven) Japanese boy who watched Orguss, would you be compelled to watch this, too? Just from the first episode, it’s definitely not bad, although the mecha and world designs are clearly not by Studio Nue, and lack some of the flair that they bring to projects. The biggest impediment to enjoyment of the show, I’d say, is Jeanne herself, who shows competency in the battlefield but nowhere else (so far). The animation itself also lacks excitement, although there’s a good approximation of an Itano Circus when they fire missiles at the enemy robots. Still, it shows promise. We’ll see how it goes.

NUMBER OF SHOWER SCENES IN THE SHOW SO FAR: 1

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 44 – One Who Hopes for Tomorrow

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 6: One Who Hopes for Tomorrow (SAY GOOD-BY TO YESTERDAY)

ICONIC SCENE: Lean and Nataruma decide to fly out.

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 1995

1. Weirdly, this episode was released on the same day as the previous episode. I don’t know of any other OVA series where that’s happened.

2. Captain addresses one of my complaints last time, and says that actually, the Armours that are being excavated are from the future. Which doesn’t really seem to fit with what happened to this dimension, but okay. However, he also says that the two massive ones are from his world (that is, the original Orguss world), which REALLY doesn’t square with the first series. Additionally, he mentions that the one that King Perion is in tends to drive the pilot insane until he’s indiscriminately attacking EVERYONE, friend and foe alike., Whoops.

3. Now with the discrepancies between this show and the original Orguss, I suppose it’s possible that THIS Captain isn’t the one we know, and is perhaps from a slightly different dimension than the one from the show. Michael Moorcock, who didn’t invent the term “multiverse” but is definitely the concept’s foremost popularizer, described his multiverse as being like a piano keyboard, with each key being a different universe. If you go up or down by one or two notes, you won’t notice much of a difference, but a few octaves would put you in a very different world that the one you live in.

But I’m not sure that’s how Orguss viewed its multiverse. Certainly, there were no scenes of anyone meeting alternate versions of themselves, although it was suggested that alternate versions could exist. And the events of Orguss definitely weren’t iterated many times in many different dimensions, but only happened once. The idea of there being a Singularity Point in each dimension would make the story pointless.

4. Anyway, back to the mecha that drives its pilots crazy, Perion destroys the capital city of Zafran, killing their king. Manning tells him he’s won, but Perion is already going mad and starts destroying other cities as well, including the town where the old man who gave Lean and Nataruma a lift a few episodes ago. Kind of strange that that would be a target, since it was already burned to the ground…

5. Lean and Nataruma launch in the Orguss II. Lean of course, is still blind, but Nataruma is using her psychic tendrils to help him see. This is one of the the things in the show that I really like, because I’m not sure it’s anything we’ve ever seen before. And as he signs off, Captain says “Good luck” to them the same way Manning did a few episodes ago.

6. The fight is brief, and in a VERY un-robot-anime move, the Orguss only has six missiles, and so has to use them very judiciously. Inside the massive Armour, Manning breaks the King’s neck, but that fails to kill him. Lean and Nataruma get inside the massive robot’s bridge and, guided by Manning, Lean shoots the King in the head. Now finally, dying, he launches all the robot’s nukes, which will effectively destroy the world.

7. Then Captain activates his Dimensional Oscillation Bomb, and all of the things that don’t belong in this world, including himself and Nataruma (and the nukes) just vanish.

8. After that, there’s an epilogue set some time later, showing that everyone’s fine and life goes on, and that Nataruma made it back to the world of the Emann safely (but naked).

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9. Again, all of this is very, very good stuff. Excellent writing, excellent direction. The mecha designs don’t really do it for me, but the characters and settings are wonderful. And, really, the mecha isn’t all THAT important here… it’s not like they’re trying to sell toys anymore. The “war is hell” theme is a common one, but it’s done extremely well here, at least as well as it was in director Fumihiko Takayama’s previous OVA series, Gundam 0080.

But I mentioned at the outset that I find this show deeply frustrating…

10. And it is, because it’s an unnecessary continuation to a series that I love that DEFINITELY shouldn’t have had a continuation. I said before that the ending of Orguss is one of my favorite endings ever, and the story is definitely OVER. To say, “Oh, actually it wasn’t REALLY over, and here’s a short series set 200 years later to tie up all the loose ends which weren’t actually loose” feels like a cheap ploy. Normally, with sequels I don’t like, I just ignore them. To me, there are only two Terminator movies and only two Alien movies. The Ender’s Game series is a tetralogy, not an ever-growing “Enderverse” of books. And Orguss was a complete series in itself. Any attempt at a sequel is misguided. So it would be easy to ignore.

Except for the fact that it’s so damn good. The first time I watched it, I went in wanting to dismiss it as a crappy cash-in, but found that I couldn’t. It’s really excellent. So I can’t accept it as a sequel to Orguss, and yet I can’t write it off, either. It’s frustrating.

FINAL. Anyway, that’s the end of the second and final Orguss anime. It seems HIGHLY unlikely that the series will ever be revived again, although you never know. Overall, I find Orguss to be flawed but entertaining, and very definitely worthwhile. I think it’s a little sad that it stands in Macross’s looming shadow, but that at least gives it some fame that it wouldn’t otherwise have. And I’m definitely glad that Discotek rescued the show from oblivion and made it available to a new generation. Now we just need the beautiful Japanese blu-ray set to be released internationally…

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Zafran’s King steps out of the bath…

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THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 43 – One Who Destroys

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 5: One Who Destroys (SUPREME TYRANT)

ICONIC SCENE: You’ll never marry Sansa Stark now, Joffrey…

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 1995

1. There’s no OP for this episode. A title card comes up and it just begins. My only guess why this is that the episode was running a little long, and in order to fit it comfortably on one side of a laserdisc, they decided to cut the opening titles. I’ve seen this once before, for the “video version” of Episode 23 of Evangelion.

2. The scene that we open on is pretty shocking. Young King Siplay gets poisoned by his older brother, who is suddenly no longer drooling and acting like he’s mentally disabled. I’ve been saying that this subplot seems kind of familiar, here most of all. Did George R. R. Martin see Orguss 02…? It seems unlikely, but not impossible.

3. A new theme song (unless you’re watching the English dub, which ONLY uses this one) plays over a montage of Captain disguising himself as the old man, and then fixing Lean up, including replacing his eyes (I guess he really was permanently blinded by that shot last time…)

4. And then… Captain starts giving the info dump, accompanied by rather nice renditions of characters and scenes from the original Orguss series.

Anyway, it turns out that when Kei and Olson separated the dimensions, some people and objects (including the Space Elevator, Mimsy, all of the Armours, and Captain himself) were blown into ANOTHER world, which is the world of Orguss 02. Nataruma is a descendent of Mimsy and Kei. And Captain has built another Dimensional Oscillation Bomb in order to remove all the things from this world that don’t belong. He has also built his own custom Armour, which he calls the “Orguss II.”

Now……

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5. So Nataruma is the great-great-great (however many) grandchild of Mimsy and Kei, apparently. Captain says something about her being the product of three races, presumably human (from our world), Emann, and human (from Lean’s world). None of this, though, explains why her tendrils are on the front of her head rather than her back, or why she has incredible psychic powers. I suppose you could explain that away with the existence of the Seekers – this world definitely has psychics. But still, it feels like a cheat.

6. Next, the Armours are supposedly from Orguss’s mosaic world, but they only KINDA look like ones we saw in the original show. The Orgusses aren’t exactly Orgusses, and the Nikicks definitely aren’t Nikicks. I know, I know, it’s ten years later, different aesthetics, different mecha designer and all that… but if these are meant to be the same Devices we saw in the first series, then they should probably look the part. And the giant mecha are COMPLETELY unexplained.

(Also, shouldn’t Captain’s Orguss II really be called “Orguss III”? Orguss IIs were introduced in the first series… and Captain would know that.)

7. And speaking of Captain, he got obliterated in the final episode of the first series. Here, when we see the flashbacks, he’s mostly okay, just with his legs blown off. That is ABSOLUTELY NOT how it happened in the old show.

Again, here’s what happened:

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So yeah, THIS IS BULLSHIT. I’m saving the conclusion of this big rant for the final episode, but I just couldn’t let all this stand.

8. Manning frees Toria, and when she questions why he’s doing something nice for her, he responds with one of the most infamous lines in all of ‘90s anime:

In context, I don’t think it’s THAT bad. Throughout the series, Manning has presented himself as greedy and amoral, willing to betray anyone to get what he wants. So here he’s doing something selfless, just to help someone out, and he’s trying to convince both her and himself that he’s still the tough-as-nails mercenary that’s he’s been posing as. Toria understands that he doesn’t really mean it, and he looks immediately ashamed of saying it. Moreover, I think the line is perfectly in character. And THEN there’s the punchline of how tired he is of acting like a good guy all the time. Good enough? Okay, moving on…

9. Anyway, the battle escalates, and King Perion (who reveals that he pretended to be mentally disabled for seven years in order to keep the Queen from assassinating him) reveals that he too has discovered a massive, extremely powerful Armour. He and Manning enter its bridge (it’s too big to call it a “cockpit”) and it turns Perion into a cyborg of some type. None of this seems like good news. For anyone.

10. My nerd rage aside, this is a great episode. Everything escalates to the climax, and even Captain’s long explanation (which we’ve been waiting for since Episode 1) doesn’t impede the flow. The show continues to LOOK great, too. The art, from the mecha, to the characters, to the settings, is always wonderful, especially given the variety of settings that we see in the episode.

Oh, and the ending theme is new, too. Weird.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Perion becomes a cyborg.

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THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 42 – One Who Searches

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 4: One Who Searches (UNEXPECTED RESCUE)

ICONIC SCENE: Smooth, Manning. Real smooth.

RELEASE DATE: September 24, 1994

1. Lean and Nataruma gets back to Revillia without incident, and Lean takes her to Zante’s family’s house to stay. Zante’s daughter, Toria, doesn’t seem to happy about it.

2. The Revillian army keeps pounding the massive Armour, to absolutely no effect. Inside it, though, the psychic priests that operate it keep dying.

3. In a bit that doesn’t make much sense yet, the older, mentally challenged prince seems to pass a note to one of his aides, which makes its way to Manning.

4. Then we get one of the scenes that shows why Manning is such a great character. Lean, newly promoted, arrives at the HQ, intending to really rip into Manning for leaving him to die. Manning, before going in, hits his own head against a marble pillar so that when he enters the room, his eyes are welling with tears. He comes in and hugs Lean tightly. While doing that, he sticks his finger in his mouth, gets it good and wet, and then draws “tears” on his cheeks. All the while, he’s telling Lean that he’s happy Lean’s not dead because he didn’t want to have to pay for Lean’s funeral. Again, it’s that combination of insincerity and complete honesty that makes him memorable. I can’t think of any other character in anything else who’s so addicted to manipulation, while all the while explaining that he’s manipulating you.

5. There’s more palace intrigue as it turns out that the war minister is having an affair with the Queen. It’s apparently been going on for a while, since he mentions that young King Siplay is HIS son, not the old King’s. Again, is this sounding familiar at all…?

6. And things are getting bleak in Revillia. Lean notes that many, many citizens are getting arrested. Manning says that they’re all spies and terrorists, but that’s pretty obviously not the case. And then Lean sees a wanted poster for Nataruma and rushes back to Zante’s family’s house, only to find that Toria has turned Nataruma in.

7. Lean breaks in to the cell where Nataruma is getting interrogated by Manning and the war minister. It’s a wonderfully tense moment, since it seems inevitable that Manning is merely feigning helpfulness towards Lean and will probably do SOMETHING to save himself.

But no. On a whim, he actually lets Lean manacle him and knock him out. Apparently just so he can get a brief glimpse of Nataruma changing.

8. The escape goes badly. The alarm gets set off before the two escape. Toria jumps in at last second to help them get through the gate. Lean shoves Nataruma through, but gets shot.

And then Nataruma’s tendrils start whipping around again and she psychically opens the gate and kills the guard. Then passes out.

Then the old man in the Orguss-style Armour from the end of last episode shows up and rescues them. He gets shot in the back, but it doesn’t hinder him in the slightest.

9. Later, Manning gets chewed out by the war minister, but then pulls a gun on him with apparent plans to blackmail him over the mess with the Queen.

And finally, the Orguss-style Armour approaches the ruins of the Space Elevator, and the old man has taken off his mask and revealed himself as good ol’ Captain from the original series! Although he’s no longer voiced by Yusaku Yara.

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10. So last episode, I asked, as I assume every Orguss fan did while watching this show, “What does this have to do with Orguss?” Well, we’re starting to find out, although it mostly gets teased for next time. For Western viewers in the ‘90s, who presumably hadn’t seen the original (or at least, not the entire series), this might be where they start checking out. Honestly, this where I start checking out, too, but for kind of the opposite reason.

OBLIGATORY BOOB-SHOT: Actually, we’re back to an ass-shot here.

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THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 41 – One Who Escapes

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 3: One Who Escapes (GET AWAY)

ICONIC SCENE: Orrr-guss…???

RELEASE DATE: June 23, 1994

1. This series definitely does not flinch from showing the brutality of war. As the Zafran soldiers are clearing out the area destroyed by the giant Armour from last time, we see a number of horrifically charred bodies. We also find out that over 300 townspeople were killed, and no one has any idea if the girl they’re looking for is among them.

But yeah, I’m reminded of Director Takayama’s masterpiece, Gundam 0080 – War in the Pocket, which likewise had a number of EXTREMELY graphic scenes of violence, but never felt exploitative. Neither does this… it’s already abundantly clear that the march for war among the two countries’ leaders in a huge mistake, for which the poor and powerless are going to be sacrificed.

2. Lean and the girl (who remains pointedly nameless still) decide to cross the mountains back into Revillia, hiding from aerial scouts out looking for them. Lean convinces her to change clothes to a more typical women’s outfit (naturally, he has quite a few in his suitcase) under the theory that she’ll be less conspicuous, but I’m not sure that’s a great idea while they’re still in the mountains, since her “boy disguise” was a drab khaki, essentially the same color as the rocks around them, and the new costume is purple and deep pink. Seems like it would be easier for patrols to find them this way…

3. Manning returns and gets promoted. He tells the general about the massive Armour (“over 200 Nords tall” is evidently a lot), but the general doesn’t QUITE believe him.

4. Interesting parallels… Revillia and Zafran declare war on each other, and the young Revillian King orders the Zafran messengers be executed in front of him. This delights the kid endlessly. So yes, the kingdom Revillia has a sadistic blond child on its throne. Does this sound familiar? It’ll get more familiar soon…

And when the war is announced, we get the awesome image of a trumpeter strapped to the top of a flying Armour.

5. The girl and Lean get a lift with an old man in a horse-drawn carriage, and then try to get a train ticket, but there are already wanted posters of the girl around. Luckily, they come across a horny soldier, so they clonk him on the head and steal his truck (and uniform).

6. They hit a checkpoint and they get past it with the girl, hidden, saying things while Lean, at the wheel, moves his mouth. It’s kinda funny, but really… like, this ploy is something that would only work in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It’s… kind of distracting, honestly.

7. FINALLY, the girl tells Lean her name: Nataruma. We still don’t know what’s so important about her, though.

8. They see a town on fire, nearly leveled by Revillian Armours. Nataruma somehow gives Lean a psychic vision of a church there set up as a makeshift hospital, with all the horror and tragedy that comes with that. They also see that it’s the town of the old man who gave them a ride earlier, and whose grandson is dying in his arms. Lean, somewhat defensive, points out that his people are getting killed by the Zafran, too, although there’s no way he could know that for sure.

9. They get chased by Zafran Armours, until another old man in the angular Orguss-type mecha from the opening titles shows up and rescues them. He tries to take Nataruma, but Lean pulls her away. Their truck crashes, and Nataruma is knocked out. Lean suddenly sees that she has tendrils coming from her forehead…

Then in a final cliffhanger, the massive Armour is walking towards Revillia…

10. It’s about this point that, if you’re anything like me, you might be getting antsy, thinking something like, “This show is good and all, but what does it have to do with Orguss?” A few of the connections are already there, but haven’t been revealed yet…

But again, looked at as it’s own thing, this is a high-quality series, implausible ventriloquism notwithstanding. “War is Hell” is, of course, an overdone theme, but it’s always effective if done well, and it’s done VERY well here.

OBLIGATORY BOOB-SHOT: There are a couple, but they’re included as part of the razed town, to show the vulnerability of the victims, and it seems HIGHLY inappropriate to use them in this context.

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 40 – One Who Faces Danger

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 2: One Who Faces Danger (RECKLESS MAN)

ICONIC SCENE: Our damsel in distress.

RELEASE DATE: February 21, 1994

1. Lean reports for duty, and Manning has pulled some strings to get him assigned, not to the army or navy, but to the cushier job of being an Imperial Guard. Manning shows Lean the ropes, and again, it’s pretty obvious that Manning is deeply cynical, and credits his ability to survive to that.

2. There’s some palace intrigue, as it’s now clear that the King is sick because the Queen is poisoning him. He dies in the next scene, and there’s a short question of succession. The Queen declares that Siplay, her six-year-old son, be crowned King, bypassing Perion, the drooling one who isn’t all there (although we get a brief hint that that might not be the REAL story with him).

More importantly, she picks the most warmongering advisor to be regent, so yes, war is coming, as we knew it would.

3. Manning is definitely not just another palace guard, since he’s allowed to come up with a strategy for infiltrating Zafran and stealing the Armours that they’ve excavated over the past few years. He decides to bring Lean along, which probably isn’t great news for Lean or for his chances of survival. They’ve already pointed out that people around Manning tend to die a lot. Manning, true to his nature, again doesn’t even hide this from Lean. I think it’s one of the things that makes Manning charming and fun to watch: he’ll happily tell anyone that he’s out for himself and that he’ll sacrifice you if it means that he can survive. You can’t quite say that he’s honest, but there’s a purity to him that’s sort of admirable, in a weird way.

4. But yes, they disguise themselves and head to Zafran, taking a train through a neighboring neutral country to get there, which involves at one point, going through a rocky desert, which seems very different, geographically, than the forests of Revillia that we’ve seen so far. To bring back the original Orguss for a bit, there’s been no mention in this show of overlapping dimensions, but this DOES seem like a patchwork world. The ecology varies widely from scene to scene, the Revillian town seems like it’s stuck in the Industrial Revolution, the Revillian court looks pretty medieval, and what little we’ve seen of the Zafran nobility is reminiscent of Ancient Rome. And THEN there are the blind psychic monks that look vaguely Buddhist… I assume this was deliberate on the part of the staff, to subtly show that the world is still the mixed-up one from the Orguss TV series but without making it into plot point.

5. There’s also an unreality to the backdrops, whether they be civilization or nature. Everything LOOKS like a painting, done in an almost Impressionist watercolor style. It’s not something you see a whole lot in anime, and it contributes to the idea that something’s just a little bit “off” about this world.

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6. Manning’s and Lean’s cover is that they’re traveling salesmen, selling lingerie to brothels. I assume that Manning himself came up with that idea, as an added “perk” to the espionage mission. But it’s also good sense: while at one of the brothels, Manning steals a miner’s outfit, so he can go inspect the excavation site.

7. We’ve seen a lot of soldiers milling about, and it turns out they’re looking for a specific blue-haired girl… who of course encounters Lean (although he doesn’t realize that she’s a girl at first). This is going to complicate things…

8. Things go badly for Manning and he gets discovered. Note that for all of his confidence in his own abilities, HE’S the one that screwed it up, all on his own. He escapes in a stolen Armour, but as he’s leaving he sees that Zafran has unearthed a stunningly massive robot, and they’ve gotten it to work.

9. Things fall apart soon after that. In an effort to get Manning, they use the giant Armour to vaporize a large part of the town, trapping Lean and his new “ally.” Manning being Manning, he decides not to rescue Lean and just offers him a small word of encouragement before skedaddling out of there.

10. The last episode had minimal Orguss references, this one has (apparently) none. It feels like a totally different series, but it’s also a GOOD different series. This would’ve been the end of the first US VHS tape, and even though I wasn’t QUITE on board with this show as a sequel, I was sufficiently motivated to rent the next tape.

OBLIGATORY BOOB-SHOT: One of the prostitutes that Manning sells an outfit to.

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THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 39 – A Foolish One’s Choice

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS 02
EPISODE 1 – A Foolish One’s Choice (OPTIONS FOR THE FOOL) [A note about the titles: every episode has a Japanese title and an English title. The Japanese titles are all connected by the use of the character 者 (“sha”), meaning “person.” Neither the original English titles nor the Manga Entertainment titles use that, so I’m using my own translations of the titles instead.]

ICONIC SCENE: Orrr-guss…?

RELEASE DATE: December 5, 1993

1. Oh, Orguss 02, where to begin…? I was going to start, as I usually do, with a little account of my circumstances when I first watched the series, but I realize that I had already written one:

For me, in 1992, I was pretty much out of anime. I was in college in Annapolis, Maryland, and discovered quickly that there wasn’t any Little Tokyo or Japantown close by to get my fix. Some of the comic shops in Baltimore or DC had some anime stuff, but it wasn’t anything like what we had in Los Angeles. Additionally, there wasn’t much coming out that I was interested in. TV anime skewed pretty kiddie at this point, and most of the OVA series that I’d followed had either ended or lost me through diminishing returns. Ironically, this was at the point where anime was really making a breakthrough stateside, as the first wave of dubbed or subtitled videos started appearing, not just in specialty shops, but at places like Tower and Blockbuster.

I think I found out about Macross II through Viz’s release of the manga, so a few months after the series had debuted in the U.S. I immediately realized that it wasn’t what I wanted, primarily because I had been getting the fanzine (?) Animag throughout the ’80s. Every issue had a rundown of OVA releases for that period, and one thing I had noted was the aforementioned sequel trend, with a rather odd wrinkle: plenty of series that got sequels (Gundam, Dunbine, Megazone, Gall Force… later, Orguss and Yamato…) decided to go a route where the sequel was set decades or even centuries after the original series. To me, it felt like a cheap ploy, a way of sidestepping the difficult question of “Well, what happened NEXT?” in favor of starting everything all over again with an entirely new cast in a somewhat similar world. Trading on the name rather than genuinely continuing the series, in other words. The fact that now Macross was having this same treatment done to it bothered me.

Now, add to that the fact that Orguss 02 flew past my radar when it came out in Japan (starting roughly a year after Macross II had finished up), and I didn’t know it existed until I saw the trailer for it on another Manga Entertainment video (presumably one of the Macross Plus volumes). I rented the first volume, and thus began one of the more frustrating anime viewing experiences I’ve had. But more about that later.

2. It certainly doesn’t start off terribly promisingly. After a weird and discordant opening theme, we get a text scroll telling us that 200 years after the dimensional bomb was detonated (tellingly, there’s no word about the dimensional repair of the final episode), people unearth giant robots, and call them “Armours” (as opposed to the original series, of course, where they were called “Devices”). They used these for war, until only two major world powers were left, the countries of Revillia and Zafran.

In other words, it’s skipping over everything that an Orguss fan might want to know, and introducing us to an entirely new world with its own backstory instead. This… does not inspire confidence.

3. It starts off looking very much like present day, although everyone’s clothes look very early twentieth-century. Some people running a crane into the ocean find what appears to be the Orguss (but probably isn’t, since there’s more than one) on the sea floor, and drag it up. We’ve got our obvious hero, Lean, a teenage boy who’s really good with machines (he can tell what kind of plane is approaching from the engine noise) and his just-as-obviously doomed mentor/friend, Zante. Soon they get joined by a soldier named Manning, voiced by a young Koichi Yamadera, before his star-making roles as Ranma 1/2’s Ryoga, Evangelion’s Ryoji Kaji, and Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel. Manning is absolutely the best character in this series, and not just because he has one of the most infamous lines in all of ‘90s anime.

4. It doesn’t take too long before a HUGE problem crops up, if you’re an English speaker who wants to watch the show in Japanese: the subs are horrendously inaccurate. Not QUITE Hong Kong bootleg level bad, but often not at all what the characters are actually saying. Justin Sevakis discussed this in his “Buried Treasure” review of the series, and even he’s baffled about how or why this happened. It’s going to continue to be another layer of frustration over an already frustrating viewing experience. I do hope that Discotek or someone rescues this license and puts out a proper version in some format.

5. While they’re all flying home, an enemy Armour that kinda/sorta looks like a Nikick attacks, and kills all the flight crew. Tellingly, Manning’s first idea, which he freely tells Lean and Zante, is that he’ll escape and leave them to die. When they object, he gets Lean to pilot the Orguss-type Armour and fight off the Nikick-type Armour. Lean does this, and kills the enemy pilot rather brutally by burning him to death with the Orguss-type’s foot thruster.

6. Thinking the danger is over, Zante fires a flare to let Lean know where they are, a get shot by a robot hiding in the forest. Also, the Space Elevator can be seen in the background here. This raises at least one big question.

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Zante ends up dying, but it’s noteworthy than Manning tries to save his life, even at the risk of his own. Despite his blatant instinct for self-preservation, he’s not a COMPLETE shit. At least, not always.

7. We jump to Zante’s funeral, and one of the real issues comes to the forefront. Zante is in debt, and the bank will take his repair shop, leaving his wife and daughter destitute, unless they can come up with the money quickly.

8. We meet Revillia’s royal family, and they seem like a real mess of a family. An old, sick king, a busty young queen with a sinister smile on her face, an older son who stares vacantly and drools, and a younger son clinging to his mother.

9. Lean goes to Manning, who convinces him to join up with the military. Manning also pulls some strings so that Lean gets a four-year advance on his wages to pay off Zante’s debt. So yes, the army owns him now. And, as expected, war is declared.

10. Viewed as a stand-alone series rather than as a sequel to Orguss, I think this is a great beginning. Writer/Director Fumihiko Takayama is probably best known for Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, and he brings the same sense of ordinary people swept up by massive circumstances that he deployed so well in that classic series. The designs are great, especially the characters (done by Haruhiko Mikimoto and “refined” by Toshihiro Kawamoto). The world is evocative, switching from a small town that looks like a nice little European hamlet (or, y’know, something out of Kiki’s Delivery Service) to the vast and rather dank-looking palace of Revillia. There are plenty of arresting images, from the quick, bloody violence of the Nikick-type Armour’s attack to the scene near the end with a military parade marching nearly soundlessly through gray, pouring rain. The score, by Torsten Rasch, is unlike anything else I can think of (although whether that’s good or bad is a matter of taste. I like it, myself).

Viewed as a sequel to Orguss, it raises all kinds of questions and refuses to answer any of them. Which is fine: we’re only in the first episode, after all. Again, I’ll address this aspect as the series reveals more. For right now, it seems like everything’s fine.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: It’s not that kind of show. Here, have a boob shot instead.

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THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 38 – Super Dimension Athena

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
MEMORIAL VOL. 2: Super Dimension Athena

ICONIC SCENE: She’s super-dimensional!

RELEASE DATE: May 28, 1985

This one starts off similarly to Volume 1. There, Mome explained the multi-dimensional Earth. Here, the narrator explains the Singularity Points and how they have to get to the Big Singularity Point.

Then we flash back to Kei and Tina together from the beginning of Episode 1, followed by one of the scenes with Athena as a little girl. Then we get to the “present,” with Kei and Athena fighting and entering one of the dimensional rifts (from Episode 19). Instead of sending them back to World War II, however, Athena finds herself alone on a beach (from Episode 26). Olson (or an illusion of him, I guess) shows up and tells her that Kei is her father.

Again, this is all kinda weird. The Memorial volumes absolutely do not suffice as independent works, divorced from the series. There’s A LOT from the series that you have to know already in order for these to make sense. However, there’s a fair amount of scenes that are rewritten in order to smooth the transitions. It’s like the staff did all they could to make the Memorials films that new viewers could watch and understand, but given time (and presumably budget) constraints, they couldn’t QUITE achieve that. I mean, if you remove the “next episode previews,” the two Memorial volumes together add up to a bit over eighty minutes. The original Mobile Suit Gundam (which, at forty-three episodes, isn’t THAT much longer than Orguss) needed three two-hour-and-twenty minute movies to trim the fat but still tell the story coherently.

The Memorial staff also adds in a new way to transition to new scenes, by adding a shutter snap. This becomes almost Evangelion-esque before the “commercial break,” as a few dozen “snapshot” scenes go by in quick succession, with the film getting more overexposed with each shot. It’s a small thing, but I always like stuff like this, because it shows that the editors cared about the project. It’s extra work, and no one would’ve known the difference if it weren’t there. It’s a small bit of added value for anyone who watches the Memorials.

After the “commercial break,” this volume stops being primarily about Athena and becomes a cut-down version of the last two episodes. For pure storytelling, it’s the most effective portion of either Memorial. And there’s one massive cut that, for personal reasons, I’m glad they did: at the end, when Kei and Olson finally reach the Big Singularity Point, all of the stuff about them meeting their younger selves is cut. They leave the Space Elevator, they arrive at the Big Singularity Point, and then the dimensions separate and we see all the alternate worlds that I talked about at great length a couple of posts ago. I know it wasn’t meant to be viewed like this, but the fact that I saw the TV series AFTER the Memorials (about fifteen years after, in fact), meant that the surprise of Kei and Olson meeting themselves was preserved for me, causing just as much of a “WTF” reaction as it was meant to.

Oh… and I also realized that Captain and Manisha are cut completely out of the story in the Memorials.

So yeah… ultimately, as I said, I think the Orguss story is too complicated to whittle down to eighty minutes. But (as I’ve also said) I also think it was too complicated for a weekly TV series. It’s easy to see why the show wasn’t that popular with a family audience. Video seems like a more natural outlet for it, where it could attract an audience of hardcore science fiction fans and not have to worry about things like toy sales… and yes, less than two months after Orguss finished airing, Takatoku Toys went out of business. But the OVA revolution was still a couple of years away when Orguss started airing. If they’d hung on to the concept for a while, they might have been able to do the series with fewer constraints.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Even slimmer pickings than the second half of the TV series, so this really is the only one.

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P.S. As for “expanded universe” type stuff, there naturally isn’t as much as there is for Macross, but there IS some, none of which I own. There’s a two-volume novelization, written by Toshiki Inoue, the author of the three-volume Macross TV novels (and, I assume, just as threadbare as those novels are, if not even more so). There are also two drama albums, “Orguss Connection” and “Orguss Grafitti,” both of which just had one pressing on vinyl in 1983, and have never been issued on CD (that I know of). I’ve never heard them and have no idea what they’re about.

Anyway, after the release of the Memorials, Orguss was effectively dead. For a while.

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 37 – Mome’s Dream

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SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
MEMORIAL VOL. 1: Mome’s Dream

ICONIC SCENE: Mome’s Nightmare.

RELEASE DATE: April 4, 1985

So now we skip forward nearly a year from the end of the TV series broadcast, and look at the two VHS compilations of the series. You can tell that the show wasn’t REALLY popular, or else they would’ve made a movie, but it also wasn’t an abject failure, or else these wouldn’t have come out. These video compilations were a cheap way for a middling-level series to make a few more bucks, and for hardcore fans to re-experience at least parts of a show they liked, since full-series video releases weren’t yet feasible (as far as I can tell, the complete series finally came out on laser disk and VHS in 1991).

In the ‘80s and early ‘90s (I first got copies in ’86), the Orguss Memorials were the only way for me to experience the show, and until MUCH later, were the only experience I had of the show’s ending, since the US Renditions English-dubbed releases stopped at Episode 17. And of course, that’s not how these videos are meant to be viewed. Like the movie editions of various TV series, these are meant to be watched in addition to the series, not as a replacement for the series. While there’s an attempt to make the story coherent here, mostly they’re just a collection of the “good parts” of the TV series, for any fan that liked the show when it was broadcast and wanted to own a piece of it. And this is the first time I’ve watched these since probably 1991 or so.

Y’know, after seeing the series with the stereo mix of the opening for so long, it’s super-weird to hear the original mono mix of the songs.

After the opening, Mome narrates how the world is split into various dimensions. There is no new animation in these videos, but there is some new voice work, and a few of the scenes are repurposed from their placement in the series.

Weirdly, the story proper skips over Kei detonating the dimensional bomb and his arrival in the world of twenty years later, instead starting with the scene in Episode 7 where Mome has coffee with Kei. But I guess that this is “Mome’s dream,” right?

There’s also absolutely no introduction of the characters. We’re obviously meant to know them all already. Also strangely, a lot of the battle scenes seem sped up. I suppose it saves time AND makes the Orguss look like it’s moving faster.

And speaking of moving faster, the scene where Sley goes to meet Mimsy in the “secret room” from Episode 13 is changed, so that now, she’s waiting for Kei. Strange.

Overall, the compilation seems focused around Mome (as you’d expect from the title) and the Kei-Mimsy-Slery love triangle. A lot of the scenes are presented out of order (again, the beginning is from Episode 7, and yet the climax is from Episode 6), but I suppose it hangs together well enough as a coherent story. More than the series, though, it feels mostly like a love story with futuristic elements to it and occasional battle scenes.

And then, after the ending credits (and again, the mono mix of “Gypsy Heart” sounds strange after hearing the stereo version constantly for the rewatch), we get ALL the “next episode previews” from the first half of the series (and I notice that it’s in the preview for Episode 15, “Singularity Point!!” that the narrator takes over the previews from Kei). This takes up nearly ten minutes.

So is the compilation worth watching? These days, probably not. It’s never been subbed, not even by fans, and despite some new voice acting work, there’s not much that’s terribly different from the series. It’s fine if you want a quick jolt of Orguss, but that’s really about it. The void it was made to fill no longer exists.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Many to choose from, but I decided on this one because it also features Sley. Remember Sley?

Mem1ASS