Megazone 23 Part 1 (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999
Release Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999
What They Say
The world literally unravels for a group of Tokyo teens as they attempt to discover the truth surrounding the death of one of their friends in Mega Zone 23 Part 1.
Everything turns inside out once Shogo gets his hands on a top secret power bike – The Garland. Hunted by the authorities, Shogo turns to his friends for help. What they eventually discover is a complex web of dark, political intrigue and shocking government cover-ups. Shogo and his friends are forced to fight for their lives and the future of the world.
Mega Zone 23 Part 1 is an exhilarating, unforgettable science fiction adventure – enhanced by a riveting, sophisticated conspiracy theory. One of the first original, animated feature-length films made for Japan’s Anime video market, Mega Zone 23 Part 1 remains an Anime milestone and true genre classic - the ultimate virtual reality trip!
And so one of the anime greats has made it's way onto DVD. A classic. Ask most "older" fans and while not all may be big fans of this show, they'll agree that it's one of the cornerstones of anime. Yet, fascinatingly enough, there are practically no sites on the internet about it. One or two sites about the virtual idol and that's about it.
Megazone 23 (pronounced two-three) takes place in 1986. The high point, at the time, of Japanese culture and society. Yet something is amiss under it all, and those wacky kids will find out what it's all about. Accidentally of course.
The video for this is surprisingly good. There are some flecks and dirt here and there, but an otherwise very well preserved video master was used. Comments I've received on it from those "in the know" say it's very comparable if maybe slightly better than the Japanese issue laserdiscs, and those laserdiscs are generally among the best quality ones.
The audio is a straightforward faked stereo mix of a mono show. I've read mixed on how the laserdisc was done, but it's either the same or not an issue. Either way, it sounds pretty good considering the age. No arguments there at all.
Packaging is in the snapper case and is pretty god awful. Way too many dark colors, especially when there's some great art that possibly could have been used, but odds are Image didn't have access to much of it
The menus are pretty simple, but we've come to expect that, neh?
As for the show itself? I've seen parts of it over the years many years ago, and it never made a big impact with me. One of the things it has going for it is the character designer, Mikimoto, from the Macross series. Call it classic anime style if you want, I find his designs to be some of the most eye-catching and emotion filled pieces out there.
One of the major bonuses for this disc is that this is the first time we've been able to get a near-true subtitled version of it. Streamline previously only released the dubbed version, though I think a few subtitled ones made it out into the theatrical circuit. There are some liberties taken (indicating possibly a Japanese authorized/written script) such as battle tanks being called Battle Tankers. And unfortunately the songs aren't translated. This is probably my only real major gripe with this disc.
As indicated by the title, this is indeed Part 1, but I don't know if the other parts will be coming, or whether Image has the rights to them (or anyone else for that matter). This series really does need to be brought out and finished. It's definitely a piece of history with some good music and nice character designs.
English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese Language
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Image Entertainment
Running time: 1.33:1
Aspect Ratio: 81
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Megazone 23