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.
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.
is the difference between the edited and unedited versions?
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.