009 Re: Cyborg
FUNimation // Unrated // $34.98 // July 28, 2015
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted August 10, 2015
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009 Re: Cyborg Blu-ray Review


009 Re: Cyborg is a modern sequel
(and partial remake) of a
story arc in the manga by
Shotaro Ishinomori, which
was never finished due to the author's
passing. The film is produced by Tomohiko Ishii (style="font-style: italic;">The Sky Crawlers
) and
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Ghost in the Shell).
It is from director Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost
in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
).


The story is an update to the manga
story. A long time ago,
nine
cyborgs were created with the idea of being used for evil. Instead they
became
champions of justice and fought for the world. These cyborgs are
superheroes to
planet Earth. However, in a modern world, the cyborgs have become
ordinary
civilians and have forgotten their time spent as heroes.


Yet now the cyborgs are being brought back
together to
combine forces and stop the ominous "His Voice" which is making people
create acts of terrorism. "His Voice" is a mysterious and invisible
force that is speaking to people around the world. How can the cyborg
team save
the day and prevent the world's destruction?


The main character of the film is cyborg Joe
Shimamura, who
also started to hear "His Voice". Joe continues to want to save the
world from destruction and not aid the terrorism. With the original
team of
cyborgs reunited an effort is made to figure out what "His Voice" is
before
everything on the planet is destroyed.


The score is composed by Kenji
Kawai (Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in
the Shell 2
). It is easily amongst the best highlights of the
009
Re: Cyborg
film. Kawai makes exciting and
surreal scores. This is another strong score and
it is often more exciting than the film itself.


The animation produced for 009
Re: Cyborg
is well-done
with good character designs and aesthetics. The detail given to the
action sequences
is impressive and there are moments throughout the film where the
quality of
the production shines. The animators did make interesting and effective
artwork.


Unfortunately, 009 Re:
Cyborg
is a disappointing and
mediocre film. The
biggest issue with the film is the writing and directing. Kenji
Kamiyama
(director of Ghost in the Shell: Stand
Alone Complex
) handled both aspects of the production. This film
has a convoluted story which jumps around chaotically without any good
structure or
sound storytelling. The film frequently offers up some bizarre
philosophical
ponderings in-between action sequences. Kamiyama's story doesn't have
any
character development and the story mostly seems meandering. style=""> 


The story and characters feels
completely secondary to
attempts at action spectacle. Everything about this story fails to
muster much
enthusiasm.
009 Re: Cyborg is a mess incapable of
managing to
make a successful reboot or remake of a story arc never finished in the
manga. The
film flounders along and won't win many new fans.


The Blu-ray:


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Video:


Funimation
presents
009 Re: Cyborg with a 1080p
MPEG-4 AVC encoding. The release is in native high-definition and
is not an anime upscale. The presentation is in 1.78:1 widescreen.
While some
parts of the presentation demonstrate high-quality video and animation,
this is
actually a rather terrible presentation. The image has tons of
compression
artifacts during sequences with heavy action. There is bad
macroblocking and pixilation at various points in the presentation.
This is disappointing and underwhelming. There is also a
lot of banding present during the entire film. The colors are rich and
beautiful but too many parts throughout
the presentation suffer from bad encoding for this release to be
satisfying.


Audio:


The audio is presented in Dolby
TrueHD English and Japanese 5.1 surround
sound. The presentation of the audio is underwhelming despite being
lossless. Dialogue was at surprisingly low sound levels. Action scenes
were
sometimes rather quiet. The film was inconsistent as some parts had
roaring
surround sound that was crisp and clean and other sequences sounded
flat and
lifeless. Even after turning up the audio a lot more than usual,
Fuimation's
presentation still seemed lackluster at best. At least the English
subtitles
were excellent.


Extras:


Special Prologue (9 min.) is a
brief piece which introduces viewers to
a short history of the comic before introducing and promoting the
updated film
version.


The release also includes a
promotional video, teaser trailer, theatrical
trailer, U.S. trailer, and trailers promoting other Funimation
releases.


Inside the slipcover is a printed
guidebook featuring an interview with
the director of
009 Re: Cyborg, artwork,
a character guide, a story guide,
and more.  


The funniest thing about the
booklet is a part in the interview with
director Kenji Kamiyama where he explains "the decision to make it hard
to
understand - was one I undertook with the specific goal of making the
audience
feel almost drunk, if that makes sense. I wanted their viewing
experience to be
disorienting, and that was a goal I had from the very beginning."


Final Thoughts:


009 Re: Cyborg is a poor attempt at
revitalizing a
manga series in anime form. The original manga story arc was never
finished
because of the author's passing and writer/director Kenji
Kamiyama tries to infuse new life in it
as a franchise but the storytelling is too convoluted and
uninteresting.


The animation is nicely done but
Funimation's release is definitely
not. The Blu-ray features mediocre PQ/AQ and has barely any
supplements. If the
film being a dud was not enough of a reason to skip this release, the
poor
quality of the disc itself makes this release easy to dismiss.
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Skip It.





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