Title: Megazone 23 Part1
Director: Noboru Ishiguro
Screenplay: Hiroyuki Hoshiyama
Main voice Actors (Japanese): Masato Kubota / Maria Kawamura / Toshikazu Shiozawa / Kumi Miyasato
Music: Shirou Sagisu
Production company: ARTLAND Inc. / ARTMIC
A teenage boy Shogo Yahagi is a juvenile delinquent and lives in Tokyo in the 1980s. He enjoys his daily life in the same way as his generation does, such as going out with his girlfriend and hanging around with friends. One night, he gets a military vehicle, which his friend Shinji Nakagawa brought from his company. A group of unknown armed people keeps coming after Shogo to take him and the machine. Shogo’s runaway trip from the armed group leads him to the adventure of unveiling the unfavourable truth of the world he lives in.
Propaganda, created by artificial intelligence
Two strong messages I received from this animation are risks of propaganda by authority and Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Picture 1). In the world where everything is connected digitally, there is a possibility that our daily activity is hacked by our authority. Digital technology enables authority to hide the unfavourable truth from citizens and brainwash them into believing that the fake world is the real world, which works advantageous to the authority. If this huge brainwash is managed by an AI and we -humans- can’t control it (literally), is it a happy future for us? Or would you fight to bring back the real world? If AI realises the perfect fake world for you, the happiest time of our age (in this story, it is Tokyo in the 1980s), would you be happy to be brainwashed and stay there? This animation is dealing with these fundamental themes.
How to attract an audience
This animation is dealing with politics, but still a good adventure story, I felt. A teenage boy, who enjoys normal daily life such as going out with his girlfriend and has no interest in politics, uncovered the inconvenient truth of the society accidentally, then he simply followed his justice. The world he adventures into is complicated, but what he did is very simple. I think this plot of the story made this animation a good entertainment. This animation’s tightly-plotted story can guide the audience into its deep themes, which are worth discussing by people living in the 21st century like us, before they realise it. What we need to do for sharing the social issue of propaganda and artificial intelligence is to enjoy a short romance story and some acrobatic actions with the main character. I think this is very smart way to deal with a heavy topic, by using entertainment content.
The wisdom to see into the future
This animation was made almost 30 years ago when there was no mobile phone and internet in the world in our daily life. Windows 1.0 was launched in 1985. Yes, it was 10 years before the launch of the first version of Internet Explorer and Windows 95. However, I can say this animation’s story is still not obsolete. I strongly recommend you to watch this and hopefully you take a moment to think about our surroundings and creators’ messages.
Action scene to note
A notable point to note for this animation is action scenes. One of the animators who are part of this animation is Ichiro Itano. He is known for the special techniques for action. Picture 2 is a battle scene in the space in this animation. Trajectory of missiles are random and complex. This amazing action is the example of his outstanding technique and fun, which is famously called a “Itano Circus”.
Megazone 23 will be released in Blu-ray on 27th November, 2015 in Japan. This is a promotion video.
1: Megazone 23 DVD-BOX. (2000). Original video animation series. Directed by Koji Masunari. [DVD] Japan: Victor Entertainment.
2: maidigitv (2015) Legend anime produced by Macross staff. Part one of PV “Megazone 23” (2015). [Online] Available from:<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABXYXsU5Kzo>. [1 October 2015].