009 RE:Cyborg

The 00 Cyborgs consisted of 9 individuals who were captured by the evil Black Ghost Organization and experimented on. Banding together, they first fought for their own freedom before coming under the guidance of Dr. Isaac Gilmore and battling for the safety of all humanity. 009 RE:Cyborg fast forwards the story to the year 2013, a time when the world is falling into chaos and the existence of the 00s’ has faded from human memory.

Suicide bombers have been targeting the skyscrapers of every major city, egged on by the divine commands of the mysterious ‘His Voice’ who has called for a complete reboot to civilization. Shocking theories concerning the root of the trouble forces Doctor Gilmore into seeking out his dispersed team. For most of them, life has continued on with new forms of employment for their unusual skills. 009, the Japanese Joe Shimamura, however, has spent his time in a time loop, repeating his high-school years with no idea of what came before. With the help of 005, the Native American Geronimo, and 003, the French Fran├žoise, Joe restores his memory and embarks on a mission to lead the 00s and protect the earth from complete annihilation.

009 RE:Cyborg is a decadent piece of animation. Director Kenji Kamiyama has seamlessly blended together all the beauty and fine detail of cell animation with the immersive depth and life-like rendering of 3DCG. It breathes stunning life in to the work while maintaining what we love best about old-school anime. If you’ve found that you’re not that big a fan of 3D, this might be the film that changes your mind. It is a testament to what the technology (when used as more than just a passing gimmick) can offer to the viewing experience. In 009 RE:Cyborg, the 3D lifts out the environment of the story and wraps it around you: rain drops become these touchable, catchable things; streets lay out ahead of you, stretching into the far distance; cities are vast, dense landscapes, unique structures that are familiar all the same time.

Story-wise, 009 RE:Cyborg is definitely one for the fans. Without a prior relationship with the series, you’ll find yourself peppered with more questions than answers. The script will occasionally give a passing nod and perhaps provide a line or two of explanation, but nothing significant enough to indoctrinate the newcomer. This absence of information leaves behind a whole niggle of irritations that you’ll find compelled to look up afterwards. However, if you are capable of ignoring the periphery stuff that doesn’t make sense and focus on the general plot (which is simple enough to follow) you’ll come out just fine.

Even for an anime, 009 RE:Cyborg takes on a fair bit of heavy material, dealing with ideas of faith and its loss, greed and its effects and a world on the brink of destruction due to its indulgent heathenism. The nature of the subject manner eventually leads to a half-way point that gets bogged down with long-winded discussions and existential crises. A bearable drawback if only there had been action sequences to counter-act it. When they do come they are few and far between and entirely too short for a ‘super-hero’ movie. The ending too feels a little lacklustre in impact, with an almost spiritual transcendence impression than a definitive we-win-they-lose outcome. In one way it completely fits the theme which has been building within the piece, a fact that is less than useless since it changes nothing in our level of ultimate satisfaction.

When it comes to 009 RE:Cyborg there is definitely more open-mouthed awe than irritated brow furrowing going on. Watching it is truly an experience, one that plunges you into a world that for all intents and purposes feels kaleidoscopically real. If for nothing else, it is worth the watch just to see where the industry of animation is going and what it has already achieved so far. Plus I dare you not to be thrilled with the telepathic-teleporting toddler (complete with pacifier) who is quite frankly the best bad-ass superhero EVER!

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