Megazone 23 Part 3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 85
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Megazone 23

Megazone 23 Part 3

By Chris Beveridge     August 23, 2004
Release Date: August 24, 2004


Megazone 23 Part 3
© ADV Films


What They Say
Game master Eiji Takanaka is the hottest player on the virtual circuit, but trouble finds him when he begins working for E=X Corp. Like Shogo before him, Eiji is caught in a deadly war that once again leads to the artificial intelligence known as EVE. But is this the same EVE? Discover the secrets that lie buried beneath Eden City and in the wreckage of the old Megazone.

The Review!
Bringing everything full circle, the two parts of Part 3 moves far into the future and gives us an evolutionary glimpse of MegaZone.

Audio:
Much like the first release, we've seen parts of this show so many times over the years that it just doesn't feel right to listen to it in any other language than in Japanese. The stereo mix is very well done here considering the age of the materials and it sounds very solid without anything going too high or clipping. We did spot check the English track in a few scenes in its 5.1 mix and liked how that came out a lot. While there isn't a lot of heavy directionality to it, everything sounds much more crisp and distinct.

Video:
Presented in its original full frame release, the transfer for this installment of MegaZone 23 continues to look good but some of the basic problems with the materials of this age show through. There's a fair bit more noticeable dirt and scratches on the print and some of the pastel and soft colored backgrounds show more movement to them than before. They're not breaking up in a bad way, but if you get a wide section of the same color it's not going to maintain a solid feel for too long. Colors look good overall though with no noticeable cross coloration. There's some aliasing in various fast motion scenes but it felt more just a part of the animation style than anything else. These are basically nitpicks though and this is probably one of the best looking versions of the show out there now.

Packaging:
Going with the same layout and color style as the first two volumes, we get the green stripes along the top and bottom and the very stylized character artwork in the middle. The differences in the styles between all of the releases are striking just from the cover art. The original logo along with a translated one along the top with what I consider a very important phrase kept, "Original Video Animation". I was so pleased to see that left there since it's something that's really fallen into disuse over the years but is very important to this show. The back cover uses the stripe effect a bit more and provides a decent summary of the show and several shots of animation. The discs extras and technical features are all clearly listed and easy to read. The insert is a gorgeous four panel fold out poster of Eve in the background while the majority of it is the lanky Eiji character set against Eden. The reverse side of the poster has a number of production sketches as well as a look at the various characters and mechanics of the series.

Menu:
The menu layout uses the varying green stripe effect to a good use here with the logo and some of the sketch designs along the top and the few selections lined underneath it set to some of the strong instrumental music from the show. The layout is easy to navigate and has a few cute 80's quirks with the computer style with fast access times and now transitional animations to deal with.

Extras:
The only included extra here is a production art gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the first time since I first started watching this series both in raw and other forms over the nearly twenty years since the release of the first OVA, I'm now able to say that I've seen all three of them, complete and subtitled. The fact that it happened over a couple of months of releases is just another of those defining moments that causes me to reflect on just how much everything has changed since I first got into things. The concluding volume to the series, while just as different as the second was from the first, stands well in my opinion against what came before while trying to be its own thing. Megazone is akin to three brothers who all play football because it's expected of them but they all play such different positions that their experiences are completely different.

Part 3 is done in an interesting way compared to the others. While each of those OVAs ran for about eighty-five minute each, Part 3 was done in two separate video releases that ran about forty-five minutes each. So you really had Part 3 Part 1 and Part 3 Part 2. Now that got confusing in the old days when you were looking at raw videotapes with chicken scratch titles written on it. With the two parts to this show, they really do manage to bring things full circle to what we've learned in the past, touching upon the key elements and ensuring that there is a sense of completion to all of it.

Taking place hundreds of years after the end of Part 2 of the series, the survivors of the Megazone that Shogo directed back to Earth now live inside one massive contained city on the planet called Eden. The computer systems that were designed to re-introduce humanity into the environment, simply called The System, has been twisted and corrupted over the years and it's grown into a quasi-religious cult that dominates everything. Nobody leaves the city and most cannot likely see outside the massive barriers that keep them all inside so they're unaware of the changes of the planet, and of how the city has been working to keep them contained.

Some do know that there's more out there than what the EX group, the supposed leaders of the city, are letting everyone know about. One of these forces is the Orange Amusement companies, a group that's focused on high-tech video games. They've been using their games to train and teach the best and the brightest that don't fall into the hands of the EX folks to use as their warriors when the time is ready for them. They've planning to cover the city with their own hypernet so that they can force EX off of the system and attempt to free the people themselves.

Into all of this, a young up and coming EX recruit named Eiji is one of the hottest virtual gamers out there and is scouted by Orange but he falls into the EX side of things at first. With as skilled as he is, it's not long before he ends up interacting with some interesting artifacts from the past including the Garland bike and learning more of what Eve really is. Across the two episodes, as Orange begins to set its plans into motion and each side uses their own forces and pawns to push their agendas forward, more is revealed about the make-up of the world since Shogo first crash landed here and the System starting to make things hospitable for its passengers.

Part 3 plays up a number of interesting angles that give the show a bit of a fresh breath of air after the first two parts were so closely connected. The distance between Part 2 and Part 3 may throw some people but this is the kind of follow-up that Part 2 needed, to show what humanity tried to do once they got back to Earth and how it all went completely wrong. The religious aspect to it with the group that controls the city is a lot of fun to watch as well. It's not completely blatant except in a few areas so they do some nice little bits with adding in some good pipe music into some of the background music that ends up swirling into a strong suite before you realize it. The religious side is nicely balanced by corporate interests as well which leads most of the action, once more, to fall into the hands of "street punks" in the form of net-jackers and gamers and those under the control of the System.

Much like the previous two instances, the look and feel of the show is both the same with some evolution in design and completely different. The world itself is definitely a solid evolution of what we've seen before from the space-borne Megazone cities and the strange interiors set up by the Creators but the striking differences once again comes in the form of the character designs. I've always liked the work Kitazume has done, particularly his Genesis Suvrvivor Gairth series, so his designs here look really good and at one of his prime moments from his career. There is a really good smooth and clean look to the characters and his adaptation of Mikimoto's work on Even blends in really nicely here. It's definitely an eighties style series of designs but there is just something about the way he his artwork manages to feel like it can go beyond the time in which it was created.

In Summary:
In one form or another, I've been watching parts of this series for almost twenty years now and am only now seeing it all in a complete fashion. With such a history with the show, plus the way parts were adapted into one of the Robotech movies and the Hong Kong English versions and the varied attempted US releases in the past, it's been a show that has been hard to pin down in some ways. I know my view on it is somewhat skewed due to this but it's been an 80's trilogy of OVAs that showed me back in the day just what kind of things anime could really become. It doesn't hold up well in some ways and the drastic changes between episodes could easily bother those that are now used to such rigid continuity, but to me these OVAs represent what anime used to be in how they took chances, did things that nobody else did and just opened up an entirely new way of doing things. The culmination of all of it in this two part storyline does a good job of wrapping it all together and putting a nice little bow on it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Production Artwork

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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