Film: 009 Re:Cyborg (DVD & Blu-ray)
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
Retail Price: $34.98
The movie 009 Re:Cyborg is a 2012 Japanese anime film created by Kenji Kamiyama (Eden Of the East, Ghost In The Shell.) The film is set in the future timeline of Cyborg 009, and the series has had a consistent plot that tells the story of an international assembly of cyborg spies who oppose their masters to fight evil and change their destiny. Originally, Cyborg 009 was a manga series that spanned between the 60’s and 80’s in Japan and led to anime series, and other Cyborg films. With many years since its last incarnation, the film takes an altered approach to introduce this elaborate world to a new generation of viewers. I wasn’t too familiar with the previous installments to Cyborg 009, but it was very evident that there were various moments used to take the series into modern day versions of the long tern franchise, with the first being animation.
In the beginning of 009, we discover an alternate universe in 2013 that is near disaster. A large string of suicide bombings commence across the world have resulted in a horrific bombing in America that leaves thousands dead and a city nearly leveled in the mass destruction. The first character (and lead character) you meet is a high school student named Joe Shimamura, takes the steps to becoming the next bomber, and is actually named 009. His former romantic interest Francoise is the only one who can manage to break him from this brainwashed trance and sets the plot moving quickly. Beginning to try and put the pieces together, Joe discovers that he’s had is memories erased and that his role as a student was only a farce until they felt he was needed for a mission.
As we soon learn, these suicide bomber’s are being spoken to by some form of a “higher power” who always seems to be sparking chaos and death. This brings Doctor Gilmore to create a final front against this unseen force that consists of an odd team lineup that includes an archaeologist, British agent, Francoise, a child, and many others that contribute to this interesting team. Joe leads off the team and has the abilities to alter the speed of time, and can run at insanely fast speeds. The other heroes all bring their own skill to the group, but some are odder than others (Francoise is a tech genius, some have tactical experience, and one even creates gateways with his pacifier.) In all honesty, there are way too many characters to take in with the film running at just over a 100 minute screentime, and you will most likely take most interest in Joe himself (009.) The plot has many technical aspects, and the wide range of characters could leave some viewers in the dark from time to time, and it feels that there was a lot of information to compact into a single film. Team centric films always prove to be a difficult task, and there were surely moments that tripped up the flow for 009 Re:Cyborg.
Though it has some bumps in the road, that’s not saying that there weren’t moments of triumph as well. The animation in 009 Re Cyborg plays with uses of 3D animation from time to time, and when used accurately can enhance the quality of action in a series (which this film does in space, and during one particular explosion.) In a scene when Joe attempts to outrun a massive explosion, the animation and the dramatic timing can pull your attention back in, or more of the Joe oriented action scenes. Another intriguing concept placed into 009 Re:Cyborg is the use of religion. Our characters end up questioning what it means to fulfill a god’s supposed wishes if it takes a toll on what makes us human (or Cyborg in some cases.) The religious nod takes a pivotal scene towards the end if the film that prompts important questions, and flowed beautifully with the climax; I just wish that it could have been focused on in a broader way. If you want to see the sci-fi/adventure film for yourself, check it out now- available on DVD and Blu-ray!
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- The action sequences enhanced with the use of visually appealing 3D animation was a nice change of pace for the film
-Particularly the last 15 minutes of the film really create interesting points to analyze from a larger perspective.
-I'm curious to see if the 009 Cyborg series will continue in the future after years of storytelling.