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Cyborg 009

Friday 22nd March 2013

Helen McCarthy on Cyborg 009


A cabal of the rich and powerful, bent on profiting from war and destruction, is experimenting on humans. Nine captives are turned into superweapons, each with his or her special powers. To avoid destroying the world – the only place they can make a profit – the evil masterminds of the Black Ghost organisation intend to take the war into space. The intention is that the cyborg warriors should deliver even more wealth, power and control to their masters.

The cyborgs, however, have other plans. Led by the ninth recruit, Japanese teenager Joe Shimamura, they escape and turn themselves into a fighting force for their own freedom and revenge on their captors. But life as a cybernetically enhanced superteam has problems that Joe and his companions, ranging from a Russian superkid to a French ballet babe, from a gentle Native American to an alcoholic British master of disguise, haven't even begun to imagine.

Cyborg 009Repackaging the conspiracy theories of spy sagas like James Bond, and predating The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s U.S debut, Cyborg 009 is part of an international entertainment trend for adventures locating homegrown heroes in a wider, more cosmopolitan world. Cold War suspicion of foreigners was tempered by the idea of comradeship in common cause.

It was also the first of Ishinomori's team shows, which would eventually lead to the global dominion of Mighty Morphin' PowerRangers. Yet Cyborg 009 is much more rewarding than candy-coloured kiddy fare. With a dark political backstory and a complex dynamic of gifted misfits yearning for normality, the manga offered endless story possibilities from hard science fiction to speculation on the paranormal.

Audience demand for anime and science fiction grew after Astro Boy and 8 Man hit Japan's small screens in 1963. It's no surprise that Ishinomori's story was animated - in fact the biggest surprise is the delay getting it onto TV. Two theatrical features in 1966 and 1967 preceded the launch of the first TV series on 5th April 1968.

Despite the popularity of the manga, which ran until 1981 across a number of magazines, the TV series lasted just 26 episodes. A new series in 1979 ran for 50 episodes and was followed by a third animated feature. Millennial nostalgia delivered a 51-episode series in 2001, and in October 2012 Kenji Kamiyama directed another animated feature, 009 RE: Cyborg, with a new manga for backup.

Ishinomori never planned on any of this. He originally wanted to end the story with volume ten of the manga. Conveniently, this is where the Comixology English release stops, so you can read the manga as he intended. Ongoing demand from a readership that embraced readers of Tezuka's experimental magazine Com and girls' comics as well as scifi fanboys led to its continuation. 009 RE: Cyborg's limited release in the UK brings global dominion a little closer.

Director Kenji Kamiyama will be appearing at the BFI South Bank on 4th April to introduce the film of 009 RE: Cyborg, and in Glasgow at the GFT on the 6th.


One Piece (uncut) Collection 14 (episodes 325-348)

was £34.99
Nami, despite her desperate dash, arrives at the station too late to stop the Sea Train, but she's relieved to learn that Sanji has stowed away on board the vessel and will stop at nothing to rescue Robin! With the storm of all storms bearing down upon them, Nami and Chopper risk their lives to save Luffy and Zoro from the rapidly rising waters. Back aboard the train, Sanji is aided in his battle against the CP9 goons by the arrival of the mysterious Soge King, a wandering warrior from the Island of Snipers!

As the scattered Straw Hats fight to reunite, fate draws them ever nearer the foreboding fortress of Enies Lobby. Will our heroes live to face the hour of reckoning?!



One Piece. Pieces of Hate

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt....
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

One Piece - ninja or pirates?

Matt Kamen turns video pirate!
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.

One piece: Crew Manifest #1

Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.

One Piece: Crew Manifest #2

Back at sea for volume two of One Piece
Before you set sail on the second round of voyages for One Piece, brush up on who you’ll be encountering in this latest volume of nautical nonsense

One Piece music: TOMATO CUBE

Tom Smith on One Piece’s TOMATO CUBE
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.


Mysterious Cities of Gold: The Game

Some day we will find...
The game Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is rolling out as a digital download across multiple platforms. This month it becomes available on the Nintendo 3DS and Amazon, following launches on the Wii U, iPad, iPhone and Steam.

John Lasseter on Animation

Pixar's producer on who killed the Catbus, spousal vetting and Big Hero 6
“Miyazaki’s reply was: I believe that if the American audience really wants to understand my films, they should all learn Japanese. I went: Thank you! but that’s not really going to help me with this. Then Miyazaki said: I trust you, do what’s right.”
The hugely popular electro-pop trio Perfume will be celebrating their latest European vinyl album “Cosmic Explorer” and Blu-ray release of feature-length documentary “WE ARE Perfume  - WORLD TOUR 3rd DOCUMENT" with an official gallery exhibition in London, 6-7 August.

Cosplay: One Piece

Paul Jacques rounds up the best dressed fans
With a tip of the hat to the best-selling One Piece, Fayyaz Dawda cosplays as the bendy-limbed hero Luffy.

Where is Victorian Romance Emma?

Why do we get Downton, but not Emma?
Fans of K-On! The Movie’s lovely and realistic vision of London may not be aware that in between that film and Steamboy’s loving depiction of a steampunk-era Manchester and London rests a show that is as accurate as either, and yet is also arguably the most English anime show ever made. Yet it still cannot be bought on DVD in the UK itself.


This Koko is no clown
Opening with a running fight down a freeway where anti-tank missiles and heavy vehicles are tossed around like party favours, the first episode never lets up, setting a standard that the show maintains throughout.
Jordan and Fray pick their favourite new shows from the autumn anime season, what are yours?

Jimmy Murakami 1933-2014

Andrew Osmond remembers the man who did it all
By way of an obituary, we re-run Andrew Osmond's interview with the late Jimmy Murakami, originally published in March 2012.

Gareth Edwards: From Factory Farm to Godzilla

The director’s path from Sci-Fi London to Hollywood
“We pulled all our favourite moments from Akira and had this library of reference, so whenever we got stuck, or we ever felt like a sequence wasn’t inspired enough, or we didn’t know exactly how to give it that edge to made it feel as epic as we could, we would always thumb through the Akira imagery and suddenly get a wave of excitement or a new direction.”
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