Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 13th, 2004
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 – a.k.a. cyborgs. Abducted and experimented on against their will, these cyborgs are revolting against the person who made them, the evil Black Ghost.
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 (most evidently big noses), sleek lines and big feet. B…t that’s not all this show owes 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 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.
There are two versions of the discs – an edited and unedited. The only difference between the two is that the edited version omits all blood and displays all dead bodies in a static fashion – that’s it. There is no “adult situations” or adult language to speak of. The deletions have to do with violence.
The unedited version’s video presentation (1.78:1 widescreen) is quite stunning with bright sharp colors and no noticeable defects in the transfer. Apparently the DVD looks much better than the broadcast version. Japanese anime has always had a much higher production value than animation from around the world and Cyborg 009 is no exception. Fantastic presentation. The edited version is presented in full screen 1.33:1 but still looks great.
The unedited 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. The Japanese track as with most animes is the best, 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 soundtrack. The edited version only has Dolby Digital 5.1 – no DTS track.
A bit weak here – there are weblinks and theatrical trailers. Nothing else.
This really is a worthwhile anime with a compelling story that may seem simplistic by today’s standards – but it’s nice to have that sometimes. The characters are well developed and the action scenes are really good – mix in excellent animation and you’ve got yourself a good series. If presented with the option of edited and unedited versions, as usual the unedited version adds a little more punch and is worth a rental if not a purchase.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer