From the creators of groundbreaking anime Ghost In the Shell and visionary studio Production IG comes a reboot of classic series, Cyborg 009.
27 years ago, a group of nine cyborg fighting machines protected the world from injustice. As the years passed, they went their separate ways. Now, in 2013 a series of terrorist bombings are rocking locations all over the world, with no apparent connection except that the suicide bombers are pulling off the attacks in response to the mysterious sound of “His Voice”. Led by high school student cyborg 009, Joe Shimamura, the nine heroes must gather from across the globe to fight back against this faceless menace and find their role in the world.
009 Re:Cyborg features characters based on the 1964 manga by Shotaro Ishinomori and has often been cited as the Japanese answer to X-Men, with the manga selling over 10 million copies in Japan alone. Comparisons are also bound to be drawn with last year’s smash hit Avengers Assemble. This latest interpretation of the manga is an update of the memorable anime written and directed by visionary anime director Kenji Kamiyama (The Sky Crawlers, Ghost In The Shell). To carry on the superhero comparison, this movie is like Transformers meets Avengers Assemble via The Matrix, with an anime twist.
The cyborgs are: Russian Ivan Whisky, Cyborg 001 (Toshiko Fukjita) who is barely 1 year old but has enhanced telekinetic and teleportation powers. American Cyborg 002 Jet Link (Ryotaro Okaiyu) is an NSA agent and possesses the ability to fly at a supersonic speed, thanks legs that transform into rockets. 003 is Francoise Arnoul (Houko Kawashima), a female cyborg who can detect and access worldwide networks thanks to enhanced hearing and sight. 004 is Albert Heinrich (Kazuya Nakai) a German cyborg whose entire being is made up of deadly weapons. Native American Geronimo Jr – Cyborg 005 (voiced by Hisao Egawa) is equipped with superhuman strength. Chinese chef Chang Changku is Cyborg 006 (Naoki Tatsuta) can breathe and shoot fire! Cyborg 007 is Great Britain (Masaya Onosaka) is a spy for the British secret service and is able to blend in with any substance. African Cyborg 008 Pyunma (Hikaru Midorikawa) has the ability to live and breathe underwater, even in depths of up to 10km. Their fearless leader, Cyborg 009, Joe Shimamura (Hiroshi Kamiya) possesses all the technology of the other eight heroes in one deadly weapon. How many anime films or series can you name with such a diverse cast of characters?
If you’ve seen the original Cyborg 009 series then you may be surprised to learn that gone is the the cartoon-ish animation style of the original series in favour of a new, more mature overhaul thanks to groundbreaking new animation technology. Despite being fully CG, the animation was treated with a cel-shader, enabling the film to retain the look of traditional hand-drawn animation, giving rise to “cel looking CG animation”.
Visually, this film is stunning; it is quite simply one of the best looking anime films you’re likely to see all year. It’s a shame that the same can’t be said for the plot – aside from the very prescient commentary on the funding of international terrorism and how big banks can wield too much power, Kamiyama’s script spends far too much time pondering on the nature of being and what might exist beyond the boundaries of our universe, which for a plot of this style is just too muddled and unsatisfying. Despite these blips in the story and plot, Kamiyama’s direction remains assured and the impressive visuals are given the epic space they deserve.
009 Re:Cyborg is released in cinemas in the UK on 7th June 2013.