Yes, I went with the very blatant title this time for a lot of reasons. After making the joke about Megazone Two Three Part 1 and 2 influencing the matrix last week, Part 3 Makes the comparisons even more obvious and blatant. You know, despite this part being the obvious part portion of this ova series. Now I just want to say some things to make them clear, I don’t think that the Matrix ripped Ghost in the Shell or any part of Megazone 23 off at all. The Matrix is a good mix of a lot of eastern storytelling and ideas thrown into it, so it is referential like most anime are. There is a lot of originality in the Matrix too. For instance, nothing in Ghost in the Shell or Megazone 23 features people flying in ships through the Earth’s core while going into a digital universe to fight the system with faster than light Kung Fu skills to save humanity from being used as batteries. Literally nothing else does that.
So, where does the Matrix borrow from Megazone 23 Part 3? Well, the protagonist Eiji is a hacker and a lot of this movie’s focus on a fake world just like the good parts of Megazone 23. Not a simulation, but a forced reality that humanity must live in still while the system wants them to stay there and be subjugated to never living and breathing on the actual Earth. There is also some attention to artificial reality with people being jacked into the system by the back of their neck, but the virtual reality is nothing but a game here. Hacking is a game. There is a little substance on hacking as well, but it’s never explained at all. A lot of these are concepts that a lot of science fiction stories have and the self referencing nature of anime makes none of these things original at all in the first place. All of these were the name of the game in the 1980’s because computers were the name of the game.
With that in mind, I do want to go over a few things about why Megazone 23 Part 3 is not as good of a story as Part 1 and 2. Part three is or at least an epilogue following the end of part 2 hundreds and hundreds of years later. A large amount of time after that film when the teenagers made it on Earth, Part 3 starts. In this story, we follow the adventures of a super class hacker Eiji, who is an excellent gamer/hacker (because it is the same thing), as he recently found his way into the company E=X as an employed hacker. Meeting with his friends to celebrate the situation along with getting tested in competency by the mysterious Shion for some reason that isn’t explained until later, his friend Bud who works with the competing company named Orange tries to talk him out of working for E=X. Especially when both of them are working on sketchy schemes. Of course, Eiji doesn’t listen until the right moment occurs.
The rest of Megazone Two Three Part 3 has a lot of interesting science fiction concepts mixed into one film with lesser world building. There is the system hacking by Orange digging into E=X’s and the cities control systems, Eiji exploring the depths of the system, the mysterious heaven project E=X is behind which is to launch Megazone 23 back into space, mecha fights, the reality of the world itself being put into condition with the awakening of Eve to save humanity from the depths of being launched into space to actually have access to the planet, and a lot of other things. Shion and Eiji have a bit of a mecha fight before they join sides, Eiji is the definitive 7G operator and has unlimited access to the world itself. Part 3 ends Eve being sent into space to save the day, but humans finally living freely on the Earth. I skipped over a lot, but it’s very by the book story telling which is part of the problem.
In general, I do like the main concept of Megazone Two Three Part 3. Hacking is cool, the virtual reality scenes are so well animated, and there are some good scenes. It also moves at a decently brisk pace, does not forget a lot of the things it brings up in the story, so it all connects, and decently constructed narratively. By itself, it is an interesting action movie with some science fiction stuff. In one hour and forty minutes of content, it somehow can accomplish a lot. Thus goes the adventure of Eiji to save the world around him unique and interesting ways somehow. I really had to try hard to make this a good paragraph in length because it’s just “the movie is fine. It’s paced fine and is a decent science fiction action film.” That is the actual point of this paragraph condensed into one sentence.
Even with the positives said in the last paragraph, Part 3 is something that does not need to exist. Even with its own original story and characters, it is still a soulless action movie where things happen just to happen without much or good explanation for them. All the emotional beats do not mean anything unless the viewer knows about what happened in the previous parts of Megazone Two Three. Everything about Part 3 is just bland and it is so painful. Besides the beginning scene that place in a special diner with energetic characters, the rest of the film does not have any personality of its own. There is barely extra 80’s feel to at least give it some grounding or make the setting feel alive at all. It’s just things happening in a setting that the viewer won’t ever care about considering how bland the experience is.
What does not help is that the characters themselves don’t have any sort of personality other than “this is my role”. Eiji does not have any character agency because he barely makes his own decisions. All the decisions he does make don’t matter in the long run at all. His arc is the very basic “hero of destiny” of being the 7G operator, whatever the hell that means. The girl he dates once, by the name of Ryou, only becomes a secondary viewpoint character that does not do much or add anything to the story. He also does everything that he is told to do. Go down to the corner of the city to see Eve, check. Save the world from E=X through what Eve tells him, check. He doesn’t even have many friends joining his side at all, Eiji is a bland solo hero that just does things to solve them. It is just so forgettable and lacking like that. This is way too efficient to have any sort of feeling behind it.
It’s a good thing that this film is absolutely gorgeous to distract the mind from the blandness here most of the time. The virtual reality game scenes featuring death star runs but different are an absolute wonder to watch. Very solid mechanical animation with lots of amazing flying physics. The city, despite being basic sci fi city number 1012983847815, is very superbly detailed and an exceptional city to have fight scenes happen in. Same with the different locations like the underground, the world itself outside of Megazone Two Three, and the E=X officer environment. With that comes the excellent actual action scenes. The Garland motorcycle itself still has its excellent transformation sequence and does fight some great battles with other transformation mecha like it. Lastly, the character designs are different and a lot more thoughtful and expressive despite all the flaws that I’ve mentioned. In general, it is a decent ride from a visual perspective.
With all that said, Megazone Two Three Part 3 is just ok. It has some good science fiction concepts, has some excellent action sequences, and looks good most of the time. It can be a bland self-contained story by itself, but it relies on the past portions of Megazone 23 to get any sort of emotional feeling from it. Especially with the conclusion at the end. I can see why people do not look at Part 3 with a lot of positivity because I do not think it deserve a lot either. If you enjoyed the first two portions of Megazone Two Three, here is some not as good material to enjoy right here if you feel like Part 2 needed an epilogue for some reason. Bleh. Just do not watch it by itself.
Nice preface even though you don’t strike me as someone to call The Matrix a ripoff of GITS and/or Megazone 23. I know the Wachowskis did admit to playing the GITS DVD to Warner Bros when pitching their movie, but that’s besides the point. There’s certainly worse examples of movies stealing from Japan, but I certainly don’t need to mention them on your blog. Hahaha!
This did have a good concept, but it felt like a forced sequel. The art was good, but the obvious production errors like how the anaimation would be fine, but then get super choppy for no reason (the one scene of one of the characters waking up terrified was one big example) really threw me off. I do agree that it shouldn’t be watched by itself when the first two OVAs were better.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yup, you’ve generally covered those and I try not to judge people too often. It’s pretty obvious that the Wachowskis love whatever influenced them.
Yup, it was pretty much destroyed in execution from so many flaws and issues here. It kind of makes me wonder under what circumstances this was created under.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sure thing. I did wonder if the Wachowskis saw the Megazone 23 OVAs since this was licensed before through a different company in America before ADV had it and now AnimEigo.
Definitely. I do wonder how the production happened with the writing and animation errors.
LikeLiked by 1 person