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Megazone 23

 

Video Release : 5 March 1985

Theatrical Release : 23 March 1985

Runtime: 81 minutes

"Megazone 23" (pronounced "Megazone Two-Three") was the basis for "Robotech the movie" and strangely it gave "Megazone 23" an alternate ending, which arguably is more conclusive and satisfying than the original ending, but doesn't fit in at all with the "Megazone 23" universe and storyline. "Robotech the movie" also changed the storyline of "Megazone 23" significantly as well as cutting almost half an hour from it's runtime. Therefore I thought it would be a good idea to include a section on the original to compare the differences between the two.

"Megazone 23" is almost like a combination of the best and most popular elements of early 1980's anime. It has motorbikes, transforming mecha, idol singers, rebellious teenagers, cute girls and plenty of action. The concept, story and design elements of the original OVA where conceived by some of anime's top talent of the time such as Noboru Ishiguro, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Yasuomi Umetsu, Ichiro Itano and Toshihiro Hirano.

The story of Megazone 23; It is the mid 1980's, Tokyo, Japan. 18 year old Shogo Yahagi only cares about riding his bike and hanging out with his friends in Shibuya. That is until he meets up with an old friend, Shinji Nakagawa, Shinji shows Shogo a new prototype bike he has been selected to be the test rider of. But their meeting is cut short by a group of men, claiming to be from the company who own it, who want to take the bike back by force. Shogo escapes with the bike, which is much more than it initially seems, and unwittingly caught up in a world of government cover up, conspiracy and interstellar warfare. It is a conspiracy so deep and unbelievable that even the popular idol Eve Tokimatsuri is involved. Shogo's world will never be the same again.

While this was not the first OVA (Original Video Animation - i.e. a direct to video anime) as some anime fans claim ("Dallos" directed by Mamoru Oshii is considered to be the first OVA, released in 1983), "Megazone 23" was the first real commercial success selling 216,000 copies in Japan alone in 1985. It started an OVA boom. In 1984, only six OVAs were released. In 1985 this number had ballooned to 28. By the mid 1990's around 80 to over 100 different OVA series were being released annually. Another reason for its success is that unlike the majority of OVAs that preceded it, it was aimed at a more mature audience, and contained themes and situations which were never really seen in TV anime at that time. Like a lot of OVAs of the mid 1980's, "Megazone 23" was also released in cinemas for a short period.

The OVA was born out of an aborted 26 part TV series. Although announced as a TV series called "Omega Zone 23" in September 1984 to the media, a major sponsor dropped out of the project before the broadcast. It was quickly adapted into a feature length OVA based upon the scripts for the first 13 episodes of the proposed TV series. Compressing six hours of TV anime into an 80 minute feature led to some plot holes and some gaps of logic in the story, but despite the rushed production schedule and some rough edges, it still stands out as one of the best anime of it's time and even spawned two sequels.


 

A GWEI Product. 2007 - 2015 GWEI. Robotech the movie 1986 Harmony Gold USA/Idol Co. Ltd. Megazone 23 1985 Idol Co Ltd/Artmic/Victor Entertainment, Inc. All other logos/trademarks are copyright of their respective owners/companies. Used for review and illustration purposes only.