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Megazone 23 Part III

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 19, 2007

 

The Awakening of Eve

 

More than five centuries have passed since Megazone 23 returned to Earth, and humanity lives in the planet's only population center, Eden City. On a dark street, Eiji Takanaka and his friends Bud and Akira hack into a public terminal. When several E=X Flaggers approach, the three escape and head to a video arcade, where Eiji plays the space combat simulator Hard On. The next morning, Eiji wakes up in his apartment and watches the news. An increase in suicides is prompting a speech and the first public appearance in seven years of Bishop Won Dai. The news also reports that due to an increase in netjacking incidents, E=X and the Net Police are warning that they may need to institute martial law to protect the System, which maintains Eden City. After showering and dressing, Eiji gets on his motorcycle and drives to a shopping center, where he meets with Bud, Akira, Lisa, Miki and Lester. He shows off his elite Blue ID that comes with his new job at E=X. Akira wants to play a game of Hard On, and Miki suggests they throw a party for Eiji. As they talk, a new Eve video plays on a screen, but Eiji think she's a lame computer generated idol. He then turns his attention to two waitresses at the bar and walks over to talk to one named Ryo Narahara. Everyone except Akira bets that Eiji won't score, but he surprises them all by getting a date with Ryo. Eiji, Bud and Akira play Hard On, but Akira dies first, leaving Eiji and Bud to deal with the bosses. Bud is killed from behind, and Eiji moves forward and clears level seven. Outside the simulator, Bud sees Ryo speaking with a tall man wearing sunglasses. Ryo comes over to watch Eiji play, but the game crashes just as the last level begins to load. Eiji tells Akira to practice more, and he promises to pull off a perfect game at tomorrow's party. Eiji goes for a walk with Ryo, and she tells him she tries to sound as feminine as possible since she has a boy's name. They talk briefly about Hard On becoming a full program, and Eiji declares that he's the only one who can beat the game. He tells Ryo he's joined E=X because he wanted to know more about Eden from his hacker days, and Ryo thinks it's strange for a hacker to get a job with E=X. She tells him that she wants to be a performer like Eve. Eiji doesn't understand what Eve's appeal is, and Ryo says she believes Eve is more than a program and is alive somewhere. Eiji doesn't believe the rumors that Eve doesn't age, just like Won Dai. Ryo says she wants to meet Eve and begins to sing along to the Eve video playing on a screen. Eiji asks for her access codes, but she tells him that as an elite hacker, he should research it himself.

 

At home, Eiji watches a video message from E=X operator Miura Simka telling him where to report for work. Eiji activates his terminal and hacks into Psycholand's employee list to find Ryo, but she's not there. He conducts another search and finds the information, but he enters a sensitive area and quickly backs off so that the Net Police don't find him. The next morning, Eiji meets with Miura at E=X's headquarters. She takes him through the System Lab, which is the nerve center of Eden's operations. Eiji watches A-rank System language operators at work, and Miura introduces him to E=X bureau director Yacob Halm. Because of citizen data lost by netjacker raids, Yacob assigns Eiji to the Garland, an anti-netjacker machine. Later, Eiji meets with his friends for his cycle out party. Bud tells him that he was scouted out by Orange, the company that produces Hard On. He says that Orange is planning on creating the hypernet, a separate and more advanced net society within Eden. Eiji doesn't think E=X will like that, and that it'll be an all out war. Eiji has a drinking contest with Lester, but the drink proves too strong, causing Eiji to pass out. After waking up, a drunk Eiji asks Lester, Bud and Akira to play Hard On with him. He sees that the top score belongs to someone named Shion, but he says he'll definitely clear the game this time. The game begins on level 6, and Shion watches from a remote location. He asks a man named Borno to load a special program on the machines. As a battleship appears, Akira and Lester are quickly shot down. Bud is destroyed in a barrage of missiles, but Eiji manages to survive and attack the battleship. Shion orders version X to be loaded, but Borno thinks that's too much. As the cockpit experiences electrical feedback, Eiji realizes a netjacker is involved and that he can't escape from the game. Borno tells Shion that if something happens, E=X could catch on and ruin Derekman's plans. Eve suddenly appears on Shion's screen, causing the game to crash and eject Eiji. Before vomiting, Eiji asks Bud to come over later with a device. At night, Eiji and Bud hide from a Flagger patrol unit and jack into a public terminal. Bud asks if Eiji is searching for Ryo's three sizes, but Eiji explains that her information was deleted. Eiji finds Ryo's information and restores it to lure in the netjacker who deleted the info in the first place. Bud says that the source is deep within Orange's system, and a counter program activates. Two Flaggers are dispatched to the scene, but Eiji and Bud hide in a dark alley. Bud tells Eiji that he's going too far and can't do this now that he's in E=X, but Eiji laughs it off.

 

The next day, Yacob gives a speech to Eiji and the other new hires. He says that Eden is mankind's ultimate paradise, and that E=X must defend it under the guidance of Won Dai and the System. He says that the netjackers have forgotten what the System's purpose is and are threatening Eden. A man standing next to Eiji mentions that the netjackers' mission is supposedly to liberate Eden, but Yacob thinks that's nonsense and says that Eden will be liberated by Won Dai and the System. He says that their job is critical until the day the System decides that humanity can coexist with nature. Miura dismisses everyone except Eiji, and she shows him a photo of him and Bud taken the night before. She says that his actions could be interpreted as treason against the System, and that his affiliation and rank with E=X would be rescinded. Yacob says that's what would normally happen, but he needs Eiji's talents as a hacker. Miura then orders Eiji to the Garland simulator, and he runs off. In the Garland simulator room, Yacob explains that the prototype version of the Garland was used during the final conflict. Eiji's monitor suddenly goes blank, and Miura concludes that it's outside interference from a netjacker. Yacob says that shouldn't be possible because the lab has no connections to the net. The simulator program suddenly changes, and Shion challenges Eiji to beat his program. The simulator then overloads, tossing Eiji from the Garland. Yacob says the netjackers must be worried if they're trying to get data on the Garland. Eiji asks if he can take the Garland home and customize it, but Yacob says there's no time. Elsewhere, Shion decides to do a frontal attack on the System tomorrow to liberate Eve's program. Ryo takes a shower and hurries to answer a phone call. At his apartment, Eiji works on the Garland and gets a surprise visit from Ryo. She thinks it's strange to have a motorcycle in an apartment, and he explains that it's E=X's secret weapon to eradicate netjackers like Shion. Ryo lies about knowing Shion and asks why it's so hot. The room begins to overheat, and Eiji realizes the room's systems are failing. They're locked on, so he figures it's Shion's doing. Ryo blurts out that Shion wouldn't do that. She explains that she met him at an audition, but his talk of liberating Eden scared her. Eiji hops on the Garland and asks Ryo if she trusts him or Shion. They then smash through the window and crash into a garden below just before the apartment explodes. Ryo thanks Eiji for rescuing her and kisses him. He then kisses her back and says she should thank the Garland. The next morning, Eiji takes a drive and notices that the traffic control system isn't working. At the System Lab, workers attempt to deal with massive attacks by netjackers. Miura reports the attack to Yacob, but he seems disinterested and orders her to send out the Garland team. Yacob accesses E=X's terminals and returns System operations to normal. Eiji and the other two pilots head to the source of the disturbance, but the signal is lost. Miura says that the data seems to be from a different network, so Eiji quickly examines it and determines that the source is Orange's gaming network at Psycholand. Shion discovers something called Project Heaven and orders the others to escape while he boards a Hargan and attacks the Garland team. At the System Lab, the protection on the Eve program is removed. Elsewhere, Eiji escapes onto a highway and transforms the Garland to G-form to fight Shion. Eiji says he's tired of Shion messing with him, but Shion says he was just testing Eiji's life data. Eiji crashes into a building, but he quickly recovers and pulls out two knives to attack with. The Eve program appears everywhere, and Won Dai tells Yacob to plug in. Yacob takes control of Eiji and the Garland and fires missiles at Shion, but Eiji breaks free and runs over to Shion. Shion says that Eve is about to wake up and is calling out to Eiji. Eiji takes the Garland down to Point 0, the lowest part of the city. He's shocked to see a capsule with Eve's body. The capsule opens, and Eve greets Eiji as the operator of 7G.

 

Day of Liberation

 

Won Dai delivers a speech and says that after nearly destroying Earth, humanity was forced to wander through space for centuries to atone for its sin. But he says the System has resurrected Earth and is using Eden as a training ground before allowing humanity to freely roam the Earth. Won Dai says the day of liberation is coming, but not for those who are led astray. After the speech, Won Dai tells Yacob that a section of the city is no longer under his control, putting Eden out of balance. Yacob thinks it'll be easy to restore balance once they get rid of Orange, but Won Dai says if they don't address the cause of seditious elements, there will be more groups like Orange. Won Dai still wants Orange destroyed, and Yacob reports that Shion is out of the picture. He's concerned that the Eve program is out of control now, but Won Dai says Eve is nothing compared to his new program. About 30 percent of the net is now under Orange's control, and Yacob orders Miura to move the Garland simulation to phase two for combat mastery. At his headquarters, Derekman is angry that Shion is absent just when they have the chance to attack the System. A man named Edval reports that it looks like Shion wanted to become the operator of 7G. He shows Derekman the limited data that Shion recovered about something called Project Heaven. Derekman wonders why Won Dai has so much power, and Edval says there's rumors that he's a Megazone survivor. Derekman thinks that's ridiculous because it would make Won Dai centuries old, so he wonders if Won Dai is a computer generated illusion like Eve. Miura makes a citywide announcement that Eden is under martial law due to net difficulties. Ryo and Lisa watch the news, and Lisa unsuccessfully attempts to call Eiji. Ryo uses a disk Eiji gave her and manages to reach his access codes to leave a message. Suddenly, Derekman breaks into the broadcast and says they have started a revolution because E=X abuses its power. He says the new hypernet from Orange will surpass E=X's net. At E=X, Miura reports to Yacob that Eiji has entered the area where Eve is located, an old shelter city from the great war. Yacob believes that Shion wanted to use Eiji to awaken Eve and trigger a system down. Yacob looks at specs of the Original Garland and says he wants to use it, but Miura tells him they don't know its abilities because it's a thousand years old. Down in Eve's chamber, she tells Eiji that she can't access the System because Eden has a network she knows nothing about. Eiji asks what he can do as the operator of 7G, and she says they have to find Bahamut and get some information. Two Flaggers pick up Eiji's trail, and Yacob orders them to kill Eiji when he sees Eve on the Garland. They reach a dead end, but Eve opens a door that Eiji drives under and the Flaggers crash into. Ryo drives through the streets on a scooter, but she turns away from a checkpoint and accidentally falls off the scooter. She runs into an alley and meets some Orange people, who take her to see the wounded Shion. Shion says the wounds are what he gets for trying to test Eiji. He says Eiji is more than what he thought he was and is the real operator of 7G. Down below, Eiji and Eve drive through an abandoned area. She says people built Eden above this area and stayed there to program the System. She's the last of those people, and she adds that Megazone operator 7G didn't awaken her.

 

As they ride up an elevator, Eve explains that Bahamut was the computer that ran Megazone and returned to Earth. She asks Eiji if he's afraid of going outside, but he says he'd never thought about it. When the door opens, they're shocked to see Eden surrounded by a mass of filthy machines. Eve says that the city is trying to maintain its closed environment by expanding into the forest. In the city, Shion says that Yacob will make the next move, but he's still concerned by Project Eden. Ryo asks what will happen to Eden, but Shion says he doesn't know. Dominique tells Shion they can't break past E=X's protection, and Ryo gives him a disk that connects to Eiji's terminal at E=X. Elsewhere, Derekman and Edval watch the progress of Bud and other boys fitted with cyber plugs to use the Hargan simulator. Elsewhere, Eiji and Eve reach the ruined capsule from Megazone 23 that contains Bahamut. Eve activates Bahamut and has it run a check on the Earth revitalization system. When Bahamut says everything is running properly, she asks why it hasn't released nature to humanity. Eve asks what happened to Shogo Yahagi, but Bahamut says all files related to Shogo have been deleted. A hologram of Eve appears and says there's still one file left about Shogo in another room. Eiji finds Shogo's wrecked, five hundred year old Prototype Garland. He's amazed to discover that it still works and ejects a data disk. After studying it, he and Eve conclude that the System was apprehensive about humans because Shogo disappeared and never woke up the real Eve. Eiji asks if he's just supposed to be a replacement for Shogo. He decides to confront the System so that people stop hurting each other. Back at Eden, Won Dai tells Yacob that Eiji and Eve are coming, and he leaves to administer Project Heaven. Elsewhere, Edval prepares a drugged up Bud to launch in a Hargan. The Hargans launch, and Yacob orders the Garlands to launch, despite Miura's objections. Shion cracks into E=X and discovers the purpose of Project Heaven: to launch Eden into space. Shion decides to take control of Orange's network to stop Won Dai's plans. He thinks Eiji and Eve have left Eden, but Ryo is sure that Eiji will return. Shion leaves with his mobile command truck and says he's waiting for Eiji to come back too. Miura protests to Yacob that citizens will become casualties, and he tells her to run if she's afraid. Bud and the other Hargan pilots attack and easily destroy the Garlands. Derekman orders Edval to lock their cyber modes once they reach the E=X Tower. Once they're done fighting, he can blame them as being Shion's men and not his own. Yacob addresses E=X employees and says that although he doesn't want to turn Eden into a battlefield, they can't restore balance if they don't stop the netjackers. After finishing the address, he moves out in the Original Garland.

 

Shion, Dominique and the others blast into Orange's headquarters and take control. Derekman asks if Shion has betrayed him, and Shion says they have to end the bloodshed so they can stop Project Heaven. Edval explains that it's too late to stop the Hargans because the pilots' cyber modes are locked. Yacob attacks with the Original Garland's beam cannon and destroys all the Hargans, except for Bud's. Shion wants to stop the cyber system on the Hargans, but Derekman says they can't do anything except a suicidal charge. Shion pulls up the data on Project Heaven and says he wants to distribute it to all citizens. Bud tries to move in close to attack Yacob, but Yacob hits him with missiles. As he prepares to make the killing shot, his beam gun is blasted by Eiji. Yacob is about to attack Eiji, but he is forced to retreat after hearing that Project Heaven's data is being spread throughout the city. Eiji runs over to the Hargan and asks Bud what he's doing there. Bud says he wanted to show his strength to the System, and he dies. At the E=X Tower, Yacob speaks with angry businessmen on video monitors who demand a halt to Project Heaven. Yacob says that it's the will of the System because it has judged them as unworthy of living on Earth. Miura plans to help citizens escape because she hasn't given up on humanity like Yacob has, but Yacob shoots her to death. Elsewhere, Shion asks Eve to come with him to the System's core. She says there's a path only she can take and cut off the circuits that connect the System. Shion decides that he and Eiji will distract E=X. As they move out, Eve tells Eiji that Shogo is with him. Yacob blasts into Orange's command center and prepares to kill Shion, but Eiji attacks him. Elsewhere, Eve opens the door to the System's core, allowing access to Dominique and several others. Yacob chases Eiji through a highway, and Eiji can't even land a shot on him. The entire city begins to rumble, but the explosives planted by Dominique's men go off and stop the movement. Eiji tells Yacob they've destroyed E=X's network, but Yacob says they shouldn't have done that because it's the end of Eden. The System's core begins to rise from the ground, and Eve addresses the city, saying that Won Dai's plan is to have the Adam lunar defense system destroy Eden. Eiji flies up to the System core to rescue Eve, but he's chased by Yacob. Eiji pops in Shogo's data disk and attacks the Original Garland, cutting off one arm with his knife. Eiji's Garland is trashed and crashes into the System. Yacob fires the beam cannon and misses because his power output is dropping. As he prepares to fire again, Eiji throws a knife into the beam cannon, causing the Original Garland to explode. Eve meets with Won Dai and tells him what he's doing isn't the System's will. Won Dai says that disposing of humanity is the only way to preserve Earth, and Eiji calls that a massacre. Yacob says that he and Eiji are the same, but Eiji says he isn't a slave of the System. Eve believes that the System's misconceptions about humans will be cleared once it makes contact with Eiji. Won Dai creates a barrier in front of Eve and shocks Eiji with electricity. Eiji accuses Won Dai of killing Shogo, but he pulls out the data disk and says that Shogo lives on inside of it. Won Dai then collapses and tells Eiji that he's been alive for too long. He asks where Eiji got the disk, and Eiji tells him it was inside the old Garland inside Bahamut. Won Dai says he was controlled by the System for too long and dies. Eve enters the control chair area and tells him that Eden will be freed and that she'll stop Adam. She kisses the glass panel and says goodbye to Eiji and Shogo. Later, Ryo walks through the street and is reunited with Eiji. They embrace and kiss.

 

Commentary

 

The last installment of Megazone 23 switches hands again, being directed this time by mechanical designer Shinji Aramaki and Kenichi Yatagai. Featuring character designs by Hiroyuki Kitazume (Gundam ZZ, Char's Counterattack), the characters look closer to the first part than the second. Here, the story picks up five hundred years after part 2. Humanity lives in Eden City, but obviously all is not right. The story focuses on Eiji, an elite hacker and gamer who is destined to take Shogo's place as the operator of 7G. This installment moves away from the boozing and teenage rebellion of part 2, focusing more on technology to create a cyberpunk story. It's also lighter on the sex department, so fans of that will have to settle for shower scenes of Ryo and Lisa, or Eve's awakening. The story manages to tie in well with the previous parts, including some mention of Shogo's fate. Given the things that Won Dai says at the end, I wonder if he was actually Shogo, twisted by five hundred years of being tied to the system. My complaint here is the antagonist: Yacob isn't mysterious like BD was, and in fact he's just a cardboard, robotic slave of the System. Although the mecha combat here is brief, it's nicely done. Overall, part 3 is a good finale to the series after a disappointing middle.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Megazone 23 Part III Megazone 23 Part III

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