Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Cyborg 009

Can we spend all of our Feels in one place?

Title: Cyborg 009
Author: Shotaro Ishinomori

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Joe Shimamura awakens to find out that he's no longer an ordinary young man. He's now a cyborg possessing superhuman powers -- his code name, 009. Cyborg 009 later finds out that he's actually the ninth in a series of cyborgs developed by the sinister organization Black Ghost. He eventually joins the first eight cyborgs, 001 to 008, in rebelling against Black Ghost. Together, the nine cyborgs take a stand against evil while trying to come to terms with their past lives and what they have become... (synopsis from


I'm going to preface this by saying that this not a review of the complete series, just the first 8 episodes and what I can remember from 10 plus years ago.
I was actually hesitant when Lynnafred tossed the dvds at my and told me I had to review it. I really didn't want Cyborg 009 to become another Gravitation. An anime that was so wonderfully captivating to my young mind, that when view again as an adult (only in the eyes of the law) the memory becomes tarnished.
Admittedly before popping in the dvd there were very few things that I actually remembered about this show. The art style and animation was very different than anything I had encountered at the time, (part of what attracted me to the series) and it was a number of years before I realized the familiarity came from the style being reminiscent of Astro Boy and Tetsujin 28. And the dub cast featured a number of very familiar voices, including Joshua Seth, who many may know as the voice of Tai from Digimon.
Character design though was by far was kept me in this series, aside from the uniforms(you know, the ones that looked like rejected Christmas wear + yellow scarf). This is one of the precious few animes that doesn't feature a character I don't like. Each character has a unique look, one that fits with their personality. Even the stereotype surrounding each character comes off as more amusing than insulting. The demure french ballerina, the hotheaded american, stoic blackman, english actor, the Chinese cook. (With what may be, in my opinion, one of the most racist names I've seen.) Each character is portrayed in a believable way. But most importantly you feel for these characters. Each one has been snatched out of their life and dropped into a terribly trying situation, and it's not something that they can ever go back from. And you empathise with these people as they learn what they can do, get frustrated and outspoken, try to deal best they can, and most importantly fight for the right to live free.
 The unique weaponized unit from each Cyborg is one of my favorite features, from shape shifting (when pressing a bell button of all things) to flying on jet boots, to breathing fire, each unit is unique, that and I hate the single standard gun weapon each has.
The dub for the series isn't half bad, it has, for that time, an all star cast. Personally I find the Japanese voice track superior but I still watch in English/
Regarding purchasing this series, you will find that you won't be able to find past episode 8 on an English disc. That is not unusual, as that is all that was released on English dvd. To watch the entire collection, all 51 episodes (I believe that number is right), you would have to watch on a Japanese release dvd.

 All in all this isn't the awe inspiring , but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. One I am glad I decided to undertake, and one I would recommend to both new fans and older.
Listing it as 4 of 5.

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