Zillion (anime)

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Zillion
Zillion Anime.jpg
Screenshot from the Zillion television series
赤い光弾ジリオン
(Akai Kōdan Jirion)
Genre Adventure, Science fiction
Anime television series
Directed by Akira Watanabe
Studio Tatsunoko Production
Production I.G
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

Zillion (Japanese: 赤い光弾ジリオン Hepburn: Akai Kōtan Jirion?, fully titled Red Photon Zillion) 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". Samples from the English dub of the anime were also featured in Del the Funky Homosapien's single "Cyberpunks".

Plot[edit]

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 White Nuts (known as the White Knights in the English version), 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 Nuts. He is an avid fighter.
  • Champ (チャンプ Chanpu): the 18-year-old primary leader of the White Nuts.
  • Apple (アップル Appuru): the 17-year-old female member and navigator of the White Nuts.
  • 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 Nuts.
  • Dave (デイブ Deibu): a mechanic and assistant pilot, later member of the White Nuts.
  • Opa-Opa: White Nuts' companion and ally, and later member of the White Nuts.

Adaptations[edit]

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 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 Streamline Pictures.

In 1993, Eternity Comics published a comic book adaptation, written by Tom Mason, drawn by Harrison Fong, and lettered by Tim Eldred.

Characters[edit]

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
Amy
Opa-Opa
Chieko Honda Wendee Lee
Gord Yuzuru Fujimoto Michael Forest
Bernstein
Narrator
Osamu Kobayashi Tom Wyner

List of episodes[edit]

  1. "My Name Is J.J." (US title: "They Call Me, J.J.") (Original Airdate: April 12, 1987)—J.J. becomes the newest member of the White Knights
  2. "Attack the Enemy of the High Skies" (US title: "Hang Fire") (Original Airdate: April 19, 1987)—J.J. misunderstands the usage of the Zillion weapon system
  3. "0.1 Second Chance!" (US title: "Split—Second Chance") (Original Airdate: April 26, 1987)
  4. "Trap of the Shapeless Ninja Squadron" (US title: "Target, The White Knights") (Original Airdate: May 3, 1987)
  5. "Apple Order Violation!?" (US title: "Judgement Call") (Original Airdate: May 10, 1987)
  6. "Take Off, Tricharger" (Original Airdate: May 17, 1987)
  7. "Struggle 'Til Death! J.J. vs. Ricks" (Original Airdate: May 24, 1987)
  8. "Strike the Oceanfloor Base!" (Original Airdate: May 31, 1987)
  9. "Stolen Zillion" (Original Airdate: June 7, 1987)
  10. "Flames! Ricks' Counterattack" (Original Airdate: June 14, 1987)—Apple and Amy are captured by Ricks and his henchmen
  11. "Birth of New Zillion!" (Original Airdate: June 21, 1987)
  12. "Attack! Triple Shoot" (Original Airdate: June 28, 1987)
  13. "Angry Shutter Chance" (Original Airdate: July 5, 1987)
  14. "Nightingale of the Battlefield" (Original Airdate: July 12, 1987)
  15. "Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 1" (Original Airdate: July 19, 1987)
  16. "Life Or Death!? Confrontation of Fate—Part. 2" (Original Airdate: July 26, 1987)
  17. "Tears! Let's Search J.J." (Original Airdate: September 6, 1987)
  18. "The Beautiful Noza's Challenge" (Original Airdate: September 13, 1987)
  19. "Match! Let's Throw the Coin" (Original Airdate: September 20, 1987)
  20. "Kick with a Broken Heart" (Original Airdate: September 27, 1987)
  21. "Clash! The Sniper" (Original Airdate: October 4, 1987)
  22. "Great Victory from a Lie!" (Original Airdate: October 11, 1987)
  23. "Terror! Demon's Bio Weapon" (Original Airdate: October 18, 1987)
  24. "Great Adventure! Warrior Opa-Opa" (Original Airdate: October 25, 1987)
  25. "Gentle Fugitive Apple" (Original Airdate: November 1, 1987)
  26. "Revenge Demon Ninja!" (Original Airdate: November 8, 1987)
  27. "Extraordinary Rebel Ricks" (Original Airdate: November 15, 1987)
  28. "Mystery!? Zillion Power" (Original Airdate: November 22, 1987)
  29. "Heroic! Ricks Dies!?" (Original Airdate: November 29, 1987)
  30. "Planet Maris on the Corner!" (Original Airdate: December 6, 1987)
  31. "Last Shoot for Victory" (Original Airdate: December 13, 1987)—the White Nuts' final fight against the Nozas

Music[edit]

Opening 
  • “Pure Stone” by Risa Yuuki
Closing 
  • “Push!” by Risa Yuuki]] (eps. 1–20)
  • “Rock Candy” by Risa Yuuki (eps. 21–31)

Sega's involvement[edit]

A Zillion-themed toy gun.

Two games were made based on the series, both by Sega for the 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.

A Zillion-based laser tag toy line also by Sega was also released in Japan and Brazil. The design of the gun would also be used for the Master System light gun in North America, Europe and Brazil.

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.

OVA[edit]

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".

Plot[edit]

In the peaceful aftermath of the Nozsa wars, the charismatic heroes known as "White Nuts" have changed career paths to becoming music making rock stars. 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.

Characters[edit]

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

References[edit]

External links[edit]