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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cyborg 009 - Uncut & Unedited
Cyborg 009 - Uncut & Unedited
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // February 3, 2004
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted February 10, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Retro anime is here.  It has the look and feel of classic shows like Astroboy and Gigantor but contains new stories and modern animation techniques.  The latest anime series to have that classic look to be released on DVD is Cyborg 009.

There are two versions of these shows available, an edited version as shown on Cartoon Network, and an unedited version.  This is a review of the unedited version which contains the first eight shows.  My review of the TV version's first four episodes can be seen here, and Don Houston's review of episodes 4-8 (edited) can be viewed here.  If you want to see the differences between the two versions, just skip down a bit.

Cyborg 009 (pronounced zero zero nine, not double oh nine) is a show about a group of  people who are half-human and half-robot.  Abducted and experimented on against their will, these cyborgs are revolting against the person who made them, the evil Black Ghost.
This two-disc set contains the following uncut episodes:

The Birth:  Young Joe Shimamura wakes up on a lab table, not sure where he is.  A voice in his head tells him that he's in trouble and needs to escape.   As he flees from the room, large robots attack him.  Joe, finding that he's able to punch through their steel bodies and rip their limbs off, defeats them with ease.   Following the voices instructions, he breaks out of the building and runs into the desert.  There he meets eight other super powered people and finds out that they, like himself, are cyborgs.  They are victims of the evil weapons dealer, Black Ghost, who has abducted and experimented on them.  Each one has a super power and is called by addressed by their lab number.  Joe is Cyborg 009, the most advanced.  He has a switch in his rear molar that gives him super speed when he depresses it.  A great episode, full of action and mystery.  It introduces the team but doesn't tell you too much about their personalities.

The Escape:  Though Cyborg 009 has fled and joined up with the other escaped cyborgs, that doesn't mean that Black Ghost is going to let him get away.  The nine robots have to fight a squadron of planes and hide in a cave on a remote island.  But Black Ghost finds them and attacks again.  Another good, fast paced episode.  The concept is fleshed out a little and it bodes well for the rest of the series.

Assassin of Flash:  The cyborgs are hiding out at Dr. Koizumi's.  They feel safe until Cyborg 0010 shows up.  The latest model, he has all their abilities, and more.  He can fire laser guided electrical charges, and easily defeats the cyborgs.  Even 009 cannot best him, and is badly damaged.  A fun show.  After the last tow episodes, you get the feeling that the cyborgs can do just about anything.  0010 really puts them in their place and you see that they can be beaten.

At the End of the Line:  Having escaped from 0010 only because it started raining, the team feels defeated.  They realize that they have a chance against their enemy if they work as a team.  But when 0010 reveals his a secret weapon, can even all of the cyborgs together triumph?  The conclusion to last episode's story worked well.  The "let's work as a team" aspect wasn't overdone, and didn't work out as well as the cyborgs thought it would.

Tears of Steal:  Cyborg 0011 appears, a large circular flying ship.  It's a powerful enemy, but 004 disables it.  He hesitates and doesn't destroy it, allowing 0011 to get away.  Will the pity he felt for this cyborg come back to haunt them?  The show starts filling in the background of some of the characters, 004 in this case.

Search for the Professor:  Dr. Koizumi has disappeared, and the cyborgs fear that Black Ghost has taken him.   As they search for him, 009, 007 and 004 end up at a mansion where a lady lives alone waiting for her husband to return.  Sensing something strange is going on, the three cyborgs return that night and fall into a trap.  Easily the stupidest episode of the series, it doesn't work on many levels.  Feels like a filler, with the plot moving forward hardly at all.  The new robot, 0012, is too idiotic for words.  I hope this isn't the shape of things to come.

Defeat the Invisible Opponent:  Trailing Dr. Koizumi to Tokyo, 009 meets an old friend and talks over old times.  But soon 0013 strikes, an giant invisible robot that is intent on destroying Tokyo.  009 is holding his own, until he finds out that the giant monster is using Dr. Koizumi as a shield.  This show was alright, but I was hoping for a little more plot in the show by this point.  Still, not a bad episode.

Friend:  Black Ghost send 0013 to attack Tokyo, and the robot destroys a large part of the city.   The cyborgs figure a way to defeat 0013's invisibility, and when that happens, it is ordered to retreat. 009 has a plan to save Dr. Koizumi but he runs into some of Black Ghost's henchman, including one who is faster than he is.  Will 009 be able to save the professor?

This show has the look of an old fashion anime program.  Based on a manga strip that started in 1969, the character designs are from that era, with exaggerated facial features, sleek lines and big feet.  But that's not all this show owe to classic anime, it also has the feel of an old show.  This program harkens back to a simpler day, when everything was black and white. Black Ghost is evil.  He's not misguided and doing what he thinks is right or trying to punish the world, or anything like that.  He's just evil, he even admits it.   The good guys don't kill people, even if they are bad.  They always manage to let the pawns of Black Ghost jump out of their tanks before it's destroyed.  That gives the show an old-time feel, and that's not bad.  I really could get into the style and fashion of the show.

I enjoyed the program a lot, but the first episodes were better than the later few.  It started out as a group of nine people against an army.  They had to somehow find Black Ghost and bring him to justice.  After a while though, it turned into a "monster of the week" type of show.  It seems that every episode a new cyborg pops up that the heroes have to defeat.  The reason I don't like that is that the overall plot suffers.  It starts moving very slowly since a new menace has to be incorporated into each episode.

I was also hoping the heroes would take a little more pro-active role in things.  As it is, they seem to sit around and wait for things to happen to them.  It is still early in the show, so these critiques will hopefully be proven groundless in future volumes.

What is the difference between the edited and unedited versions?

I have seen the first four episodes in both the edited and unedited versions.  I was astounded at how minor the differences were.  Much more minor than in the changes made in Yu Yu Hakusho for instance.  There wasn't any language or sex that needed to be edited out.  The cyborgs still shoot guns at the bad guy in both versions, but since there is no blood shown, there is no worry on that front.  The only changes I could see were a few shots being removed from the edited version.  All the instances were static shots of dead bodies, like the one shown to the side.  The changes were so minor, that I was surprised that they were requested to make them in the first place.  Of course, future episodes may have more violence or blood in them, but the eight included on the first unedited  DVD set did not have anything objectionable.  After seeing the unedited version, I have no problem letting my seven and eleven year old sons watch it.

Aside from a few extra frames here or there, the uncut version offers some other nice features.  It has an original language track in 5.1, and an English DTS track that the cut DVD does not (in addition to an English 5.1 track that both discs contain.)   The original version is also presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, whereas the TV version of the show is a pan and scan 1.33:1 version.

The unedited DVD is a two disc set with eight episodes for a retail price of $39.95, or  $4.99 per show.  The edited version contains four episodes per DVD for a retail price of $24.96 or $6.24 per show.  With the edited version being $1.25 per show more expensive for a P&S picture without the DTS and  Japanese language track I can't see why anyone would get it.  The alterations are just too minor.   Even small children would be able to watch the uncut version, in my opinion.  (Which is not something I would say for Yu Yu Hakusho.)
 


The DVD:



Audio:

This DVD is gives you a great number of listening options.  There is a Japanese 5.1 track, an English 5.1 track, and an English DTS track.  I listened to different episodes with different audio tracks.  I enjoyed the Japanese track the most, but the two English tracks had very good dubbing.  The difference between the DTS and 5.1 English tracks was minor.  All three audio tracks were excellent.  There was a lot of directionality, and a lot of effects that were thrown to the rear speakers.  Sometimes music would only come out of the rears and the dialog and other sounds would emanate from the front.  It worked very well the times they tried that.  The music was clear and full, and the voices easy to distinguish and not muddled at all.  An impressive sound track.

Video:

The video was also of high caliber.  There was very good definition with the lines being tight and little digital artifacts.  The colors were appropriate and bright.  This disc looked better than the episode I caught on Cartoon Network recently.

The Extras:

This was the most disappointing aspect of the disc.  Although there were only two episodes on the second disc the only extras at all were some trailers, and they appeared on the first DVD.  With less than an hour's worth of material on the second DVD, they certainly had room for more extras.  A textless opening at least.

Final Thoughts:

This show got off to a great start, but started to lose steam just a bit by the end of the second disc.  Whether this is a slump or a downward trend remains to be seen.  The video and audio quality was very good, but the extras were lacking.  This is a fun show that has the potential to become even more enjoyable.  Recommended.

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