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Memory Matrix (Database) - Cameos and In-jokes


From the early 1980's, anime increasingly featured brief cameos of characters from other anime, manga and occasionally references from live action movies and even mentions of pop and rock acts. Most of these were placed in there by the key animators or animation directors themselves. Many of these cameos and in-jokes often referenced other anime the staff or the studio had worked on, or were just titles that they liked. "Megazone 23" was no exception. In fact it seemed to have more cameos and in-jokes than most anime of the era. Below I have listed every one I have spotted, though there may be more that I have missed. Besides listing the exact points where these cameos and in-jokes appear in "Megazone 23", I have also noted if and where they appear in "Robotech the movie". I have also listed a cameo exclusive to "Robotech the movie" which originally appeared in the "Southern Cross" footage it was culled from. Click on the screenshots in order to see higher resolution versions. Time codes are in a "hours : minutes : seconds" format based on the original NTSC video format versions of the anime.

In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot during the sequence where Shogo takes Yui to her appointment (at 0:02:07 in "Megazone 23"), a bike rider is seen traveling in the opposite direction with a "Magical Princess Minky Momo" image on his helmet. "Minky Momo" was a highly popular magical girl anime TV series which was broadcast between 1981 and 1982. Despite being aimed at young girls, it developed a cult following amongst Japanese otaku of the era. This scene appears at 0:14:43 in "Robotech the movie".

As Shogo arrives in front of Studio Alta in Shinjuku and makes a grandiose entrance with a back flip (at 0:03:57), A man in blue jeans and a jacket can be seen on the left side of the screen. On his t-shirt seems to be an image of Kikka Kitamoto from "Mobile Suit Gundman" deliberately coloured differently and with facial features exaggerated from the original design. I also believe the man himself is meant to be a caricature of "Megazone 23" director Noboru Ishiguro.

Soon after Shogo's arrival, a man with a brightly coloured wig and tiger mask rides past on a bike (at 0:04:13). This unnamed character is based on the real life Yoshiro Harada who is better known to the locals as Shinjuku Tiger. Harada is now in his 70's and can still be seen doing his day job, delivering newspapers in Shinjuku area. He is also a film buff and watches up to six films a day in local cinemas.

In the following scene as Shogo and Morley are horsing around in front of the shops inside Studio Alta (at 0:04:31), Kyoko Otonashi, one of the lead characters of the popular manga series, "Maison Ikkoku", can been seen as a handbag seller in her distinctive "Piyo Piyo" apron at the bottom middle of the screen. The anime version of the manga would not be broadcast until 1986.

During the montage of Shogo and his friends having fun in and around Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya, set to Eve singing "Sentimental Behind Our Backs", they go to a cinema to watch "Streets of Fire" (at 0:05:58). While a box office bomb in it's home country of the USA during it's release in 1984, "Streets of Fire" was a cult hit in Japan, especially with those in the anime industry. The cinematography and dark look of the film influenced many anime of the era including "Bubblegum Crisis", "Zillion: Burning Night (Red Photon Zillion: Songstress's Nocturne)" and of course "Megazone 23" .


In the very same montage (at 0:06:03), a truck can be seen with Artland written on the side as Shogo and his friends race down the street on their  motorbikes. Artland of course is the studio who co-produced "Megazone 23". Unfortunately I took these screencaps from my old ADV Films DVD so the resolution isn't that great. Once I receive the AnimEigo blu-ray version I will update the image.


As Shogo is heading towards the TV studio after talking with Eve on her TV show (at 0:16:08), a building in the background can be seen with "David Bowie" written on it. In "Robotech the movie" this scene appears at 0:28:32.


As BD's men try to box in Shogo and the Graland with several vehicles and try to forcibly remove him from the bike, he reverses straight into a record store in order to shake them off (at 0:16:43). Inside the shop on a poster at the top left of the screen, there seems to be a picture of "Space Battleship Yamato", though in a different colour scheme. This scene appears at 0:29:06 in "Robotech the movie".

While location hunting on the Garland with Tomomi for her movie, Shogo is chased by a motorcycle cop into a tunnel and ends up ducking down a side tunnel in order to shake him off. The side tunnel is actually an elevator which leads the pair into an abandoned underground city. While Tomomi decides to head up to the surface, Shogo explores the city and ends up fighting BD's men. In firefight with a solider in a Hargun, Shogo is knocked on his back crashing into a subway entrance (at 0:33:24). At the middle top of the screen, a poster can be seen which seems to show the lead unnamed girl character from the "Daicon III" and "Daicon IV" opening animations created for the Daicon Sci-Fi conventions in 1981 and 1983 respectively by amateur film group Daicon Film (which would more or less morph into the animation studio Gainax) One of the main animators on those two productions was Hideaki Anno, who also did key animation and was an animation director on "Megazone 23", hence why the girl appears here. Anno would of course go on to direct some of the defining anime of the late 1980's and into the 1990's with "Gunbuster", "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas", "Evangelion" and "His and Her Circumstance". Two more posters with other characters appear to the far left of the screen. I have not identified who they are or if they they are just generic designs created for "Megazone 23". In "Robotech the movie" This scene appears at 0:37:24.

Mai arrives home and throws her duffle bag on a nearby director's chair, not noticing the cat who quickly scrambles off the chair before the bag lands on it (at 0:40:25). The writing on the bag reads "Dagger of Kamui", which was a series of historical martial arts/action light novels written by Tetsu Yano and released during 1984 and 1985. A theatrical anime adaption, which was directed by Rintaro, was released four days after the video release of "Megazone 23". 

When Shogo realises Eve is nothing but a computer generated idol and not real, he goes on a rampage on the street with the Garland which attracts the attention of the police who chase him. At 0:45:36, he passes a street which seems to show a race car being wheeled out of a truck with several people taking pictures of it. As I understand, this is based on a real race car and team, but I haven't been able to determine which class of motor race nor the actual name of the team. This scene appears at 0:59:09 in "Robotech the movie".

[On to Cameos and In-jokes Part 2]

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