Anime World Order Show # 219 – Stop Fighting and Give Me Your Brain

The intro ended up running long and possibly out of control since it was recorded moments after Gerald ended up being one of the only people in America to have actually gone to see Knights of the Zodiac, the English live-action film adaptation of Saint Seiya produced by Toei. Fret not; we’ll release that audio next time! For now, we’ve got Clarissa reviewing the classic anime series Red Photon Zillion, the most entertaingly deranged extended light gun toy commercial sponsored by Sega in anime history.

Review: Zillion aka Red Photon Zillion (1:30 – 54:04)

Se-ga! Not seen in this shot: the power cables that happen to exactly match the controller cables of the Sega Master System light gun.

Oh sure, Zillion is historically noteworthy for a variety of reasons, most of which we touch upon in the review. But the MAIN reason to watch it in 2023 is because, like Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos, it operates on a logic of the lunatic geniuses who made it.

Fantasy Zone is not messing around

Zillion recently celebrated its 35 year anniversary and is available streaming and on home video (for now) from FUNimation. You…might want to consider purchasing this one either from Right Stuf or Amazon (affiliate links) since FUNimation first released Zillion in 2019 with the “Anime Essentials” edition out a few months later. You may also want to grab it in conjunction with the recent 4K release of Streets of Fire, since the “Burning Night” OVA is infamously the crew deciding “let’s just do an animated Streets of Fire only using the cast of Zillion!” We will reveal the actual relationship this OVA has to the original TV series, which is contrary to what we were told / what was suggested for decades.

Yep, that’s Ellen Aim’s dress, all right
And we’ll fly away on those angel wings of chrome in your daddy’s car…

Sadly, the Streamline Pictures English dub of the first five episodes and the OAV is not included on FUNimation’s releases. Fortunately, fans have preserved it in a few places. Here’s a semi-restoration using the HD footage (they didn’t replicate the Streamline title cards, but others did VHS captures).

Dave and Apple making the face that the writers of this show were making as they concocted these scenarios

Promo: Right Stuf Anime (54:49 – 56:30)
It’s Ani-May 2023, which means that for orders over $50, not only do you get free shipping in the US but you also get a 1.5″ enamel pin of Crunchyroll’s mascot, Hime. This week the specials are themed around “Midnight Run,” which is basically Adult Swim/Toonami titles. Turns out that several of the most popular anime in the US achieved that status thanks to airing on Toonami and/or Adult Swim, so there should be plenty of favorites to choose from.

This would qualify as JJ’s Bizarre Adventure

8 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 219 – Stop Fighting and Give Me Your Brain”

  1. I actually researched this years ago for a review that ,finally, I didn’t write.

    Based on what I learnt, it’s amazing that Zillion turned out as well as it did given the issues during production, mostly due to Sega.

    From what I heard:

    * The original story was supposed to be between different human factions, but Sega nixed the idea because they didn’t want the guns to be used on humans. The aliens were redesigned to elf-like creatures but they were still deemed to “human-like”.

    * Sega explicitly stated that (the original) laser guns were not to have a clearly defined origin. They were only allowed to be described as something akin to a “divine” gift.

    *I heard two contrasting stories about the reason the guns change: One was that Sega started to complain that the popularity of the show overshadowed the product itself, so they (partially) “decoupled” with Sega for the rest of the series. The other (more likely) thing I heard was that the new gun reflected the upgraded “Zillion” gun that was sold halfway into the run of the series.

    It was a pretty big success though; It did come in second at the Animage Grand Prix, coming second behind Saint Seiya. JJ was also chosen as their favourite male character and Apple came in third for favourite female character.

    1. I’m curious, are there any English sources for the story of the character redesigns or the lasers’ origins?

      1. Most of the stuff I found were in various Sega related forums as opposed to Anime related sources. This really sucks, because as was noted, forums are vanishing and everything is going to Discord these days.

        Some of it was undoubtedly hearsay; but there were occasion scans from (Japanese) interviews.

  2. Another piece of Sega history was tied into Zillion. The laser tag gun was manufactured and distributed in Brazil by TecToy. It was the beginning of a partnership that’s still going on to this day.

  3. Thanks for the name-drop, always appreciated. You won’t be seeing any of my Zillion comic book work at ArtValt ( because there isn’t any. I was on staff at Malibu Comics during that time and I contributed a little to in-house production, but I did not draw any Zillion comics.

  4. A short episode of AWO feels strange. Long episodes and lots of waiting in-between has been the norm for so long.

    Haven’t seen this old children’s cartoon from Japan, so cannot say anything about it. But I am watching ANOTHER children’s cartoon from Japan, this one is very new and goes by the name Digimon Ghost Game. I’d say to anyone reading this to just go and start watching. Don’t read or watch reviews, just watch the first 3 episodes and decide for yourself.

    P.S. I will live to see an official English Bluray release of Brave Story, right?

  5. Thanks for remembering me! We live in a world where Zillion is on home video, who’da thunk, huh? I think it would sell better it if it had come out back in the early 2000s however…

    I feel I have to call shenanigans on Fred Patten’s comment, I am completely convinced that Zillion and Nadia were ‘week long special event’ dubs to help push a desired full series release. This was the marketing that made GI Joe and Transformers work. And I can completely see Zillion be a ‘refresh’ series to expand Robotech. Why Harmony Gold didn’t try that is beyond me unless it’s what Macek said about stations not liking the Robotech format because at every repeat ratings tanked once the Macross part ended. Hence Captain Harlock and the Queen offfff bbbbaaarrrffffff sorry sorry I can’t even finish that but you know what I mean.

    I never heard that Sega pulled their sponsorship. I had late series episodes off-air that were chock-a-block with Sega ads. I think it was poor merch sales, not for the Zillion guns but the other toys Sega made. They tried to be Takatoku Toys reborn with a transforming Tri-Charger and a Big Carry with different vehicles as well as posable action figures. I have the impression they had trouble finding shelf space at retailers because Zillion was a fit for ‘video game style toys’ but where do you fit figures and such when Takara and Bandai were hogging the aisles?

    I managed to get a copy of Zillion (in the worn rental video style) but haven’t been able to watch it yet.

    Point me to your Xabungle review. I pimped hard for that show for YEARS and magically it actually got a release and do you think I got one? Nooooo. It was OOP practically the instant it was released. Bah. [As noted in every intro segment, you can check the Review Index for links to all our previous reviews; Xabungle is here. — Daryl]

  6. Why is it my comments always vanish? I wrote some good stuff a few days back, went to moderation and poof! Gone. Don’t you guys love me anymore? [The comment was left while we were out of town/at Anime Festival Orlando, and we didn’t notice it was being posted from a new email address. Everything in moderation queue should be cleared out now. — Daryl]

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