Author: F.J. DeSanto, Bradley Cramp, Shotaro Ishinomori, Stephen Christy
Illustrator: Marcus To, Ian Herring
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Manga
Like many nerds, I went through a pretty serious anime phase once upon a time. My experiences with Fullmetal Alchemist was the first time I was ever involved in a fandom and I made a lot of really good friends. I did my best to explore other series and the history of anime in general but let’s be real. I stuck mostly to the newer stuff and what other people were watching. I’m saying this because I want to admit up front that I am not familiar with the Cyborg 009 series. I haven’t seen the original anime series, I haven’t read the manga, and I haven’t really heard much about it in general.
So Cyborg 009 from Archaia Entertainment is the first time I’ve ever been exposed to the Cyborg 009 characters and story. I imagine that I’m not the only person out there whose heard of the show but doesn’t know much about. And, honestly, digging through decades of history with this series isn’t really that appealing. I like re-imagined series. I like stuff like this. And I liked this version of Cyborg 009. There are probably a lot of anime purists who would disagree with me but I feel like this is a really nice way to introduce people to the series and maybe gain some new fans.
The basic premise of the story is that Cyborg 009 is a young man from Tokyo named Joe. He’s been abducted, had his memories effectively erased, and been turned into a cyborg soldier and living weapon. But when he’s order to kill his predecessors they all team up to escape along side one of their scientist creators. Together they fight back against the evil corporation that stole their former lives from them and could cause the onset of another global war through their development of these cyborg warriors.
It’s a really interesting story and I’m kind of sad I hadn’t really read any of it before. I really liked Joe as a character and I really felt bad for him. He just wakes up and suddenly he’s stuck in this life that he never should have been forced into. He lost not only the person he was before but also the woman he was forced to leave behind. It was interesting to see him struggle with the loss of that life and trying to accept this new one with this new family of cyborgs. It’s a very interesting story and I think it says a lot that it was so easily able to be adapted for a more modern audience in this re-imagining.
The artwork is far more of a modern, Western style which I chalk up to the series being re-imagined by a Western publisher and team. It doesn’t really distract from the story and they still try to keep true to some of the original style. I feel like more traditional anime style in general is evolving so for the most part so it doesn’t seem too out of place. Besides, I actually really like it. The artwork in general is really well done and clean. I thought it fit with the story really well and making the obvious changes also helps differentiate it from the original.
Having never really been interested in Cyborg 009 before, I am definitely interested now. This re-imagined Cyborg 009 has set a high bar and I’m sure the original won’t disappoint either.
While I could imagine this re-imagining upsetting the manga purists out there, I think pretty much everyone else would be quite happy with this book. It’s a very solid story and seems to stay true to it’s roots while adapting itself for a more modern audience. I’m glad that they made this, actually. Otherwise I may never have had the opportunity to be introduced to Cyborg 009 at all.