As I was saying, the original Megazone 23’s success helped to open the floodgates for the OAV wave of the late 80s, and gave many Japanese animators the freedom to make the cartoons they really wanted to see (typically, Japanese animators wanted to see sex and violence). Now Megazone 23 was made with a TV series in mind, so as a film, it could only let so much hang out. Part II, on the other hand, is a different story entirely. It’s Megazone 23 with the brakes cut, and the resulting film gives the distinct impression that in its day, it probably changed some kid’s life.
Shogo, Yui, and BD are back, but they look like completely different people. You won’t recognize them until they’re called by name, and even then, you’ll wonder if these people just happen to share names. The character designs, supplied by Yasuomi Umetsu, are arguably the most 80s Japanese cartoons have ever been, going so far as to literally insert Cyndi Lauper as a supporting character. BD looks like a glam-rocker and Shogo is running a gang of biker punks with huge, multicolored hair and names like Lightning and Dumpi. Yui, meanwhile, has been made over according to Umetsu’s preferences: looking back from the present, it’s hard not to notice how much she resembles the heroines of Umetsu’s later pornographic efforts Mezzo Forte and Kite. I’m willing to bet that the guy handled the graphic (but more sensible than last time!) sex scene all by himself.
As we said, Shogo’s got himself a good old fashioned establishment-hating biker gang now, called Trash. When Shogo’s not hiding from or beating on the cops or the military, Trash spends all their spare time sitting around in their hideout drinking, smoking and listening to Eve. There’s something incongruous about these badasses loving the sort of gooey idol pop that otaku tend to fancy… but let’s let it go. Honestly, not a lot going on in this movie does make sense. Just try and run with it.
Meanwhile, BD and the military are outmatched against an overpowering alien enemy whose favored weapons are mechanical tendrils that mutilate people to glorious excess: these guys aren’t just winning a war, they’re winning it in style. Suffice to say, the cops, the army and Shogo (with his Garland) go to full-blown war, as the larger war going on up in space runs towards a conclusion that’s beyond anybody’s control.
This was directed by Ichiro Itano before his masterpiece, the anti-Semitic tirade known as Angel Cop,, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that this man doesn’t know how to take it over the top. The dude who trademarked Macross‘ famous missile acrobatics delivers a feast of punk-on-authority-figure violence: did you like that part in the first movie where the Garland flips over a cop car? Good, because a guy flips over a police car in this one. The animation fluctuates wildly from smooth to dire, but when it counts, Itano delivers with sights like a man on a hovercraft flying into power lines and rubber-banding off his vehicle. I don’t care what movie it’s in, stuff like that is what I am talking about.
The plot is pretty nonsense, but the film remains a spectacle throughout, even putting aside what’s going on with Adam and Eve and the music video end of the world. But don’t worry so much about the story of Megazone; it’s just going to go sour in the next one anyway. What it’s about, in its heart of hearts, is biker gangs ambushing the cops.