“009 Re:Cyborg” is part of the Cyborg 009 franchise, that was initiated as manga in 1964, and includes anime series, audio dramas, a number of video games and many anime movies. The general concept regards nine people from around the world, who are kidnapped by the evil Black Ghost organization and undergo experiments which turn them into cyborgs with superhuman powers. The nine cyborgs band together in order to stop Black Ghost in its’ goal of starting the next world war by supplying rich buyers with countless weapons of mass destruction. After the destruction of Black Ghost, the nine cyborgs go on to fight a variety of threats such as mad scientists, supernatural beings, and ancient civilizations.
The story this time takes place in 2013, 27 years after the 00 team disbanded. The reason Professor Gilmore calls the team one more time is a series of bombings in skyscrapers all over the world, that have caused an uproar both to the public and the secret services. Although, initially, the sentiment is that this is the work of Americans, it is soon revealed that the bombings occur due to a force called “His Voice”, which seems to order people to do the bombings. A fossil resembling an angel’s skeleton seems to have something to do with the case.
At the same time, the team cannot get together in its whole, since 007 now works for SIS and 002 for the NSA, after he had a falling out with Joe regarding the team’s leadership. Joe (009) who had his memories blocked and reset every 3 years by Professor Gilmore, is now a typical high school student, a concept that presents a number of issues when 005 and 004 awaken him, with the most important being that he also had heard His Voice, ordering him to bomb Roppongi Hills. To make things even worse, a B-2 bomber of the US Air Force, with its pilots under the influence of His Voice, launches an attack against Dubai, and despite the efforts of both 009 and 002, the city is annihilated totally after a nuclear explosion.
Kenji Kamiyama directs and pens a rather intricate story, that uses its concept to present a number of comments regarding religion and the connection of God with man, existentialism, and world politics. This intricacy finds its apogee in a scene in a church, where 004 conveys 007’s thoughts on the subject of His Voice. A portion of naivety in the script does exist, particularly when the actual case is revealed, and, at times, I felt like someone has to be familiar with the franchise in order to fully appreciate it. These, however, do not fault the general impression of the anime, which is quite good.
The intricacy in the script does not mean that the title lacks action. To the contrary, the action scenes are many and extremely impressive, with the nuclear bombing, the one in space, and the showdown with the Americans being the most memorable, as they present the technical elaborateness usually associated with Production I.G. Particularly regarding the animation in terms of character movement, the drawing of the surroundings including buildings and vehicles, and the attention to detail, the work done is magnificent. I have to admit I did not watch the film in 3D, but the 2D version was definitely great. On the other hand, the character’s design, that had an obvious purpose to retain a retro sense in the anime, is a bit coarse-cut, and occasionally seems like the style used in video games rather than anime. However, the diversity of the characters, which include a sultry one, a baby, a giant, and a high school boy among others, more than compensates.
“009 Re:Cyborg” has its faults, but remains a competent title that will satisfy both fans of the franchise and of meaningful action.
“009 Re:Cyborg” is released by Madman Entertainment in Blu Ray 3D and DVD.