Judge Mitchell Hattaway wonders what the heck the "Over the Rainbow" crooner has to do with motorcycles.
Urban warfare…Suburban warfare…This whole city is going down!
Picking up six months after the events of Megazone 23: Part One, this next installment finds our hero, Shogo Yahagi, a member of the Trash biker gang. Shogo has shared his knowledge of the reality of the world in which he lives with his new friends, and they aid him in his efforts to recover the lost Proto-Garland mecha-cycle; they also protect him from the police, who are ostensibly pursuing him for the murder of his friend Tomomi, but are actually attempting to apprehend him by order of BD, the military commander responsible for the creation of the Garland. The Garland, once Shogo's means of contact with the EVE computer program, is being guarded by the military, who will use it as a means of trapping Shogo if their other attempts to capture him prove fruitless; EVE, however, no longer needs the Garland to communicate with Shogo, as she is slowly removing herself from the control of the Bahamut supercomputer. EVE's power is growing, and if BD is unable to stop her, she, along with the almost omnipotent ADAM defense program, will succeed in ruining his dreams of creating a military state.
Are you confused yet? I'll admit I was lost at times during my viewing of Part Two, as I was at certain points during Part One. Much like the original episode, the story here has been telescoped from a much longer, more complex plot. (This volume also assumes you're familiar with the plot of Part One, so I don't recommend going into this with no knowledge of the previous events.) There isn't much time for the new characters to be introduced, nor is there any explanation for why the returning characters' appearances have radically changed; it took me a few minutes to recognize Shogo and his girlfriend Yui, and even more time to recognize BD, who looks less like a military officer and more like Sonny Crockett. The military's efforts against the alien Dezalg forces (who are undoubtedly the inspiration for the Sentinels in The Matrix) are dropped into the plot, forgotten about, reintroduced, and then resolved in an almost-but-not-quite deus ex machina ending; the true nature of the ADAM program is never fully explored, as if we're just left to assume EVE couldn't exist without ADAM. Members of the military industrial complex are brought into the plot in the opening scenes, and return mid-way through the story, but never really seem to be of much import. The other members of the Trash gang are each given a few moments of screen time, but they never move beyond stereotype status, so the sacrifices many of them will later make hold no weight, and it's actually a little difficult trying to tell who's who when all the shooting starts. In spite of all this, I still found the story moderately engrossing, but (much like my reaction to the first installment) wish the creators had been given an opportunity to flesh out their ideas and characters. The plot hurtles along at such a fast clip I didn't really have time to think about these problems as I was watching, but they popped into my head the minute the credits started rolling. (I was also having too much fun enjoying the nostalgic '80s references, from the W.A.S.P. T-shirts, Sex Wax jackets, and song performances aping Aimee Mann, to the bikers who resemble groupies from an episode of Gem and the Thundercats pinball machine.)
ADV's presentation here is slightly better than that of Part One, but this looks to be the result of better source elements and a more polished animation job. There are some instances of print damage, mostly represented by speckling, and a few washed out shots, but overall the video is fine. The original Japanese stereo audio is clean and clear, but the fidelity is dated, and there is no real bass activity or much channel separation. The English dub, while touted as a 5.1 mix, is really screen-centric 3.0, with no low frequency activity or surround action; like the Japanese mix, however, it does its job.
Extras consist of an insert poster (with character and plot information on the flip-side), character sketches, and previews for other ADV titles. The poster provides a few helpful story clarifications, along with a brief interview with director Ichirou Itano, but the text is poorly translated.
As I stated in my review of Part One, it's a little difficult to recommend a blind purchase of these titles, but if you can pick them up as a rental, or perhaps borrow them, you might want to consider giving them a try. Like me, however, you might find yourself wondering how the ending of Part Two leaves room for a third chapter. I will shortly find out for myself, and I'll let you know in our next session.
All charges regarding Megazone 23: Part Two are dropped. We will reconvene in the matter of the trilogy's conclusion. In the meantime I will be satisfying my 'Til Tuesday craving.
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