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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 shows him a mysterious, incredibly-advanced motorcycle called the Garland, which ends up in Shogo's possession soon after a mysterious cabal of men in black demonstrates they're willing to do anything to get it back. The Garland is far more than it seems; as Shogo discovers some of the secrets hidden in the bike, they lead him toward 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. The first part was briefly released in North America by Harmony Gold and The Cannon Group as Robotech the Movie. Originally, Robotech the Movie was intended to be handled like the Macross Saga of Robotech: otherwise similar to the original with the exception of music and dialogue changes to fit the Robotech setting. It was also intended to be a parallel story to the Macross Saga. However, Tatsunoko Productions was promoting Macross: Do You Remember Love? the same time and insisted that Carl Macek not use Macross elements to avoid confusion.note  (The Cannon bosses also wanted less female characters and more robots and guns, and weren't fans of Megazone's downer ending.) As a result, Macek crudely spliced in footage from Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross to force a linkage between the two shows and commissioned animation studio The Idol Company to make a new Robotech compliant ending. Of course, the Macek dub script replaced the original dialogue, which was barely connected to the original Megazone 23 or the Robotech setting. The film is no longer considered part of the Robotech continuity and, unlike the original Megazone 23, the chances of a future home video release with better quality are considered very low.

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.

Ten years later, AIC launched successful crowdfunding campaigns for promotional videos of two other entries in the franchise:

  • Megazone 23 XI, a sequel set on another Megazone, revolving around a middle-school girl who befriended Eve. (Anime News Network article here.)
  • Megazone 23 Sin, a reboot of Parts I and II as a television anime. (ANN article here.)

In September 2019, Animeigo successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to release the Blu-Ray remasters of the series, also including the existing English translations — even the "International" Harmony Gold dub of Part II, as well as a remastered version of the Robotech The Movie original footage used by it. This "Omega Edition" release finally began shipping in March 2021.

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. To make it more literal, the defence system for Earth is the ADAM System, while the computer system built into the city computer is called EVE, as is the female proxy for humanity in all the installments.
  • 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. (Someone translated the booklets from the BD release in Japan.)
  • 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.
    • Retcon: 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. Be honest, when was the last time you saw an actual can of Coca-Cola in an anime?
  • 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. This is because Part II is the work of Yasuomi Umetsu and Ichiro Itano.
  • 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!
  • Can't Stop The Signal: Subverted in Part I. Shogo's first idea after receiving the Garland is to call into Eve's morning talk show, show the bike off, and hand it over to the TV station. B.D. and the Army override the broadcast and try to capture Shogo. The next plan is to help Tomomi make a movie using the Garland, to get word out that way. Tomomi is killed by a Man In Black just as she finishes editing her film — and Shogo is framed for the murder.
  • 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Shogo just happens to be close friends with Yui's roommates, Tomomi and Mai, even though he only meets Yui after almost running over her.
  • 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, while at the same time 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Dezalg simply have superior weaponry compared to the humans, unsurprisingly dwindling their opponent's numbers by the end of Part II.
    • A minor one with Shogo and B.D. near the end of Part II, mirroring that of the previous episode. B.D. beats up Shogo without much effort, and even Shogo's punches leave little to be desired against the hunk that is of B.D.
  • Cyberpunk: 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Eve is mostly a hostage of the military through the first two installments.
  • Day of the Jackboot: After B.D.'s faction gains control in Part I, with news reports of an international incident, tanks in the city streets... and Eve suddenly releasing a poorly choreographed (if catchy) new music video to encourage people to enlist for the military.
  • Decoy Getaway: During the chase between the biker gang and the military in Part II, Shogo's Garland rescues two gang members trapped between a fire and the enemy, only to be trapped and overwhelmed. As Lieutenant Shiratori, The Heavy for the episode, pries open the Garland's cockpit while calling out Yahagi, the pilot is revealed to be Lightning, The Lancer of the Trash gang, who switched places with Shogo.
    • "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 is pretty hammy. "Huh? Yahagi? SOOOOOOO Sorry! WROOOOOONG ASSHOLE!"
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research - the video game "Hard On". *snicker*
  • Downer Ending: Or Bittersweet Ending, depending on how you look at it. Either way, all three parts have a negative part and a positive part.
    • 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. He survives, albeit severely injured.
    • Then we come to Part 2. Here, most of the population of Megazone Two Three perishes when the ADAM system tears the colony ship apart. Shogo and his biker gang escape to Earth via Bahamut itself, thus being the only known survivors of humanity when this part ends.
    • And finally, in Part 3, EVE banishes herself into space inside Eden City's computer core to prevent humanity from being launched into space.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Fallen Hero: It's strongly implied that Shogo became Bishop Won Dai from Part III
  • 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.
    • Also inverted with Eve, as in Part II 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.
    • In part II, B.D. looks at least ten years younger than his part I self. And is also more buff.
  • Flipping the Bird: Rayna (blue-haired woman in Part 2) gives one to the military before she dies at first.
  • Gaia's Lament: 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.
  • 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.
  • Good-Times Montage: The "Senakagoshi ni Sentimental" scene in Part I that introduces Eve, mixing scenes of her performance with a montage of both Shogo's platonic date with his friends and Yui's rehearsal, showing how everyone's living their lives to the fullest in the peaceful world of Eighties Japan.
  • Gorn: Part II is almost pure Gorn, with lovingly animated scenes of Combat Tentacles eviscerating hapless soldiers and tearing them limb from limb.
  • 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.
  • The Heavy: In Part II, B.D. is too busy tracking down EVE, fighting against the Dezalg, and dealing with politics to track down Shogo himself; therefore, he assigns that duty to Lieutenant Shiratori, an Inspector Javert type who represents militaristic traditionalist values to contrast with Shogo's rebellious bikers.
  • 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.
  • Human Popsicle: This is taken to a extreme with the real Eve Tokimatsuri, who is found having not aged a single day... since she was put on ice, close to a thousand years ago.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lost in Translation: In Part I, when Shogo calls Eve, he mentions "Bahamut Six"; Both the Streamline and ADV dubs have Eve misinterpret it as "Babamucho"; the pun works better in Japanese, where "Bahamut" is written as "バハムート", to which Eve misinterprets it as "ババムーチョ".
  • Ludicrous Gibs: See Combat Tentacles.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: used by the Army in Part I against the alien threat with dubious results.
  • Mega-Corp: E=X and Orange are the main rival corporations in Part 3.
  • Military Coup: B.D.'s faction launches a coup against their superiors, the civilian government, and Bahamut halfway through Part I, in order to begin mobilizing the population of the Megazone against the threat of the Dezalg.
  • 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: B.D. and his minions first operate as this before escalating to using Mini-Mecha in broad daylight.
  • My Nayme Is:
    • The title was once commonly transliterated as Megazone Two-Three. Carl Macek was known to use this title when discussing the film. The title of the series in rendered in Katakana as "Megazon Tsu Suri", So "Megazone Two Three" IS the intended pronunciation, but overseas fans are more likely to transliterate it as "twenty-three" due to the lack of division inbetween the numbers.
    • 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.
  • Nipple and Dimed:
    • Yui during and after she shagged with Shougo. His nipples were also shown.
    • Ryo during the shower scene in Part III.
  • Ontological Mystery
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Shogo Yahagi and the Garland motorcycle.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Reina's confronted by a soldier in Part II, and asked about Shogo's whereabouts, the ADV dub gives this response.
    • "How the fuck should I know? If you want him so bad, go find him your own fucking self!"
  • 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.
  • Released to Elsewhere: When Shogo's friend Shinji is killed after showing the Garland, Shogo becomes more suspicious when his friends are told that Shinji suddenly left for training in the United States.
  • Road Block: BD's minions set up several of them in parts 1 and 2 for Shogo to break through.
  • Shout-Out: A long list, with many of them also Cultural Cross References.
    • 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 a 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 Doctor 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.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Bahamut or Bahamode? Or even Bahamuto? Rayna or Reina? And so on.
  • Tamer and Chaster: While there are a few nude scenes with Ryo, Lisa and Eve, none of Part 3 features any type of sex scenes that were most prominent within the previous parts.
  • 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 an 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 a weak point that Eiji may attack.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: When Eve warns Shogo that the conflict that forced humanity to evacuate Earth will begin again 500 years after it started, in the Japanese version, she states that about 432,126 hours have passed since then, which is actually roughly about 50 years. The Streamline dub is even less accurate, stating that 43,126 hours have passed, which is roughly about 5 years. Only the ADV dub comes close, giving us the time length as 4,321,260 hours. No matter how you slice it, though, 500 years is actually 4,380,000 hours.
  • 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.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: After B.D. is rescued by Shogo after their first battle, and fails to recruit the youth, Shogo responds to B.D.'s threats by threatening to just shoot him. However, after the standoff lasts a few seconds, B.D. smirks in a way that expresses the trope name without saying a word. Sure enough, Shogo can only fire a few warning shots, then ride the Garland at B.D. before jumping at the last moment and escaping — and B.D. keeps standing and smirking through it all.