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Should we read meaning into the 'No U Turn' message on the street? There's no going back once you've embarked on this path?

The ending of Megazone 23 is one of the classic Japanese "but...wha?" endings of all time. What meaning is there to Shogo dragging his broken body, with the aid of some handy pole (the image from some classic Japanese drama?), filled with conflicting memories of sex and violence, then finally a grin of acceptance, throwing away the pole (dismissing external support for self) and moving on, moving on....and what happens next?

Keeping in mind this was designed to be a one-shot when Artmic couldn't sell it as a series. I sure don't believe in MZ23 parts 2 and 3.

Do they all die in a horrible, useless war with the other 'megazone'? Does Shogo get to dip his wick again?

At least they can always catch Streets of Fire at the theater...

Megazone part one Writer and Director Noburo Ishiguro used to come to AX all the time. Is that still the case? If so, someone should do the definitive Megazone interview with him and find out where Shogo was originally headed next. I nominate me.

The “what the?” finale reminds me of a classic yakuza movie ending: protagonist terminally wounded, limping towards the edge of the frame losing blood, sometimes through the snow or a junkyard full of broken pachinko machines.

Watching Megazone for the first time in years (on the old Image/Streamline DVD where Fred Patten is credited as Story Editor), I'm amazed at how much it plays like the evolutionary mark between the space war era of anime (ala Yamato and Macross - Ishiguro was a director on both) and the themes of virtual reality and political conspiracies that others would follow up on...only with more McNuggets and love hotels trysts than actual philosophical musings. There are some major plot holes and lapses of logic, but sheet if it doesn’t take you straight back to a time when anime was so ahead of everyone else when it came to science fiction. There are entire stretches of dialouge that could be spliced straight into Dark City or The Matrix.

I love Megazone Part II just as much for throwing it all away on boso-zoku panic, brand names, and Parco-ready fashion. But yeah, it’s very much more an Akira wanna-be than the proper sequel the original should have had.

Then again, there’s always Robotech: the Movie…

See? you mention the Yakuza movies, and that's what I'm talking about. I could just tell that the whole thing was meant to echo some cultural subtext thing, something that, if you were a Japanese growing up at that time, watching, drowning yourself in TV late night...you would 'get' it at the subliminal level..yeah, he got his ass handed to him, yeah, he's gonna go somewhere and die (maybe in the middle of a crowded shopping district? Would this reveal the great secret?) but damn, it was worth it, so fucking worth it.

On the interviewing Ishiguro- do it. do it.And see if he can gateway you to interview Nishizaki.

Say, would there be a market in Japan on a book about Nishizaki and Yamato? The rise and fall and all that? Or would you be...discouraged..by beefy men with secret tattoos?


All this talk about Yakuza makes me suddenly weep, as Sonny Chiba is in the new Fast and the Furious piece of shit. I don't think he gets to karate kill a single person.

I always interpreted something along Patrick's lines, but more hopefully. In a reversal of the proud anime tradition, an untrained kid with a burning spirit and the superior weapon gets the shit kicked out of him by the trained soldier with the practical attitude in the inferior weapon. That's life. But no one can say Shogo didn't try his best. He got the girl, he knows the truth, and he's alive. So however things may come out, he's going to go on living for now. And that, to me, was a great ending.

I didn't care so much about what was going to happen next.* What Shogo discovered wasn't so far from a theory of real life. If one were to say that behind the entrancing, all-pervasive pop culture product, there's a military-industrial complex always planning the next war for which public consent will be manufactured, well, you don't need Morpheus--or Eve Tokimatsuri--to tell you that. Perhaps part of the appeal of THE MATRIX is that the actual secrets of reality are too banal and depressing to contemplate, so seek a Gnostic fantasy instead (I've argued that Oshii is no Gnostic).

MEGAZONE TWO THREE was as personally influential to me as THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE. It was my direct inspiration to go to Tokyo, giving me the impression that it was the place to be young in the 1980s, much as people felt about Paris in the 1920s. The crucial point, perhaps, was that this anime was giving me a picture of a Tokyo that by and large actually existed. I didn't go there to see fantasy or SF, or to see cosplayers and otaku (neither word of which I had ever heard when I was sixteen), I was going there to see Studio ALTA, Cafe du Rope, Omotesando, Yoyogi Park. You may say the hair was big, but I too came strapped with the mousse.

To a teenager in the mid-80s, MEGAZONE TWO THREE was absolutely exhilirating. I have also never taken the chance to talk to Noboru Ishiguro about it (much less thank him), but several years back I was at a party with Maria Kawamura, who played Yui, and I asked her why there wasn't any anime today that captured the feeling of the young as MZ23 had in its time. "There is," she said, "it's called NEON GENESIS EVANGELION." That made me shut the fuck up for a few minutes, which anyone who knows me can confirm is a remarkable achievement.

—C.

* If you must know what was going to happen next, I believe there is a note in one of the MZ23 books--the one from THE ANIME, I think--that Eve would have come to determine the only way to prevent her "people" from being consumed in the coming war would be to euthanize the entire ship first with nerve gas--something like the solution HAL 9000 found to his own dilemma. If B.D. knew that was her intention, it ironically puts his actions in a quite different light.

Carl,

Man, that'd shut me up too. If that's really true, that's bleak. Eva isn't exactly about how great it is to be alive.

MZ23 had a small influence on me too. ;-)

I used to read your posts on a terminal at Harvey Mudd College, despite the fact I had no real business on campus, having never taken any classes there. It's just that I felt they should be read only on the grounds of an engineering school.

From: [email protected]
Date: Sat, Oct 26 1991 4:58 pm
Group: rec.arts.anime

Here's a nice bit of reinforced symbolism: a story this afternoon on CNN
Headline News talked about the current dead-in-the-water consumer economy,
showing a couple picking out items in a toystore. In the foreground could be
clearly seen a Matchbox "Robotech Masters" package; unsold for four years now.

Great shot! Now you've got me all riled up to do a screen-capture of the Kichijoji Sun Road fight scene from Harmageddon...

"Then again, there’s always Robotech: the Movie…"

Did that movie ever get an official North American release? I got the Swedish dub in my bookshelf right here, the packaging screams "big American cinema release!" all over and it comes with a fake (with no magazine credited)
critics-quote that says "ROBOTECH makes a movie like Star Wars feel dull in comparison". Yes, the story is kind of confusing, but I really like the music, "The future is now" is maybe no "Sentimental over the shoulder", but it is a really good song. "Look up the sky is falling" too.

"And at the end of it, Menachem Golan stood up and said, 'Now THEES eez a CANNON MOVIE!!!'"

—Carl Macek

Well, it WAS technically "released" in a "big American cinema"--a multiplex in Dallas. Whether it was ever shown in more than one theater, however, I'm not sure.

It was hypocritical of me to march against ROBOTECH: THE MOVIE yet be a fan of ROBOTECH, because surely to take three entire unrelated TV series and stitch them together is more extreme than to merely do it to one OAV. The difference, of course, was that I had already been into MEGAZONE TWO THREE, whereas I hadn't really been into the original TV shows before ROBOTECH.

The Swedish dub, eh? We used to hear rumors in the U.S. that the movie was only available in places like Bahrain or something. As for Lancer, what does it say about Reba West that his cover of "We Will Win" was better than the version that supposedly saved the Earth?

STREETS OF FIRE? What is it with the Japanese and STREETS OF FIRE??

I don't remember if it was Carl or Dave Merrill who said, "If only the Japanese had watched REPO MAN instead of STREETS OF FIRE..."

MEGAZONE 23 is Japan at peak bubble economy. B.D. represents the U.S. military forces protecting Japan from Communists. I've never actually seen ROBOTECH:THE MOVIE so I'm not sure how Zor Prime fits into any of this.
-danno!

Mock not Streets of Fire, or I shall have to throw down with mighty wrath and furious justice....

I think Streets of Fire found an apprecitive audence in Japan (at least among anime otaku) because it was the perfect '80s movie, and it was a totally encapsulated, manufactured reality. A blending of '40s styling with an overdubbed reverb synth drumkit beat, and shit blows up.

I really really wish I could have scored the Japanese DVD release, I bet this film is even more awesome dubbed in Japanese. I have a hunch they got the guy who voiced Kenshiro to be Michael Paré's voice..I can see it so clearly, that scene where Willem DeFoe walks out of the fire to confront our hero...

"Name des'ka?" "Tom Cody..Yorosh'ku"

Say, that's a great question for Ishiguro as well, eh? :)

It's been announced, by the way, that Mr. Ishiguro will in fact be a guest again at the Expo this year.

Being reminded someone at a BitTorrent tracker I belong to had to stuck up a Spanish-dub edition of "Robotech The Movie" I just had to download (I also have a pirated copy from the UK VHS release in my collection too). Seems funny if there had been a number of countries that had played this film in.

The ending to M23 pt. 1 is one of those that does bring up a lot of questions. My first glance at it years back made me think more of "Gone with the Wind" with that ending (a friend of mine would just say he hates that film, and I hardly saw it too).

Having to bring up M23 pt. 2 reminded me of the previous English dub that was made available to teach English to the Japanese (but Macek was reponsible for that I think). If only the designs were changed so much, felt like a completely different universe far distant from the previous OVA.

I think there's an entire untapped history of 'anime adapted into English for language instruction' out there.

A good example is that it seems the horrid English dub of Arrivederci, Yamato called 'Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato'just might have been such an instructional video.

Found an oddity on Yahoo Japan auctions, a double VHS cassette and book in a box set, chugging thru with my non-existant Japanese I was able to figure out it was an instructional tape set (and it helped that when I went to the seller's other items there were a number of 'learn English' stuff listed ;) )

Friend was bidding on it but lost to Tim Eldred, so I expect to hear eventually what the deal was on it.

But it's a tape from the late '80s, it's the first example IN JAPAN of the use of the Voyager 'Farewell to Yamato', complete with that stock heavy airbrushed Yamato that was used ALL over during the 'Matsumoto ownership' years (and the early days of VEI)

It would explain so much...Undulation Cannon, the 'smoke ring' covering Teresa's boobies...maybe the booklet has production credits...

God...that was SUCH a bad dub...*shudder*

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