Megazone 23 (メガゾーン23, Megazōn Tsū Surī) is a four-part Japanese cyberpunk original video animation created by Noboru Ishiguro, written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama and Emu Arii, and directed by Ishiguro, Ichiro Itano, Kenichi Yatagai, and Shinji Aramaki. The series debuted in 1985. It was originally titled Omega Zone 23 (オメガゾーン23, Omega Zōn Tsū Surī) but the title was changed just before release.
Cover to the NA/R1 DVD release of Part I showing the main characters from Parts I and II of the OVA, Shougo Yahagi (left) and Yui Takanaka (right).
(Megazōn Tsū Surī)
|Megazone 23 - Part I|
|Directed by||Noboru Ishiguro|
|Produced by||Hideaki Suda|
|Written by||Hiroyuki Hoshiyama|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Released||March 9, 1985|
|Megazone 23 - Part II|
|Directed by||Ichiro Itano|
|Produced by||Hideaki Suda|
|Written by||Hiroyuki Hoshiyama|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Released||May 30, 1986|
|Original video animation|
|Megazone 23 - Part III|
|Directed by||Shinji Aramaki|
|Produced by||Toru Miura|
|Written by||Emu Arii|
|Music by||Keishi Urata|
|Released||September 28, 1989 – December 22, 1989|
|Runtime||50 minutes (each)|
|Megazone 23 SIN|
|Megazone 23 XI|
The story follows Shougo Yahagi, a delinquent motorcyclist whose possession of a government prototype bike leads him to discover the truth about the city. Released on the VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc and VHD formats, the first part was a major commercial success upon release in 1985, selling over 216,000 copies in Japan, mostly to video rental stores. At a price of ¥7,800, the first part grossed approximately ¥1.7 billion from video sales in Japan. The film's concept of a simulated reality has drawn comparisons to later films including Dark City (1998), The Matrix (1999) and Existenz (1999).
Megazone 23's story is set in the far future of the human race, after, in the early 24th century, various environmental issues rendered Earth uninhabitable, forcing humanity to leave in several massive colony ships, the titular Megazones. The story itself follows the population of Megazone Two Three, based on an unnamed part of Japan.
Part I and IIEdit
The first two parts occur roughly 500 years after humanity left Earth, as the government attempt to hack into the civic computer, Bahamut, for their city, in order to use the city's benevolent artificial intelligence, known as EVE, to influence the people to help them in a near-endless war against the Dezalg.
Thrown into this is Shogo Yahagi, after he is given ownership of a strange experimental bike by an old friend of his. Over the course of the story, he discovers how false his world is, and eventually makes contact with the EVE Program, who enlists him to assist humanity in any way he can. However, unfortunately, before he can do anything meaningful, the city's government have become focused on the destruction of the Dezalg, and have decided to terminate Shogo and EVE, who has fled into cyberspace. In the end, Eve manages to save Shogo and his friends, sending them in Bahamut's system core to Earth as the battling ships are destroyed, ending the conflict, at the price of an unknown number of people on both ships.
The third part occurs several centuries after this, with a hacker named Eiji Takanaka, who is scouted by a rebel group working against the teachings of a mysterious spiritual leader known as Bishop Won Dai. Sion, a high-ranking member of the rebel group, who work under the aegis of Orange Amusements, begins scouting Eiji, while also investigating a strange program, Project Heaven, the E=X Bureau, Won Dai's elite staff, are preparing. Sion manages to confront Eiji as Orange attempt to stop whatever Project Heaven is, and, badly wounded, instructs Eiji to go to the lowest point in the city, finding the real, centuries-old, Eve Tokimatsuri, who was meant to be awoken by Shogo Yahagi. She takes him to Bahamut, meeting the independent version of Eve from the previous two parts, while Sion manages to stop Orange from making the same mistake as several centuries before, using it to broadcast the E=X's master plan. In the end, Eiji and Eve confront Won Dai, and he is slain, Eve heading to the ADAM moonbase to shut down and destroy it, while also taking out the city's computer, finally beginning the final part of the plan enacted around a millennia before, while Eiji heads off to meet with Ryo to begin his life anew.
|Shogo Yahagi||Masato Kubota (Part 1)
Kazuki Yao (Part 2)
|Vic Mignogna (ADV Films dub)|
Bob Bergen (Streamline Pictures dub)
Kerrigan Mahan (International dub)
|Yui Takanaka||Maria Kawamura||Allison Keith (ADV Films dub)|
Barbara Goodson (Streamline Pictures dub / International dub)
|Mai Yumekano||Mayumi Shō||Sasha Paysinger (ADV Films dub)|
Lia Sargent (Streamline Pictures dub)
|Tomomi Murashita||Mina Tominaga||Hilary Haag (ADV Films dub)|
Edie Mirman (Streamline Pictures dub)
|Eve Tokimatsuri||Kumi Miyasato (Parts 1-2)
Saki Takaoka (Part 3)
|Monica Rial (ADV Films dub)|
Brittany Harlowe (Streamline Pictures dub) (Part 1)
Muriel Fargo (International dub) (Part 2)
Annemarie Lawless (Manga UK dub) (Part 3)
|Shinji Nakagawa||Kōichi Yamadera||Illich Guardiola (ADV Films dub)|
Daniel Woren (Streamline Pictures dub)
|B.D.||Kaneto Shiozawa||Andy McAvin (ADV Films dub)|
Gregory Snegoff (Streamline Pictures dub)
Michael McConnohie (International dub)
|Lightning||Shigeru Chiba||Jason Douglas (ADV Films dub)|
Tom Wyner (International dub)
|Gutz||Kozo Shioya||George Manley (ADV Films dub)|
Jeff Winkless (International dub)
|Cindy||Yoko Ogai||Tiffany Grant (ADV Films dub)|
Melora Harte (International dub)
|Lieutenant Shiratori||Sho Hayami||John Gremillion (ADV Films dub)|
Gregory Snegoff (International dub)
|Eiji Takanaka||Takeshi Kusao||Jay Hickman (ADV Films dub)|
Michael McGhee (Manga UK dub)
|Bishop Won Dai||Kouji Nakata, Kazuki Yao||Chris Patton (ADV Films dub)|
Robert Glenister (Manga UK dub)
|Yacob Halm||Makoto Ataka||Illich Guardiola (ADV Films dub)|
Adam Matalon (Manga UK dub)
|Ryo Narahara||Hiroko Kasahara||Jessica Boone (ADV Films dub)|
|Bud||Nozomu Sasaki||Spike Spencer (ADV Films dub)|
|Sion||Kōichi Yamadera||Brett Weaver (ADV Films dub)|
Megazone 23 was conceived as a 12-episode television series set to air on Fuji TV, but it was changed to a direct-to-video project after the sponsors withdrew their support mid-production. According to Noboru Ishiguro, the end result was a "compilation movie" of already produced episodes. Megazone was not conceived as a multi-part story. As such, the original release of "Part I" lacks the subtitle that has been added to subsequent re-releases.
Original mecha designs for the OVA series were created by Shinji Aramaki, while character designs were made by Toshihiro Hirano and Haruhiko Mikimoto, who would provide Eve Tokimatsuri's character designer for all three parts. For "Part II", Yasuomi Umetsu was the character designer, and for "Part III", Hiroyuki Kitazume took over.
The original planned title was "Omega City 23," then "Vanity City" and "Omega Zone 23," but trademark issues compelled the producers to a title change. The number "23" was originally a reference to the 23 municipal wards of Tokyo. In the retroactive continuity established by Part III, the number refers to the 23rd man made city-ship, with Megazone 1 named "Big Apple." However, the title is pronounced "Megazone Two Three" as referenced by several reference books and anime magazines published during the release of the series, the Japanese Wikipedia entry, and even within the series itself in "Day of Liberation."
An ad on the Japanese crowdfunding platform Campfire listed that AIC is working on a remake and a new project in the series.Soon after, AIC announced that the project would be a remake of the series titled Megazone 23 SIN, and a sequel titled Megazone XI would also be in production with character designer Masahiko Komino. At AnimeJapan 2019, AIC announced that only Parts I and II of the original Megazone series would be remade in the reboot series.
"Part I" was spliced with Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross by Carl Macek to create Robotech: The Movie in 1986. The new cut reestablished Shogo's character as Mark Landry  and included a new ending animated specifically for Robotech: The Movie.
The Japanese "International Edition" of Part 2 has an English-language voice cast that Carl Macek had orchestrated. The consequent adaptation rewrote Shogo as "Johnny Winters" and Yui as "Sue." This creates a continuity error, as the name that appears on her bike helmet remains unchanged. The International Edition also added a narration to the exclusive alternate footage from Robotech: The Movie; the retooled scene became an introduction to Part 2.
Megazone Part II International was released on laserdisc in Japan. It was not included in the out-of-print DVD Box Set, but was available as a bonus item to those who purchased all three installments individually. It is currently available as a Region 2 DVD bundled with the Limited Edition of the PS3 game Megazone 23: Aoi Garland. Streamline Pictures later released a straight-dubbed version of Part 1 in 1994. Streamline Pictures released an unedited dubbed version of Part 1 to VHS in 1995, which was released to DVD in 1998 by Image Entertainment. Streamline also planned on releasing the other two parts, but were unable due to a dispute with their distributor Orion Pictures. Manga Entertainment also released a dubbed version of Part 3 in the United Kingdom.
In 2004, ADV Films released each installment of the series with a newly produced English dub and the original Japanese language track. The 2004 editions also contained extensive liner notes on the development of Megazone 23. ADV released a complete collection in 2007. With the closure of ADV in 2009, the series is now out-of-print in the US. Megazone 23 was remastered onto Blu-ray in Japan, and released on November 27, 2015. AnimEigo announced on their website that they launched a Kickstarter campaign of this series, similar to Bubblegum Crisis before.
Publisher ADV has compared and found many similarities between the Megazone 23 series and The Matrix (1999), but The Wachowskis have denied it was an influence during the development of the film series. Megazone 23 has also drawn comparisons to the films Dark City (1998) and Existenz (1999).
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