The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Megazone 23 Part II

Title: Megazone 23 Part II
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Victor Entertainment
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 30 May 1986

Synopsis: It has been six months since the Megazone 23 military overrode Bahamut and gained control of the colony. Since then, war has broken out between spaceships, a computer named Adam is judging whether humanity is ready to repopulate Earth, and Shogo Yahagi has been on the run from the cops. Currently he resides within the safety of his own bike gang Trash, where he patiently awaits to regain contact with Eve. However, as the colony gets closer and closer into harms way, the military become more and more aggressive, prompting Shogo to take matters into his own hands.

The Highlights
Sex and violence: Used to the point of being gratuitous.
New artwork: Changes mood from fun to hardcore.
Themes: Bordering on nihilistic, though ends up uplifting.
Conclusion: Left me scratching my head.
Style: Still there.
Charm: Missing.

Back when VHS and Beta were engaged in an arduous format war, the OVA became the next best way to get out high quality anime without the tight budget of a TV show or the commotion of a movie. However, as the format became more and more saturated and synonymous with porn, it is no wonder how it degraded from revolutionary visual media to just visual media. With this in mind, it becomes apparent that if Megazone 23 is The Matrix of anime, then Megazone 23 Part II is The Matrix Reloaded of anime.

It’s amazing how much a change in director can warp the entire mood of a story. Gone is Macross director Ishiguro Noburo and in his place is the animation director for Macross Itano Ichiro, who has an uncanny tendency to fill any of his works with as much sex and gore as possible. Anyone who has seen Gantz should be aware of his ability, or lack thereof. And in fact, Megazone Part II plays out with much of the same style. The dregs of society nature of Megazone does give him an artistic license to go wild with carnage. But his excessive use of it ranging from head smashing to mechanical tentacles just pushes the envelope to the point where it borderlines on the fetishistic. The same goes for sex. And while the style is as apparent as ever, it is hard to shake off the fact that something is missing that made the original so compelling.

Perhaps it’s the switch from Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross) character designs to those of Umetsu Yasuomi (Kite). Maybe it is what happens when your product placement is no longer McDonald’s and Coca Cola, but Heineken and Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to see this anime in the same light. The hardcore nature and borderline nihilism have a tendency to take up a great deal of time, preventing the story to be expounded upon. This immaturity wastes so much potential that the ending comes off as confusing and underdeveloped. Yet, somewhere underneath that hideous façade is still the same story Aramaki Shinji had started. The moment the pacing speeds up, the writing quality improves with it. When Shogo finally encounters Eve directly, the obligatory philosophical debate starts, which starts out with Shogo expressing some immature sentiments, though ends with an uplifting message of living up to the ideal that one admires. That one dialog was the pinnacle of this basically average anime, and really makes it worth it for anyone who has seen the original.

Come to think of it, calling Megazone 23 Part II The Maxtix Reloaded of anime may be a tad harsh. If anything, it is much closer to being The Prince of Persia Warrior Within. While being the next logical step in the story, no longer is it about characters and plot, but rather the spectacle itself. It is bound to satisfy one’s most primitive of urges, and is a better choice to most alternatives. And considering that this may be the least immature and nihilistic of Itano’s works, it is easy enough to get to the meat and bones of this anime before getting a need to write drab poetry and complain about adults.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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