Anime / Megazone 23

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"Operator 7-G, please respond!"

Teenager Shogo Yahagi is a motorcycle nut with few cares in the world; he and his friends do little more than ride around and have fun. This all changes when one of his older friends leaves a mysterious, incredibly-advanced motorcycle called the Bahamut in Shogo's possession. The Bahamut is far more than it seems, and a mysterious cabal of men in black seems willing to do anything to get it back. Soon, Shogo discovers some of the secrets hidden in the Bahamut, and it leads him to even more secrets; secrets that will completely change his understanding of the world he lives in.

Now if only he and his friends can survive his discoveries...

Released between 1985 and 1989, Megazone 23 is historically signficant for being one of the very first OVAs and also was one of the first anime to extensively interweave music with the plot. The story itself was a mindbender at the time, and is a forerunner of such later American works as The Matrix and Dark City. Since then, the plot twists and the character types have become standard in anime, almost cliche in some instances, but as a certified classic it is still worth seeing.

The original American distributions of Megazone 23 were anything but impressive. It was briefly released in North America by Harmony Gold as Robotech the Movie. Carl Macek crudely spliced in footage from Robotech to force a linkage between the two shows, and of course the usual Macek dub script was conjured up out of nothing to replace the original dialogue. Macek and Harmony Gold also produced a dub of Part 2 (with a different cast and set of character names), which was only released in Japan as an aid for teaching English. (It also used footage of the alternate ending for Part 1 that was produced for the Robotech movie as a prologue). Streamline Pictures later produced a straight dub of Part 1 with the same cast as the International Part 2 (but Japanese character names), but couldn't release Parts 2 and 3 due to their financial problems and inevitable shutdown. Later, Manga Entertainment released an un-butchered version of Part 3 for the UK on VHS, but the result, reportedly, was still horrendous.

For decades, only bootleg fansubs of the original show were available in America, but it was rereleased with a new English dub in the summer of 2004 by ADV Films.

Megazone 23 was revived in 2007 with a Playstation 3 RPG game, Blue Garland; the game takes place in an Alternate Continuity that diverges after Part I, and revolves around Hiroto Takanaka, the son of heroine Yui.

Not to be confused with MegaZone.note 

This show provides examples of:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: Eve's interest in Shogo turns out to be in determining whether his love for Yui, and to a lesser extent his concern for his friends, might make them all candidates for repopulating earth after A.D.A.M. destroys the Megazone.
    • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The defence system for Earth is the ADAM System. The computer system built into the city computer is called EVE, as is the female proxy for humanity in all the instalments.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Averted in the beginning of Part I, where Shogo and his friends are completely harmless enthusiasts (though Shogo likes to pull off crazy stunts), but played straight in Part II with the bosozoku gang Shogo and Yui join up with.
  • All There in the Manual: There is an unbelievable amount of information out there that isn't even hinted at in the released episodes. For instance, the identity and history of the enemy, why the deserted levels of Megazone 23 where B.D.'s forces hid from Bahamut existed, et cetera. This is to be expected since the first OVA was a compilation of animation from a scrapped TV series.
  • Almost Lethal Weapons
  • Art Shift:
    • Most obvious between Parts I(Haruhiko Mikimoto's character designs) and II (Yasuomi Umetsu's), which feature the same characters, but with mostly more natural hair colours.
    • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mostly averted in Part II; Yui's hair changes from green to brown, and the only characters with unusual hair colors are the biker gang (dyed), Eve (Virtual Ghost)... and B.D., who went from brunette to white-haired.
    • Ret Gone: Eve's hair color changed to be exclusively platinum blond in Part III and Aoi Garland, despite the latter two portrayals being set in Parts 1 and 2. This is even retconned within the series when The original Megazone 23's Eve is visited by the real Eve and Eiji, and even they have platinum blond hair!
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The Tokyo of parts I and II has a fairly normal looking sky, but it's all simulated.
  • Bland-Name Product: A fairly notable aversion - brand names are used very regularly. When's the last time you saw a for real Coca-Cola can in an anime, honestly?
  • Bloodier and Gorier/Hotter and Sexier: While the first OVA was hardly kid friendly, featuring its fair share of nudity and some scenes of gore, the second OVA absolutely demolished the first in those areas. The second OVA was filled to the brim with graphic depictions of extreme gore and bloodshed that would make Quentin Tarantino orgasm, and speaking of orgasms, the women in the second OVA were so sexed up that one couldn't go a full five minutes without a slipped nipple. And that isn't even getting into Yui and Shogo's completely-gratuitous sex scene and the sequence of Yui and the female gang members in the shower.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: How Part II ends for B.D. and what's left of the Army
  • Burger Fool: Shogo's day job.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Subverted with Eiji's interactions with Sion, after he decides to date Ryo by random chance. Completely played straight with Eve's interactions with Eiji AND Sion!
  • Casting Couch: Aspiring dancer Yui isn't above resorting to this for the sake of her career. Shogo isn't above using his Garland to "rescue" her before anything happens.
  • Chase Scene: Quite a lot of all three parts consist of the main character on his bike with cops or someone else on his tail.
  • City in a Bottle: In parts I and II, Tokyo is actually a replica inside a giant Generation Ship
  • Combat Tentacles: The favoured weapons of the invaders in Part II. They mostly fight by tearing people apart.
  • Combining Mecha: The Hargans, similar to the original Mobile Suit Gundam's Core Fighter, are formed from an ordinary-looking motorbike docking with a set of limbs carried in a transport truck.
  • Cool Bike: The Garlands, which not only transform into a humanoid mech mode, but also potentially have a direct connection to the Bahamut super computer. That said, they're not actually very good bikes. They can go very fast, but it's all brute thrust and they're extremely bulky and unmaneuverable due carrying all their robot parts around with them, unlike the Hargans. Amusingly demonstrated by Shogo causing several traffic accidents as he tries to drive it the same way as a normal bike.
  • Cyber Punk: Underneath the 80s Tokyo veneer, there's a plotline about supercomputers, dark secrets, and control of the media. Part III adds hackers and a cult.
  • Decoy Getaway: "Who? WHO did you say? Johnny... Winters? So sorry, I DON'T KNOW THE GUY! [Laughs]" (From the Harmony Gold dub of Part II.)
    • Even in the new dub, the line's pretty narmy. "Huh? Yahagi? Sorry, pal, WRONG ASSHOLE!"
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research - the video game "Hard On". *snicker*
  • Disney Death
  • Distressed Damsel: Eve is mostly a hostage of the military through the first two installments.
  • Downer Ending: All three parts end pretty badly.
    • To Part 1 — after Storming the Castle, Shogo is soundly defeated by B.D., who decides that he's Not Worth Killing - or thinks he's dead but doesn't even care enough to check.
    • Downer Endings also happen with Part 2 and Part 3. In Part 2, most of the population of Megazone Two Three perishes when the ADAM system tears the colony ship apart, and in Part 3, EVE banishes herself into space inside Eden City's computer core to stop the end of the world.
  • The Dragon: B.D.
  • Dwindling Party: The bikers (mostly decoys) are shown being gradually picked off as Shogo approaches Bahamut in Part 2.
  • Earth That Was: The Megazone ships were sent away to preserve humanity while giving a ruined Earth time to heal.
  • Evil Diva: Arguably, Eve. Arguably subverted by the real Eve, who is the absent hyperuser for the entire civic computer system
  • Evil Minions
  • Eye Scream: The aliens in Part II love doing this to people. The very first guy they kill gets his eye popped straight out of his head and it gets better/worse from there.
  • Face–Heel Turn: It's strongly implied that Shogo became Bishop Won Dai
  • Fanservice: Shogo and Yui's sex scene in Part I serves only to provide eye candy while Shogo delivers a big load of Expo Speak in voiceover. Conversely, their sex scene in Part II is completely gratuitous, just like the violence.
  • Fanservice Pack: Inverted in Part II — Yui's still cute and all, but she's got absolutely nothing on the Yui in Part I.
    • Played fairly straight with Eve, except in Part II when she's reprogrammed as a propaganda tool, wearing solely an unflattering military uniform. Every other appearance of Eve, Even the real one looks far nicer on the eyes.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence
  • Fountain of Youth: In part II, B.D. looks at least ten years younger than his part I self. And is also more buff.
    • This is taken to a extreme with the real Eve Tokimatsuri, who is found having not aged a single day... in the entire length of the series, which takes place over a thousand years.
  • Generation Ship: Megazone has been away from Earth for hundreds of years, maintaining the illusion of Tokyo for its inhabitants. It's not the only one, and the "alien" enemies in Part II are another ship that retained or developed more advanced technology on the trip.
  • Gorn: Part II is pure Gorn.
  • Government Conspiracy: In the first two parts, the government has learned about the true nature of their world and act to keep the truth from the public.
  • Gratuitous English: the video game "Hard On."
    • Shogo's "Sex Wax" jacket from Part 2.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In Part 3, Eiji switches from E=X to Sion's side
  • Humanity on Trial: The effective purpose of Eve's talk with Shogo about life, the universe, and everything in Part II.
    • The real Eve takes Eiji to the crash site of the escape pod from Part II, walking past where the city's umbilical system is destroying the replanted forests.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Intentionally done by the Orange corporation in Part III. They create a mecha combat simulator and market it as a game to identify and recruit potential pilots.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When Shogo first drives off with the Garland, the enemies get a nice tight grouping of bullets on everything to the side of him.
  • Important Haircut: Yui gets one, along with trying to Take a Level in Badass, while trying to rekindle her relationship with Shogo in Part II.
  • It's Personal: In Part II, since B.D. framed Shogo for Tomomi's murder.
  • Knife Nut: Eiji Takanaka's fighting style while in a Garland
  • Kill the Cutie Tomomi in Part I
  • Lampshade Hanging: Some of the members of Orange Amusements talk about Eve's age, joking slightly about how, if there is a real Eve, she'd be as old as the Bishop Won Dai, a centuries-old spiritual leader. She's several centuries OLDER, and is still around the same physical age as Eiji himself!
  • Left for Dead: At the end of Part I, B.D. gives Shogo the beating of his life - and doesn't even bother to see if he's alive before he leaves.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: See Combat Tentacles.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: used by the Army in Part I against the alien threat with dubious results.
  • Magical Security Cam
  • Mega Corp.: E=X and Orange are the main rival corporations in Part 3
  • Mini-Mecha: The Maneuver Slaves.
  • The Masquerade: Bahamut keeps the true nature of "Tokyo" from its inhabitants, concealing the ship's advanced machinery and maintaining an artificial sky.
  • The Men in Black
  • My Nayme Is: The title was once commonly transliterated as Megazone Two-Three, and may have originated with the Robotech fandom. Carl Macek was known to use this title when discussing the film. The actual title is an indirect reference to the 23 districts of Tokyo.
    • The title of the series in rendered in Katakana as "Megazon Tsu Suri", So "Megazone Two Three" IS the intended pronunciation. Has nothing to do with fandom or Macek (thank God).
    • A mild and consistent error is in the naming of the bike and the civic computer.
      • Most fans who are used to the Harmony Gold dubs refer to the bike as the Bahamut or Bahamode, sometimes suffixing it with Garland, and assume EVE is the civic computer outright.
      • Fans who have watched the later dub of the third part, or the remastered dub, correctly refer to the bike as the Garland outright and the civic computer as interchangeably Bahamut or Bahamode.
  • New Eden: What Earth became after humanity left for 500 years.
  • Ontological Mystery
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Shogo Yahagi and the Garland motorcycle.
  • Reaction Shot: A surprising one happens in Part 3. The music video from the beginning of the 'episode' is scrolling into view as Eiji shoots Sion. At the exact second he is hit, The EVE avatar right behind Sion abruptly puts her hand to her face in shock...
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The crazy badass bikers love bubblegum pop star Eve.
  • Road Block
  • Roboteching
  • Robot Girl: Implied with Eve Tokimatsuri. Eve is just a normal teenage girl... who went into hypersleep for over a millenia.
  • Shōnen
  • Shout-Out / Cultural Cross-Reference
    • The SilverHawks and ThunderCats (1985) pinball machines in Part IInote .
    • The movie the kids go to in Part I? Streets of Fire.
    • A prominent billboard that appears in the first bike chase scene in Part I has "David Bowie" written on it.
    • In Part II, albums by Jeff Beck and Van Halen (specifically 1984) can be seen as Yui's old room is destroyed.
    • In the computer we have a line written: Godzilla
    • In The accident crash we see an white Suzuki T-20 and a pilot with an red scarf.
    • Here's one that isn't cross-cultural: The cops in the car that Shogo kicks are Lupin and Jigen lookalikes.
    • Mai's dufflebag? Branded with a The Dagger of Kamui logo.
    • The passenger in the cab Shogo cuts off is wearing a hat that looks like it came straight off the head of a Dr. Slump cast member.
    • Megazone 23 Part III even has a shout out to itself, in that the first four "employees" in a employee listing Eiji studies are Shogo's three friends, and a fourth whose surname, Miyasato, is the same as Miyasato Kumi, the singing voice of Eve.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Time Skip: Between Parts 2 and 3, with the protagonist being descended from presumably Shogo Yahagi and Yui Kisaragi.
    • And to a much lesser extent, between parts 1 and 2, with a gap of only about six months.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shogo starts out as a hapless twentysomething nobody. Then he gets a superbike that turns into a robot. Then he becomes and outlaw and starts hobnobbing with dangerous lunatics.
    • Seems to be a rule of thumb with people given that particular Garland, in that Eiji Takanaka defeats the E=X driving it.
  • Totally Radical: Done deliberately in the new dub, mainly because it fits completely with the faux-80s setting.
  • Transforming Mecha: Garlands, which transform from rather bulky motorcycles into humanoid mecha.
  • Translation Convention: Throughout the series, various displays have romanized versions of names as well as english terms, with very little on-screen use of japanese text.
  • Trash the Set: In Megazone 23 Part 2's closing minutes, the titular space ark itself is torn apart by the ADAM system that was used to replace the Moon, and it shows, in great detail, several of the locations from Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Unexplained Recovery: At the end of Part 2, the bike gang members who were previously shown getting knocked off their bikes, shot up, and otherwise (apparently) dispatched by the baddies in various ways show up almost entirely intact with a few bandages on them. No explanation is provided.
  • Vanilla Edition: The 1999 R1 DVD release of the Streamline Pictures dub by Image Entertainment. Slightly better than some of their other releases, since it actually has the Japanese dialogue and decent subtitles, but still qualifies for this trope nonetheless. The 2004 ADV Films DVD is a little more fleshed out.
  • Virtual Celebrity: Eve Tokimatsuri. Who turns out to be a program based on the appearance of a child genius who worked on the original Megazone program. This is pivotal when Eve is the only person alive with administrator rights on the civic computer system.
  • Wave Motion Gun / Chest Blaster: One of the enemy Garlands has this in Part 3 and it is also something that Eiji may Attack Its Weak Point For Massive Damage
  • Your Size May Vary: A lot of scenes show a huge discrepancy between the Maneuver Slaves' bike and robot modes. The first time we ever see one it's almost as big as the transport truck it comes out of.
    • It's heavily implied that the Maneuver Slaves, unlike the Garland, store most of their robot parts in their transport trucks.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/MegaZone23