Zillion (anime)

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Zillion Anime.jpg
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. Tatsunoko (known as Production I.G. nowadays)
Network NTV
Original run April 12, 1987December 13, 1987
Episodes 31
Original video animation
Zillion: Burning Night
Directed by Mizuho Nishikubo
Studio I.G. Tatsunoko
Released June 21, 1988
Runtime 45 minutes
Anime and Manga portal

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. After the production of the anime, Tatsunoko Production and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the producer of Zillion, established IG Tatsunoko (which later became 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.[1][2] 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 a task force called the White Knights, whose purpose is to fight back against the Nozas.

Main characters[edit]

  • J.J. (JJ): the series' 16-year-old main protagonist and third member of the White Knights. He is an avid fighter.
  • Champ (チャンプ Chanpu): the 18-year-old primary leader of the White Knights
  • Apple (アップル Appuru): the 17-year-old female member and navigator of the White Knights
  • Amy Harrison (エイミ・ハリソン Eimi Harison): a primary assistant of Mr. Gord. She has a liking for J.J.
  • Mr. Gord (Mr.ゴード Mr. Gōdo): the commissioner/commander of the White Knights
  • Dave (デイブ Deibu): a mechanic and assistant pilot, later member of the White Knights
  • Opa-Opa: White Knights' companion and ally, and later member of the White Knights


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
Dave Daiki Nakamura Eddie Frierson
Chieko Honda Wendee Lee
Gord Yuzuru Fujimoto Michael Forest
Osamu Kobayashi Tom Wyner

List of episodes[edit]

  1. "My Name Is J.J." (US title: "They Call Me, J.J.")—J.J. becomes the newest member of the White Knights
  2. "Attack the Enemy of the High Skies" (US title: "Hang Fire")—J.J. misunderstands the usage of the Zillion weapon system
  3. "0.1 Second Chance!" (US title: "Split—Second Chance")
  4. "Trap of the Shapeless Ninja Squadron" (US title: "Target, The White Knights")
  5. "Apple Order Violation!?" (US title: "Judgement Call")
  6. "Take Off, Tricharger"
  7. "Struggle 'Til Death! J.J. vs. Ricks"
  8. "Strike the Oceanfloor Base!"
  9. "Stolen Zillion"
  10. "Flames! Ricks' Counterattack"—Apple and Amy are captured by Ricks and his henchmen
  11. "Birth of New Zillion!"
  12. "Attack! Triple Shoot"
  13. "Angry Shutter Chance"
  14. "Nightingale of the Battlefield"
  15. "Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 1"
  16. "Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 2"
  17. "Tears! Let's Search J.J."
  18. "The Beautiful Noza's Challenge"
  19. "Match! Let's Throw the Coin
  20. "Kick with a Broken Heart"
  21. "Clash! The Sniper"
  22. "Great Victory from a Lie!"
  23. "Terror! Demon's Bio Weapon"
  24. "Great Adventure! Warrior Opa-Opa"
  25. "Gentle Fugitive Apple"
  26. "Revenge Demon Ninja!"
  27. "Extraordinary Rebel Ricks"
  28. "Mystery!? Zillion Power"
  29. "Heroic! Ricks Dies!?"
  30. "Planet Maris on the Corner!"
  31. "Last Shoot for Victory"—the White Knights' final fight against the Nozas



Sega's involvement[edit]

A Zillion-based light gun.

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.


VHS cover of Red Photon Zillion

Zillion: Burning Night, known in Japan as Red Photon Zillion: Songstress's Nocturne (赤い光弾ジリオン 歌姫夜曲 Akai Kodan Jirion Utahime Yakyoku?), is a Japanese direct-to-video anime release by Tatsunoko. It is also referred to as "Red Bullet Zillion: Burning Night" and "Zillion: Burning Night Special". The OVA was not stretched into a full length series since the Light Phaser was only as marketable as the life span of the Sega Master System itself.


In the peaceful aftermath of the Nozsa wars, the charismatic heroes known as "The White Knights" have changed career paths to becoming music making rockstars. J.J., Dave, Champ and Apple have formed a rock band called, "The White Nuts". Their music career would soon be interrupted by a new threat of colonial settlers. Apple is kidnapped by the sadistic ODAMA Clan - a family of ruthless killers. Located in a heavily fortified mountain retreat, J.J. and company attempt a rescue mission with their laser weapon Zillion. But the former Knights only have a limited supply of Zillium for the Zillion guns. A mysterious stranger named Rick turns out to be an old lover of Apple.


Name Japanese voice English voice
Champ Kazuhiko Inoue Kerrigan Mahan
J.J. Toshihiko Seki Doug Stone
Apple Yuko Mizutani Barbara Goodson
Rick Sho Hayami Michael McConnohie


External links[edit]