Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forgotten Cinema Classic -Megazone 23

 Years ago I used to spend my weekends over friends houses in Manchester Ct & then head over to the local comic shop for their Anime night as well as play games all weekend. The shop is now long closed. The games are done. The friend have moved away.
The memories remain. One of those  anime classics was Megazone 23 a serious mind f&*% anime before the Matrix was even conceived!
The plot goes something like this :
The events take place in a post-apocalyptic future. The story follows Shogo Yahagi, a delinquent motorcyclist whose possession of a government prototype bike leads him to discover the truth about the city.Shogo Yahagi lives in what appears to be 1980s metropolitan Japan. He meets Yui Takanaka and discovers her roommates are his friends Mai Yumekano and Tomomi Murashita. Shogo's old friend Shinji Nakagawa shows him a military prototype Garland motorcycle (labeled "Bahamut") that can reach over of 300 km/h. He barely escapes as Shinji is killed by unknown agents. 
I remember stumbling back to my friend Andy's house in the 90s after watching this till about 4 am & getting our minds blown.. 
Publisher ADV has compared the series to The Matrix, but the Wachowski brothers have denied it was an influence during the development of the film series. Its actually lots more useful then the Matrix.. 

I was in love with mecha at this time & I still I'm actually.. Sigh it was the Garlands from Megazone 23 that were my favorites!  They were a sort of protomech that transforms from a motorcycle to a mech. They had some pretty impressive computer capabilities.
Megazone 23: Part II MZ-22 Maneuver Slave GR-2 Garand Model Kit 1/32 Scale

Megazone 23: Part II MZ-22 Maneuver Slave GR-2 Garand

Stats coming up tomorrow for Stats Without Numbers & Human Space Empires 

The Cast of Characters 


Shogo Yahagi (矢作 省吾 Yahagi Shōgo?)
The main character of Part I & II. Shogo is a reckless youth who begins to take on dire responsibility as he discovers the true nature of his world. His best friends are Morley Hiroki and Chombo. In part II he teams up with a gang of bikers to reach Eve and ends up on Earth along with his friends.
Voiced by: Kazuki Yao (Japanese), Vic Mignogna (English)
Yui Takanaka (高中 由唯 Takanaka Yui?)
An aspiring dancer who falls in love with Shogo, Yui lives in an apartment with two other girls, Mai Yumekano and Tomomi Murashita. Interestingly, Her last name is the same as the protagonist of the third part.
Voiced by: Maria Kawamura (Japanese), Allison Keith (English)
Mai Yumekano (夢叶 舞 Yumekanō Mai?)
Mai is a singer, songwriter, and keyboard player who comes from a rich family. Her father seems to be involved in the incident. She left after the murder of Tomomi. Notably, She is absent from Part 2, and her fate is left ambiguous.
Voiced by: Mayumi Shō (Japanese), Sasha Paysinger (English)
Tomomi Murashita (村下 智美 Murashita Tomomi?)
Tomomi is an aspiring filmmaker and scriptwriter who likes beer. In Part 1, She is assassinated due to her latest film being about the truth of the Megazone.
Voiced by: Mina Tominaga (Japanese), Hilary Haag (English)
Eve Tokimatsuri (時祭 イヴ Tokimatsuri Ivu?)
A popular singer in the city. In reality, Eve is part of a computer program named Bahamut which is supposed to keep the people of the city content, ignorant, and safe. Notably, In the second part, she helps Shogo learn his planned place in the world, and in the last part, the original Eve in person helps Shogo's replacement in the same way. Eve was the last original programmer.
Voiced by: Kumi Miyasato (Parts 1-2), Saki Takaoka (Part III) (Japanese), Monica Rial (English)
Shinji Nakagawa (中川 真二 Nakagawa Shinji?)
An old friend of Shogo Yahagi, Shinji has become a motorcycle test driver for a secret military program. Was killed by agents early in the show for stealing the Proto-Type Garland.
Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Illich Guardiola (English)
A powerful military leader who is intent on taking control of the Megazone ship from Bahamut. B.D.'s plans become tenuous with the involvement of Shogo. He left Shogo alive returning a favour. In part 2 he directs the main operation while keen on hunting down Shogo. He left Shogo for his final battle after ADAM was initiated.
Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa (Japanese), Andy McAvin (English)
He is the leader of the motorcycle gang Trash. In the second movie, Lightning has befriended Shogo and aids him with retrieving the Garland and making contact with Eve. He also helps Shogo with his second, more organized raid on Bahamut.
Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba (Japanese), Jason Douglas (English)
Gutz is the muscle of the Trash gang. He helps Shogo and Lightning with their plan to confront the military and contact Eve.
Voiced by: Kozo Shioya (Japanese), George Manley (English)
A member of Trash and the girlfriend of Lightning. Cindy befriends Yui and teaches her how to drive a motorcycle. Her appearance is deliberately modelled after the American pop singer Cyndi Lauper.
Voiced by: Yoko Ogai (Japanese), Tiffany Grant (English)
Lieutenant Shiratori
A soldier liaising with the Tokyo police investigating the Tomomi Murashita murder case. Holding high pride about his job. Shiratori has been tasked by B. D. to capture or kill Shogo and his companions and does not mind sacrificing his life.
Voiced by: Sho Hayami (Japanese), John Gremillion (English)
Eiji Takanaka
Main character of Part III. A hacker, top gamer, and motorcyclist who joined E=X. Attracted interests of Yacob & Sion and ended up taking the task as "Operator 7G" originally by Shogo Yahagi to liberate the human race from computerized supervision. There is no apparent relationship between Eiji Takanaka and Yui Takanaka of the first two movies.
Voiced by: Takeshi Kusao (Japanese), Jay Hickman (English)
Bishop Won Dai
The human interface of Eden City's "System" - a supercomputer that serves the same purpose as Bahamut. Won Dai has created an apocalyptic quasi-religion based on humanity's relationship with the planet Earth. Is later revealed to be a major character from the first two parts.
Voiced by: Kouji Nakata (Japanese), Chris Patton (English)
Yacob Halm
The director of the E=X company and a zealous supporter of Project Heaven. Yacob answers only to Bishop Won Dai. Was killed in the original Garland while confronting Eiji.
Voiced by: Unknown (Japanese), Illich Guardiola (English)

Megazone 23 & The OSR (Major Spoilers Ahead)  

Megazone 23 is a classic way, way ahead of its time. This is old school anime at its best  actually. This is when animes didn't talk down to their audience. In case you don't actually know what's going on here. The idea is that everyone in this anime is actually experiencing a virtual reality simulation of a modern day Japan.
One character reveals the truth about the whole thing Bahamut is a supercomputer that controls the events in this world, and that they are actually living on a spaceship, and that the real time is actually 500 years in the future. Read about all the cork screw turns right Here
 The anime plot could be transformed into a Mutant Future campaign very easily. Or it could be used for a Metamorphis Alpha game with very little change & a very large surprise at the end. The whole thing could be ported over to a Carcosa campaign for a real mind blow on the players. I don't recommend this though. You might get dice thrown at you.
 Personally I've dug this out because I'm in the process of converting the 
MZ-22 Maneuver Slave GR-2 Garands over to Stars Without Number.
I used the entire anime as the basis for a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign back in the late 80s & early 90s. This blog entry is a result of those notes. Megazone 23 has connections to other animes & homages to movies in the background.
The Connections
From Wiki: 
In Part I, the police that drive in pursuit of Shogo closely resemble Lupin and Daisuke Jigen from the series Lupin III; director Noboru Ishiguro had worked on episodes of Lupin III Part II. When Mai comes home, having been scouted by Tokimatsuri's directors, she throws a duffel bag labeled "Dagger of Kamui" onto a chair. Posters of the movie Streets of Fire can be seen during the first parts of the OVA, as well as references to the Coca Cola company. The Eve character also shares some distant similarities with fictional contemporary Max Headroom from the 1985 TV movie 20 Minutes into the Future, which features a broadcaster called Network 23, though this is probably coincidence.
In Part II, Trash members play a pinball machine that is covered in logos and characters from Thundercats and Silverhawks, which are cartoons animated by the same studio as the Megazone series, AIC. Also in Part II, the screen of a military computer briefly displays the words "Harrison Ford", "Blade Runner", "Frank Baum" and "Dorothy". Throughout the show, reference is made to cigarette brands, in addition to Budweiser and Heineken beer.[9]
In Part III, the Psycholand Video Arcade Employee database lists Yui, Tomomi, and Mai from Part I, as well as the surname Miyasato.
The Garands were instrumental in the designs of  the hard suits from Bubble Gum Crisis. I've had friends go so far as to use the Garands as protypes for the hard suits in several Cyberpunk 2020 games & a Bubble Gum Crisis campaign.

I still miss the comic shop Father & Sons down in Manchester Ct & Andy if your reading this give me a call man.... 


  1. Man, you're making me want to pull out my old Bubblegum Crisis and Votom's fusion books now.

  2. That is the idea here Reynaldo Madrinan! There's an update to this blog today! The stats for the Garand are coming soon. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Parts 1 & 2 are definitely better than part 3, but the series is definitely a classic.

  4. There's more classic mecha action coming up! I've got to get back to the "forgotten" animes rather soon. There's more coming up! Thanks for the comment & I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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