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I've been busy lately, though as you can tell, it was not busy working on this blog. I'll be trying to get into the "regular update" mode again soon.
Today is August 15th, not especially noteworthy in the Mega Man universe, except that today is the day that Zero was scheduled to wake up after submitting himself to cold sleep in his Mega Man X6 ending, 102 years into the future...
I've often wondered why August 15th vs any other date. It isn't Mega Man's birthday (December 17th), or Keiji Inafune's (May 8th), or Capcom's (founded May 30), nor was it ever a day that a Rockman game was released in Japan. So much for the usual suspects.
So, today I checked out Wikipedia to see what other significance it might have. The first thing that struck me was that August 15, 1945 was the day Japan surrendered during WWII. August 15 is also an important Christian holiday marking the death of the virgin Mary, and her ascension into heaven. It's also a day of independence for several nations. All of these are important events in world history, but I'm not convinced that any of these are the intended reference, or relevant to Zero's slumber and awakening.
Digging deeper, August 15th, 1965 was the day the Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York City, considered by some to be the birth of stadium rock. Four years later, August 15th became the opening day of the Woodstock festival. It's even been the birthday of several famous composers, and the death day of a few as well. Rockman has always been big into musical references, could Capcom have intended to reference these significant musical events?
Then again, Capcom also enjoys making pop culture references, so perhaps August 15th is a significant date in manga or anime? Following up that lead, I found that several anime characters share August 15th as a birthday, such as Basara Nekki from Macross 7, Zima and Dita from Chobits, and Takeshi Hongo, the original Kamen Rider. I also learned that August 15th is an important day in Mobile Suit Gundam, as the day the Principality of Zeon was founded. Interesting, since ZX Advent also made references to important Gundam dates in the cypher numbers. Did Capcom do the same thing here?
Then I remembered one rumor that said that August 15th was an early release date for Rockman Zero itself. I have seen an early ad that ran in the Japanese magazines, but that ad gave a release date of March 2002, about a month earlier than actual release (Capcom is somewhat infamous for delays). In Japan, Rockman X6 was released November 29, 2001 and Rockman Zero released April 26, 2002. Too early or too late, August 15th doesn't seem like a plausible release date in Japan. On the other hand, it could have been a release date for Mega Man Zero, which hit the states September 9, 2002 (according to GameFAQs). August 15th could have been a plausible early release schedule for Mega Man Zero in the US then... but did they know that back in November of 2001, so that they could insert that reference into the X6? One for Americans, but that Japanese fans probably wouldn't understand? For a game release that was so many fiscal quarters away, that is a very specific date. Maybe they had tried to schedule it precisely, but it didn't work out for some reason or another.
Perhaps I'll never know why exactly August 15th was chosen. And maybe it doesn't matter, since Zero didn't wind up having his schedueled awakening to begin with. But, I had fun researching it! If you've got any ideas or theories, feel free to toss in your two cents in the comments section!