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Megazone 23:Vol 3
Do you enjoy retro anime? Can you watch giant mecha battles and military conflict in an anime, and not automatically compare it to Robotech and Gundam?
If you can be patient with the dated animation and the been-there-done-that story, Megazone23 Part 3 is a worthwhile 85 minutes of your time.
Mankind's last home on Earth is Eden City, ruled by a computer system that revolves around a (supposedly) virtual fan idol named Eve. Hackers try to cause chaos in Eden City by messing with the system, which is governed with an iron fist by the organization E=X Corp. Both sides control giant robot war machines, which they recruit pilots for by using the virtual pilot video game, Hack ON.
Eiji Takanaka is the best Hack ON player around, and both sides set their sights on him.
Megazone23 Part 3 is split into two parts, The Awakening of Eve and the Boy of Liberation.
In the first half, both the hackers and the agency that controls Eden City realize how special he can be for their causes. The corporation gets to him first, and despite his hacker background, entrust him with one of its top Garlands, motorcycle-robot battle machines (AKA typical mecha).
When the hackers take over the city's computer system, Eiji finds himself in a life or death struggle with the leader of the hacker force. And Eve may not be as artificial as we were led to believe.
The second half finds Eiji on the run from everyone, and soon his path finds him on the surface. He discovers the city is actually a living being, tearing at the Earth's surface and trapping the humans, and the origin of the system running Eden City is completely alien. While Orange and E=X start a mecha war in the city, Eiji must prevent the system from destroying what's left of mankind.
The first two Megazone23 tales really centered around youth vs. authority, the hackers against the system. In the final installment, the hackers are still against the system, though the youth of Eden City are much more at ease, partying all the time and playing games.
The bad guy (well, one of them) is a raving lunatic in this volume, ready to let the system he defends destroy mankind. Eiji and the girl he hooks up with are the only two characters who get any sympathy from the audience, but even they don't inspire much confidence.
The animation is not special, with super lackluster backgrounds, muted colors, and simple character design. But it's not terrible either, with decent action sequences and some interesting animation direction. It's an older title, and while the mecha is well designed, the world they're battling in is dry and lifeless.
The story has some minor religious subcurrents (Eve, Adam, Eden City) but the dialogue and script are neither heavy handed nor pious.
Megazone23 Part 3 was an OK anime DVD, easy to watch, but hard to want to replay any time soon.
Fullscreen presentation for Megazone23 Part 3, and for an older anime, this is a OK looking picture, with few digital flaws and little in the way of bleeding or fuzziness. However, this transfer came from a very dirty original, with specks and dust present in a majority of the presentation. And, like an overhead light that needs to be replaced, there's heavy blinking, with back-lighting fluctuating from brighter to darker at regular intervals.
English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 options are available, with, predictably, the 5.1 track being the preferable choice. The music is very 1980s, with lots of glam rock and old school background tracks. The ambient noise is actually quite good, with great detail in all the scenes where Eiji and friends are in their favorite bar, and lots of good everyday traffic sounds. There are some minor upgrades to the English dub, with lines that are much more funny to American audiences than the subtitles.
A moving production sketches feature highlights the thin special features on this disc, with a good 30 stills, mostly of characters from the show. There are DVD credits and six ADV previews as well. All the menu text on this DVD is in that funky computer font, and like a really heavy typewriter or Courier font, it's just plain ugly. I know it goes with the theme of the show, but man what an eyesore.
Maybe the best feature of the disc is the insert poster, with character and mecha profiles, and a very detailed interview with original author Shinji Aramaki, on the back. There's more going on than meets the eye, if you take the time to read Aramaki's interview.
If you're a hardcore anime fan, you likely look at Megazone23 Part 3 one of two ways: it's unrelated, a completely different Megazone23 than parts one or two, and can stand alone as its own story. Or, it's a continuation of the Megazone23 tale, and sits side-by-side with one and two.
Either way, it's an old anime with average animation and an average story. Rent it if you're a mecha fan, but it's a Recommended purchase if you enjoyed the previous Megazone23 offerings.