The White Knights. From the forefront to the background: Apple, J.J., Amy and Champ
Red Photon Zillion (赤い光弾ジリオン, Akai Kōdan Jirion, as well known as just Zillion), is Sci-Fi Anime
that ran from April 12, 1987 to December 13, 1987 on Nippon Television in Japan and was produced by Tatsunoko Production
. Thirty-one episodes were made, as well as an original video animation (OVA) movie titled "Zillion: Burning Night". After the production of the anime, Tatsunoko Production and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the producer of Zillion, established Production I.G
to obstruct the dispersing of the excellent staffs of Tatsunoko branch which had done actual production. Therefore, Zillion is considered to be Production I.Gís first work.
In the far future, humankind has spread to other planets and solar systems. It is the Year 2387, and humankind's most successful off-world colony is the planet Maris, a world so Earth-like that many call it Earth II. But the Marisians are in danger. The colony is under siege by the Noza Empire, a savage race of warrior-cyborgs from a distant star system that intends to kill all humans in order to lay eggs and reproduce on the planet. The Noza are seemingly invincible and indestructible, and the Marisian Defense Forces are severely outclassed.
All hope seems lost when a trio of guns of immense power are found by the colonists and dubbed the "Zillion Weapon System" after the ancient civilization that created them and the substance "Zillium" that powers them, a mysterious substance which cannot be analyzed or reproduced, and is therefore irreplaceable. Regardless, the molecular disruption beam of the Zillion Gun is far more powerful than any weapon devised by man, and it is the only thing strong enough to destroy the Noza.
Quickly it is created an elite fighting force called "the White Knights", and three young Marissian colonists called J.J., Champ and Apple, are chosen and specially trained to use these weapons. They are the last hope for survival for the Colonists.
"Zillion" spawned two videogames for the Sega Master System
, Zillion (an action game similar to Metroid
) and Zillion II. It also left a legacy of becoming the first anime to inspire a video game hardware, namely Sega Master Systemís Light Phaser.
Opa-Opa, from Fantasy Zone
fame, was a minor frequent character in the show.
Despite the cult success of the video games, the Zillion anime received only a very brief release in the early 1990s in the United States. The first five episodes of the TV series, as well as the Burning Night OVA were dubbed and released on VHS by Carl Macekís Streamline Pictures line. This anime was featured in the music video for Michael Jackson
and Janet Jackson
ís collaboration Scream.
In 1993, Eternity Comics published a comic book adaptation, written by Tom Mason, drawn by Harrison Fong, and lettered by Tim Eldred.
- Action Girl: Apple.
- Action-Hogging Opening: The opening featured gorgeous animation and fighting sequences at the tune of an epic Earworm. The show's animation itself was more limited.
- An Aesop: Right when the main characters were about of killing the Queen and destroying the Noza spawn, their guns -which had never failed before- refused functioning. This is because Zillium is sentient and values life over all things. It would help humans to defend themselves from extinction, but in turn it would not drive another species to utter extinction.
- Alien Invasion: The Noza Empire. They embarked in a campaign of planetary conquest to find other worlds suitable to their race's survival.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Noza army. They all are committed to the cause.
- Angels Pose: In this picture◊.
- Anime Theme Song: Pure Stone by Risa Yuki. An Earworm from epic proportions.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Zillium, the substance powering the main character's guns. Unknown origin, incredibly powerful and impossible to analyze. During the Grand Finale the protagonist trio discovers that, much like the Mazinpower, the Getter Rays, the Ide energy or the Spiral power-, it is sentient.
- Beach Episode: Episode Ten.
- Big Bad: The Noza Queen
- Cleavage Window: Apple's outfit sports a very prominent one.
- Cool Bike: the White Knights use cool futuristic bikes to travel to other places.
- Dub Name Change: In Spain, Zillion was renamed to Zillion, el Caballero Blanco (Zillion, the With Knight). J. J. was renamed Jaime.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: The villains unexpectedly got some good ones: The Dragon died standing up during his last duel with J.J.; and The Queen, after seeing that their eggs had been relocated to a safe place, and therefore their children would hatch and live on, she cried in relief and let herself dying at last. Standing up, too.
- The Eighties
- '80s Hair: The hairstyles and wardrobe of the characters reflects that the series was made in the eighties, in spite of being set in the future.
- Exty Years from Now: The anime was done in the year 1987. The story begins -you guessed it- in the year 2387.
- Grand Finale: The last episodes, when the Noza throw a brutal final attack, and the three heroes travel at space to carry the fight to the Noza base itself and end up the war once for all.
- The Gunslinger: The three main characters.
- The Hero: J. J., although he is supposed to be Champ's The Lancer.
- Hot-Blooded: J. J., too.
- Idiot Hero: J. J.
- Made of Indestructium: Whatever the Noza are made from, it is completely impervious to anything but the Zillium.
- Mama Bear: When you think about it, Queen Noza invaded other planets and attempted genocide to protect her children.
- Mooks: The Noza army.
- Mecha-Mooks: They are cybernetic lifeforms.
- Faceless Goons: All of them wear a white mask covering their faces. Possible subversion, since the Big Bad also wears one.
- Mecha Show
- Metroidvania: The first game belonged to this sub-genre: the player explored a Noza base, searching new items to open up new areas and fighting enemies in the meantime.
- Names to Know in Anime: Toshihiko Seki (J.J.), Kazuhiko Inoue (Champ), Yuko Mizutani (Apple), Chieko Honda (Amy).
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The enemies are alien cyborgs.
- Power Armor: They were used in the game Zillion II.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Dragon. When he considered that he had met his arch-enemy, he survived very harsh hardships because he refused dying unless it was in a fair duel against J. J. In spite of he had fallen out of favor with his queen and he was injured, he still looked for the main character relentlessly for still another battle.
- Red Is Heroic: Other than the word is included in the freaking title, J. J.'s uniform includes a red shirt that he always wears.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: J. J. and Champ. J. J. is the black-haired, hot-blooded, impulsive and emotional red oni and Champ is the blond, calm, rational blue oni.
- The Rival: Champ
- Rule of Three: There is only three guns capable to destroy the Noza. And the main characters are three.
- Sega: They co-produced the series and made the games based on it.
- Sega Master System: Two games were released in this system.
- The Smurfette Principle: Out of the three main characters, Apple is the only girl. However...
- Thematic Rogues Gallery: All enemies are alien cyborg.
- Transforming Mecha: In the game Zillion II appeared a bike that morphed into a Power Armor.
- Troperiffic: The show is full with tropes were widespread in the eighties, but it is still funny and enjoyable.
- We Could Have Avoided All This: If the Big Bad would have approached to the Marisian Government to explain her plight instead of leading an invasion, possibly she would have been listened to and aided to find another world to settle on.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: As cruel as the Big Bad can be, she was trying to save her race from extinction. She just thought that she had to wipe out the humans to guarantee its survival.
- Worthy Opponent: The Dragon considered J. J. his, and searched for all means a last fight with him.
- X Meets Y: Getter Robo meets Kamen Rider.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Both, Apple and Amy. Apple's hair is darker, nearly violet, and Amy's one is aquamarine.