Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 6

Hey look at this creepy-ass statue.

Cyborg 009 Manga Volume 6 Screen1

Just thought I’d scare you all before the review started because I love you.

In the shadows of Mt. Olympus, a sheep herder tries to corral a black sheep who is running off and causing trouble. He always was the black sheep of the family……..:D

Anyway, the poor sheep ends up getting killed by a centaur after getting pelted in the head with a rock. Yes, this is still Cyborg 009 I’m reading. The centaur claims the poor sheep as a sacrifice to the gods and runs off.

The farmer’s family doesn’t believe his story that a monster stole his sheep, so he’s left outside without dinner.

In the actual first chapter, we see a bunch of centaurs and mythological creatures, known as the Mythos Cyborgs, eating the poor sheep. The one who did the killing is Centaurus D, and he’s being chewed out for it by a panther-esque cyborg named Achilles. D broke the rules that their leader, Dr. Uranus, gave them about not allowing humans to see their true forms, but D whines because he wanted wine and meat at their banquet….which was really just a normal meeting.

The fiery Apollo (who has a really awesome flying horse-drawn carriage) arrives with Dr. Uranus (who looks like a man-poodle) and Dr. Gaia. They convey the news that their Vietnamese Cyborgman cell has been defeated by the 00 Cyborgs. Despite these cyborgs being made in an earlier phase of the Black Ghost cyborg project, they have proved to be formidable foes due to their teamwork and unity, which, notably, the Mythos Cyborgs seem to lack.

Back at, I think, still Vietnam, Francoise tries to find a moment of peace, but her powers keep allowing her to see and hear the fighting and killing that’s going on all around her. I do feel bad for her in circumstances like this. She already has to experience more killing and destruction than all of the other cyborgs, and now she’s in a warzone and can’t get a moment’s reprieve from it.

Cyborg 009 Manga Volume 6 Screen2

Jet is all fixed up with a new leg, which allows him to now exceed mach 5 speed. Back in the lab, we see Gilmore also improving G. Junior. While he states he can’t give the cyborgs more abilities than what they were initially given (This will later prove to be false, but just go with it.) he can enhance their current powers with the technology they obtained. 005 now has the strength of a thousand men and can crush steel into powder.

Gilmore plans on upgrading all of the cyborgs to help their fight against Black Ghost, but Francoise is having none of it. She hates the powers she already has – it’d be a nightmare for her to have even more enhanced senses. She also detests the idea of the upgrades because it pulls them further away from their humanity. She storms out of the room, and Dr. Gilmore criticizes her for not being able to see the big picture – allowing her sensitivity to cloud her judgment. They’re the only line of defense against Black Ghost, and they need to be in top shape to stop them.

I do get where Gilmore is coming from, but he should also see her side of it. Everyone else’s upgrades only better their lives, like 002 will be faster and 005 will be stronger. 003’s may make her more effective in battle, but it’d only make her suffer more in the down time.

They suddenly get a transmission from Gaia and Uranus telling Gilmore and the cyborgs to meet them on Magma Island in two weeks to either surrender themselves or die trying to fight. If they don’t come in two weeks, they’ll come for them and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.

Dr. Uranus begins to sympathize with Gilmore for a second and even suggests he and his team might win, which angers Gaia. Uranus claims it was all a ploy to manipulate Gilmore’s nobility against him, but Gaia thinks he’s being too soft and his views will lead to their downfall.

He’s so distrusting of Uranus’ methods that he recruits D to go off to the 00 Cyborgs’ location right then and take them out….Really? You’re confident with that? You think one man-horse, who isn’t even worthy of getting a real name, can take out the entire 00 Cyborg group?….Good luck, dude.

Pan, the little half-goat boy who can’t really speak, learns of Gaia’s plans and alerts Uranus and the rest of the group. Apollo rushes after D and takes him down. Back on shore, Uranus and Gaia chew each other out. Gaia believes Uranus’ method is needlessly risky and they should sneak attack them instead (Well….then why send them a transmission in the first place?) but Uranus believes he can resolve this entire situation without bloodshed.

After the fight, Gaia again sneaks off with D and decides to upgrade him with some new weapons before sending him off again. Pan, again, hears of this but Gaia tries to buy him off with a sweet egg.

Pan goes back to the other cyborgs to tell them. They whisper some plan, but when Pan tries to get Helena’s attention to join in, she just puts a ribbon on his horn and praises him for keeping them updated on Gaia.

Cyborg 009 Manga Volume 6 Screen3

Chapter 23 is about the 00 Cyborgs’ journey to Magma Island. It’s chaos everywhere as American subs, Soviet subs and even the currents and falling debris get in their way. They don’t have a choice but to go through all of these hazards because they only have three days left on the deadline given by Dr. Gaia. It’s a pretty tense sequence, full of action and suspense, and WOOK AT IVAN’S WITTLE DUCKY BASSINET! WOOK AT IT! IT’S SO KYOOTT!

Cyborg 009 Manga Volume 6 Screen4

….*cough* Moving on.

The Soviet and American subs destroy each other in the chaos, and the cyborgs just barely manage to get through the falling debris field by the skin of their teeth. I love how 008 and 009 manage to outsmart Gilmore briefly during the escape.

After they reach shore, their battle begins immediately. 009 grabs Pan and tries to pluck his horn off in order to stop him from transmitting data to the Mythos Cyborgs’ base, but 003 stops him since the horn is connected to his brain, and removing it might kill him.

003, 007 and 009 face off against Hippo Man (That’s literally his name. He’s never given an actual name. I also don’t know what Greek myth he’s meant to represent. There are no hippos in Greek mythology as far as I know. There’s a Hippocampus, which is a half-horse half-fish creature, but this is literally a hippo….with a tutu on…who has stretchy arms and powerful breath. He kinda sticks out like a sore thumb.) 007 takes the reigns in this fight and manages to defeat him. He also takes on Hippo Man’s identity to help infiltrate the island.

Achilles arrives with an army of panthers that have accelerator switches. 009 takes this match, but he starts getting overwhelmed by the panthers. Achilles waits until 009 is exhausted from finally managing to defeat the panthers to take his opportunity to strike.

Achilles also has an accelerator and a shield which amplifies reflected sun rays so strongly that it can melt rock. 009 has a lot of difficulty with him, and he’s cornered when Achilles takes 003 hostage because tropes. It seems like the jig is up until Pan, who has taken a shine to 003, bites Achilles’ ankle and gets him away from 003.

It seems like Achilles is getting back into the battle, but when he tries to accelerate, he ends up spinning in such a violent fashion that it results in his death. Turns out Black Ghost gave Achilles the most ridiculously obvious weakness he could possibly have – his heels.

He actually has one accelerator in each heel. When Pan bit his foot, it broke one of his accelerators, so his attempt to accelerate with the other one caused him to spin around at a literal breakneck speed. What exactly happened with Achilles’ design? Every other cyborg with an accelerator switch has only needed one, and if one of them failing can result in a fatal accident, why would you even consider giving him two?

It seems like Pan is an ally now, and they come up with a plan to pretend 003 is a hostage while Pan and 007 (disguised as Hippo Man) bring her in.

Cyborg 009 Manga Volume 6 Screen5

Centaur K had overheard their plans, but 009 was able to kill him before he could relay the information. Standing behind him is a shocked Helena.

Helena calls her giant mechanical wooden horse to fight 009. It is a rather impressive robot with a targeting system, laser eyes, spikes, jets and even the ability to split in two, grab cyborgs through a powerful magnet and then squish them by reassembling.

However, disappointingly, Helena shows absolutely none of her own powers during this battle – and even more depressingly, she doesn’t actually seem to have any powers…..which just begs the question….what the hell is the point of Helena? (Is that a pun?….Pun intended if pun.) I don’t really mean that in a character sense, though that’s debatable. I mean in a cyborg sense. Why did Black Ghost make her? Any of the other Mythos Cyborgs could have piloted that horse….or, since it’s a robot, they could have had it be autonomous. 0013 was in a similar situation, but at least he had powers on his own and wasn’t reliant entirely on his robot.

Anyhoo, 009 manages to corner her in the horse and uses a special gas in his blaster to paralyze her. He blows up the horse and leaves Helena on the ground outside, sparing her life.

Back with 003, Pan and 007, their infiltration plan is going over well, though Gaia is very suspicious of 007 in his Hippo Man disguise once he gets word of K’s death and Helena’s Trojan horse defeat. He doesn’t trust that this hippo in a tutu managed to capture a 00 Cyborg. No clue why. Seems legit to me.

His suspicions only grow worse when his spy seagull (…..spygull) spots 009 skulking around outside. Uranus catches onto 007’s disguise, but chooses to not say anything. Gaia tells Uranus to put 003 in an electromagnetic prison while they handle 009, but he doesn’t trust him so he spies on him with a little trained/robot (?) mouse that he calls….Mighty Mouse.

Good taste in cartoons, bro.

Once they’re alone, Uranus ousts 007 and discusses their situation. It seems like he might be on their side, but he pulls out a blaster on them – not out of true malice, but because the Mythos Cyborgs are like children to him, like the 00 Cyborgs are to Gilmore. 003 manages to get through to him, though, when she points out that Gaia doesn’t trust him and is currently spying on him with a mouse.

Pan and a newly transformed Cat!007 give chase, which basically turns into a very long Tom and Jerry skit that runs throughout the following battle.

009 comes face to face with Apollo, and we get this odd exchange where he acknowledges that 009 is a 00 Cyborg, asks his name, and when he hears it’s 009 he….asks if he’s from the 00 series….???

They start their match, and quickly end up in a blaster standoff. Finding the match boring and without a point since they’d both kill each other this way, Apollo proposes to ditch their blasters and fight only using their cyborg abilities to determine which one of them is the supreme being.

Apollo goes all Human Torch on us, and it’s just awesome. He has always been one of my favorite cyborgs because he is such a cool and scary son of a bitch. The fact that he gets his own flying chariot is already major cool points, but the guy is living fire. He can reach temperatures as hot as the sun, he can melt anything he wants instantly with a point of his finger, and he’s obviously a huge threat to any cyborg (Hm…except maybe 006?) because he can melt them in seconds.

009 gives him a bit of a run for his money, but Apollo shoots him three times in the back with his heat beams and sends 009 careening into the rocky waters below.

Believing he has won, Apollo leaves, but we see Helena in the cliffside deciding to rescue 009 since he showed her mercy when no one else did. Once she gains 009’s trust, he tells her where their sub is so he can get patched up. However, they’re being tailed by a spy dolphin.

As 003, 007, Pan and Dr. Uranus are being held captive by Dr. Gaia, Helena reaches the sub with 009 to get him medical attention. 008 sends 006 off to destroy the spy dolphins before they relay their location back to the Mythos Cyborgs, but Atlas suddenly appears and starts an assault on their sub. Will they be trampled by the metal Goliath? How will the 00 Cyborgs get themselves out of this mess?

—————————–

This volume was a really great introduction to the Mythos Cyborgs, who were always some of my favorite cyborgs in the franchise. However, I do have to note that some of them are disappointing in design. Why even bother with weak and lame cyborgs like Centaurus and Hippo Man when you’ve already made so many impressive cyborgs that are much more powerful? Why make Helena so unimpressive and force her to just be a pilot to a secondary robot? And while Achilles was awesome in concept, the fact that he had such a peculiar and flawed accelerator setup when it’s been perfected and then some throughout the other cyborg designs is just baffling.

The story as a whole is very intriguing because Uranus kinda mirrors Gilmore in that he loves his cyborg team like family and wants to help them but, unlike Gilmore, he still holds a loyalty to Black Ghost. Likewise, many members of the Mythos crew seem like they’re decent people but they also embrace their roles as soldiers of Black Ghost. Pan in particular is a cute little dude. You can tell he wants to be loyal to his comrades, but they also treat him poorly – even Helena – while 003 was nice to him from the beginning and respected his abilities.

The battles were exciting and memorable, and I look forward to covering the conclusion of this arc.

Next Volume….

….Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 10 (FINALE) + Full Manga Review

Plot: Who cares? This crap is over!

Breakdown: Our first chapter of the final volume starts with Iku and Yori seeking refuge at Yano’s house since Yori has effectively kidnapped Iku. They didn’t even stop to get dressed – they’re just wrapped in a sheet. Yano lends Yori some clothes and dresses up Iku in a maid outfit because of course he does. He even mentions that seeing her in that costume is reawakening his lolicon tendencies…….Can we go one chapter without making me feel icky?

He brings them to his family’s summer home to crash for a while and leaves.

Yori, realizing he never took Iku’s feelings into consideration and asked if this is what Iku wanted before disowning their parents and kidnapping her while naked, asks Iku if this is what she really wants. If it is, she has to kiss him. If not, she can leave right then.

Go choke on toothpicks, Yori. It’s a little late to be asking her if this is what she wants. I don’t care if you admit that – it’s still too late. And, again, you’re basically blackmailing her with ‘stay with me and be my lover or leave and never see me again.’

Here’s exactly what he tells her.

Yori: “You choose! Be mine, or agonize for your entire life over today’s events and become some other man’s woman!” Gee, that sure isn’t worded in a way that is coercing her into one option over the other and isn’t said in a demanding tone.

I will concede and say that Iku has seemingly legitimately fallen for him at this point, but I can never really be certain if she is actually in love with him or she’s trapped in a delusion of love born of panic over possibly losing him. Yori has fucked her up ten ways to Sunday over the course of this manga, and she’s, quite frankly, stupid, naive and easy to trick.

Iku: “I don’t like you…..but….I love you!” *deep sigh* I’m beyond tired of fighting for you, Iku. I have more than extended my fair share of defense and leniency with you. You deserve whatever sex dungeon he locks you in for the rest of your lives.

Yori: “If Iku can hate the unreasonable and bossy me, then I can forget this love. However….the aggressive and forceful me, Iku not only accepted, she seriously replied to me! That was the first time….I felt regret.”

I hate you. Hate. Hate. Hatehatehatehatehate. HATRED. HATE.

You’re only now, for the first time, feeling regret over how you’ve treated Iku?

Now, that she finally admits she loves you too?

Now, that you’ve disowned your parents and subsequently taken her from her family?

Now, that you’ve kidnapped her in the middle of the night while you were both nude directly following the aforementioned kidnapping?

Now, that you’ve treated her like some object you’re entitled to because your Mom never told you that you were only half-siblings, which would barely affect anything.

Now, that you’ve emotionally manipulated her for the better part of two years at least?

Now, that you’ve repeatedly borderline sexually assaulted her several times?

Now, that you’ve made your feelings and relationship to Iku public to many people and essentially destroyed her social life back home should this ever spread, which it certainly will. especially if Tomoka is still in communication with their home town?

Now, that you’ve given her yet another blackmail-y ultimatum which was acting as a test to see if she’d love you even acknowledging that you’re a massive dickhead who knows he acts like a dickhead yet makes no effort to be a better person?

NOW?

…..Now.

Go to hell. Now.

We cut to a flashback of Yori overhearing a conversation Iku was having with her friends, asking what age they’d like to get married. Iku says she’d be fine never getting married as long as she’s with the person she loves.

Yori then flashes back to their mother confirming that they were technically still siblings, and he comes to the realization that he can’t make Iku truly happy. All he wants is one last memory with her before he leaves her.

*sigh* Alright, look. For the sake of Iku’s future, even though I doubt it’s bright either way considering she has no skills, knowledge, common sense, hopes, aspirations or interests and tends to attract attempted rapists, yes, leaving her would probably be best.

That being said, again, it’s kinda fucking late for this. The damage is done, Yori. You’ve gone too far to turn back now. Turning back at this point will only further confuse and hurt Iku. You are the epitome of a human disaster.

Oh that ‘one last memory’ was sex, if anyone was wondering. Because that also won’t do more damage or anything.

But, hey, let’s also make it gross. Iku says she doesn’t want to have sex right now because she’s all sweaty, but Yori says he likes it that way so he can fully experience Iku’s smell.

For good measure, let’s keep the creepiness up. Iku says it’s too bright. He can see her too well, and it’s embarrassing her. She asks to turn the lights off, but Yori vehemently refuses.

The next chapter is sex….Sex on the floor….the hard tile floor. That was the memory you wanted? You could’ve at least bottomed, Yori. Have some courtesy.

Hair sniffs: 9

Then they basically dick around for a while….Not in that way – showcasing more of Iku being terrible at everything like making god awful food and losing ten games in a row while playing video games, only winning the last game because Yori let her.

They dick around some more, again not in that way, then head to a church where they find the familiar white clover.

Yori: “Iku, did you know the clover is a flower that existed when Adam and Eve were in paradise?”

………Oh no.

Yori: “Since they committed a taboo, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.”

Please, no. You can’t be serious.

Yori: “When they were banished, they said to remember only the happy times.”

It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.

Yori: “Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and some people say that act alone had the meaning of ‘doing the most intimate act.’”

You’re not making me do this. No. I’m not comparing the story of Adam and Eve with Yori and Iku. I’m not doing an in-depth analysis on the symbolism of Adam and Eve to see if it could justify Yori and Iku’s relationship.

The fact that this is even here is insulting to me. Not even on a religious level, just in general. I’ve never looked at the story of Adam and Eve in a positive light. You’re not supposed to. It’s literally the fall of man.

It’s not some beautiful love story, it’s not about committing a taboo because you love someone that much – it’s two idiots screwing over the human race for all of eternity because they thought they should listen to a snake over God and couldn’t resist eating fruit from one of two trees in all of the Garden of Eden when there was perfect food sources everywhere.

And the act of eating the fruit wasn’t intimate. It was just her offering it to him.

It’s literally –

Snake: “Yo, Eve, eat this fruit.”

Eve: “God said I shouldn’t.”

Snake: “Who cares? Do it. It’s real delicious and stuff.”

Eve: “Okay. Hey, Adam, want some fruit from this forbidden tree?”

Adam: “Sure!”

*Humanity Fucked*

Their taboo also wasn’t that they loved each other…..They were kinda….meant to love each other. She was literally made for him. And if you even start to tell me that her being born of his rib is a mirror of Yori and Iku’s incestuous relationship, I’m just leaving. I can’t even.

But, hey, considering these are two idiots leaving a path of destruction in their wake, maybe there is more to this connection than meets the eye.

That is the second time I’ve gone off in this volume. I’m not even done with chapter two. Dear god.

According to whatever source he’s getting this from, clovers were brought with them from the Garden of Eden when they were banished because, I guess, after defying God and being booted from paradise, developing feelings of shame and making their lives exponentially worse for all eternity, they thought ‘Hm, we should bring some souvenirs with us. Let’s grab this random plant.’

When Yori first gave Iku the clovers several volumes ago, he was trying to tell her ‘Even if I have forsaken God, I still want you as my lover.’

They enter the church and both pray. Yori prays for him alone to be banished from Heaven since he is responsible for the taboo. Oh, you didn’t think you were bound for hell already? That’s cute.

The next chapter, Yori tells Iku that they’re going home. Not the beach villa home – their actual home, back with their parents. He claims this has been his plan since their dad caught them together. I feel I need to reserve my energy for the rest of this review, so let’s just say ‘Bullshit, go to hell’ and move on.

Yori tells her it’s completely outside of the realm of realism for them to run away together. It’s all just a dream.

Iku pushes him down on the pew. She yells at him claiming he hasn’t even tried anything yet to help them build a future, he’s just needlessly throwing away every idea. He claims he loves her, but he won’t even make the effort to try, despite everything he’s done. She just wants to be with him no matter what.

Yori asks her if she’s ready to fully give up her parents, because that’s the price for them being together. For good measure, he states Yano told him their mother fell ill. You withheld this information from her just to possibly use it in an ultimatum? I’m losing track of how many terrible things you’ve done, Yori.

The very next page, they burst home. Yori was telling the truth. Their mother is quite ill brought on from stress in her tirelessly searching for Iku and Yori since they left home. She’s lost weight, as has her father. Even Inu-Yori wouldn’t eat as long as Iku was gone, but started gobbling up food as soon as she got home. They don’t give a time frame for how long they’ve been gone, but considering their parents’ conditions, I’ll guess a couple or a few weeks.

You guys never even thought to buy a throwaway phone and call, even just to assure them you were okay? Jerks.

The chapter ends with Iku devastated that she caused her parents and Inu-Yori such pain. Despite what she said earlier, she’s now struggling with the idea of giving up her parents forever for Yori.

The next chapter opens with the entire family enjoying a meal together. For a fleeting moment, Iku believes they might actually be able to ignore everything that has happened and be a family together again. Doesn’t take long for the other boot to drop, however, when Yori mentions going to rest.

Their mother suddenly snaps at this, demanding to know where they’ll be ‘resting.’ Yori, with that same dumbass supervillain smirk on his face, replies “Where? Isn’t it obvious? In our room….because we are siblings.”

She forbids them to be alone together ever again. She demands they sleep in separate rooms and do everything apart. Yori points out the obvious problem that she can’t monitor them all the time nor can she do it forever.

Suddenly, Yori comes to realization that, if he truly wanted things to go back to normal, he never should’ve abducted her.

No. You’re supposed to be super-smart. There’s only so many instances of ‘Oops, I never realized this insanely obvious repercussion of doing (blank). My bad!’ that I can believe. You’re a manipulative house of dicks. Burn in hell.

Yori tells them all that the only option is for him to leave the family. His dad tries to stop him, but he’s made up his mind. Iku and Yori meet in their room, and Iku tries to convince Yori to stay.

One more for the road –

Hair sniffs: 10

Yori asks Iku if she wants him to cut her hair since she stated sometime before that she had wanted to, but Iku knew Yori liked it long on her. He starts to cut her hair, symbolizing their ending love and him leaving since he’s cutting off “16 years worth of hair” and they reminisce about a time when they were younger.

Yori would braid Iku’s hair every day, and a boy made fun of him for it because braiding hair isn’t something boys should know how to do. Iku didn’t want Yori to be made fun of, so she learned how to braid her hair.

Yori explains that he gave the boy “a brutal beating” when that happened, because he took away his “privilege to stroke Iku’s hair.” Psychopath. Nothing new here.

When he gets done cutting her hair, he wishes her to have good memories of him after he leaves. She starts crying and asks him once again to not leave. He puts her to bed, claiming they’ll talk about the future in the morning. That was the last time Iku ever saw Yori.

The last chapter starts with Iku and Yori’s conversation continuing from what we heard before. He claims he’ll go away to some place where she’ll never see him again and their lives will move on after some time. She may forget this love and move on, or she might not ever get over it, but they’ll never see each other again. Yori leaves, taking one last look at the house and remembering the good times with his family before leaving for good.

In the middle of the night, Yano gets a text message telling him to take care of Iku. Realizing Yori left for good without that conversation he promised in the morning, Iku falls into a deep depression. She stays locked in her room, not eating for five days. She loses so much weight that the ring Yori gave her falls off. I guess she never looked at the damn thing because she only now realizes it’s engraved with a message that says he was blessed to have her in his life.

Iku blames herself for Yori leaving.

Iku: “This is all because of my weakness.” No, this is 99% because Yori’s a prick. That 1% is reserved for your utter lack of pretty much any positive characteristics.

She decides to finally eat so the ring won’t fall off again. When she grabs a bowl, she finds a note in it from Yori saying ‘Don’t oversleep. You must eat your breakfast!’ She then finds or remembers a slue of other notes reminding Iku to do various daily tasks.

Iku: “If I cannot become a woman who can stand on her own two feet, it will be impossible to continue any form of relationship. Such an obvious thing….I finally understand it for the first time.”

Good. Good girl. Become a strong independent woman. I’ll be rooting for you. Ya know…I’m actually kind proud of you, Iku. Maturing so much. I’m certain that this will stick and you won’t instantly revert to the overly dependent dumbass you’ve been this entire serie–

So the next page has Iku ready to intensely study for entrance exams to Tokyo University…….because she believes Yori will be there.

God.

Damn.

It.

Of course, Yano points out the obvious that there’s no way Iku would ever get into Tokyo University, even if she went to cram school.

We instantly cut to ten years later. If you needed a boost of inspiration in your life, let me tell you that the most incompetent and dependent idiot in the world, Iku, somehow managed to get a great job and earn enough money to travel the world at 26. She’s in London on business and has been looking for Yori for ten years. Of course she has.

She’s also keeping in contact with Yano I guess because he’s either feeding her money or because Yano is upholding his promise to take care of Iku….or both.

Iku: “I need to rely on my own strength to allow this love to become ‘one ordained by fate.’” Iku, it’s hardly ‘fate’ if you’re combing the globe for over a decade searching for him.

She goes to the local university’s library, and we see that Yori has become a junior lawyer. After some near-misses in their meetings, they finally cross paths. As Yori and Iku’s eyes meet, and they finally embrace once more, Yori thinks to himself “I love my younger sister.”

End.

Thank god.

But also, what?

How is this even happening?

I thought Iku couldn’t give up her parents, that’s really why their relationship would never work. You don’t stop having parents once you become an adult. You still can’t pretend they’re not related – Yori doesn’t even seem like he changed his name. If this is really insinuating that it was ‘FATE’ that they met back up several years in the future once Iku had ‘matured’ and learned to be more self-sufficient, then….the blame really is being put squarely on Iku being weak?

Fuck off.

Don’t get me wrong. Iku was and possibly still is one of the weakest, most dependent, dumbest, poorly written sacks of female I’ve ever seen. How the neurons in her brain fire without a note from Yori, I don’t know.

However, all of this is undoubtedly almost entirely Yori’s fault. If he could’ve kept it in his pants, not been an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive twat all this time, if he could stop being a psycho for five minutes, none of this would’ve happened. I can guarantee Iku never would’ve fallen for Yori. They probably would’ve gone their separate ways in college because god knows she’d never get into the same university. He would’ve lessened his crusade to get into his sister’s panties, and she would’ve gone off to flunk clown college and married some guy who would be cool with supporting her for her whole life and enjoyed the bonus storage space in her skull.

This entire series, if this last part is meant to be taken as fact, was meant to build up to Iku becoming more independent so she could have a real relationship with Yori when that was never the real problem. And Yori’s big moment of development is leaving Iku to pick up the pieces of her broken family, who now realize she had a sexual relationship with her brother for a couple years, her social life, which was undoubtedly screwed over from the rumors, and her love life, which seems like it was non-existent after Yori because who can top that perfect specimen of man?

Meanwhile, Yori, making off like he made some grand sacrifice, gets to go off, start a new life for himself overseas, everyone completely unaware of his escapades in sister boinking, becomes a successful lawyer and eventually gets exactly what he wants – Iku. Go. Drink. Molten. Lava.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the ending of the OVA was better. They had a small fling, he realized what he did was wrong and left. His parents never found out, there never was any scandal in his family, only Yano and Tomoka knew the truth about them, but Yano would never tell and Tomoka didn’t seem like she was far enough along in her bitchy development to do anything with it.

Oh well. Like I said, they deserve each other. I still feel bad for Yano, though. Now he’s spent ten+ years chasing Iku to no avail. Granted, he’s almost as bad as Yori anyway, but I’d rather have her go with him than Yori.

But we’re not quite done even now. We have three bonus chapters to go through….Oh happy day.

The first bonus chapter takes place before Yori admits his feelings for Iku. He’s giving her a piggyback ride home, he tricks her into saying she wants to do it with her, changes the subject abruptly and says he just wants to be by Iku’s side forever.

That sure was worth the ink and paper.

The next chapter is a more developed story of something they flashed back to briefly in the next to last chapter. Little Yori is about to be a prince in a play. He wants Iku to be the princess so he can pretend they’re getting married, but their teacher won’t allow it because Iku’s too dumb to remember her lines.

Yori vows to get Iku to learn her lines, but he works her too hard (even withholding food from her until she says the lines he wants her to say) and she falls unconscious with a fever. I know this is a trope, but either Yori’s a slave driver or Iku really is the weakest person alive.

Yori feels insanely guilty….for all of five minutes. We later see an unconscious Iku, still sick with fever, playing Sleeping Beauty opposite Yori. They changed the play to Sleeping Beauty because she’ll barely have any lines to remember, and she’ll be allowed to sleep through a good portion, I guess. Then he kisses her to wake her up. The end.

….So, what I’m getting from this is….Yori forced his sister to partake in a play because he wanted to play pretend marriage with her and kiss her, ran her like a dog until she was sick and unconscious because he really wanted her to keep the role, and the school, for some reason desperate to keep Yori as the prince (The girls in his class practically protest, complete with a sign, for him to be prince, but the only reason any of them would want that so badly is if one of them got to play opposite him, so I don’t get it), changed the entire play so Yori would still be the prince in the play instead of a tree, not even caring that they were putting a sick unconscious child on stage and allowing another child to kiss the aforementioned unconscious child.

Does the horribleness ever stop? The manga is technically over and it’s still happening. Someone please help me.

Also, apparently the teacher is such a doormat for the girls in her class that she agrees to Yori’s terms in regards to letting Iku play opposite him when another girl already has the part. The girl in question, named Rika (whom I don’t remember at all if she’s an established character) clearly doesn’t agree with this arrangement, but since the other girls are so insistent on just rolling over to make Yori happy, she’s forced to play a tree. This manga isn’t for children, but this is such a terrible message. As long as you’re cute and people love you, you’ll have everyone bending over backwards to give you literally anything you want – even if it’s completely unfair to everyone else! Iku didn’t deserve to have the lead in the play, and Yori didn’t deserve to have everyone cater to his screwed up fantasy.

The final chapter is the story of how Yori adopted Inu-Yori.

He went to a pet store looking for a high-energy corgi.

Yori: “If Iku takes it for a walk every day, she can definitely lose some weight.”

HORRIBLE. NEVER. ENDS.

The female corgi liked him, which I assume eventually becomes Inu-Iku, but he turned her down because he wanted the dog to be in his stead as he was gone, so he chose the male……….He chose the male because he wanted the dog to be in his stead. I thought it being a companion so she’d never be lonely was the point of this. What does the dog having a dic—forget it. I don’t care.

Manga over.

——————————–

Well…..that sure was…..*exasperated sigh*

This manga has a 7.08 rating on MAL and a three-star rating on Anime-Planet.

How?

Why?

….What?

I’ve said my piece on this manga by now, but to wrap things up, this is a terrible manga. This is a terrible thing. These are all terrible people doing terrible things. No character is really likable. Even the dogs end up being a little creepy. This is a terrible ‘romance’ story that never really felt like a romance. Like I said in the tags of volume nine, the story actually is serviceable, but it’s completely burned down to the ground and pissed on by the unlikable and infuriating cast.

Yori’s a rapey jackass who admits flatout that he’s mean, bossy and forceful, and that’s just the tip of the assberg. He never tries to change his ways, and any instance of him doing something good is usually laced with terrible implications or motivations.

Iku’s a complete imbecile who spends her time either acting like a toddler, crying at something Yori’s doing or responding to things going on her around with that HeroineFromAmnesia-esque vacant stare. It’s hard to believe someone so stupid and useless actually exists. Scientists would probably want to study her brain, if they could find it.

They love each other but, despite all this, we never really learn why. Yori only has bad personality traits. Even when he’s going out of his way to care for Iku, he’s still a jerk to her and everyone else. Iku is kinda nice, but her uselessness and stupidity as well as complete lack of characterization outside of her over-attachment and dependence on Yori make her incredibly frustrating to watch.

It’s Yori’s lust and obsession stirring up Iku’s crippling dependency to the point where love is an illusion. The ending may contradict this, considering Iku did eventually stand on her own two feet, but I don’t know if she got that job because of Yano (his family is filthy rich) and her focus is still entirely on finding Yori to the point where I think the only reason she became independent was find Yori, ironically.

The only two emotions this manga made me feel were apathy and anger. The only part that I legitimately enjoyed was the story of Takuma and Mayu, and they left that plot on a damn cliffhanger. Did they ever get together? Did he really die when he hit 20? We’ll never know, but hey, let’s watch Yori sexually assault Iku again, and then we’ll watch Iku be so stupid she forgets how to walk. Quality writing.

I didn’t think this series would get substantially worse than the OVA, but, goshdarnit, you proved me wrong and then some, manga.

If I’ll throw it any bones, I’ll say the art was alright. Like I mentioned in my AniManga Clash!, the art style is basically exactly the same as the anime, but the manga’s was noticeably better. Just slightly. It still looked weird, especially with the mouths and the fingernails, but it was alright. Very typical shoujo style.

Please don’t waste your time or brain cells on this manga. Trust me. It’s not worth it.

Recommended Audience: There’s several instances of nudity but really only in regards to breasts as the crotch region is usually fully airbrushed out. There are numerous sex scenes, but they never get that graphic. I feel I can easily put a rape trigger warning on this series as there are tons of instances of flatout sexual assault and borderline rape, even if they paint it as romantic. Plus, there’s just a lot of squicky creepy talk and gestures. Incest alone is probably a flag for many people. There’s no violence, swearing or blood/gore. 15+


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 5

We are in the throes of the Vietnam arc, and what an awesome yet depressing arc this is. When we last left our heroes, it seemed that Black Ghost was perpetuating conflict in Vietnam by giving an insanely technologically advanced tank, known as a Black Monster, to the Viet Cong, piloted by a mysterious man in black that we now learn is known as Cyborgman.

The horrible realities of war unfold all around us as the 00 Cyborgs, starting with 009, 007 and 004 combat the Cyborgman and his incredible tank. As they struggle with its power, the entire Viet Cong unit that had owned the tank gets blown away by an enemy air raid. They’re able to outwit the Cyborgman and destroy the Black Monster, but there’s a problem. It seems Cyborgman is more of a title, and he’s merely number eight in a line of many copies.

Not only that, but there are just as many Black Monsters around, each with unique designs and powers, and several of them have been ‘gifted’ to the Americans and the South Vietnamese to make the fighting even more intense.

A girl named Ran attempts to infiltrate a South Vietnamese camp dressed as a boy to find her brother. She’s about to be killed by them when 009, 4 and 7 save her, but are subsequently taken prisoner. They learn that both of her parents are dead and that her brother is her only family, but he disappeared some time ago. She had feared he was dead, but then she heard that he had joined the Viet Cong so she went off to look for him.

Turns out, one of the Cyborgmen, number eleven, was her brother. Black Ghost had kidnapped him and turned him into a cyborg. Her brother recognized Ran and turned against his allies, destroying several of them with their tanks. However, he felt he couldn’t go back with his sister. He was ashamed of what he had turned into and couldn’t face her anymore. In order to atone for what he did and destroy one more weapon of war, Ran’s brother bid his sister farewell and self-destructed the tank.

The trio then tried to bring Ran back to a peaceful village, but she revealed the harsh truth of the situation to them – there are no peaceful villages in the area anymore. Their entire country is wrought with war and killing. She has nowhere to go and no one to turn to.

As they try to flee, they’re pursued by robotic snakes that shoot lasers from their heads. They can slither around on the ground and in water and even burrow underground. The snakes are all really a part of the main body of another tank with another Cyborgman intent on killing them. Luckily, 003 and 006 manage to save them by digging a tunnel underneath their location before they were hit with the tank’s missiles. 002 is with them, fighting the tank and the robotic snakes in the air.

He’s giving the Cyborgman a run for his money, but with one massive surge of lasers from the main pod of the tank body, 002’s leg is shot off and he’s downed. Being a cyborg, such a wound is not immediately fatal, but Jet’s still in rough shape. His nutrition pipe and energy pipe have been severed. Proper circulation needs to be reestablished or else Jet may die.

They run into another legion of soldiers (They never specify which side they’re on, though they do mention Americans are their enemies, so that implies North Vietnamese/Viet Cong.) Ran tries to reason with them, but the second commander, Ga Diem, isn’t going to hear any of it. He believes they’re Americans with a unit that shot down one of their ally planes. He smacks Ran away and is about to kill them, but their elderly main commander arrives to spare them. He at least wants to hear them out, so he brings them to their base.

Everything above ground at their base is merely set dressing. These people actually live in a series of tunnels underground. The 00 Cyborgs relay their story about Black Ghost and the Cyborgmen, but Ga Diem shrugs it off as being ridiculous. The main commander, however, believes them, but he can’t assist them since he doesn’t know where the Cyborgmen’s base is.

It’s clear that Ga Diem does know, but he’s zipped up tight and acting ignorant. They leave the cyborgs alone for the night to rest, but Ga Diem puts heavy security on them. Jet is in really rough shape and is quickly deteriorating. They have to get him back to the sub so Dr. Gilmore can treat him, but they’re essentially trapped.

Oh and after this point Ran just kinda vanishes. We don’t even see her arriving at the village. I guess we’re to assume that she takes up shelter in their village, but her future still doesn’t look too bright.

In order to investigate and get Jet to some medical attention, they use 006’s fire abilities to tunnel out. GB transforms into a tiger to tail Ga Diem (but doesn’t realize that they hunt tigers in Vietnam) and Joe runs off with Jet to rush to the sub as quickly as possible.

GB manages to infiltrate the Cyborgmen hideout by posing as Ga Diem, Joe and Jet make it to the sub, but 004, 006 and 003 are cornered by the soldiers again and taken prisoner after the reveal that Ga Diem is a traitor.

Once Gilmore looks over Jet, he claims he can save him, but in order to do it properly he needs advanced equipment that only Black Ghost would have. Joe heads to find the Cyborgmen lair in order to search for adequate parts.

Meanwhile, GB is found out by the Cyborgman #1. 007 makes a valiant effort to fight him, even showing off his true ‘Chameleon’ skills by changing his colors to blend in with the machinery, but the Cyborgman has an ace up his sleeve – an electric field that shocks everything in the room. 007 gets downed, but the Cyborgman is unharmed thanks to his suit. He locks up 007 and puts a helmet on him that makes him unable to communicate through radio transmissions.

Back with 003, 006 and 004, the robotic snakes find them again at the village and strike. They burrow away from the robots by using 006’s fire, but they’re incredibly persistent. What’s worse is that they can’t burrow any further due to a pocket of poison gas and molten magma resting right below their location.

009 shows up and saves them from the snakes, but scouting bats tell them that the Cyborgman has 007. They rush to the Cyborgman’s location to save 007, viciously pursued by Cyborgmen, the Black Monsters and fighter planes the whole way. Eventually, it just turns into a ‘009’s the main character so let him defeat everything’ fest. Even 004 points out that 009’s a ‘glory hog.’ Narratively speaking, he does have a point. While 003 and 006 have been very useful on a support level, 004, 007 and 002 keep getting cucked while 009 is able to do most of the heavy lifting.

004 does some stuff, but it’s not that impressive. 007 tries to infiltrate enemy lines three times and ends up getting found out three times – one of those leading to his capture. 002 gets a bit of a cool mid-air fight, but gets his leg shot off and spends the rest of the volume in critical condition. Don’t even talk to me about 008 and 005 who basically aren’t in this volume at all. They stay back on the sub and have barely a few lines between them. Gilmore does more than they do. Are they just meant to guard the sub? Why are they not participating at all? Wouldn’t 008 be particularly useful in this situation, being a resistance fighter back home?

009, however, defeats many of the enemies and saves many people with his acceleration powers. He even gets one really awesome scene where he throws Ran up into the air and defeats a bunch of enemies while in acceleration mode and then catches her after he’s done.

It’s quite odd, too. It seemed for the longest time that Black Ghost thought the acceleration switch was the bees’ knees. They were putting it in every subsequent 00 Cyborg after 009, but once they started work on the Cyborgmen they just thought, what, that it’d be better to not put the acceleration switch in any of them or the Black Monsters and give them a massive tube on their faces as an obvious weak point?

When they arrive at the hideout, 007 is able to warn 009 and the others about the trap the Cyborgman has laid since he accidentally broke the helmet while punching 007 in the face. 009 rescues 007, but 004 tells 009 to step aside so he can take out the Cyborgman on his own. In a literal western-esque shootout, 004 does manage to take down the Cyborgman in one shot. Way to take back the badass reins, Albert.

With all the tech in the hideout, they’ve got everything they need to help 002. And thus our volume ends.

lighten up Ishinomori

Ah, I’m just kidding. I fight pain with humor.

—————————————–

Anyhoo, that was the Vietnam arc, and while it is quite depressing with, by far, the biggest body count of any Cyborg 009 story yet….it’s…kinda to be expected. It is the Vietnam war. Ishinomori was never really shy about his anti-war sentiments, and it really shines through here. Several moments throughout the volume are dedicated to highlighting the harsh realities of war both for the soldiers and the innocents who are caught in the crossfire.

That’s why I wish Ran hadn’t been completely removed from the story once they reached the camp. She had a decent story from an everyday villager perspective, but she’s just kinda forgotten about. She said herself that there was no safe place with the war going on, and even the camp proved to be a dangerous place with the robot snakes popping in, so we’re pretty much just left to assume Ran will live in fear and pain alone for however long until the war is over, and even that’s no guarantee. Which, when you think about it, is even more of a realistic slap in the face. Still, I wish she hadn’t just been abandoned like that.

Though we don’t get a lot of time with him, #11 (Ran’s brother)’s situation was equally sad. Immediately after losing his parents, he’s kidnapped by Black Ghost and turned into a cyborg who is forced to partake in the same war that took his parents’ lives while acknowledging that, even if he did escape, he’d never be able to live a normal life with his sister again. Then he turns on his comrades and kills himself all for his sister.

Then you have the soldiers casually discussing what BS it is that they have to fight in this war. One even mentions that he was a simple farmer before all this and that he detests having to kill and bloody his hands for politicians who can’t and wouldn’t take up arms themselves.

Also, make no mistake, the 00 Cyborgs didn’t end the Vietnam war or anything – they just destroyed everything that Black Ghost injected into it.

Back to the 00 Cyborgs, what a blow 002 took, eh? I remember gasping when that first happened in the anime, even though I knew he was a cyborg so he’d probably be okay. Still, he is human, and such an injury can definitely be devastating.

Also, it was cool to see 007 show off a new power, even if it didn’t help him not get captured. The nickname thing is being brought up a little more than I first thought it was. A volume or two ago, 007 kept referring to 004 as ‘The God of Death’ and it was just weird. He did it like a slip up. “God of Death—err, I mean 004.” Who does that? Usually, it’s the opposite, and done in a sarcastic manner. Like “Albert—err I mean ‘God of Death’”

Next Volume….

…..Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 4

Volume four starts with chapter fifteen – Empty War. Or as it’s known originally, Vacuum War – a change I’m perfectly okay with. I know the original title was meant to indicate the vacuum of space, but all I see when I hear that title is a bunch of Kirbys, Hoovers and Dirt Devils shooting each other on a bloodied battlefield. Plus, Empty War kinda sounds poetic.

This story is another one of the side stories from Separate Shonen King that ran while Cyborg 009 was being canceled from Weekly Shonen King.

We start with a plane being shot down by Black Ghost. In the debris, a robot is carrying an old man through the air, dodging the fire from the fighter planes and trying to keep him safe. He bumps into the submarine of the 00 Cyborgs, who offer him refuge from the Black Ghost planes. The robot’s name is JQ and he was designed by Dr. Yamazaki, the old man being rescued from the plane.

Yamazaki was originally an engineer at Black Ghost, but when he realized the evils they were doing he wanted no part in it any longer. He remembered how Gilmore and the escaped cyborgs were fighting to take Black Ghost down, so he also decided to leave with JQ and fight for justice. However, Black Ghost quickly found him out and attacked his plane as he was leaving.

Yamazaki reveals the terrifying news that Black Ghost is setting to launch an armed satellite that will be utilized by the countries of the world to shoot missiles at any corner of the globe. It’s being completed today, and he needs their help to stop them.

JQ, 009, 004, 006, 008 and 003 head out to stop the last two rockets heading to the base. While they’re unable to stop one rocket, they do manage to board the second, but they’re forced to leave 004 and 008 behind.

Having hijacked the rocket, rather easily, actually, they get as much important information out of the pilots as possible. Their rocket is merely for transport and isn’t armed, meaning they can’t use it to attack the base. That’s not the worst part, though – apparently the satellite base is only one of two weapons bases Black Ghost has set up in space. Another has been built on the moon.

They plan to destroy the satellite base by setting their rocket to self-destruct at the exact moment it hits the atomic core of the base, which will cause a chain reaction and destroy everything. They’re able to pull this off, but the moon base is another issue. Black Ghost will be on full alert after the satellite explosion, and they don’t have much of a plan to destroy the base in the first place.

JQ heads off on his own to attack the missiles right next to the control dome while 009 takes care of the cyborgs and robots being sent to their location. After the battle, 009, 3 and 6 go to the base to see what happened with JQ and they find the place in ruins. While there are still some rockets and missiles left standing, the place is completely empty and the control dome has been destroyed. JQ blew up four of the missiles simultaneously with his arms and legs, which destroyed the area, but JQ did not survive the blast.

And uh….it’s actually really abrupt. 003 is like “He’s gone. I see pieces of him everywhere.” 006 says “Poor JQ!” 009 says “He will be missed.” then we get one more shot of the rockets and the chapter’s over. That’s pretty disrespectful of JQ. The dude died trying to save the world and then it’s like ‘Press F to pay respects.’ and we just move on.

Overall, though, I wish the ending was a bit cleaner, but I did enjoy this chapter. I liked JQ and Dr. Yamazaki. I actually felt really bad when JQ was killed. He was a very noble and loyal robot, and I kinda liked his dynamic with Yamazaki, but alas, being a side story character, he was destined to die.

Oh except when he came back as a completely new character in the next chapter – A New Type of Bomb (Thunder and Lightning) or The Bomb Model “Raiden”

This story is a Frankenstein’d from Vacuum War and The Man in the High Castle. Almost all of the artwork is just lifted from those chapters with new writing being put in place to make a new story. I can’t find a solid reason as to why this story is the way it is. The best I’ve gathered is that Ishinomori was unhappy with how these stories initially went, or at least he was unhappy with how Vacuum War ended, so he made this story out of recycled panels and dialogue, but it only came out a few months after Vacuum War and The Man in the High Castle, and those stories are perfectly fine, in my opinion anyway. What went so wrong that he felt compelled to go back and ‘fix’ them, but not even really fix them because he didn’t remake either story, he just stitched the two together? Also, if speculation is correct, he never considered this to be canon either, so why bother?

To make matters worse, this story’s existence and placement in the magazine and subsequent collections, like the one I’m reading right now, make everything extremely confusing as to the timeline, the canonicity of the stories, even in their own little side-collection of stories, and the status of 007.

This story starts off with a plane being shot down by Black Ghost fighter planes. We see a robot in disguise, C-11, who is totally not JQ with a darker head, introduce himself to Dr. Yamaz—Kaminari. C-11 was originally sent there to kill Kaminari, but he has defected from Black Ghost and plans to save him instead – and save him he does.

Meanwhile, on the Cyborgs’ submarine, they catch wind of the news of the attack while simultaneously getting the news that his granddaughter, the Prime Minister’s daughter from chapter fourtee—I mean not her – was kidnapped. He was working on a weapon called Thunder and Lightning which would send snowflake shaped nanomachines into the sky and explode. He didn’t work for Black Ghost, but they wanted his weapon, which he wouldn’t hand over. So, of course, they sent a killer robot to kill him in his plane while also planning on shooting down his plane, almost certainly killing him….WHILE kidnapping his granddaughter? Well, that’s doesn’t make any sense.

They do get information on the location of Black Ghost’s base from the recon dolphins they spot outside, but they don’t reuse the dolphin ‘torture’ scene from chapter fifteen.

The base infiltration scene is lifted entirely from Vacuum War, barring some new shots of 007 and 5. Then when we get outside, it’s back to chapter fourteen and now, despite being shown as an adult about a page prior, 007 is a child again because he was a child in chapter fourteen. Also, despite the fact that we were near Japan all of a page ago, we’re suddenly in some snowy tundra because that’s where we were in chapter fourteen. They explain away the snow by reminding us that the weapon he created uses nanomachines that, for some reason, look like snowflakes.

Also, somehow, despite escaping the planes and Black Ghost with C-11, Kaminari was captured off-screen, I guess?

We get a repeat of Lil’ 007 knocking some guy out as a snowman, and this entire fight scene was ripped from chapter fourteen. Because they’re recovering Kaminari here, they redraw the shot that was originally 002 giving 007 and 009 a lift over the electric barrier to showing 002 grabbing Kaminari and lifting him up.

One of the kidnappers activates the weapon, which causes the snow to explode….but I’m 99% certain it’s just repeat shots of the electric barrier from chapter fourteen.

Anyway, 007 had a growth spurt due to the weapon because he’s now back to being an adult again. Back on the sub – by the way, the other cyborgs saved his granddaughter off-panel – Kaminari explains that his prototype for the weapon wasn’t ready, but he knew he needed to deliver something to them or else they’d kill his granddaughter, so he loaded up the place with gunpowder and, when the snow exploded, so did the base.

009 tells him to use his brilliant intellect for good now, and the story ends.

….So…I had to go back and see what happened because the introduction scene is really confusing. I guess C-11 died in a missile explosion while trying to cause a distraction? They don’t really make it clear. There’s a final panel before we cut to the cyborgs where there’s a black blotch on the ocean floor and I honestly couldn’t tell if that was meant to be C-11’s body or part of it. Also, despite the pilot of one of the Black Ghost planes saying “He’s gone.” I guess that was when Kaminari was spotted by the Black Ghost planes, somehow, and taken away. How did they see him in that barrel? They couldn’t last time.

I don’t really get why Ishinomori made this story. If you ask me, it’s just a very sloppy retelling/chimera of two solid standalone stories. If Ishinomori really was unhappy about how Vacuum War ended, he should have just redone the story from scratch instead of making this because it almost feels like he missed a deadline and just threw this together. It’s not terrible, but I’d much rather take the other two stories on their own.

The next chapter, the 00 Cyborgs are attacked in their sub while Black Ghost utilizes all of their undersea friends – I mean fearsome creatures to attack them including their signature recon dolphins, swarms of regular fish, a manta ray with cameras for eyes, attack sharks, TIGER SHARK MISSILES which are exactly what you think they are, and a giant octopus which tries to crush their sub. I love this series with all my heart.

After 009, 008 and 005 take down the pursuing Black Ghost sub, with 009 hitching a ride on a sea turtle (How can you not love that imagery?) they chart a course for the Indo-China Peninsula because Gilmore had heard rumors that Black Ghost is funding a superhuman guerrilla unit for the Viet Cong in the civil war with Laos. They must head there, investigate and take down Black Ghost if they’re involved.

003 suddenly bursts out that she doesn’t want to go. She’s seen enough killing and destruction, and she wants it to end. Gilmore reminds her of the grim truth, however. They have to stop Black Ghost at all costs or else they’ll perpetuate war and bring about the destruction of the world. They’re the only ones who have a chance at taking them down.

But enough of that, it’s time to be attacked by an army of jellyfish and a plesiosaur! This crazy train ain’t stoppin’. The jellyfish are, somehow, draining all of the power from the sub. When 008 and 9 investigate, they spot a frickin’ plesiosaur who wants to destroy the sub among the mass of jellyfish.

009 gets attacked by the jellyfish, and all of his energy gets drained by them, but 008 saves him and returns him to the sub. 009 is okay, but they have to figure out how to get out of this jam……or jelly….fish. 😀

They decide to forcibly wake 001 up from his deep slumber, and he uses his psychic powers to power the sub manually and move the sub away from the jellyfish. However, the plesiosaur continues to pursue them. 005 decides to fight it, and he RIPS THE THING APART WITH HIS BARE HANDS. 005 needs more spotlight pronto.

They manage to get a sample from the plesiosaur and two of the jellyfish. After analyzing the jellyfish, Gilmore realizes that they weren’t modified by Black Ghost. Their insane power-draining abilities are a result of nuclear bomb tests performed underwater during the war. Realizing that war creates just as much suffering in the environment as it does in the lives of everyday people, the 00 Cyborgs reaffirm their resolve to stop Black Ghost and end war.

We then get a prologue that leads us into chapter eighteen. It philosophizes on the nature of man, violence and war while showing a depiction of war throughout history from the times of cavemen to the 20th century. It’s quite troubling, especially when Ishinomori starts showing images such as tanks driving right next to a dead body, someone running up to hug the body in despair and someone getting executed via firing squad. I was going to take a potshot at 003 for suddenly bursting out like that because I felt like it was another instance where she was just being ‘the girl’ of the group and getting overly emotional, wanting to quit, but after reading this section, I don’t think such a thing is warranted.

It is a little irritating that 003 was singled out for that scene, but I can completely understand why any of them would want to quit after everything they’ve seen, especially if no end seems to be in sight for them. And 003 does have to see and hear the horrible details of everything they go through. Many times, she has to sense things that the others can’t see or hear. In that regard, I feel pretty bad for her.

The prologue ends with us arriving in Vietnam – the US forces rolling up and destroying a bunch of stuff before one of the tanks gets destroyed by a strange man in a full-body black suit driving a weird black domed tank.

Chapter eighteen starts, and we get more backstory on the situation, questioning why the American troops were having such difficulty taking on the Viet Cong. It’s chalked up to either the Viet Cong using the confusing terrain to their advantage since American troops aren’t used to fighting in these dense jungles, the American troops being unable to discern between North and South Vietnamese people, which allowed the north to deceive them OR….Cyborgs, robots and super tanks that turn into robot spiders.

See what happens when you fall asleep in history class, kids? You miss all the cool robot spiders.

Anyway, it uses its buzzsaw arms, because, yes, it has those too, to cut a pathway through the jungle. And then it uses its suction cup feet to climb up a rockface.

This thing is really sick. Just look at the blueprints.

It’s awesome.

The man in black gives the tank to the leader of the Viet Cong unit without any compensation and leaves. Joe, GB and Albert are watching all of this from the shadows, but they suddenly trip a booby trap, and that’s where volume four ends.

——————————-

All in all….this volume was…okay. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but this volume just didn’t have a lot going for it. Most of it was filler a la forcibly included side stories. This doesn’t mean the stories were inherently bad just because they were filler – I quite enjoyed the story with JQ – but the second story was just a recycled confusing okay story at best.

The only true saving grace of this volume was the storyline with all of the awesome undersea creatures Black Ghost was utilizing – plus the super mutated jellyfish and the PLESIOSAUR, that weren’t even created by Black Ghost. That chapter was just buckets of fun, even if it ended on a downer note.

Right when we get back into the thick of things, the volume ends.

The volume wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it wasn’t quite as the same level as some of the previous volumes.

Next Volume…..

……Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 4 Review | Alt. Title: Literally Everyone is Awful

Plot: The continuing stories of Hell Girl….

Chapter 14: Melody of Sorrow

Uhm….wow. This was one of the more ridiculously over done chapters we’ve ever seen on Hell Girl.

Seriously, it went down to supervillain-esque levels of muahahaha-evil.

Yui has a step-dad, Junichiro, whom she really loves. He’s a sweet guy who always supports her and she loves him just like a real dad. According to her parents, her real dad ditched her mother and her when she was three because he wracked up a lot of debt.

Yui’s class volunteers her to play piano for a singing contest at their school in a few weeks. She really liked the piano as a little kid, but stopped playing. The instant she picks it back up, her step-dad flips his shit and demands she stop learning and tell the class to find another pianist. She’s shocked at his drastic change in demeanor, but her mom encourages her to continue learning as long as she keeps it a secret from him.

Inevitably, he finds out, and holy shit sundae, he goes berserk. He slaps her across the face and locks her in her room for days, obviously not allowing her to practice piano anymore, but also not allowing her to go to school or even eat. When her friends show up to check on her, he verbally reams them for encouraging her to play piano and shoos them off. When her mother tries to sneak some food to her, he slaps her across the face for going behind his back.

After however many days, he finally has a conversation with Yui about why he’s so upset. Get ready….This guy’s a fucking lunatic.

He shows her the picture that was in her piano practice book that her mother gave her. It was a picture of her mother and her biological father, Tadase. Her father was a piano genius and was on a fast-track to big success as a pianist. Meanwhile, Junichiro was always jealous of him because he couldn’t play nearly as well. He only got more jealous when Tadase got married and had a kid.

Junipsycho pretended to be her dad’s close friend for years in college as a part of his master plan – yes, this is actually a ‘master plan’ situation – he was going to wrack up a bunch of debt in Tadase’s name, kill him and then throw his body in the river, claiming he ran off to avoid debt collectors. Meanwhile, he’d swoop in, marry Yui’s mother and become Yui’s step-father.

No, I’m not kidding, and the crazy doesn’t stop there.

I guess even the simple act of trying to learn piano was enough to get him livid about Yui possibly becoming as skilled as her father. However, even he knows he can’t keep her imprisoned forever, so he agrees to let her be free….as long as he can ensure that she never plays piano again.

The only way to do that?

SLICE OFF HER FUCKING FINGERS WITH A BUTCHER KNIFE!

As he’s about to strike, he accidentally stabs her mother in the back as she rushes in to protect her daughter. He doesn’t give a damn about anything happening right now and really seems like he’s going to kill both of them.

Luckily, Yui contacted Hell Girl earlier and decides to pull the string to save her mother’s life.

The hell torture is rather predictable, but fitting. He’s tied up and forced to play piano in hell for all eternity.

Yui’s mother’s going to pull through, and Yui decides she wants to strive to become an amazing pianist just like her father, no matter if she’s damned for hell after she dies.

Just…wow. That was so ridiculous. We’ve definitely seen supervillain-esque targets on Hell Girl before, but this guy takes the cake. He’s managed to keep his cool for about ten years to the point where Yui would never suspect him of killing a fly, but the instant she says she’s trying to learn piano for a school event he suddenly can’t keep himself from viciously violent outbursts of insane proportions. Hell, for all he knew she sucked too and he had nothing to worry about. Piano skill isn’t genetic. He’s not even a practicing pianist anymore, why would he care? Just because he doesn’t want to be reminded of Tadase?

Chapter 15: Puppy Waltz

Stop with the stories of animal abuse in this franchise! They’re not pleasant to read, even if the asshole goes to hell. And they’re all basically the same story anyway. Stop it!

I’ll spare you the story – bitch abuses, neglects and kills her dogs, nearly kills client’s dog, nearly gets client mauled by dogs, somewhat-ish happy ending for client, implied Ai helped her dog survive an attack, target can suck on battery acid through a straw made of used hypodermic needles in hell. The end.

I hope that’s the last animal abuse story I have to sit through as I finish off this franchise, because I am reaching my limit.

Chapter 16: Beautiful Friendship

This.

Chapter.

Is.

Dumb.

I wish I could just leave it at that, but considering I just screwed you out of a proper review of the last chapter, I’ll talk about this one.

Makoto and her best friend, Tsuho, are planning to go to karaoke with the other girls in their class. Tsuho decides to invite Tomita. She’s a quiet glasses girl who mostly keeps to herself, typically spending her time reading manga or being on the internet…..*looks in mirror*…..Are they spying on me?

Tomita doesn’t respond to Tsuho, not even when she yanks her book out of her hands and mocks her for liking manga, claiming she’ll never get a boyfriend if she doesn’t stop reading stuff like that.

Makoto grabs the book back from her and tells her to stop making Tomita feel bad.

This must have been translated in Tsuho’s head as the absolute most offensive thing she has ever heard in her 14-ish years of life, because she immediately runs out of the room screaming to her friends that Makoto is uninvited from karaoke. In addition to that, the next day, Makoto finds that everyone in class is ignoring her and treating her like garbage when they actually do pay her mind. All because she was nice to Tomita….

Keep in mind, Tsuho was technically or seemingly trying to be nice to Tomita when she went over there. She was inviting her out to karaoke and she didn’t appear to be kidding, but then she quickly started being a jerk. It’s not like the class hates Tomita for any real reason, either. They just mock her and made her an outcast because, by their standards, she’s weird.

Tsuho keeps calling Makoto a hypocrite, which I thought meant we’d get some reveal where Makoto used to bully Tsuho when they were really young or whatever….Nope. It’s just….something she keeps saying for some reason.

Now, in most other stories like this, Makoto would probably become good friends with Tomita and one of them would have to inevitably send Tsuho to hell because she’s being such a c-bag.

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnope.

Turns out, Tomita’s a total bitch too. See, if there’s one thing you need to know about this chapter is that everyone – every, single, person – is awful. There’s not a nice person in this entire chapter except Makoto. It’s like there was a zombie virus outbreak, but instead of people turning into zombies they turn into assholes, and Makoto was born with an immunity in her blood.

Tomita believes her only friends are on the internet, who express that they have similar problems, but they’re also negative towards each other in suggesting things like committing suicide. Tomita also says she doesn’t care if her ‘friends’ on the internet are assholes, because she can just delete whatever they say to her. Still, Makoto extends an olive branch, but Tomita swats it away. She tells her they have nothing in common, she never asked for her help in the first place and to never talk to her again.

Makoto is shocked, and she continues to get bullied to even worse extents. I don’t know why Makoto is getting all this harassment. Tomita is also outcast, but throughout this entire chapter she’s pretty much left alone barring that one incident at the start, and that was very mild bullying compared to what Makoto is getting.

The bullying gets so bad (and she can’t tell her mom because reasons) that she decides to join the forum that Tomita was on before. It’s a forum for victims of bullying, so she believes she can find some kindred spirits there, even if there are assholes. One of the messages she finds suggests visiting Hell Correspondence to ferry their tormentor to hell. She decides to call Hell Girl on Tsuho, but she’s apprehensive to pull the string.

She becomes even more apprehensive when one of the girls who has been bullying her musters up the courage to greet her. Then she immediately runs off yelling to not tell Tsuho she did it. Uhm….is Tsuho a high school mob boss? Why does she seemingly have all of this power over the other girls to the point where they’re terrified of what she’ll do if she finds out they had the audacity to tell someone on their blacklist “Morning.”?

After this, Makoto thinks there’s some hope for things to go back to normal. She even greets the class when she walks in, and, even though she is met mostly with cold stares and silence, some of the girls do smile back at her.

At lunch, she tries to sit with the others, but Tsuho trips her and has a big tantrum, asking her what she said or did to the other girls. She tells Makoto she’s “ruining the mood for everyone” and that she’s annoying. Makoto tries to plead for Tsuho to take her back, claiming she’ll better herself if she’s always found her to be annoying – as long as she gets her friends back, she doesn’t care.

Makoto: “I think you’re my best friend!”

This line is met with Tsuho splashing her drink all over Makoto as she’s on the floor.

Tsuho: “I thought you were my friend. But you stood up for Tomita-san. So why aren’t you friends with her instead?!”

‘I thought you were my friend, but then you had to stop my mild bullying of a person who has seemingly never done anything to me before! And that is unforgivable!’

Even in the face of everything Tsuho has done and is doing right now, Makoto still pleads for her to put that behind them and make up. And then everything immediately shifts from devilbitch!Tsuho to this.

And that was immediately followed by me saying this.

Like, seriously, what the hell? How are we supposed to believe for a single microsecond that this harpy is actually now sorry for everything she did? I mean, I guess she does change her personality on a dime, considering how drastically it changed in the start, but this is just ridiculous. Tsuho trips her because she thinks she might be winning some of the girls over again, splashes a drink all over her when she calls her her best friend and then screams that, indeed, her major sin was STANDING UP FOR SOMEONE TSUHO WAS BULLYING, and then it’s just “Oh, Makoto, I’m sorry. :’(“

But they have to at least attempt to make us feel even a little sad for Tsuho….considering the very next shot is of her being sent to hell by Tomita.

Yup, Tomita, possibly breaking the rules of Hell Girl, I’m not sure, also called Hell Girl on Tsuho, but she actually pulled the string. Tomita is ecstatic about what she’s done and rushes off to tell her friends on the internet.

Later, we discover that Tomita hasn’t been to school since that happened, though we never find out why. I also find it very hilarious that they’re calling her a freak for spending a bunch of time on the internet. My, how times have changed. Makoto tells herself that there will be people she’ll want to get rid of in the future, but she’ll never visit Hell Correspondence again.

And the moral of the story is that everyone’s garbage.

I’m not even really exaggerating here. The bullies come off as assholes, of course, Tsuho comes off as ridiculously petty and evil, and even the bullied parties come off looking bad. Tomita’s a bitter psychopath, the people on that bullying forum were the same, and Makoto is just flatout pathetic. She’s really on the floor on her hands and knees BEGGING to be taken back by a girl who has done nothing but make her life a nightmare ever since she did something as minor as just pointing out that she’s making someone else feel bad.

Tsuho had the entire class turn against Makoto, kept verbally harassing her and calling her a hypocrite, she got her in trouble with her teachers, the class wrote horrible stuff about her on her papers, she was told that no one wanted her around, Tsuho knocked her down and splashed her drink all over her – but yeah, sure, she definitely sounds like someone I’d like to go back to being friends with. Why don’t we go see a movie? I hear “I’m a Huge Basket of Ass: The Tsuho Story” is playing.

I’ve had bad fights with friends before, to the point where we stopped being friends, and then we made up, but never to anywhere near this level, and groveling was never part of the picture. It sends a bad message, too. You can forgive someone for treating you like crap if you want, people make mistakes, and as long as they show effort in bettering themselves, then it can all be good, but begging someone like this to go back to being your friend? And acting like YOU’RE the problem and YOU need to change to be less ‘annoying’?

This is clearly a toxic relationship. Even if Tsuho wasn’t sent to hell, I can imagine Makoto would never be able to continue being her friend without living in constant fear of somehow pissing her off and earning her wrath once more.

It would have been better if Makoto decided to continue with what she was doing and try to get the other girls to cool it and befriend her again, because it’s clear that at least some of them were acting out of fear of whatever Tsuho would do to them. Then maybe all the girls could realize they were being foolish, see what a terrible person Tsuho is and ostracize her instead. But nope.

Tsuho didn’t deserve a drop of any sort of redemption they were trying to give her in the end. Just because you go ‘boo hoo’ and have her say ‘sorry’ when she’s been gleefully tormenting Makoto this entire time doesn’t make up for a damn thing. She’s a terrible person, and I have no qualms with her being in hell.

Not saying I liked what Tomita did, though, because she embodies the opposite extreme of the stereotype of the crazy bullied kid (Bonus stereotype points: Is a nerd who spends too much time on the internet and reads comics/manga) who ends up murdering their tormentor. The fact that she’s so giddy about it is equally cringey. This series is no stranger to enjoying revenge, but the only thing Tsuho did to her was be rude to her. Sure, she’s also an outcast, but it’s clear that she doesn’t even want anyone else to fraternize with her.

Chapter 17: Fake Hell Correspondence

Ending on a brief note since this chapter reflects a story told in the anime. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad note since the episode in question was one of my favorite Hell Girl episodes, The Fake Hell Link. Pretty much everything in this chapter is the same as the anime, barring the differences in names (Shouko Baba is Akiko Hayashi here. Ikami Waka is Sanae Shiraishi here. And finally, Mami Kuriyama/Manaka is Ochiai/Nishikawa here.) and some minor things like Kuriyama had actually tried to use Hell Link before and learned firsthand that she needed to damn her own soul to make it work, but Ochiai didn’t. She just heard the stipulation through rumors, but other than that, spot on.

I don’t think I was in the right mind to enjoy it as much, though, because I was still reeling from the previous chapter.

————————————

And that was the end of volume four!

………It wasn’t that good. Only one story in this entire volume was actually worth anything, and I’m not sure I can give it full marks since it’s mirroring an anime episode. Chapter 14 takes second place in that regard, but it’s difficult to even take that chapter seriously because of how overly evil they made her step-dad.

With the animal abuse chapter coupled with the stupidity of the bully chapter, it’s just not a good volume overall. To make matters worse, we’re also introduced to Kikuri in this volume. Joy. She only shows up looming in the background of one panel, but she’s formally ‘introduced’ in the omake at the end of the volume. So, yeah, from now on we have to deal with Kikuri. Oh well, at least we don’t have to listen to her….

Next Volume….

….Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 3

So immediately following the end of the last volume where 009 said he didn’t want to hitch a ride on the train because it would slow him down, volume three has 009 immediately jumping on the train and exclaiming “Wow! This thing is really fast!” Guess Joe changes his mind in a blink of an eye too.

0012’s remaining servants, barring one, make quick work of the goons who were trying to steal Kozumi’s potion, and we learn that the fourth member of their team is a seemingly ‘slow’ individual who speaks mostly in mutters. However, he also appears to be kind since he removes Kozumi’s gag, much to the annoyance of the other servants.

Joe enjoys his return to Tokyo, but he quickly realizes that walking around in a bright red outfit with a long yellow scarf is a bit too noticeable, so he heads to his old friend, Scar Nose Yasu’s, house to borrow some less conspicuous clothing. Yasu is more than welcoming of his old friend, insisting to go out and get some food and drinks for him. Problem is, he quickly realizes he has no money.

The mysterious member of the servant group comes around the corner with some bread and milk, which is good news for Yasu who quickly tries to strongarm the groceries from him.

Joe stops him, however, and gives back the groceries back to the guy. Being surprisingly understanding after nearly getting robbed, he happily insists that they both eat some bread and milk with him. They accept, but they’re soon interrupted by the other three servants who attack Joe.

009 is able to defeat Scarecrow, who commits suicide by swallowing his tongue, but right as the other two arrive, the mysterious member starts acting strangely. His eyes are finally revealed from under his hair, and he seems more serious and disturbed than before. He tells Joe one thing before taking the initiative and leaving with the other servants – “Thirteen.”

Throughout the past handful of pages, we’ve been intersecting to a massive humanoid robot in the middle of the sea. It destroys a ship and is later seen suddenly emerging from underground to rendezvous with the other servants. It dumps Kozumi from the car into its body and uses him as a hostage. When 009 arrives, he deduces that this giant robot is the 0013 he’s been hearing about.

009 has an incredibly destructive battle with the robot, who can not only burrow underground like a mole, but he can also detect objects above with electromagnetic sensors. 0013 can also cause massive earthquakes, has an accelerator, though it’s not as fast as 009’s, and is aiming to demolish all of Tokyo from the inside out. It even goes into the city itself to reduce the chance of military interference.

The robot very nearly kills Joe, but opts to spare him this time. He reveals that he’s repaying the kindness that Joe showed him earlier. He’s lived a harrowing life, so he truly appreciates the gesture. Joe deduces that the robot is actually being controlled by the mysterious member of the servant group – the real 0013.

Joe rushes through the incredibly heartbreaking destruction of Tokyo, even rescuing a little toddler who was crying over the crushed body of her mother. With the child still in his arms, Joe makes a plea to 0013 to stop his robot since innocent people are being killed. And if he won’t stop the robot, at least agree to travel to a more void area where they won’t hurt anyone with their battle. 0013 struggles, but Machine Gun isn’t willing to listen to any of this, so he shoots at them. In a cold display, he even says he doesn’t care about the baby in his arms and that she’ll make a fine cyborg. WOW.

Before he can continue his assault, 0013 lops off Machine Gun’s gun arm with a karate chop. Realizing he’s turned on them, Roentgen attempts to attack him, but Joe strikes him down.

Machine Gun tries to kill 0013 with a regular gun, but 0013 karate chops him in the neck, sending him flying down the flight of stairs they’re on, breaking his neck and killing him.

Joe is delighted to see 0013 revolt, but it seems 0013 still wants to fight. He directs Joe to put the girl down first so she won’t be hurt. Joe tries, but the girl is simply too scared. 0013 tries to cheer her up by making silly faces and offering her candy. She smiles, and 0013 takes her from Joe and brings her to a swing set so she can enjoy her candy and have fun swinging.

Joe and 0013 start fighting right there, accelerated so they’re only barely noticeable to the little girl. While the giant robot may have only been able to go about mach 1, the real 0013 is able to go at speeds much faster than 009 to the point where it seems like there are multiples of him.

Their fight ensues, but is soon interrupted by Roentgen, who was blinded by 009 after breaking his cybernetic eyes. Using his heightened sense of hearing, he’s able to find where 0013 and 009 are fighting and strike 0013 on the back with a few slashes of his blade, even while they’re accelerated. 0013 is not pleased by this and smacks him in the head so hard that it kills him.

Joe wants to stop the bloodshed, but before he can get a good shot at 0013, his giant robot shows up. Joe is forced to hold the little girl again, meaning he can’t accelerate (because normal humans can’t handle his speed without dying.) 0013 enters the robot, and all seems lost for 009 until 0013 retrieves Kozumi and releases him.

He doesn’t wish to cause anymore unnecessary bloodshed. He’s finally done with fighting.

We learn of 0013’s truly tragic story. Black Ghost designed him to be fully in tune with this robot, to a point where it’s extremely detrimental for him. First of all, while he can control the robot with his brain waves, he lost the ability to speak. The robot, known as 13 Robo, acted as his mouthpiece. Every thought he had was turned into speech through the robot.

But that’s not all. Black Ghost must have realized what a flight risk he was, so they installed a failsafe in 13 Robo. If he betrayed Black Ghost, the robot was rigged to explode. Realizing that 13 Robo would explode soon, he told 009 and the other cyborgs, who arrived really late to the party and did nothing, to flee.

Joe pleads with him to escape, but he refuses. Either to get the robot further away to lessen the damage or because, like the others, he believed he must die, 0013 insists on staying behind. Hearing one final plea from Joe at the last second spurs 0013 to at least try to make an escape, but he fails.

As he lay on the ground dying he writes “I wanted to become friends.” in the dirt. Joe assures him that they are friends. The little girl hops down to the ground and grabs 0013’s hand. He smiles one last time before his hand falls and he finally passes away.

Joe laments the loss of his friend and becomes more enraged than ever at Black Ghost. He vows to never stop fighting them until they’ve been destroyed and 0013 has been avenged.

I’ve always loved this plotline, and it never fails to choke me up. 0013 is such a brief character yet he makes a lasting impact. In fact, in the 2001 anime, in the end credits, a mockup of 0013 wearing the 00 Cyborg uniform was included as part of the collection of drawings of the main team, like he was spiritually with them.

It always felt like 0013 was more of a hostage of Black Ghost than any Cyborg before him. 0010 Plus and Minus didn’t really have any actual reason for being loyal to them, especially since they robbed them of the ability to have any physical contact with their own twin brother. 0011 was probably the closest example, but he was more tricked than he was held hostage. 0012 seemed to greatly enjoy her power and tormenting the other cyborgs. With 0013, he was forced into obeying.

His hostage situation was basically lose-lose. It’s either allow the robot to cause massive amounts of death and destruction/cause massive amounts of destruction yourself or betray Black Ghost…and cause massive amounts of death and destruction. Granted, at least in the latter, he could die doing the least amount of damage (not killing any of the 00 Cyborgs and stopping the robot’s rampage as well as redeeming himself in the process) as he did here,

Even though I love his story, it’s not entirely perfect. Why did Black Ghost only put a bomb in 13 Robo? Why not put a bomb or termination device in 0013 too? Putting the bomb in 13 Robo without putting anything in 0013 himself to kill him means he could have lived and stayed on the side of the other Cyborgs (and remember, he still has an even better accelerator than 009, and he has an insanely powerful karate chop technique.) Black Ghost had to bank on 0013 being too selfless and honorable to let 13 Robo explode while also sacrificing himself.

Why didn’t they just make 0013 the robot himself? They’ve already shown they’re more than willing to put human brains into giant robots and even sentient houses, so why not put 0013’s brain in the robot instead of having them be two separate beings? How is that a benefit to them, especially since the servants were always complaining about how useless he was? None of this is really a big plot hole or issue or anything, but I’m just wondering what logistics went into those decisions.

Next chapter, we’re starting off a new storyline. 004, 007 and 009 are battling with a fighter plane to help protect Dr. Dolphin and his daughter, Iruka. And yes, that means her name is Iruka Dolphin, or literally Dolphin Dolphin.

I first thought this was an error by Tokyopop, but according to the good folks at Cyborg 009’s Fandom page, Iruka really was Ishinomori’s intended name for her, and some translations opted to change her name to Cynthia to avoid this redundancy. Why did he name her that to begin with? I have no idea. I have a feeling it might have just been a placeholder name until he came up with something else, but he never did….or maybe the dude just really liked dolphins, I dunno. The submarine that the 00 Cyborgs get later is even called The Dolphin and Black Ghost uses dolphin spies……*shrug* Dolphins are cool, though, so I get it.

004 manages to shoot down the plane with his machine gun hand, but there’s a weird tank just around the corner. 004 and 007 are felled by the tank after it sends out a strange signal. After ensuring the doctor’s and Iruka’s safety, 009 heads over to see what’s happening and is also felled by the sound.

Cut to some time in the past where we see 004 shoot at leaves with his dart fingers. Hey, they came back up again! Yay! Inside the house, 007 is practicing some Shakespeare while Joe is reading comics. They get a call from Dr. Gilmore and head out.

On the way, they explain that Professor Dolphin is an old friend of his who lives in Yokohama. Gilmore went to his house, which has this weird sign out front that says “His joke fell flat.”

Cyborg 009 VOL3 SCREEN1
????????

but when he got there, he was smacked with the butt of a gun and Dolphin was kidnapped.

They find a note from the kidnappers telling them to not call the police otherwise Dolphin dies. And it’s signed NN with a swastika.

Dr. Dolphin was kidnapped by Neo Nazis. If you didn’t expect that, congratulations, you’re everyone.

Joe takes Iruka to her dorm to get some of her things so she can stay at Kozumi’s house with everyone else in order to keep her safe while they save her father. On the drive, Iruka explains that she doesn’t know anything about her father’s work besides the fact that he has built many massive robots. He was also so entranced in his work that he constantly neglected her, even forgetting her birthday. She started resenting machines, robots and even her father.

They’re suddenly stopped in the road and gas attacked by a group of men. Iruka is quickly knocked out, but Joe is resistant to the gas due to his cybernetics. He swiftly takes out all of the men and saves Iruka. Joe tries to question one who isn’t knocked out, but he swallows a cyanide pill and dies. What is with the last handful of chapters and people just peacing out the instant anything happens?

Joe contacts 004 and 007 to tell them what happened. They come up with a new plan – let Iruka be taken by the thugs. Joe doesn’t like the idea because he doesn’t want to put her in danger, but he agrees because he knows it’s the best way to find Dr. Dolphin.

Later, the thugs wake up with Iruka unconscious in front of them, They believe Joe must’ve accidentally fallen over the side of the cliff, so they decide to take her and run. They spot the guy who committed suicide, believe he must’ve done it on accident and just chuck his body over the side of the cliff. Who would’ve thunk Neo Nazis would be heartless assholes?

Following a tracking device hidden in Iruka’s watch, the trio follows her to a runway where a plane is waiting. Not wanting her to be loaded onto the plane, because they can’t follow her that way, the group decides to strike, but not for the reasons you’d think. They mostly distract the group and sneak onboard so they can follow her to the main base. On the way, they discover that 007 forgot to pack their super guns, and apparently the place they’re heading to is really cold.

Now. I need you all to prepare yourselves for what I’m about to convey to you. I promise you, with all my heart, I am not kidding when I say any of this. This is happening. Okay? Okay. You ready? Let’s do this.

They land the plane, and outside they see….

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a bunch of giant penguins doing the Heil Hitler salute….

I will give you a break so you have time to parse that information.

Isn’t it glorious? Bask in the everything that is amazing about this. I get to review a manga that literally has the line “Nazi Penguin costumes, eh?” The Neo Nazis decided to dress up as penguins for reasons my brain cannot begin to process.

They are in Antarctica, I think anyway, but this still makes no sense. Even if there were a lot of people around in ANTARCTICA they wouldn’t be fooled by giant man-sized penguins….who are heiling Hitler! And if they would be…..is that some sort of commentary on penguins!?

I haven’t watched March of the Penguins in a long time. Is there a deleted scene with Morgan Freeman narrating the penguins as they partake in their daily reading of Mein Kampf? But they removed it after backlash from the penguin community?! They could have SS lightning bolt tattoos on their bodies. We wouldn’t know. THEY HAVE FEATHERS!

I can’t stop laughing. It’s too hilarious for this world. What was Ishinomori on when he wrote this? And where can I get some?

*sigh*….This is a beautiful day.

004 and 009 grab some of the penguin costumes to blend in, which means we also get them going undercover as nazi penguins….I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying life right now.

The leader brings out Professor Dolphin and asks him about the missing component of the Mad Machine Mark One, which is presumably the tank from the beginning of the chapter. There was one major component Dolphin didn’t map out on the schematics they stole, and they can’t make it work without it. However, Dolphin, knowing how powerful the machine is, would rather die than give them that information. As leverage, they use Iruka instead.

They get the information from him, and 004 and 009 use that opportunity to attack and retake Dolphin and Iruka. They escape on a plane, but it’s shot down. The other fighter plane swoops in, and we cut to right where we left off before. All of the cyborgs are down for the count, and the Neo Nazis come in to claim their prizes, but the cyborgs come back in full force. 004 uses his leg missile to blow up the tank, and that’s that.

Dolphin relays why he made these machines in the first place. During the war, his wife had been badly injured by a rocket strike. She had lost a leg and burnt her face beyond recognition. She went from being a happy, lighthearted person to a dark and gloomy individual. Not even giving birth to their daughter brightened her any – in fact, it tipped her over the edge. She never wanted their daughter to see her disfigured face, so she killed herself.

….Quite the tone change from the nazi penguins…..*cough*

As a result, Dolphin dedicated his life to creating machines that would drive the men who operated them insane – hence the Mad Machine Mark One. His machines were always intended on working against war machines. Iruka happily and tearfully embraces her father, gleeful that he also harbored hatred for machines….

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand this all too much. So…he made a machine that was a weapon that would drive the people who used it insane…but…it didn’t do that. The Neo Nazis weren’t negatively affected – only the cyborgs were. And…you made a machine that would make the operators go insane?….Wouldn’t that make them do even worse stuff because they’re, ya know, insane now? You don’t make any sense, man.

Iruka then says “Machines are evil…” which is Tokyopop’s doing again – the original line was just her saying “Machines…” while looking scared.

Iruka and Joe give each other a pensive look. Throughout the chapter, it had been hinted that Joe liked Iruka romantically, but now she knows he’s part machine, and it’s obvious that that’s something she can’t overlook.

Joe, Albert and GB head off back home to reunite with everyone else. And the Neo Nazi penguins were never seen again. 😦

In the next part of our story, the cyborgs and Dr. Gilmore head out from Japan, fearing it’s become too dangerous with Black Ghost back on their tail. They bid Kozumi a fond farewell, and we get this hilaradorable shot of 005 carrying 001 and Gilmore on his shoulders.

Cyborg 009 VOL3 Screen2

Our next chapter, and yes the previous one was just them leaving, is called The Man with the Expensive Castle. Apparently, this was supposed to be called The Man in the High Castle to be a reference to the novel of the same name, but Tokyopop changed it to this stupid one because I dunno. Copyright worries, maybe? I dunno.

Anyway, masked men with jetpacks are kidnapping a little girl who turns out to the be the Prime Minister’s daughter.

The cyborgs catch wind of this and report back….which is when we meet, whom I refer to as……..*sigh* Lil’ 007.

Cyborg 009 VOL3 Screen3

Okay, some backstory. Around the release of volume three came the first film adaptation of the series, which is great! The producers of the movie wanted some manga promotion, so Ishinomori wrote this specific story to tie into the story of the movie. He was fine with doing that, but they wanted one more thing. They wanted to change 007 into a nine-year-old kid (though he honestly looks like he’s three or four) to help sell the movie to kids.

Reportedly, Ishinomori didn’t want to do this and hated the change, but was basically forced into doing it by his editor. Initially, he wrote this change as 007’s default form de-aging due to him shape-shifting so much, and, no, that doesn’t make any sense, but go along with it. However, this change didn’t stick forever. He would eventually change back to his adult form without barely a mention of it, though he would occasionally slip back into child form for one reason or another for sporadic amounts of time – it’s really inconsistent and confusing.

Despite the change being forced and hated by Ishinomori, it was apparently quite popular with fans so he made it into a character for a gag series called Cyborg-Chan of which I can find really no information or images. All I know is that it was about a cyborg boy whose power was transformation, exactly like 007.

I thought this change was just stupid. I didn’t really hate it because 007 was already the comic relief so he didn’t act too differently when he was Lil’ 007, but just the fact that they now had a little kid around was annoying on a visual level, and I am very aware the cast includes a literal baby. Instead of having a goofy bald dude in his 30s making sarcastic quips every now and then to cut the tension, we now have a bald kid who thinks he’s funny making almost every line he delivers a joke, cutting pretty much any tension whenever when he’s on screen. I tolerate him being here, but adult 007 can’t return quickly enough.

Back to the story, the kidnappers have taken several girls in addition to the Prime Minister’s daughter, and for their safe return they’re asking for….

Also, I’m not kidding. They legitimately ask for 100 billion yen.

Granted, yeah, there’s the conversion rate, which makes this roughly 945 million USD, but there’s also the fact that this took place in 1966, which would mean that amount of money today would be about 7.5 billion USD today. And just for the sake of being thorough, with inflation from 1966 in Japan, 100 billion yen today would actually be nearly 400 billion yen, which equates to 3.7 billion USD.

Joe and the others try to wake 001 to see if he can psychically determine the location of the girls, but he’s fast asleep. Like I mentioned, 001 requires a lot of sleep to function. He sleeps for 15 days at a time and then stays awake for 15 days. He’s got a few days left on his most current sleep cycle, so they move onto other options.

Over the radio, they hear that the kidnappers have established a dropoff location for the ransom money at the summit of Mt. Fuji at four o’clock…..Why are they giving away that information on the radio?

009 and 002 head off because they have acceleration switches, but Lil’ 007 wants to go too. Joe, however, forbids it because he’s a child, which is stupid because we know he’s not a child, 007 even points out that he’s not a child, but we have to embrace this change so he gets treated like a child. 007 whines for a bit then turns into a baby shark so he can tag along on Joe’s back. I don’t get why he’d turn into a baby shark for that, but it doesn’t matter, he gets to go.

The exchange is starting, so the boys head into position. The kidnappers aren’t screwing around, but they also won’t show the girls until they have the money in hand. After they kill one of the government officials, the three start combating the kidnappers. Lil’ 007 helps by bopping them on the head with a tiny mallet….Why isn’t he transforming into something that can actually help or at least use his super gun?

Because then he wouldn’t be in child form, and this stupid marketing ploy wouldn’t work.

They let some of the kidnappers get away, leading them to their base.

At the base, the kidnappers attack again, and this time 007 actually transforms….into a snowman. And he was able to knock out one of the kidnappers with his teeny mallet because they were stupid enough to hide behind a snowman in the middle of a fire fight.

002 gives them a lift over an electric wall surrounding the base, and after a quick tangle with some guard dogs and robots who look like they have dryer ducts for heads, they infiltrate the main room.

All of the girls are being held in glass boxes strewn about the room. A strange looking man is threatening them with poisonous gas if the cyborgs don’t stand down, but, being super fast, 009 won’t take any of that. It seems like he got more than he bargained for when they’re all suddenly thrust to the floor. The man is psychic and is using telekinesis to pin them down. The man says he needs money in order to build a massive laboratory for all of his experiments, and he’ll kidnap and/or murder all the children he needs to in order to do it. Lovely guy, this one.

He’s about to murder the girls when suddenly 001 bursts into the room with his eyes drawn in that creepy alien way I hate. The man, who, by the way, is never named, can’t match 001’s powers. Using his own telekinesis, 001 breaks the girls free, and all of them rush out of the lab as it explodes, killing the man and presumably everyone in the building…The uh….end?

Cyborg 009 VOL3 Screen4
Make it go away.

Yup, that’s the end of the volume. Quite the random note to end on, quite abrupt too, but it was pretty much a marketing ploy anyway.

———————————

And that was volume three! What’s not to love about this volume besides the ending chapter? 0013’s arc was just great. Always been one of my favorites. I really wish we got to see more of that poor guy.

The storyline with Iruka may have been pretty simple and the resolution about her dad really makes no sense to me, but this was pretty much the first time the group were outwardly hated or discriminated against in some capacity because they were cyborgs, and that’s something that they really needed to cover. It was slight because she never really stated she hated them, but just saying she hated machines and turning away from Joe at the end, despite everything they did for her, was enough.

Plus, it was a wholly entertaining arc on its own. I mean, come on. NEO NAZIS IN PENGUIN COSTUMES. How can you not laugh yourself into a coma at that whole section? I’m laughing writing this right now.

The main weak point is the final chapter. Not only is it the introduction to Lil’ 007, but the story is bland. Usually, bland plotlines are supplemented with character development or new characters that help pick up the slack, but here there’s nothing.

The best part of the chapter is that the main baddie is an esper, like 001, but he’s ridiculously underpowered compared to 001. Not to mention that this is one of many times 001 is basically a deus ex machina. This guy was seconds away from killing a slue of children with three of our heroes pinned to the ground, and then 001 just bamfs in there, nabs the girls and leaves. The dude doesn’t even get a name.

However, it is understandable that this chapter is so forgettable because Ishinomori’s heart really wasn’t in it, but still.

Next Volume…

…Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 2

Picking right back up where we left off, (The first chapter in the volume is even considered the second half of chapter eight) the 00 Cyborgs have successfully infiltrated the Black Ghost base, intent on destroying it once and for all. Some of them are ridden with guilt because destroying the base means they have to kill the soldiers that are inside. They simply have no choice in the matter, however.

Once inside, they aim to blow up Black Ghost’s nuclear arsenal. 009 bumps into their commander, Skull. And I really just can’t help but laugh as Skull’s design here. The art goes through a lot of changes throughout time, but this version of Skull is hilarious, especially given the circumstances. His eyes just look so sad like he’s going ‘*sniff sniff* W-why are you destroying my base? I thought we were friends….*sniff*’ And look at his jaw. It looks like the bottom half of a medieval helmet.

They succeed in triggering the bombs, but they’re very concerned that 009 couldn’t get out in time before the place blew sky high. Just when all seems lost, he pops up and reveals that he was able to escape in the nick of time. He shares the shocking news that, at some point, Skull seems to have turned himself into a cyborg as well, and he has an accelerator just as powerful as 009’s.

They assume he probably died in the explosion anyway, but it’s soon revealed that Skull is alive and well, and Black Ghost won’t be defeated as easily as they believed.

Still piloting one of Black Ghost’s old subs, the cyborgs head to Japan to seek refuge with Dr. Gilmore’s old buddy, Dr. Kozumi.

That’s the official end of Part I of the manga, so now we’re onto Part II The Black Ghost, starting with the insanely long chapter nine.

After a brief recap, we cut to the group in Japan where they’ve already taken up shelter at Dr. Kozumi’s house after a month of laying low. (Side note: Dr. Kozumi is a pretty chill dude. He doesn’t do a whole lot, but he’s a very nice guy.) Joe is troubled because he worries that Black Ghost is not entirely gone, but Francoise tries to get him to accept that Black Ghost has been defeated and that they can enjoy some peace and quiet for a change, even if the sudden shift is quite jarring and unsettling even to her.

In the middle of their conversation, Francoise suddenly hears a strange voice saying something about medicines at Dr. Kozumi’s place so they rush back, fearing intruders have invaded their hideout. Kozumi explains that the men must be talking about a potion he’s concocting to restore youth and possibly even grant immortality. However, it’s very far from complete and is fairly dangerous to use right now. That doesn’t stop people from believing he has finished it and is simply holding out on potential buyers in the pharmaceutical world.

Kozumi doesn’t have a care in the world over this because Joe and the others are on the case and he has total trust in them, which was a very sweet thing to say.

Joe gathers the other cyborgs and they head out to find the would-be thieves. They find a group of masked men and start confronting them only to have their targets blasted by a new enemy – the lightning powered 0010! If you’re wondering what I was wondering when I first saw 0010 “Why is he not 010?” then all I have to say is….I dunno. I mean, the project is called the 00 Cyborg project, but it still makes the numbering seem out of whack.

In the month that they’ve been gone, Black Ghost has gone further with the cyborg project and made 0010 – who has intense lightning powers that he can command via his hands and body, incredibly powerful eye beams, and he also has an accelerator that matches Joe’s. 003 is the first to be taken out by him because of course she is, but 004 and 007 fall soon after. Joe faces the new cyborg alone, but can’t find a way to outmaneuver him or overpower him.

What’s worse is that he’s not the only 0010. He has a twin brother with the exact same powers. They’re named 0010 Plus and Minus, and together they can make electric attacks so powerful that no one should be able to withstand them.

Joe struggles a lot with the cyborg duo and is felled by them, but he’s suddenly saved in the nick of time by 001 who has discovered that he has the power of teleportation. As long as the subject is willing to be teleported or is unconscious, 001 can teleport whatever he wants. He managed to teleport 009 before he was fried, but that doesn’t change the fact that Plus and Minus are still right around the corner and need to be stopped.

001 deduces that Plus and Minus each emit the opposite electrical charge of the other, meaning if they hit each other they’ll short out and die. Giving them both the super-speed runaround, Joe manages to force them both into colliding into each other, creating a massive surge of electricity and causing them both to die. As they lay on the ground, they’re seen with their hands touching each other. Joe laments that they were brothers, but Black Ghost made it so they could never touch or hold each other again, which is another testament to Black Ghost’s evil.

I always thought Plus and Minus were a really great pair of characters, and I’m sad they never got a proper backstory. Sure, they were loyal to Black Ghost and took delight in taking down the other cyborgs, but they truly loved each other. For the record, we do see a hint at their contact weakness when they nearly short out by simply standing too close to each other and they have to jump away quickly. Afterward, they stare at each other with forlorn looks in the rain. And just for the sake of symbolism, rain is brought up in the next part as being a character’s tears, so it’s not hard to infer that their situation is deeply hurting them right now.

It’s a shame these two were taken out so quickly. They could have been upgradable repeated enemies or good allies. Their weakness was a bit on the ridiculous side, though. Yes, there’s a lot of poetic tragedy in their situation, but…..really Black Ghost? They explode and die if they touch? These two cyborgs who work best when they work together and also move at supersonic speeds making accidental collisions or contact nearly unavoidable at some point? How could you not make some sort of failsafe for that before sending them out in the field?

Once 0010 Plus and Minus are felled, 009 returns to Kozumi’s house where 003, 004, and 007 are resting. 003 is in particularly bad shape because of course she is. However, there’s no time for rest because, believe it or not, the next cyborg in the line, 0011 is knocking on their door.

And by ‘knocking’ I mean he’s destroying the house.

And by ‘0011’ I mean a

GIANT

ROBOT

SPIDER

Yup, skewing pretty far away from the human-given-cybernetic-implants angle is 0011, who is just a brain in a giant robot spider. I don’t actually know what the point is of just putting a brain in a giant robot spider, but believe it or not, in the outlandish design department, 0011 has absolutely nothing on 0012, whom we’ll get to in the next chapter.

0011’s abilities include missiles that contain some weird sticky substance that hardens into a stone-like material used to encase his enemies, an accelerator because everyone needs to have that thing now, flight, and a projectile that is filled with poison that can even kill cyborgs.

Unlike 0010, who was brash and itching to fight, 0011 is oddly calm and understanding. He doesn’t want to fight the cyborgs, but Black Ghost promised him they’d put his brain back into his body if he did, so he has sworn allegiance to them. This is obviously a lie, but all 0011 has to live for right now is that promise. He starts his assault, and 005, 008 and 002 rush out first, since 009 is still weak from his battle with Plus and Minus, but he soon follows after anyway. 005 and 008 are quickly encased in that weird substance I mentioned earlier, so they’re taken out of the battle disappointingly quickly, leaving 002 and 009 to battle him.

It’s not quite that simple, however, because 0011 not only has both of their main powers and more, but he’s also incredibly well-armored. None of their shots can even hope to break through his defenses. They only have one option – the sliding doors that cover the openings for his guns. They wait until he opens them back up again and shoot inside, causing him to fall apart.

As he lay dying, 0011 shoots a projectile into the sky and it starts raining. 0011 dies peacefully having gained his freedom from this metal shell he was forced into. He equates the rain falling down his ‘eyes’ being the closest thing he’ll get to crying. But in his one last act to try and achieve his goal he reveals that the projectile is actually causing the ‘rain’ falling around them. It’s poisoned, and 002 and 009 have to act quickly in order to survive. He bids them farewell and explodes.

001 teleports all of them back to the house. First things first, they have to extract 008 and 005 from the stone. They have life-support systems, but they’re running low on power and oxygen. 006 is the only one who can remove them with his flames, but he has to be incredibly careful or else he’ll severely injure them. He’s able to remove them from the stones, though a little on the crispy side, so it’s time to address 002 and 009. In his infinite wisdom, 001 has not only been able to pinpoint what poison is affecting them, but even tells Dr. Kozumi…the…ya know…doctor…what to put in the antidote to save them.

All of the group recovers to full health, concerned about what else Black Ghost might have up their sleeves….and uh….it’s a doozy.

Chapter ten introduces us to the weirdest cyborg of the 00 line – 0012. I say this because 0012 isn’t so much a cyborg or a robot even….she’s a sentient immobile murder house.

Bear in mind that the 00 Cyborgs were created with the intention of mass producing and distributing them to various governments in order to perpetuate war – especially in outer space.

A sentient immobile murder house is one of those cyborgs.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s a really well-designed, powerful and AWESOME sentient immobile murder house, but she’s still an immobile murder house, who, by the way, doesn’t have any external weapons, which means as long as you don’t have a reason to go on the property, you’re golden.

Granted, she does have ‘servants’ which act as her ‘limbs.’ Each servant is their own character, and each is given disabilities that are compensated for with cybernetics. For example, the first servant, Camel (Known as Rakuda in the translation) has a hunchback. Yeah, not the most sensitive of names. I can understand why TokyoPop changed it to the literal Japanese version, if they did that intentionally.

His hunch was made cybernetic, allowing him to open and close it like it a venus fly trap or bear trap. This sounds cool, but unless someone’s trying to tackle him, it’s really inefficient. He can also spit?…I dunno. In his battle with 009, he’s spitting something at him over and over, but I honestly don’t know if it’s a projectile or just spit. But get it?….Spit…..Camel….Ha….Ha? I really want to say he just has spit as a ‘power’ because ew no one likes getting spit on.

The second servant is Scarecrow, a man with a prosthetic leg who walks using a cane. His prosthetic is spring-loaded, allowing him to jump very high, and his cane doubles as a club and machine gun.

The third servant is named Roentgan (Lentgen in the TokyoPop version) who is blind. He’s able to see thanks to binocular-esque cybernetic eyes that also grant him the ability to see long distances and through objects. When those eyes are broken, he can track people through a heightened sense of sound, so he’s essentially their 003. Other than that, he has a sword hidden in his cane, which is a bit of a rip-off considering Scarecrow’s cane could be a club or a machine gun.

The fourth servant, The One-Armed Man (He’s not given a name, though in the 2001 anime he’s called Machine Gun) is, well, a one-armed man. His arm was replaced with a machine gun, kinda like 004 but it’s just a literal machine gun instead of a machine gun shaped like a working hand, which seems counter-intuitive. (In the earlier parts of this arc, his hand is a hook hand, but Ishinomori changed his mind on his design and powers.) Reminder – these guys are a package deal with 0012, meaning their designs all came after 004. There’s really no reason why 004 would get a regular hand that doubles as a machine gun but The One-Armed Man would just get a machine gun duct-taped to his stump, basically.

The final servant is one we’ll address a little later because he requires a bit more attention to detail.

We get a pretty nice scene of Francoise and Joe enjoying the fall leaves together.

Aaaannndddd that sweet moment is immediately ruined by 0012 drowning a dog in quicksand right outside the house. Thanks for that….

0012 sends out her servants to lure the cyborgs to her hou–…to…her, I guess, by kidnapping Dr. Kozumi, which they do quite easily by gassing him as he’s leaving his house. They leave Rakuda behind to do the rest.

Meanwhile, we get to see the other cyborgs enjoying some downtime. It’s always nice to just see them hanging out with each other. Albert is showing off the ability to shoot darts from his fingers, which I don’t think ever comes up again, but that’s cool, and Geronimo and Pyunma are making a bassinet for Ivan. They don’t give it wheels, but, being telekinetic, Ivan can just make the bassinet float around. Not sure why he doesn’t just float himself around, but it’s better than needing to carried by Francoise 24/7.

Rakuda goads Joe into battle by popping up wearing Dr. Kozumi’s hat and running off. He’s a bit slippery for Joe, but inevitably gets caught.

They interrogate him, and he reveals that he doesn’t know about their plans, he’s just following orders. He draws them a map to 0012’s location, and 001 reveals that, while Black Ghost is currently an issue right now, there’s another enemy lurking in the shadows – the same ones who tried to steal Kozumi’s medicine most likely (He doesn’t say that last bit, but I assume. They look like the same guys.)

They tie Rakuda back up and throw him into a room, but he’s not planning on giving them any more info or helping them. He bites down on a cyanide capsule he had in his tooth and dies.

009 decides to go out and investigate the location Rakuda was talking about. It’s a big fancy house out in the middle of nowhere. He spots the same goons in black from before – the not-Black Ghost-dudes – and they try to hop the wall into the yard, but one of them is shocked by an electric barrier and the others are lost to the quicksand yard, though 009 doesn’t realize this.

He thinks they entered the house, so he goes in after them only to accidentally get caught up in the quicksand. 004 and 007 arrive to help him out, however, having been guilted into it by 003…..Come on, guys, really? 003 needed to push your buttons to help 009? Actually, now that I think about it, why isn’t 003 here if she’s so concerned?

Joe: “Well, I’m glad someone cares about me.” It’s certainly not 003.

0012’s next trick comes in the trees in the yard, the ones 004, 9 and 7 are taking refuge in, having controllable vines that continuously wrap them up and try to strangle them. However, with 004’s knife hand and a few shots from a super gun, they’re down for the count…literally, they’re falling down. The trio then has to hop to the roof for something safe to stand on, but of course not even the roof is safe.

A door opens beneath them, and they nearly fall into a pit of spikes. 007 displays an ability I didn’t know he had, which is the ability to suction-cup to walls. I guess it makes sense if he can turn into anything, though. 009 is holding 004 while hanging from 007. 004 blasts a hole in a nearby wall and they hop through it. As they enter a new corridor, 0012 reveals herself as being the house that they’re currently in. Oh yeah, hey, we got our second woman in the 00 Cyborg series!

AND

She tries to blow them up with a chandelier, and they rush around to find Dr. Kozumi, finding traps around every corner, including a dummy Dr. Kozumi that was actually a bomb.

The next trap is her basically trapping them in her ‘stomach’ and trying to melt them alive with gastric juices IE acid. She damn near succeeds too, but the three are able to blast their way through the walls and escape.

As they’re continuing their search, they stumble upon the goons in black from before….I hope that means the dog’s alive too. I’m just gonna believe that’s what it means.

They’re the ones who sent a fake telegram to Kozumi to lure him out of the house with intentions on kidnapping him for his eternal youth potion, but 0012’s assistants got him first so they tracked him down to get him themselves.

The trio don’t really have reason to hurt them, so they just break their weapons and knock them out.

009, 7 and 4 decide to go straight to the epicenter of 0012 to end this once and for all – they’re going to destroy 0012’s brain. The instant they get close, however, she emits a powerful ultrasonic wave that drives the three to their knees. 009 is just barely able to get a shot off at the wires surrounding the brain, and that shuts off the noise.

0012 switches from being maniacally sadistic to begging for her life, so 009 says they’ll help her if she tells them where Kozumi is. Her servants took him out of the house and are transporting him to Tokyo. Her last word is ‘0013’ before her console explodes and her brain is destroyed.

It’s not over yet, however, because the house starts rumbling and falling apart. The trio barely escapes before the entire house collapses in on itself and sinks beneath the quicksand. 007 believes she was trying one last time to kill them, but 009 believes she was trying to give herself a proper burial. I disagree with both of those theories, however. Considering there seems to be a running theme of ensuring there’s nothing left behind of the cyborgs when they get defeated, or at least assuring they die once they’re caught (The bodies of Plus and Minus were taken in by 0011 and got blown up when he blew up, 0011…well, blew up, Rakuda committed suicide, and now 0012 destroyed and buried herself.) I think she was just following whatever orders she had in the case of defeat.

009 rushes off to find Kozumi while 007 and 4 go tell the others about what’s happening.

The final chapter, which is going to explore 0013, is only part of the chapter and only shows Joe chasing after Dr. Kozumi while he runs alongside a train.

———————————–

And that was volume two! Admittedly, I am a tiny bit disappointed at how quickly we’re introduced to 0010 Plus and Minus and 0011 only to have them be knocked off rather quickly, but they were memorable in their own right. 0012 was really cool, even though the design makes no sense if you think about it for longer than a few seconds. Now all I can think about is a murder house floating around in space.

Think about how much money they had to have put in 0012. And now think about a show on HGTV that could’ve been made on her construction.

“Now, this is going to be the room that fills up with acid, so we’re gonna knock down these walls here and bring in some super strong steel walls. These are vulnerable to blasts from super guns, but we had to follow budget. A great aesthetic choice the homeowner made here was this exploding chandelier. But it’s also a bit of a money sink for obvious reasons. Really ties the room together, though. We’ve already lost a few workers in the pit of spikes, but they all signed waivers before working, so it’s all good. And as we were putting the final touches on the brain room, we got an offer on the house from someone named John Kramer, who is quirky fella who signed his name with a drawing of a jigsaw puzzle piece. Weird.”

We also got a bit of a power upgrade with 001, a soon to be mostly forgotten power in 004, and it all culminates in the buildup to 0013, who is my favorite side character in the series.

Overall, though, a lot of fun, some really cool action and quite a few funny moments with GB (007). Here’s looking forward to discussing volume three!

Next Volume….

….Previous Volume


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 24 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey guys, who remembers that short Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-off thinger – Capsule Monsters? I sure do!….Kinda!…I remember it existing. I remember watching some of it and being rather bored.

Fun fact: The Capsule Monsters anime, despite being based on an actual game in this old-ass version of the manga (No idea if it’s played the same way, though), wasn’t something the original anime creators wanted to make. In fact, the series never released in Japan.

Also, apparently, according to the Fandom Wiki anyway (I really question whether this is true), despite never once airing in Japan, there is a Japanese version of it. Why they dubbed it and never released it is beyond me.

Who was actually behind this spin-off no one asked for, no one paid much attention to and amounted to nothing but basically being a money sink? Why, who else but the donut bakers themselves, 4Kids?

Yup, 4Kids, for some inexplicable reason, ‘commissioned, produced and editedCapsule Monsters when Yu-Gi-Oh’s original run was reaching its final season. They also did the kinda skeevy thing of re-editing the series into a movie (Two movies, I guess, technically?) and treating it like it was a new movie based on the series. Because that’s never sketchy or annoying, especially when you’re dealing with something aimed towards kids.

At least they released the movie for free for one day on their website for some reason so some people could be made aware that it wasn’t new content….No idea why they did that, but they did.

I really have to review Capsule Monsters at some point, but back to the topic at hand….Uh…well, more Capsule Monsters.

I brought up the anime because, even when that aired, I didn’t really understand how the game was played nor did I feel very compelled to learn because the anime, to my recollection, was quite boring.

Capsule Monsters, otherwise known as Capsule Monster Chess/Capmon in the manga (sometimes) is Mokuba’s niche game in the manga. I could’ve sworn he was also a player of the game in the anime. I would have bet a substantial amount of money on that….but he’s not. Mokuba not only isn’t an avid Capsule Monster player in the Capsule Monsters anime – he’s not even in the anime. Poor Mokuba. Were you too busy being kidnapped to be in the anime?

What of the first depiction of Capsule Monsters in the manga? Let’s find out.

——————————————-

The manga actually explains fairly well how this version of the game is played. Capsule Monsters are dispensed in gashapon machines, which I just learned are supposed to be called ‘blind boxes’ in America, but I have never once heard that ever. They’re also called ‘gacha’ machines, and if you play pretty much any MMO or mobile game in existence, that word awakens something visceral in you.

Yugi explains how the game is played, for the most part. The capsules all have one number between one and five on them – this indicates their attack power. Within the capsules are….the uh…well, the monsters, of course. Each player unleashes five monsters onto an 8×8 game board, of which there are 50 different types. This game area mimics the planet of ganastar….I’m not sure why that matters, but okay.

All of the monsters stay within the capsules when they’re setting the game up, so each side starts the game mostly blind to the monsters the opponent is playing, outside of their attack strength. Monsters all have their own ranges, types of attacks and effects, so strategy comes into play when moving the pieces and battling the monsters. Whoever destroys all of the opponent’s monsters wins.

Yugi’s in line to get some capsules when, in typical Yu-Gi-Oh manga fashion, he comes across an asshole. This asshole kid cuts in front of him in line then says Yugi’s too old to play the game, being in high school. This game is equated to chess and yet it’s aimed squarely at middle school and younger?

He lets Yugi get his capsules eventually, but Yugi’s money gets lost in the machine. He, strangely, loses his shit and starts swearing at the machine, shaking it violently. Bit of an OOC moment for him. I know he’s passionate about games, but he’s never one to have a temper like that. The old man who owns the candy store that the machines are in starts screaming at him.

Suddenly, Mokuba Kaiba makes his debut appearance, looking just as frightening and creepy as you’d expect in this manga’s art. Apparently he’s such a Capsule Monsters baller that the other kids go silent in his presence. Like Seto is a champion in Duel Monsters, Mokuba is a champion in Capsule Monsters.

So, did you guys forget that you’re reading Yu-Gi-Oh’s early manga days? You did? Oh, let me remind you by showing you this scene where Mokuba, the small child, orders these small child children of the kid nature to attack Yugi. They have a taser………..a switchblade……………..And….I’m not kidding…..A fucking Uzi.

What kind of world does this manga take place in?! Not even the chapter with an actual murderer involved a fucking UZI.

Mokuba wants to fight for his big brother’s honor, so he’s kidnapping Yugi and taking the candy shop’s gashapon machine (After throwing the owner a stack of money to pay for it.)

They bring Yugi to their secret base, which is just a warehouse, so they can play. Beforehand, though, Mokuba’s little goons try to intimidate him some more, saying stuff like he’s wimpy and they’ll burn down his house. Ya know, typical schoolyard stuff.

They cross the line when they try to touch Yugi’s Puzzle, however, because, under threat of smashing it and trying to grab it from him, Yugi instantly shifts to Yami, who flips his shit and screams at them to let go of his Puzzle. Wow, both of you are quite touchy today.

The goons are shocked at this change, but, surprisingly, Mokuba’s not because apparently Seto told him about Yugi’s ability to transform. *shrug*

Mokuba says he stole the gashapon machine to make the capsule picks completely blind so he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage using his own capsules…..then he reveals in inner monologue that he rigged the machine, paid off the candy shop owner before Yugi even got there, and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway.

Also, again with making the Kaibas cheaters. Granted, in the 2000 anime, the one and only time you see Mokuba duel, against Yugi, he cheats by trying to steal some of Yugi’s star chips in the middle of the duel, but that was in desperation to keep Kaiba Corp from being sold to Pegasus.

Yugi’s capsules result in attack strengths of 1-1-1-2-4 while Mokuba’s are 4-4-5-5-5….I think anyone with a single brain cell could have deduced that Mokuba rigged the machine just on this result alone without him immediately telling us, but okay.

Before they start, Mokuba lays a bet down. Now, you’d imagine that, considering he’s playing for his older brother’s honor, his wager would be something like Yugi would have to kiss Kaiba’s feet or give him all of his Duel Monster cards or something, right?

……His wager is, if he wins, he’ll CUT OFF ONE OF YUGI’S FINGERS! He’s even holding a folding knife as he says it. What the hell is wrong with this manga?!

Yugi says, if he wins, Mokuba will suffer a penalty game.

Anyway, as expected, even though they laid out the rules at the beginning, much like with the part with Duel Monsters, they just pretty much do whatever without explaining anything. Like, what determines which piece moves how far and when? Why do formations matter all that much if you can move freely? If attack level is all that matters in battles, then doesn’t that mean the match can be decided before they even get on the board? If monsters have effects or abilities, like Duel Monster cards, where is this information held? In some sort of book or something? Because there’s no text on the capsules or in them.

Yami gets pummeled, only managing to kill one of Mokuba’s creatures on a stalemated attack, meaning he had to sacrifice his most powerful creature for that.

He’s down to his last monster, and it seems all is lost until, luck of all lucks, Yugi reveals that he was luring all of Mokuba’s monsters into a diagonal line. His last monster, which is level two, just so happens to have the ability to literally insta-kill any monster with its attack, even if it’s level five. And it shoots this ability in a diagonal pattern, meaning all of Mokuba’s monsters are defeated in one shot.

If you think this situation stinks at all, it’s because Yugi totally pulled this win out of his ass.

Mokuba may be a cheat, but he’s still a Capsule Monsters champion. Even if he cheated in those championships (We don’t know that, but he cheated here and it’s suggested that Seto cheated in his championships, so it’s not a far cry to say Mokuba did too) he definitely knows the game well enough to play the part. He’s making observations about strategy and formation as if he’s a veteran, so he has to be pretty skilled. All of the monsters get revealed at the start of the game, meaning he had to know what that monster was and what ability it had, so he should have been very careful to not do anything dumb like line up literally all of his monsters in a perfect diagonal line right in front of him.

How does this low-level creature have such an awesome ability anyway? If it’s a simple straight diagonal line of insta-kill damage, he could kill a monster from the other side of the board if he aimed carefully. And it insta-kills even the strongest monsters, too?

Granted, they did set this up visually. As you’ll note in the first shot of the game board when they’re done setting up, the bird thing that has this ability is off on its own, further back than his other four creatures, which were meant to cut off Mokuba’s creatures on the way there and set up this line.

The problem is, though, he gambled a hell of a lot here. I know the Heart of the Cards thing has basically become a meme by now, but come on – this isn’t even Duel Monsters. Is there a Heart of the Capsules? The luck in play here is insane. What if Mokuba caught on to his game and avoided the diagonal line? What if he sent one monster off to approach from directly ahead or off to either side? Or what if he spread out his monsters even a tiny bit more? If he didn’t get all of those monsters in one shot, he definitely would have lost. And Yami never once seemed the slightest bit concerned that his plan wouldn’t work. He was sporting a cocky smirk the whole time like his plan was foolproof when it was about as airtight as a moth’s nylon stocking.

I feel like this is the manga version of the duel with Seto in Season Zero where Seto just pulled a sudden ‘It’s a draw lol’ card out of nowhere at the last minute, right as he was about to lose.

Anyhoo, Yami sentences Mokuba to a penalty game, which is being trapped in an illusion of being sealed in a Capsule Monster capsule (and it has a level one mark on it – nice shade, Yami.) But before it’s closed, Mokuba teases that this isn’t over. Seto is setting up for his revenge against Yugi with something called Death T.

Also, this chapter ends with a pretty cool illustration of a little dice game you can play to try and beat Kaiba. I might try it for myself sometime. It’s a neat little addition.

——————————

So, uh, this chapter was pretty messed up, wouldn’t ya say? Uzis and switchblades and threatening to cut off people’s fingers – all brought to you by elementary school students. Fun fun.

The story is alright. I still think that ending was complete bullshit, but it’s not like this series is a stranger to bullshit wins. Mokuba’s a friggin’ psychopath in this version, and I can’t really tell if I love that or hate it. In the 2000 anime, he’s kinda Seto’s morality pet more or less, but, on his own, he’s really not all that interesting. He’s basically Tristan just with more of a purpose (behind the scenes anyway) and 10000% more kidnappings. He’s a nice little kid with a good sense of justice and very strong loyalty to Seto, and he’s very forgiving, but he’s just not that interesting.

Can I even say this version of Mokuba is more interesting, though? Because he’s just a nutcase. There’s nothing likable about this future mob boss besides his desire to avenge his brother’s honor, and that’s kinda watered down by the fact that he doesn’t even try to face Yugi/Yami properly before cheating. The little prick cheated before he even MET Yugi.

I actually like the concept of Capsule Monsters here, even if I’m still kinda confused about it. I hope it becomes a little clearer when we revisit the game later (at least in Season Zero. We might revisit it again in the manga, I’m not sure. The manga and anime will stray away from each other quite a bit in the future.) I’m not holding my breath though, because even the Wiki page for it says some concepts are just flatout poorly explained, like abilities.

I thought I remembered Capsule Monster toys being a thing when I was younger and turns out I was right. It was very shortlived, obviously, and didn’t get a lot of distribution in stores, but apparently they pushed it enough for me to remember it being in my local Walmart for probably a month before it faded in obscurity.

Also, it seems like this version of the game is played differently from both the manga and anime versions.

Not only that, but apparently there was a video game version of Capsule Monsters made for the Playstation in 1998 called Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle that was only released in Japan. Golly, a video game released in 1998 where you collect monsters in small balls and raise them to help them evolve into stronger monsters that you will use to battle other monsters. How did that not immediately take off?

To my surprise, there was another video game that came out in 2004 based on Capsule Monsters for the PS2 titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. I had followed the Yu-Gi-Oh video games pretty well when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much money to buy many of them, and I never once remembered seeing this game in stores. Maybe I did – the box art is just the slightest bit familiar – but, again, they didn’t seem to push this game very well. I remember them pushing the Dungeon Dice Monsters game, and I bought that, but the Capsule Monsters game is a blur at best.

Also, it’s weird that they spelled ‘coliseum’ like that, isn’t it? You don’t typically see it spelled that way. It’s usually spelled ‘Colosseum.’ Ya know….like, uh, hm what’s a good example?…..Uhm….Oh, how about Pokemon Colosseum….the game that was also released in 2004?

I’m just poking fun at the Pokemon connection, really, because Capsule Monsters does seem like a fun game and honestly isn’t a ripoff of Pokemon, given the board game aspect and chess-like strategies. I just think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining how different it is out the gate. You hear ‘capsule monsters’ and see that the blurb is just ‘collect, raise and battle monsters in small balls’ and you can’t help but think ‘Pokemon rip-off.’

And, to be completely fair….the concept name of Pokemon was literally Capsule Monsters, so they’re kinda asking for it.

I think if it had taken off more I would’ve gotten into it. Maybe not so much because I was spending enough money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards without buying packs of small toys that probably cost even more. It just seems like, no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t get this game off the ground. They really hit their stride with Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Monsters, but I think you could still make something great with Capsule Monsters. It’s a shame, really. Seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or something.

Final Notes: This episode is only extremely lightly referenced in episode 11, and that’s because the Capsule Monsters game played there is basically a mirror of the one played here. Literally everything else is different, including there being a different opponent.

Next time…..


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

The Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 1

I love Shotaro Ishinomori’s works, but the one that has stayed close to my heart over the years is Cyborg 009. I first remember watching the 2001 series on Toonami way back in the day, and I was very disappointed when the series just kinda stopped. Only half of the series got dubbed, so I was left without any resolution until years down the line when I was able to find a subbed version of the entire series.

Years later, I was happy to see new Cyborg 009 anime being made, but I noticed that Cyborg 009 still stands as one of those franchises that people just don’t seem to talk about very much, even when new stuff comes out. Kamen Rider is by far the more popular Ishinomori title, and that’s very fair. I enjoyed what I read of the manga, but it’s just disappointing that Cyborg 009 doesn’t get nearly the same level of recognition.

So I decided that I’d go back and review all that I could of Cyborg 009 to celebrate the vast series that Ishinomori literally died writing. We’ll explore the characters in all of their various incarnations, talk about some of the topics they address, and even discuss some of the more problematic aspects of the series. Granted, I wasn’t able to get my hands on every single thing Cyborg 009 related, in fact some of it is impossible get right now, but we’ll address that way down the line. (Update on this situation here.)

With that, let’s start with the first volume of the Cyborg 009 manga.

——————————–

Starting off, you’ll first take notice of Ishinomori’s art style. It’s a bit weird, but it’s also really unique and I love it. It’s goofy and cartoony while also being very stylized and interesting to look at. It reminds me a bit of old cartoons from the 20s and 30s. I especially love when he decides to get into more detail, particularly during scenes that are meant to be threatening and imposing. Don’t get fooled by his goofy cartoony style – he can strike fear and dread into your heart with a single page if he wants to, and he has a lot of talent in realism.

The first chapter sets the stage of our story in the midst of the cold war. A bunch of rich guys are having a meeting with Skull (Who will be known as Scar in the TokyoPop version – which is weird because he doesn’t have a scar…or if he does, we never see it because we never see his face. I’ll be referring to him as Skull though. Also, in nearly every incarnation they call him THE Black Ghost too, but it’s too confusing with the organization being given the same name.), the always imposing leader of the evil organization Black Ghost, which acts as our main antagonist for a long, long time. All of these guys are warmongers, but they constantly fear that war will become a thing of the past and they won’t have anything to profit off of in the future.

However, Skull offers a proposition. They will perpetuate war and even bring it to outer space by creating cybernetic beings. They will be enhanced for combat, be modified to survive intense environments and follow the whims of their respective governments. Mass produced, they can make millions if not billions of dollars selling them to every major super power in the world.

The rich guys all jump on the idea, and thus the 00 (Pronounced Zero-Zero) Cyborg project was born.

It’s actually a bit scary how much this plot still applies to real life. I mean, we’re not making cyborg soldiers or anything, but there are people who believe war is necessary for both the profit of greedy rich assholes and furthering science. I can’t even believe I have to say this, but the concept of war in space is also one that keeps getting thrown around, no matter if it’s jokingly or otherwise. Unless we’re in the process of developing mobile suits or X-Wings, I don’t want to hear it.

They needed a diverse set of people to experiment on and make a set of prototypes before mass producing the cyborgs, so Black Ghost sent out individuals to kidnap good candidates from across the globe.

This is another reason why Cyborg 009 appealed to me – it has one of the most diverse casts I’ve ever seen in an anime/manga. Each cyborg is from a different part of the globe. 001 is from Russia, 002 is from New York (and is Italian-American, but that doesn’t really come up much), 003 is from France, 004 is from Germany, 005 is Native American, 006 is Chinese, 007 is British, 008 is African and 009 is mixed-race Japanese.

That being said…bear in mind…..this IS a manga from the 1960s….and….uhm….Well…..Let’s just cut to the chase – racism’s here.

Pyunma (008) is the most egregious example of this manga showing its age BADLY. Actually, scratch that, any black person in this manga is problematic because, I’ll just go ahead and say it, it’s very blackface-y. Pure coal-black skin, little ball nose and massive lips all around. The first time we see Pyunma, he’s on a ship that’s delivering slaves and then basically gets saved from slavery to be enslaved by different people.

It should be noted that Pyunma is one of the first ever main characters in manga to be black, which is cool, but that doesn’t change the problems here. He is given several redesigns over time (like many of the characters) and looks so much better later. However, it did take quite a while for these changes to take place. In some versions of the early anime adaptations, even after some tweaks to his design, he still holds some racist qualities in his appearance (IE the large lips are still present in the 2001 anime, even if they’re toned down). He doesn’t really lose those all of those features until the most recent entries in the series.

Chang Changku doesn’t fare much better in the design department. Even in the 2001 anime, he has eyes so squinty that they pretty much don’t even exist. They’re just little shapes like backwards 3s.

Geronimo Junior, the Native American, is referred to as an Indian. Geronimo is down on his luck because he finds it difficult to get a job with people discriminating against Native Americans. His own design doesn’t help much because he fits the stereotype of the large stoic Native American man. He bumps into a producer who offers him a job – a very degrading role playing a caricature of a Native American chief in a folk dancing show (but only after he makes a comment about not deserving a job because he’s a “filthy Indian.”) Geronimo, who is usually extremely gentle and quiet, socks him and yells at him for treating his culture and people like sideshow freaks, causing the man to run off – good riddance.

Here’s the thing, though. It’s clear that this manga aims to be open-minded and accepting of all races. Like I said, it definitely has the most diverse cast I’ve ever seen in a manga, and each character gets their own focus and plenty of character development. Joe is obviously the main character, the show’s named after him and all, but I don’t feel like the rest of the cast suffers too much in comparison overall (Barring one thing I’ll get to in a moment). They’re a team. They’re equals. They need each other. They’re a family. They love each other.

This is probably going to come off like I’m making excuses for him, but hear me out – Ishinomori’s art wasn’t just a product of the times, it was also a product of the location. Japan was very isolated from the rest of the world during the time in which he was writing this manga. Seeing people from other parts of the world was rare. At least Ishinomori made the effort to include so many people from various cultures, kept changing his designs in order to be more appropriate, and he was open to listening to others about their suggestions. Took way too long to get to a truly comfortable place, but at least it was moving forward.

The entire team of cyborgs never once treats each other differently because of their races. One chapter in this very volume highlights that. Jet (002) points out that Joe (009) doesn’t look Japanese due to his brown hair, which makes Joe visibly upset because he’s always been treated differently and ostracized in Japan due to being mixed-race. However, the other cyborgs all comfort him and say they don’t care if he’s mixed race. Pyunma in particular says they’re all human – or cyborg anyway – and that makes them all brothers. In fact, they tell him he should be proud of his mixed race heritage because it’s a symbol of erosion of the borders between nations and races.

In this group filled with people from every corner of the planet is the one place that Joe finally felt like he belonged.

Racism does pop up numerous times over the course of this series, but never once is it an issue among the cyborgs themselves, as far as I can remember – barring one. The gang that Jet’s crew fights in the manga, the Sharks, is made up of Puerto Ricans, and his fellow gang members throw out a lot of racist comments. One of his gang members even calls the leader a slur. Jet doesn’t say anything racist towards them, but he does accidentally kill the rival gang leader in a knife fight. Jet’s gang and Jet himself are obviously shown to be the ones in the wrong here since they were antagonizing the Sharks, but that doesn’t change what Jet did nor does it change the fact that, in the past, Jet was racist. As the previous scene I discussed shows, however, it’s quite apparent that he is no longer as such. In a weird way, becoming a 00 Cyborg made Jet more accepting and caring as a person.

(Pre-posting edit because reasons: So apparently TokyoPop (The version available on Comixology, which is where I got my copy) made some alterations to the script that actually made this scene seem more racist than it originally was….which…uhm….Why? Why did they do that?

Here’s an excerpt from the Cyborg 009 Wiki on the matter:

“Much of the dialogue in Jet’s origin was altered, with one particular example being during the switchblade fight. In the original script, the other Jet gang members chant “Hey, hey!” “Get him!”, cheering Jet on. In Wellman’s script, they instead shout “Let’s go, spic!” and “We got enough of youse PRs!”, with their dialogue now aimed at the Shark leader. This had lead to misconception of the chapter promoting racism (though the Jets are still meant to be racist and discriminatory in the original text, just less blatant and without slur usage).”

So uhm, yeah. Thanks, TokyoPop, for being racist and making me write more than I had to. Appreciate it, ya dillweeds.)

Likewise, I never once felt like any of the characters acted in a manner that was particularly stereotypical of their race. The only three I’d ding in that regard is probably Geromino, Jet for being an impulsive thug sometimes and Francoise (003) for being…..*sigh* The Girl™.

Look, as much as I love this series for its diverse cast and stories, they kinda dropped the ball with 003. She literally is just The Girl™. The only girl, mind you. The love interest for the main hero. The caretaker. The support. Her role 90% of the time is to sense things and babysit 001, who, despite his immense knowledge, is still just a baby that needs to be carried around and fed. 003 is consistently the only character in the cyborg team that gets treated differently within the group because of what she was born as, and that just sucks so much I can’t even begin to tell you.

Granted, she’s generally still treated as a fellow cyborg, and she does fight when needed. She’s pretty brave and sympathetic, but she’s consistently the one they need to protect, the one that gets the most questionable comments thrown her way, she’s the most pacifistic of them all, and her main cybernetic enhancements are purely meant for support (Enhanced senses, x-ray vision etc.) Her profiles even describe has as being physically the weakest and slowest cyborg, even though she does have superhuman capabilities in that regard. Her support abilities are invaluable to their battles, don’t get me wrong, and, depending on the version, she does get improvements to her abilities and more to do, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still the typical girl role of support.

Speaking of characters, we’re soon introduced to our 00 Cyborgs one by one.

First up is 001 – Ivan Whiskey.

He has what could be considered the most tragic backstory of all the main cyborgs. His father was a scientist named Gamo who aimed to unlock the hidden potential in the human brain, and he used his son as the main test subject for these experiments. He secretly performed brain surgery on Ivan while his wife, Erika, was away, but she came back unexpectedly. She was horrified at what Gamo was doing and threatened to call the cops, but Gamo, unwilling to give up his scientific advances, hit Erika over the head with a wrench and killed her. The Black Ghost operatives, who seem to have the best timing ever, arrive on scene and offer Gamo a cushy spot on their team of scientists while Ivan gets recruited into the 00 Cyborg project.

Ivan’s case is considered one of the most tragic not just for these reasons, but also the repercussions his cyborg nature will have on him in the future. Ivan will never be able to grow up. He’ll forever be more or less reliant on others to care for him in some way, and he’ll never be able to mature or grow as a normal person would. Everyone else is either a teenager or a full adult, even though they can no longer grow either. They can’t have families or find romantic partners outside of their own group (which is why Francoise is the center of a love triangle between Joe and Jet sometimes.) but they can find romance sometimes and lead somewhat normal lives when all of the fighting is over, albeit temporarily. Ivan can’t.

Ivan is later given the nickname ‘The Brain’ or ‘The Electronic Brain’ because he’s the smartest one of their group, their main strategist, and his powers are all psychic based like telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation and hypnosis.

Next up is 002 – Jet Link. His name is Jet. And later we’ll learn that, because of his flight capabilities, they granted him the “nickname” ‘The Jet.’ In conclusion, his name is Jet. Also, TokyoPop made a flub in the translation and made it seem like even his gang was called ‘The Jets’ which really just seems egotistical of Jet. It’s pretty funny.

Jet was the leader of a gang in New York (and, oddly, the first panel of them shows them dancing in the streets. Jet’s story is based on West Side Story, so maybe that’s a throwback, but it’s really weird given the context.) who started a fight with a rival gang, The Sharks. While having a switchblade fight with the leader of the Sharks, Jet accidentally drove the leader’s own knife into his stomach and killed him. The cops have the best response time ever and immediately drive over as soon as the dude hits the ground, so everyone runs away. Jet bumps into the Black Ghost operatives who claim they’re on his side and want to help him, so they make off with him.

Given the moniker 002, Jet is outfitted with an accelerator and boosters in his feet that allow him to fly at speeds up to mach 5.

003 – Francoise Arnoul, has the funniest backstory. She was just randomly kidnapped. No real reason, just eh, she’s there and she lives in a boarding house so she won’t be missed I guess. That’s not the funny part, though.

Her brother, Jean, who was in the air force, comes home right as it’s happening, and we get a very, very long, drawn out comedy sketch where her brother takes various modes of transportation to chase the car in which she was kidnapped, crashes them one by one and then just steals something else to continue. He calls a cop over at first…to steal his bike. Then he crashes it. Then he steals a motorcycle and promptly crashes it into a car, so he steals the car. Then he crashes the car because the Black Ghost guys shoot out his tires. They leave in a plane, so he steals a plane, but the plane is extremely low on gas so he’s forced to bail out before he gets far, allowing the plane to crash somewhere nearby.

And that’s it. She’s gone, and Jean doesn’t pop up much after that. Wow.

As I’ve mentioned, 003 is outfitted with extremely powerful senses such as telescopic vision, x-ray vision and enhanced hearing. She’s also the only one of the group besides 009 to not get a nickname for some reason. I am forever sad that this series predated MASH by so many years, because it was a missed opportunity to call her Radar.

004 – Albert Heinrich has what I would consider the very close second most tragic backstory of the group, and he remains my favorite character of the lot (002 being, fittingly enough, my second favorite, and 007 being my third.) Living in post WWII East Berlin, Germany, Albert longed for a better life with his fiancé, Hilda, so he concocted a plan to smuggle them out across the Berlin Wall. Granted, this incarnation’s version of events is a bit goofy, but still.

In pretty much all versions, he tries to smuggle them out by pretending to be a truck driver delivering some goods, but in this version the ‘goods’ are a pair of lions for a zoo. The reason this is kinda goofy is because he dresses up Hilda in a lion costume….And somehow that works.

They’re found out either way and endure a hail of gunfire. Albert crashes the truck and is distraught to find Hilda dead on the ground. Albert himself has suffered many horrible wounds both from the crash and the bullets, but Black Ghost operatives, again having just the best of timing, covertly take him away acting as if they’re going to find him medical care.

Albert’s wounds are so extensive that he winds up being the most mechanical of all the cyborgs with basically only his head being left intact. His entire body has been made into a weapon. He has an electromagnetic knife in his left hand, a machine gun in each finger on his right, and missiles in each knee. He also supposedly has a nuclear bomb in his body, but whether or not that’s true has never been revealed.

I’ve already pretty much explained Geronimo Junior/005’s backstory. The only thing I really left out was that Black Ghost arrives right after he punches the jerk and they offer him a ‘job’ which is obviously just a trick to get him to come with them. However, when they tell him the job is a bit far from home, he tells them they have no home anymore – he just goes wherever he can.

He’s later granted incredible levels of physical strength and durability. He frequently acts as a shield and protector to the other cyborgs when they’re being overrun by an enemy. He’s also given the nickname of ‘The Iron Man.’ I should mention that these nicknames don’t really stick. I was actually a little surprised to go back and read this volume, because I really didn’t remember any of them having nicknames. I remembered 006 being referred to as The Mole once or twice in other adaptations, and 004 mentioned he’s been called The God of Death or The Angel of Death, but that was about it.

Chang Changku or 006 was a struggling pig farmer in China. His farm was failing, he was starving, the last pig he had was too thin, he couldn’t keep up with taxes, he was completely broke, and finally he was driven to suicide. The super timing of the Black Ghost operatives stepped in, however, and shot the rope he was about to hang himself from. They just grabbed him and threw him in the car after that.

He’s been given the nickname ‘Mole’ because he can shoot intense flames from his mouth. The flames get so hot that they can easily melt rock, allowing him to tunnel underground easily. He’s also immune to pretty much all intensities of heat. Outside of 007, Chang is the most lighthearted of the group, typically focusing on cooking when they’re not in the heat of battle (haha, I make puns.) He’s also close friends with 007, and they make a really good comedy duo.

Speaking of 007, GB or Great Britain (His real name is unknown – Great Britain is his stage name) was a struggling actor who basically became a drunkard staggering around in the streets just looking for cigarettes or booze. Black Ghost simply threw a bottle of booze into their car and he jumped in after it, which makes this the second funny backstory to the cyborgs.

007 was granted the ability to change his form into anything he wished. (He couldn’t transform his clothes at this point, so he has to take them off every time he transformed in the early days of the manga.) He was also given the nickname of the ‘Chameleon.’

008 or Pyunma was one of many Africans set on a plane bound for an unknown destination to become slaves. He managed to escape his captors, but was cornered. He begged for his life, and the Black Ghost operatives shot the captors. Pyunma was very thankful for them saving his life, but they just put a gun in his face and forced him to come along with them anyway.

008 has, arguably, the least impressive powers. He can breathe underwater (Which is a power also given to 009) and withstand high levels of underwater pressure. He also has incredible swimming abilities and propellers in his feet to make him go faster underwater, making him their best sea-faring fighter. These abilities do come in handy more often than in most shows that have water-based heroes because their base is an island and they travel most frequently via a submarine,

Granted, his skills as a freedom fighter (which we’ll explore later) give him an edge in combat on land, but, objectively, he kinda got screwed in the cyborg powers department considering most of the cyborgs can fight just fine in the water.

His nickname is ‘Merman’ for obvious reasons.

Finally, we’ve reached the titular character of Cyborg 009, Joe Shimamura.

As we’ve discussed, Joe was always treated differently because of his mixed-race heritage. He was orphaned at birth, and when he was old enough to work he quickly ended up in juvenile hall for reasons not given. He, along with another two boys, tried to escape the facility, but one of the boys ended up getting caught, though Joe tried to save him, and the other boy seemingly died from falling off of a cliff. Black Ghost operatives then captured Joe.

Now, something we need to address with Joe is that he has a tad bit of the ‘Main character/leader of the team gets the best stuff’ trope going on. He is told by 001 that they may be great, but 009 is top of the line. Since he was the last one built, he basically has the capability to do everything they can do, which is objectively false, but Joe does have, by far, the most amount of powers and abilities.

His main claim to fame is his speed. Joe has an accelerator switch in his molar that allows him to move so fast that time slows down and sometimes comes to a near halt when the switch is activated. However, even his main power was one adapted by an earlier cyborg. Jet also has an accelerator, but it’s not nearly as powerful as Joe’s.

In addition to that, though, he can also breathe underwater, is nearly as durable and physically strong as 005, has some heightened senses like night vision, an increased sense of smell and electromagnetic detection like 003 (Though why, of all things, give him heightened sense of smell but not sight or hearing?), heightened memory capability, a built-in language translator and even the ability to transmit messages in Morse code. He doesn’t have fire breathing powers, shapeshifting, built-in weapons or psychic powers, but he does have quite the collection.

He’s also noted as being the best pilot on the team. In the first volume, even though he’s never piloted a plane before and is scared out of his mind, he’s able to do incredibly impressive maneuvers, defeat the enemies and land safely.

I just find his situation to be a little silly. Why is 009 the only one who gets powers from previous cyborg models? Wouldn’t they do that with all of them? Why is 008 so blah if he was the cyborg that came directly before 009? Why would they not also include some of the most powerful abilities in the group – especially 001 considering he’s a damn near demi-god?

Yes, as impressive as 009 is, there’s no denying that 001 is just flatout more powerful. The only reason 001 isn’t more of a deus ex machina in the series (even though, trust me, he is definitely a big deus ex machina) is because his psychic powers wear him down so much, being a baby, that he needs near constant sleep. But if they put those powers in the body of an adult and gave them better energy output, he’d be unstoppable. They specifically recruited the guy who made 001’s powers possible, so there’s really no excuse why he’s the only one they allowed to have psychic capabilities.

Either way, Joe gets the best stuff, barring the god-like psychic powers, just cuz. He’s also the leader just cuz. It definitely doesn’t make him OP or anything, but it kinda rubs me the wrong way that there are numerous instances of ‘Yeah Joe has that, but better.’ Like 002 was attacked by a Hydra V that pierced his skin with a tranquilizer, but 009 was developed after they created artificial skin to protect against those kinds of assaults so he could get through it just fine, but 002 was downed. Even though, you’d think flying unprotected at speeds upward of mach 5 would warrant some reinforced skin.

Once 009 is complete, he is awakened by the telepathic messages of 001 telling him to run. He is currently undergoing a field test by Black Ghost who are throwing robots, tanks, and fighter planes at 009 to test his combat prowess. With the guidance of 001, he passes with flying colors. The Black Ghost scientists introduce the 00 cyborgs that preceded 009 to him, but SURPRISE, this was actually a staged coups. The cyborgs have brandished some laser rifles and are rebelling against their creators.

They take Dr. Gilmore as a ‘hostage’ and convince 009 to join them. Black Ghost obviously isn’t going to let them go without a fight, however. They want to take them alive because they don’t want to destroy their hard work and valuable assets, but they are prepared to destroy them because allowing their technology and plans to leak to the general public is considered worse than simply losing the cyborgs they have.

It turns out Dr. Gilmore was actually the one who organized this rebellion and breakout in the first place. He felt guilty for all of the terrible acts he had partaken in, so he vowed to free all of the cyborgs and help them with any other troubles they may experience as a result of their augmentation or Black Ghost.

The rest of the volume is them trying to escape from the nearly endless onslaught of attacks from Black Ghost, who are utilizing drone planes, spy robots that take the forms of bats and dolphins, dinosaur-esque attack robots, tanks, massive mechs, submarines, soldiers, basically anything that they can throw at the cyborgs, they are. That’s another thing I really love about this series – there’s such a wide array of various enemies to fight that each have their own powers and abilities, and they take on so many forms.

It’s a really cool display of all the cyborgs’ abilities, too. I especially enjoyed 005 just smashing up tanks like they were made of Legos. We may get reminded here and there that Joe is the most advanced 00 Cyborg, but all of the characters get a good amount of time to shine in their own regard. Even though I may rag on 003 for being support and not doing much in actual combat, like I said, she is invaluable to their battles and strategies. Without her, they’d be dead.

Now they’ve commandeered a submarine and are trying to infiltrate Black Ghost’s base to try and take it out from the inside.

———————————–

And that was volume one. Phew, that was really a lot to go over, but we had to discuss the fundamentals before we could properly carry on into the rest of the series. Subsequent volume reviews should be shorter.

Overall, this was a really great introduction to all of the cast, their backstories and how they became the legendary 00 Cyborgs. Of course, it’s not perfect for all of the reasons I already explained, but it has really interesting characters, fun art, exciting battles, and even commentary on issues that are still very much relevant today, even if some of the specifics are very outdated. It sets the stage quite well for what’s to come and leaves you wanting more.

At the end of the day, I’m really glad I started this project, and I hope everyone has just as much fun along with me as we examine the rest of the franchise (As much as we can anyway.)

Also, I apologize in advance for flip-flopping over and over between the characters’ 00 numbers and their actual names. It’s a bad habit I got into a long time ago, and I have no idea why I do it.

Recommended Audience: Errrrrrrr…..Well…..Comixology lists this as being for ages 12+, but then again they also put that same rating on frickin’ Tokyo Mew Mew and that’s just…strange. I’d say that rating is much more fitting for Cyborg 009 than TMM. Is this one of those situations where they mis-rate anime and manga just because it’s anime or manga? This volume alone has death, murder, some blood, hinted suicide, racist overtones, alcohol….there’s not really sex or nudity I guess, so there’s that. Sure, let’s give it a 12+

Next Volume….


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 22-23 (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

This is another story I’m sorry didn’t make it into Season Zero. It’s weird because this a two parter, so it easily could’ve been adapted into the show without needing to write anything new, but I guess they just didn’t like the story enough.

Hanasaki, the timid kid from chapter three, makes a reappearance. He is a huge fan of the American comic book hero, Zombire – which is literally a fusion of a zombie and a vampire. His father makes sure to get him some cool Zombire merch, like masks, model kits etc. every time he returns from a business trip from America.

His father feels bad for not being around much, especially considering Hanasaki has rather poor health and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. Hanasaki doesn’t have a lot of friends or self-confidence, so his father is happy whenever he can put a smile on his face by getting him Zombire stuff. He’s especially happy that Hanasaki has found some new friends in Yugi and the gang.

(Can I just point out how crazy rude it is to unbox something you find in someone’s room? Let alone if it’s a model kit and choosing to assemble it right there just because you assume the person doesn’t have the time to do it. Even if he didn’t just want to collect it and preserve the box, he still would have wanted to have the fun of putting it together himself. For god’s sake, Jonouchi. Get a clue.)

However, his father’s a bit of an idiot. A well-meaning idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

To help boost Hanasaki’s confidence, he pretends to be a stranger getting attacked by some goons in the middle of the night. Hanasaki rushes out in his new Zombire costume that his father just bought him and ‘defeats’ the goons with ease.

This plan works wonderfully as Hanasaki pretty much believes he can do anything now. However, I really, really, really need to point out how misguided this plan is.

It’s great that his dad wants to boost his confidence. It’s great that he wants to give him a chance to be a hero like Zombire. But making your scrawny, physically weak, child who has a history of health problems believe he can easily beat up thugs twice his size, especially when he has a hero complex, is not the smartest thing in the world. He may gain confidence, but he may also gain overconfidence and a desire to continue challenging huge people who would wipe their asses with his mangled remains.

What’s even worse is that, 1) These jerks aren’t people Hanasaki’s dad knows well or is friends with – they’re just random thugs he found on the street and 2) when Hanasaki’s dad pays them off, they ask for Hanasaki’s full name and WHERE HE GOES TO SCHOOL so they can supposedly do this again…..And he just gives them that information. There’s a difference between being misguided and being an idiot. I know the 90s were a different time in regards to child safety, but this is too much even for then.

Predictably, the goons arrive at their school and they threaten Yugi, knowing he’s a friend of Hanasaki, so Hanasaki can come in to save him. They run off, and Hanasaki is once again emboldened by his heroism. However, the real reason they did that was so they’d know Hanasaki’s face too, since he was masked the first time they saw him….doesn’t really make a difference because knowing his face doesn’t mean you know where he lives, but either way, they find out where he lives, throw a rock through his window claiming they’ve kidnapped Yugi and to come face them if he ever wants to see him again.

Hanasaki dons his Zombire costume and heads out to save his friend.

Meanwhile, Yugi is getting into Zombire model kits thanks to Hanasaki, but he’s run out of spray paint and can’t color his newest creation. Since all the shops are closed, he runs to Hanasaki’s house to borrow some paint. However, all he finds is his father in a panic, holding the note the goons left for Hanasaki. They call him up and tell him they’ve got Hanasaki and are holding him hostage for 500,000 yen, which is about 4500 USD. If he doesn’t pay, they’ll hurt Hanasaki. And even though they haven’t given his father enough time to do anything, they’re still beating up Hanasaki and even spraying spray paint into his eyes. Yikes…

Yugi, who soon becomes Yami, rushes off to save him, vehement in saving the friend who was only trying to protect him in the first place. Hanasaki’s father is close behind and retrieves Hanasaki while Yugi takes care of the goons.

Before we head on to the Shadow Game portion, let me point out one final bit of idiocy in Hanasaki’s dad. He tells Hanasaki that they should just…go home. *lip smack* First of all, you’re just gonna leave poor Yugi alone with three thugs who have knives? Real nice. Why aren’t you helping him or calling the cops? Yugi’s a kid too. What are you thinking? Second, your child has been beaten and had spray paint shot directly into his eyes. Maybe take him to a hospital first? You’re a terrible parent.

Shadow Game

It’s honestly not much of a game. The thugs chase Yami around as he draws lines on the ground with spray paint. Eventually, they realize he was drawing a maze around them and a discarded cigarette is set to ignite the paint. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

That’s it. That’s all. They don’t even actually go through the maze, they just run away.

Hanasaki refuses to go home, sheds his Zombire mask and heads off to help Yugi fight the goons. He doesn’t get to actually do anything, but the fact that he rushed in either way proved to himself and his father that he doesn’t need some silly costume or some fake super strength to be a hero – he had it in him all along.

This is a pretty sweet couple of chapters. I really liked Hanasaki when we first met him in chapter three, so I’m glad we got more time with him and got to explore his character more. I really wish he was made into more of a regular character, to be honest. He’s very likable, brave and sweet. I think he’d make a great addition to the group – especially in this series loaded with jerks around every corner. The ending explaining that he had the heart of a hero and plenty of courage all along was predictable, but not as much as you’d think. I was more worried they’d do worse damage to him than they did, just because so many people in this manga are ridiculously evil.

This plot is interesting, even if the choices made by the father are just stupid sometimes. It’s also weird that he decides to do this confidence boost plot thing right as he learns Hanasaki has a group of friends. Isn’t his confidence the highest it’s ever been right now?

Though I do have to say….isn’t he a tad old to be believing he’s randomly acquiring super powers? He’s meant to be the same age as Yugi and the others, which is at least 16, right? Yet he’s leaning into the make-believe so much it’s almost delusional.

The Shadow Game is boring too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, Hanasaki has found a strength within himself that has nothing to do with Zombire, and he has a big heart that allows him to fight for his friends no matter what, even if the enemy outnumbers him and are twice his size. That’s just as good, if not better, as any comic book hero.

Next time, Mokuba’s friggin’ nuts!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com