WELCOME TO MEGAZONE (Part 1)

Last night I jumped into my DeLorean, set the destination for 1985, and took a colourful, sexual, violent, gory, and action-packed trip into the first installment of MEGAZONE 23 (that’s two-three, not twenty-three.) For those not in the know, Megazone 23 is the title that brought the OVA format into prominence, and is also the show that many people claim The Matrix rips off on. However, to me it’s a very interesting look back into the history of anime.

Megazone 23 is one of those shows you’ll see old guys talk favourably of all the time when they go on about the Good Ol’ Days. Me, being a relatively new anime fan (started watching things in ’99) lack such nostalgia, and can look at these things without the rose-tinted glasses. Simply put, Megazone isn’t as flawless and perfect as some of these guys may lead you to think. The storytelling is clunky, the animation is uneven, and the production is generally somewhat amateurish. Like the first Space Battleship Yamato, this show is filled with the staff just trying new things out, and not having much of a budget to mess with. It’s good as an educational experience, but as far as entertainment goes, it shows its age.

That isn’t to say it isn’t totally entertaining. This thing is just so 80s– one of the first scenes involves tons of copyright infringement (Cokes, mentions of McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe), ridiculous outfits, poofy hair, and a perfectly straight guy who wears eye shadow for some reason. Yeah, I don’t know either. The synth-heavy soundtrack by Shiro Sagisu also does everything its power to date this thing, reminding you constantly that, YEAH THIS WAS MADE IN THE 80s. And it’s fucking awesome.

If you already know the big twist in the story (which you probably do, especially considering I gave it way in the first paragraph) then this doesn’t have much going for it storywise, since the twist basically is the story. The show doesn’t actually end either, so as far as plot goes, it’s kind of weak. I guess I have to watch part 2 before I can pass judgment though, so I’ll be doing that right now!

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7 Responses to WELCOME TO MEGAZONE (Part 1)

  1. DiGiKerot says:

    In Megazone 23 part 3, the characters play a videogame called “Hard ON!”.

    I really wish I was making that up…

  2. Yeah, I’m under the impression that part 3 is very much like The Godfather 3.

  3. digitalboy says:

    you sill havnet told me where you found this >_>

  4. I told you I got it for my birthday. You’d know that if you had read my response here and had seen this entry.

  5. maglor says:

    Kaze no Lullaby. I still rate it one of the best Anime songs ever.

  6. GreatSG says:

    Just now getting around to this I see, MZ23 is fun for what it is, an 80s OAV with a very big 80s influence. For some reason the creators liked to reference Streets of Fire in it a lot.

    I need to rewatch it sometime, granted my dvds and box are covered in a bunch of autographs from dub actors in it, Takeshi Kusao (voices the lead in Pt 3) and original creator Noboru Ishiguro; he was surprised to learn we had Megazone 23 in America.

  7. tomoyo says:

    If I recall, Streets of Fire was a BIG favorite of one of the main guys at Gainax back then, and Blue Uru was going to be modeled after its story. Not sure how that connects to Megazone (although there is some crossover–I have a book of douga from part one and a number of Gainax associates, including Anno, have work listed in it), but hey.

    As for anime cliches, you have to remember, when it was made, the cliches were still only just beginning to crystalize. At the time it came out, I thought it was more a pastiche of Hollywoodish cliches done up anime style, especially compared to part one. I liked part one more back then, because it was more moe, (I mean come on, characters by Toshiki—then Toshihiro—Hirano? With Haruhiko Mikimoto, who pretty much helped start moe….) though we didn’t have that word for it back then…also I had a soft spot for part 1 as it was one of the first anime I really anticipated seeing while it was still in production, rather than hearing about after it was released. ^_^

    That said, part of the nostalgia among us oldtimers (at least my crowd) is that kind of b-movie, edgy “quality” of stuff like this, much in the same way Evil Dead holds appeal today still. “We still fight! Fight in the 80’s…” Heh. And a lot of oldtimers didn’t make the jump to moe appreciation or understand some of the other shifts in anime since the “good old days” so they don’t really see through their rose-tinted glasses that anime writing and directing has only gone up since (I count myself among the lucky who have stuck it through and enjoyed watching anime evolve). At the same time, a lot of us have seen enough over the years to see when stuff is getting done the same way again and again, and so have less patience for certain genres than we used to be enthusiastic over…

    I love Megazone part 1 and 2 (didn’t care for 3, that was more a 90’s take, IMHO), but I’d never call it high art. “Classic” anime not in the sense of it being a true classic work so much as a classic example of delicious 80’s anime candy.