Megazone 23 (メガゾーン23 Megazōn Tsū Surī) is a four-part original video animation created by AIC, written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama, and directed by Noboru Ishiguro, Ichiro Itano, Kenichi Yatagai and Shinji Aramaki. The series debuted in 1985. It was originally titled Omega Zone 23 (オメガゾーン23 Omega Zōn Tsū Surī) but the title was changed just before release.
Megazone 23’s story is set in the far future of the human race, after, in the early 24th century, various environmental issues rendered Earth uninhabitable, forcing humanity to leave in several massive colony ships, the titular Megazones. The story itself follows the population of Megazone Two Three, based on an unnamed part of Japan.
Megazone 23 was conceived as a 12-episode television series, but it was changed to a direct-to-video project after the sponsors withdrew their support mid-production. According to Noboru Ishiguro, the end result was a “compilation movie” of already produced episodes. Megazone was not conceived as a multi-part story. As such, the original release of “Part I” lacks the subtitle that has been added to subsequent re-releases.
Original mecha designs for the OVA series were created by Shinji Aramaki, while character designs were made by Toshihiro Hirano and Haruhiko Mikimoto, who would provide Eve Tokimatsuri’s character designer for all three parts. For “Part II”, Yasuomi Umetsu was the character designer, and for “Part III”, Hiroyuki Kitazume took over.
The original planned title was “Omega City 23,” then “Vanity City” and “Omega Zone 23,” but trademark issues compelled the producers to a title change. The number “23” was originally a reference to the 23 municipal wards of Tokyo. In the retroactive continuity established by Part III, the number refers to the 23rd man made city-ship, with Megazone 1 named “Big Apple.” However, the title is pronounced “Megazone Two Three” as referenced by several reference books and anime magazines published during the release of the series, the Japanese Wikipedia entry, and even within the series itself in “Day of Liberation.”
“Part I” was spliced with The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross by Carl Macek to create Robotech: The Movie in 1986. The new cut reestablished Shogo’s character as Mark Landry and included a new ending animated specifically for Robotech: The Movie.
The Japanese “International Edition” of Part 2 has an English-language voice cast that Carl Macek had orchestrated. The consequent adaptation rewrote Shogo as “Johnny Winters” and Yui as “Sue.” This creates a continuity error, as the name that appears on her bike helmet remains unchanged. The International Edition also added a narration to the exclusive alternate footage from Robotech: The Movie; the retooled scene became an introduction to Part 2.