A reimagining of Shotaro Ishinomori’s Cyborg 009 manga, 009 Re: Cyborg is an entertaining but deeply flawed sci-fi adventure. It’s the story of an elite group of nine cybernetic heroes, a veritable assortment of X-Men each with superficial characterisation and a trademark ability – be it belching flame, flying through the air or stretching one’s limbs out like Mister Fantastic.
Joe Shimamura is the leader of this colourful but underdeveloped bunch, the lot of who first report to an man named Dr Gilmore before dispensing justice across the world. The subject of their attention: a series of suicide bombings with no apparent motive that also seem to have the tacit approval of the American Government. It’s a reasonably engaging conspiracy plot but then things take a turn for the worse when it all gets metaphysical.
Freud, angel skeletons and the voice of God needlessly takeover the plot, leading to a conclusion with a hefty dose of deus ex machina where characters are saved from impossible situations by, quite literally, divine intervention. It’s a lazy and confused direction, and many questions are left by the wayside (who was that random ghostly girl?!). Fortunately, it remains a fun time as the shallow story rarely intrudes on the action, which boasts clear and colourful art that’s only occasionally let down by some stilted animation.
Keep an eye out for full stereoscopic 3D screenings of 009 Re: Cyborg, which are being made available at select locations as part of Reel Anime 2013.