Megazone 23 Part 3

After the disaster that was the beautiful but misguided Megazone 23 Part 2, the show took a short time off and came back with a finale in two parts. Megazone 23 Part 3, released as two OVAs called "The Awakening of Eve" and "Freedom Day", takes the original premise and flings it into the far future. It's a nice concept, but the ending provided by Part 2 was about the only good thing about that film, and this flattens it in several different ways. Although the script is actually much better and much more focused than the previous outing, various factors make Megazone 23 Part 3 a bear to watch.

In this installment, we head to Eden, a technological wonder of a city on Earth 500 years after the events of the previous films. Eiji is a young hotshot biker, hacker, and game player who happens to be very good at all three. Eiji's circle of friends, vaguely reminiscent of Shogo and Yui's group from the second show, encourages him as he beats every simulator in existence. A government protection group, EX, eventually recruits him to stop a rash of netjackings that supposedly threaten the existence of Eden and its government. However, as in all of these movies, there's trouble right here in Megazone City. Eiji eventually realizes that Sion, his enemy in the Orange hacker camp, is really onto the truth--that the city may be doomed by a secret known only as Project Heaven. It's up to Eiji, with the help of Eve (who has finally taken on real form), to get a hold of the original Garland machine, become the new Operator 7G, and stop Project Heaven and those behind it.

Megazone 23 Part 3 has one saving factor, and that is a good script. After the debacle of Part 2, it is great to see the show move a lot faster and incorporate many of the concepts from the original. Although still as convoluted as the first film, the finale mostly makes sense within the confines of the original story. Unfortunately, there are several tangents in the plot that are never explored enough, and the romantic relationships that were important in the first two films are not ignored here, but are still given short shrift. There are also a few problems created by the film's release proximity to Akira. One character in particular, Bud, becomes a low-rent Tetsuo when he sells himself out to become as good a fighter as Eiji. His look and lines are so referential that it's surprising that Katsuhiro Otomo isn't given any credit. (Then again, the scriptwriter wasn't apparently pleased with this work anyway, considering he/she used a pseudonym.)

However, the production value in this segment of the story falls apart. One can only assume that they ran out of money when making these two OVAs, because many sequences are missing important inbetweening work. People move from point A to point C without moving to point B. People talk, but their lips don't always move. Facial features are often distorted. It's one of the lousiest pieces of animation I've ever seen, particularly disappointing considering the beauty of Part 2. To give proper credit, the still shots and pans are often great, since they need no actual animation and highlight technically detailed cityscapes. There're also a few fight sequences where the inbetweening was apparently finished that look quite good. However, the rest is so bad that it's almost painful. The music, so impressive in the other two segments, didn't move me at all here (though the soundtrack was popular at one point). The technical merit of this show is non-existent, in my opinion.

If the Megazone series needed a different denouement, I might suggest this title merely for closure. However, despite my general dislike of Part 2's wasted first hour, its ending is actually quite good. As such, Megazone 23 Part 3 is unnecessary. Despite a reasonable script, the horrid animation and forgettable music make this one for fans only.

Megazone 23 Part 3 -- violence, brief nudity, profanity -- C