Reviews of Megazone 23 (1985) and related work

Megazone 23 (1985Moving picture, 81 minutes)

A group of teenagers have carefree lives in what they believe is contemporary Japan. The discovery of an advanced motorcycle, and a government cover-up of its existence, starts a chain of shocking revelations and violence.

Science fiction, action. Direct-to-video feature, supposedly a compilation of material from a TV series that was never produced. Clearly a child of the time of Akira (1982), this is slightly harder science fiction, but loosely directed. I get the sense that, as in Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie 2 (1993), part of the power of the film comes from the idea that the calm and wealth of Japan at the time were conceited and based on a false sense of isolation. Good bummer ending.

References here: The Matrix (1999), Bubble (2022).

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Megazone 23 II (1986Moving picture, 82 minutes)

After some months, Shogo and Yui reunite with the nihilistic motorcycle gang. They have lost the Garland, but continue to track the real Eve.

The resolution of the story arc from the first “episode”, also at feature length. Very different in visual style, mostly because all of Mikimoto Haruhiko’s characters are very ambitiously redesigned by Umetsu Yasuomi. Strongly nihilistic and, ultimately, apocalyptic. Heavy on the punk in cyberpunk.

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Megazone 23 III (1989Moving picture, 101 minutes)

Arcade games are cool.

Only barely a sequel. Almost completely isolated from the plot of the preceding parts by several centuries and what appears to be a retcon. Part III has two episodes, rather than being a feature-length work like the other entries. More typical cyberpunk stuff. Much less original.

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