Screenshot from the Zillion television series
(Akai Kōdan Jirion)
|Genre||Adventure, Science fiction|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Akira Watanabe|
|Studio||Tatsunoko & Production I.G|
|Original run||April 12, 1987 – December 13, 1987|
Zillion, full title Akai Kōdan Zillion (赤い光弾ジリオン?), is a Japanese anime television series that ran from April 12, 1987 to December 13, 1987 on Nippon Television in Japan and was produced by Tatsunoko Production and Sega. After the production of the anime, Tatsunoko Production and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the producer of Zillion, established Production I.G to obstruct the dispersing of the excellent staffs of Tatsunoko branch which had done actual production. Therefore, Zillion is considered to be Production I.G’s first work. Five of the 31 episodes were dubbed into English and released on VHS in the United States by Streamline Pictures. This anime was featured in the music video for Michael and Janet Jackson’s collaboration Scream.
The story takes place on the planet Maris in the year 2387. Around this time, the Nozas started a genocide program to kill all humans in order to lay eggs and reproduce on the planet. Three mysterious guns dubbed the “Zillion Weapon System” appear and three teens (JJ, Champ, and Apple) are chosen to wield them as the White Knights in order to fight back against the Nozas.
- J.J. - the series' main protagonist
- Champ - the primary leader of the White Knights
- Apple - the female member of the White Knights
- Mr. Gord
Two video games have been spawned with the story loosely based on the series with Zillion and Zillion II. An original video animation (OVA) movie titled Zillion: Burning Night has also been released after the success of the TV series. It also left a legacy of becoming the first anime to inspire a video game hardware, namely Sega Master System’s Light Phaser.
Despite the cult success of the video games, the Zillion anime received only a very brief release in the early 1990s in the United States. The first five episodes of the TV series, as well as the Burning Night OVA were dubbed and released on VHS by Carl Macek’s Streamline Pictures line.
In 1993, Eternity Comics published a comic book adaptation, written by Tom Mason, drawn by Harrison Fong, and lettered by Tim Eldred.
|Name||Japanese Voiced by||US Voiced by|
|Champ||Kazuhiko Inoue||Kerrigan Mahan|
|J.J.||Toshihiko Seki||Doug Stone|
|Apple||Yuko Mizutani||Barbara Goodson|
|Amy||Chieko Honda||Wendee Lee|
List of episodes
- My Name Is J.J. (US title: They Call Me, J.J.) - J.J. becomes a third member of the White Knights
- Attack the Enemy of the High Skies (US title: Hang Fire) - J.J. misunderstands how the Zillion gun functions
- 0.1 Second Chance! (US title: Split - Second Chance)
- Trap of the Shapeless Ninja Squadron (US title: Target, The White Knights)
- Apple Order Violation!? (US title: Judgement Call)
- Take Off, Tricharger
- Struggle ’Til Death! J.J. vs. Ricks
- Strike the Oceanfloor Base!
- Stolen Zillion
- Flames! Ricks’ Counterattack - Apple and amy are captured by Ricks and his henchmen
- Birth of New Zillion!
- Attack! Triple Shoot
- Angry Shutter Chance
- Nightingale of the Battlefield
- Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 1
- Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 2
- Tears! Let’s Search J.J.
- The Beautiful Noza’s Challenge
- Match! Let’s Throw the Coin
- Kick with a Broken Heart
- Clash! The Sniper
- Great Victory from a Lie!
- Terror! Demon’s Bio Weapon
- Great Adventure! Warrior Opa-Opa
- Gentle Fugitive Apple
- Revenge Demon Ninja!
- Extraordinary Rebel Ricks
- Mystery!? Zillion Power
- Heroic! Ricks dies!?
- Planet Maris on the Corner!
- Last Shoot for Victory - the White Knights' final fight against the Nozas
- “Pure Stone” by Risa Yuuki
Two games were made based on the series, both by Sega for the Sega Master System: Zillion, an action game similar in play style to Metroid and Impossible Mission and a sequel, Zillion II: The Triformation, which was a faster-paced game involving a powered armor mecha which transformed into a motorcycle.
The Light Phasers wielded by the characters looked the same as the Sega Master System’s light gun. A Zillion-based laser tag toy line also by Sega was also released in stores of Toys R Us; it was also released in Brazil by Tec Toy.
Opa-Opa, one of Sega’s early mascot characters (debuting in the 1986 arcade game Fantasy Zone), was a frequent minor character on the show. His frequent involvement with the show led many to believe that Fantasy Zone was actually a spin off series based on the character, but in reality Opa-Opa was around a year prior to the anime, and was a guest character from the start. The fact that he appears so frequently on the show is simply a testament to the character’s popularity in Japan at the time.
Later in the series, Sega and Tatsunoko changed the design of the anime series' guns, simultaneous with a cosmetic change in the laser tag guns on which they were based.
- "石川社長が20年を語る 「プロダクション I.G 創立20周年記念展」開催中" (in Japanese). mycom.co.jp. 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
- "第25回 株式会社プロダクション I.G代表取締役社長 石川光久-その２-悔しさから独立、フリーに" (in Japanese). CodeZine. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-06-20.