Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
The Megazone 23 Complete Collection is a three-disc DVD set, which includes all three parts of the Megazone 23 OVA. When I first saw the cover art for this set, I wondered why the characters were drawn with blue skin, since there are no blue-skinned characters in this anime. The packaging itself is a single-disc DVD box, but there is a flap inside that can hold two DVDs; the third DVD is on the back of the box, like in a normal single-disc DVD box. The first two DVDs open with promos for the Anime Network and Newtype USA; the third DVD, however, only had a promo for the Anime Network.
The first disc contains the first Megazone 23 OVA. The first movie tells the story of Shogo, a young delinquent who learns a secret... that it's really 500 years later than he thinks, and that he and the people in his community actually live on a spaceship (and that the government has been hiding these facts from the people). Shogo is hunted by the government, while he is trying to woo a girl named Yui.
On the first disc, there are several extras. There are the production sketches, which include drawings for characters, mecha, and locations in the film; this is presented in a slideshow format. There is also a version of the film which includes an audio commentary track from Matt Greenfield (who directed the English dub), David Williams (an ADR producer), and Janice Williams (the DVD coordinator for ADV Films). The commentary gives some very interesting background information on not only the film itself, but about the anime industry back in the mid-1980s. There are also ADV previews included (Orphen 2, Azumanga Daioh, Kino's Journey, Gravion, Magical Play, and Saint Seiya). The DVD credits are also included as an extra.
The second disc contains the second Megazone 23 OVA. This story essentially picks up where the last film left off; however, the drastic change in animation style is very disconcerting. Not only do the characters look more realistic than in the first, but most of the characters that carried over look so drastically different that you don't know who they are until they are referred to by name. This film was also more violent and included more sex than the first one did. Overall, though, it was a decent continuation of the first story.
The extras for disc two include production sketches, and is done in exactly the same way as on disc one. However, it only includes the sketches relevant to Megazone 23 Part II. The extras also include ADV previews (Saiyuki, Aquarian Age, Nurse Witch Komugi, Birth, Gravion, and Azumanga Daioh), as well as the DVD credits.
The third disc contains the final part of the Megazone 23 OVAs; however, I wonder why they split Part III into two 50-minute sections, instead of having it as one continuous piece. Part III takes place about 500 years in the future, but EVE (an AI program from the first two films) returns. For the first section of Megazone 23 Part III, you start wondering how much of a connection it really has with the other two films (since only EVE and the Garland motorcycle are referenced).
The second half of Part III, however, does tie back in a lot better to the first two OVAs. But by the end of Part III, I found myself wondering if that installment of the story was truly necessary. While it appeared to try to wrap up the Megazone 23 franchise, I was left with some unanswered questions. While I think an attempt was made to answer the questions during the film, the answers given were so vague that I didn't feel as if they had truly answered them.
For extras, disc three also included production sketches done in the same way as Parts I and II (but had drawings relevant to Part III instead). The ADV previews on this disc were: New Fist of the North Star, Get Backers, RahXephon the Motion Picture, Conduct Zero, Sonic Soldier Borgman, and The Devil Lady Complete Collection. The DVD credits are also available.
Overall, this is a decent set for Megazone 23 fans, although I do think ADV Films skimped on the extras for Parts II and III. However, my biggest complaint with the set would have to be the fact that the font used for the menu text can be rather hard to read. I had to squint to try to figure out some of the letters. Even with that flaw, I would recommend this to anyone interested in the anime, so they can have all three parts of the OVA.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD box set that my husband and I purchased.