Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 8

So, who wants to go through an entire, beat-by-beat, retelling of Joe’s awakening chapter from the beginning of the series, now featuring Lil’ 007?!

Me either, so let’s just talk about the other 15% of the prologue, which is a time skip.

After Cyborg 009 was dropped by Weekly Shonen King, it was picked up by Weekly Shonen Magazine in July of 1966. This chapter was not meant to be considered canon, as confirmed by Ishinomori. All of the background information about Joe being a race car driver, Francoise being a ballerina and GB still being a child was inserted here for the sake of making the manga more inviting to people who had taken up the manga after watching the 1966 movie.

It’s been four years since the finale of the battle against the Mythos Cyborgs, which means, despite the series getting picked back up we’re still left without any concrete resolution to the Mythos arc. All we know is that they seemingly beat the Mythos Cyborgs and they all survived the battle.

Apparently, whether or not the Mythos arc is even still canon has been a topic of debate ever since this volume was released because it acts as though the Vietnam arc was the story immediately preceding this one. Ishinomori wanted to rewrite the Mythos arc one day to give it a proper conclusion, but even though the manga continued on for a long time, he never revisited it. I’m inclined to believe the Mythos arc is canon, but that’s just me.

One more note before we continue, even though Ishinomori claimed this chapter wasn’t canon, that doesn’t make much sense because a lot of what happens in this chapter will carry on throughout the entire arc. For instance, if Joe becoming a successful race car driver isn’t canon, why does he have that sick house for so long? If he was never followed by reporters wanting to get insight into the famous Hurricane Joe, why do they reappear as his informants later on? If Joe never had this encounter with his friends, how did he meet Helen? It’s very confusing.

Joe has taken up a job as a successful race car driver, but he holds a lot of resentment about his cyborg nature and Black Ghost. Despite his newfound success, he’s also garnered a reputation as being a bit of a grump who won’t talk to the press or take off his helmet while on the track. However, two persistent journalists decide to follow him home to finally get an interview.

Journalist: “One thing I’ve heard is that he’s some sort of half-breed. That would explain why he’s so damn secretive.”

I’ve never heard that stereotype before. They treat being mixed race like it’s a secret identity.

They follow him to a store where Joe meets up with some old delinquent friends from reform school. Ibaraki (incorrectly translated by Tokyopop as Ibaragi) Oyamada and Mary. They’ve gone straight since their school days and are even running a modest moving business out of their truck. Joe invites them to his swanky-ass smart house that has a combination-locked door, flippable floors to switch the purpose of the rooms instantly, a large screen TV, meals that pop out of the tables, etc.

As Mary and Joe get drinks, she suddenly becomes melancholy as she remembers her father and how he abandoned her. She wonders if her life would have turned out differently if he had kept her. Joe consoles her and they go back out to get the party going with the boys.

Mmm….old friends of one of the main characters….getting nostalgic….having fun…….they’re going to die, aren’t they?

It should be noted that this scene was drastically changed from the original version. Originally, it was revealed that Mary and Joe were both bullied as children for being ‘half-breeds’ which caused them to fall into the wrong crowd. I have no idea why this was changed to just being a generic ‘If I hadn’t been an orphan, would my life be different?’ speech. Especially since, as the comparison on the Fandom page explains, the translation claims she wound up at the same reform school, which should be impossible because Kurihama Juvenile Hall is meant to be boys-only.

The boys are watching a news broadcast about a giant robot bat that attacked recently that they believe originated from a Polynesian island.

Oyamada: “The news is so boring.” BORING?! What world do you live in where reports of a giant robot bat attack are boring to you?

A fly gets let in by the journalists, and it turns out to be a robot that triggers the three friends into attacking Joe. They were secretly cyborgs sent to kill him.

Ibaraki is covered in gun barrels in his chest and elbows. Black Ghost made 004 with guns in his fingers, which are extremely easy to aim……then they made Ibaraki with guns in his elbows and chest, which are very hard to aim…I guess this is an upgrade from Mr. “Black Ghost pretty much duct taped a machine gun to my arm stump.”….….……Black Ghost is filled with morons. Ibaraki also has target-vision, which is pretty cool.

Also, nothing to do with his cyborg nature, but look at his shirt.

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Did someone look at a bowl of Alphabits and say ‘Yeah, I want that as a button-up shirt.’?

Oyamada is pretty cool looking, having a bunch of ‘tusks’ jutting out of nearly every space on his body. These tusks can spear his enemies, but if he captures one of them in his ‘ribs’ he can crush them to death.

Finally, Mary was turned into a dog-like cyborg who runs on all-fours, creates electricity with her paws, has razor-sharp claws and can control wolves with a cry.

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Ibaraki is the main one attacking at first. He shoots up the joint while Joe runs for his life and tries to convince his friends to stop. He attempts to appeal to their bond as friends and reminds them of the good times they had. They do feel bad about what they’re doing, but they’re not just being ordered by Black Ghost, they’re legitimately angry with him. Joe simply vanished from their lives one day and they haven’t heard so much as a peep from him since he disappeared. What’s worse is that he never warned them about Black Ghost, and they were turned into cyborgs as a result.

The fight continues, Mary accidentally getting shot up by Ibaraki in the crossfire. Ibaraki and Oyamada decide to retreat for the time being in order to get Mary to safety. Before they drive off in their truck, Joe puts a tracker on it. After they drive away, he heads back into his house to put on his good ol’ uniform, hops in his car and heads after them.

They won’t let themselves be followed, however. They activate missiles hidden in the tail lights of their truck. Despite all of the massive explosions, Joe manages to outmaneuver the missiles. Mary wakes up and uses her wolf-summoning powers on Joe’s car, which, funnily, actually makes him stop, get out of the car and take refuge up a tree….Joe….you have super speed…..just run away from them and chase the truck on foot.

He’s trapped until Mary is so far out of range that the wolves no longer attack Joe.

When Joe is finally free, he tracks the trio to an old cabin in the woods.

Also, this creepy-ass owl.

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How many licks does it take to get to the entrail center of your corpse?

The trio pop out of the cabin, but there’s something off about Mary…what it is, I don’t know. I can’t see anything different about her, but Joe asks with a shocked expression what they did to her. Joe tries one more time to talk to his friends, explaining that Black Ghost did the same thing to him as they did to them and that Black Ghost is the real enemy. The only way he made it through becoming a cyborg was with the help of his friends, and he wants to help them now. Despite his pleas, the trio attack anyway.

Shockingly, when they converge on Joe, they all explode.

Joe: “You were wired to explode if your thoughts strayed from the mission.”

Hey…hey Joe….do you do parkour?

…..Because that’s quite the leap you just made.

There was no indication that any of them were actually taking what you were saying to heart, and their final act was to lunge at you, either knowing they’d explode or otherwise. How do you get ‘they were wired to explode if their thoughts strayed from the mission’ out of that? They’d run away from you if they were really starting to reconsider. The Wiki page for all three of their characters also claims that this was a last-ditch attempt to kill him. Their reluctance was not translated to the imagery at all.

Also, would Black Ghost not just go for complete control over their minds instead of blowing them up the instant they even started thinking about disobeying? They basically made the same mistake they made with 0013 only worse. It took quite a while after 0013 considered defecting that he (technically 13 Robo, but still) was set to blow up, but Joe’s friends seemed to blow the instant they thought ‘Hm, maybe I shouldn’t kil–’

How is it possible that, given all the evidence we’ve seen throughout the manga so far, Black Ghost somehow manages to get worse in their tech and even stupider in their plans?

Joe mourns the loss of his friends for a minute before heading off to investigate the cabin. He finds a young woman named Helen tied up on the floor.

Before you ask, yes, Helen is basically just Helena recycled, both in name and design, but she’s not the Mythos cyborg, she’s an entirely new character. Tokyopop was even cheeky about this and changed a line when they first meet from ‘Hey! Hang in there!’ to ‘Hey! I remember you!’ which caused more confusion in me than anything because I thought this was a character that we might have met at the start of the volume/chapter or something. I knew she looked the same as Helena, but we didn’t know her name at this point, and it could have just been a coincidence. Next time, Tokyopop, just say ‘You look like someone I used to know….’ or something. Wording is everything if you’re going to intentionally change lines to make a joke.

There’s something else in the cabin as well – a giant robo-cat. Joe fells the robot rather easily. The robot is a cheap piece of garbage, and Joe wonders why Black Ghost would send such a pile of junk after him.

He and Helen drive off, and she explains her story. Her father, Fishbone, was a widely respected scientist that Black Ghost wanted to recruit. Fishbone, however, refused to join up. Black Ghost never takes rejection well, so he was hunted. Fishbone vanished, but Helen was captured as a hostage.

Joe considers getting the gang back together since Black Ghost seems so active lately. Right as he ponders that, he notices a helicopter following closely behind them. Joe tells Helen to drive while he jumps into the helicopter to confront their stalker.

However, much to his surprise, 004 is piloting the helicopter with a huge smirk plastered on his face. That little scamp.

004 hadn’t visited 009 in a while, so he decided to pop in with his helicopter. When he saw Joe’s fancy car, he decided to tease him a bit. He becomes apologetic, however, when 009 explains Helen’s situation. 004 did have actual business with 009 – the obvious situation with Black Ghost reemerging. 004 and 009 head off to meet Dr. Gilmore and the others, but Helen asks to come.

004: “I’m sorry. This is no place for a woman.” Yeah! There are no women on our tea–….Oh shit.

009: “Don’t be a pig, 004!” Thank you, 009. I love 004 to bits, but he has his moments…

The three depart, and 004 quickly detects and corners the journalists from earlier, but he doesn’t do anything to them. *shrug*

On the way to Gilmore’s place, 004 explains that, when the team broke up, he headed back to Germany. However, everyone was too afraid of his cybernetic enhancements to hire him. He was soon destitute so he tried to find work elsewhere.

Wow. That’s quite the contrast. 009 is able to become an insanely rich and famous race car driver, but 004 can’t even find work and wound up broke. Couldn’t Albert have just….ya know…covered his hands? Those are literally the only parts of him that are outwardly cybernetic. His chest is also noticeably mechanical, but unless he’s planning on being a stripper, that shouldn’t be an issue.

After recapping 004’s backstory, they arrive at Gilmore’s sub, which means DRUMROLL PLEASE

We officially have the Dolphin! Whoo! And we get the blueprints of it, which is awesome. I always love any mech/cyborg/robot etc. anime that provides blueprints or schematics for their machinery. It’s so cool.

The Dolphin is specially designed to go on land, air and sea, meaning they can go literally anywhere Black Ghost travels.

In the sub, 004 expresses distrust of Helen – not for anything she’s done but because she’s leading them on a Black Ghost case, and anyone even remotely connected to Black Ghost cannot truly be trusted until proven otherwise. 009 vehemently argues against this…..but….dude, you were literally just betrayed by three of your closest childhood friends because they wound up in the clutches of Black Ghost……that happened like six hours ago…

They’re suddenly attacked by one of Black Ghost’s robotic undersea dinosaurs, and I love that I get to say that sentence. They’re able to outmaneuver it with the Dolphin’s speed, and 009 uses some of the torpedoes to strike it down. Gilmore is impressed considering 009 has not been trained on the Dolphin yet, but 009 explains that he can intuitively understand how to operate any vehicle thanks to his cybernetics…..which…is something you’d think he’d never have to explain to Dr. Gilmore…the guy who designed 009…..

009: “I’d say that attack proves Helen’s on our side. I don’t think even Black Ghost would fire on one of their own.”…..009….did you suffer brain damage on a page I missed? Black Ghost attacks and kills their own all the time. In fact, again, they literally just did that by blowing up your friends because they maybe, for half a second, considered not fighting you.

Onto the next chapter, we get a news report explaining that the ‘bat’ monster we had heard about earlier was actually a robot pterodactyl with ultrasonic waves so powerful that it can crumble buildings and cause insta-death by vibrating your blood vessels and bones so violently that you basically turn to mush.

That…is ridiculously horrifying and awesome. Also, imagine how different Power Rangers would be if the Pink Ranger’s zord had that power.

Albert heads to China to recruit Chang, who is running his own restaurant.

Next, Joe heads to London where GB is utilizing his shape-shifting abilities to impress audiences in the theater. He’s also utilizing his power to continue looking like an adult because, you guessed it, Lil’ 007…..*sigh* Once he has GB on board, he tells him to head to the United States to find Jet while he heads to France to find Francoise.

Francoise has made it big as a ballet dancer, and she’s living her dream. When Joe confronts her about coming back, she vehemently refuses, wanting to leave that life behind her once and for all, choosing to chase a life of positivity and expression instead. Joe understands and wishes her luck, but she changes her mind before he leaves since she knows there’s a sense of duty involved.

Meanwhile, Jet has made it as a professional football player…….I really, really don’t understand why literally everyone else has found success and/or happiness, four of them ending up FAMOUS AND RICH, but Albert can’t even find a job all because of his robot hands that he can easily cover up.

Anyway, Lil’ 007 pranks Jet by turning into the football he caught, freaking him out and causing him to get dogpiled.

On a Native American reserve, I think anyway, G. Junior is riding around the countryside when Lil’ 007 calls him over by shaping a smoke signal to say 005….somehow.

Enjoy this surreal image of G. Junior dressed as a cowboy and Lil’ 007 dressing like a stereotypical Native American.

The final teammate to retrieve is Pyunma, who is now a gameskeeper in Africa. He’s confronted by a giant robot alligator…..which would be something I’d happily point out as being awesome…..


What the fuck!? He is almost totally obliterated! Poor Pyunma. Rarely has a manga panel made me pause in shock like that one did. Dude just lost his entire family in the last volume and now this?!

Joe acts fast and fights off the alligator. When he leaves, Joe takes what’s left of Pyunma and rushes him to Gilmore as fast as his accelerator will take him.

When he arrives, the damage is assessed, and it doesn’t look good, obviously. All of his vital parts, barring his brain, have been destroyed. Gilmore rushes to reconstruct him, if he can.

While the others nervously wait for news on Pyunma’s condition, the TV suddenly turns on and reveals Skull. He is announcing to the world that they have one year until Black Ghost turns everyone on the planet into followers of Black Ghost. To prove that they’ll have no chance, he uses the robot pterodactyl to completely destroy New York City. The transmission suddenly ends, and the group determines that Black Ghost has somehow managed to take over the broadcast systems of the world, meaning he can beam any message he pleases over any media network at any time. It also means that he’s completely ruined any chance the group had at doing their missions covertly.

Gilmore emerges from the reconstruction room, having finished his work on Pyunma. However, he won’t know of his true condition until he’s had at least a few days rest. Before they’re able to catch Gilmore up on the broadcast, Albert accuses Helen of turning the TV on so they wouldn’t miss the broadcast. He now believes more than ever that Helen is a cyborg sent by Black Ghost, so he drags her out into the water.

He, not kidding, and this is exactly how 001 describes it, is putting Helen through a Salem Witch Trial. In the Salem Witch Trials, one of the tests they used to determine if someone was a witch was by stripping them down to their underwear and throwing them in a body of water – the logic being, if they’re a witch, they’ll float. If they’re innocent, they’ll sink. Here, 004 is using the same concept. She has a half hour of oxygen in her tank – if it runs out and she floats, she’s human. If she sinks, or if she can generate her own oxygen I guess, then she’s a cyborg.

….Uh….guys….don’t you have an x-ray machine?….Maybe….use that instead? Actually, doesn’t 003 have x-ray vision? If you’re dedicated to this stupid test, why did you even put an oxygen tank on her at all? Just throw her out there freebird. You wouldn’t have to wait for a half hour.

Anyway, no time for these murderous shenanigans – missile sharks!

Have I mentioned I love this manga?

They’re closing in fast, so 009 rushes out to save Helen. 004 pulls a super gun on 009 and demands that he get away from her. 009 persists in refusing to allow Helen to get tortured for the sake of 004’s paranoia, but 004 says he has no other options and 009 should trust him enough to know he’d never do something of this magnitude unless he had to. However, sadly, 009 says he can’t trust him that much.

I hate to disagree with 004 here, but I disagree with 004 here. Like I said, they have other options for determining if she’s a cyborg. This test is ridiculous, dangerous and pointless.

Commence awesome battle with the missile sharks. The Dolphin is able to shield them from some missiles because of its force field technology. Additionally, it has an ultrasonic pulsator that can disrupt the signals emitted from the devices on the sharks. The sharks are still mostly sharks, they just have missile launchers on their heads. Black Ghost’s technology allows them to tap into the shark’s innate desire to kill. When this desire is most active, their missiles launch.

….No, it doesn’t really make much sense. Sharks aren’t bloodthirsty murderers. They’re just eating. Their one desire is ‘find and eat food’ not ‘murdermurderdeathkillmurder.’ Killing is part of their eating process, sure, and they hunt, but they’re not processing the killing part. They’re just obtaining food.

Helen runs out of oxygen, so 009 rushes back to the Dolphin to get her treated. She’s unconscious, but alright.

009 confronts 004 about his actions, but he doesn’t believe he has to defend himself. After all, this incident didn’t prove she didn’t work for Black Ghost, it just proved she wasn’t a cyborg. In fact, he’s suspicious as to how the sharks even found them to begin with and suspects she might have a tracking device on her.

He goes even further by saying he’s not the only one who is suspicious of Helen – 001 is as well. Francoise also chimes in to say she doesn’t understand Joe’s blind faith in Helen………..But this is turned into girl things, because 001 claims Francoise is only taking this stance because Helen’s a woman, and Francoise is jealous because of her feelings for Joe. Meanwhile, it’s clear Joe is so adamant about defending Helen because he’s grown to care about her.

001 can sense these thoughts and feelings in both Francoise and Joe, but he hasn’t been able to sense anything in Helen. Just as he says that, he senses something very faint in Helen – a deep feeling of grief.

006 directs their attention to the news where a Japanese company called Mitsutomo has rushed the development of an anti-ultrasonic wave gun to combat Black Ghost… long has it been since Skull made that announcement? Because that’s quite the rush job.

They can’t have a single moment’s peace because, once the news broadcast is over, a new army of enemies appears.

It’s a….*deep breath* school of robot kamikaze drill stingrays….I know I’m repeating myself, but I do really love this so much.

And, taking up the back end, a giant robot plesiosaur.

The stingrays give the ship a good beating, and the Dolphin is damaged even more when they use their ultrasonic wave gun to destroy the stingrays. The Dolphin is now loaded with cracks, and one of their wings has been blown off, but they still try to make an escape. The plesiosaur, however, has other ideas.

Turns out, this is another monster with an ultrasonic gun. It gives their other wing a terrible hit. It looks like they’re done for, but 009 has an idea. He aims their own ultrasonic gun at the beast and prepares to fire right when the monster fires its shot, hopefully canceling each other out. The plan works, but in a manner they didn’t expect.

When the two ultrasonic waves collide underwater, they create whirlpools and waterspouts that shoot them out of the water and into the air. Since the Dolphin is also an airplane, they manage to escape, however just barely because the Dolphin is an absolute wreck at this point.

Or is it?!

Because the Dolphin is such a badass piece of machinery, even this disaster can’t take it down. The Dolphin actually has two exterior shells. One is meant to take the brunt of damage in battle. If the damage becomes too great, it can shed this shell and escape the danger with its main structure.

Once the Dolphin is back in tip top shape, Pyunma emerges from the reconstruction room with his brand new scaly body.

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After a short time skip, Francoise and Gilmore watch Pyunma as he sits outside watching the waves from a cliffside. Francoise asks why Gilmore did that to Pyunma. Gilmore is extremely confused by her question because the body he built for him was much better than the design he had before, and he put a lot of work and passion into building that body for him.

I hate to break the flow of the story, but, uhm….the translation’s already doing that for me. See, in the speech bubble that is conveying the information I just explained, someone from Tokyopop wrote ‘Hahahahaha’ behind the words…..for…some reason. It’s overlaid like it was a mistake, but what the hell is this? Why did they write ‘hahahaha’ anyway? This is a very serious and somber scene but one of the people doing the text not only wrote that but left it in the panel, and this somehow got past quality control.

Cyborg 009 Volume 8 Screen5Gilmore insists that the new body is a major improvement and he’ll be exactly what they need to fight Black Ghost. Francoise, however, calls him out for ignoring Pyunma’s needs as a human being. He now has silver scales from the neck down and will have an awful time trying to fit into human society. She definitely has a point if Albert was experiencing such hardships that he nearly became homeless all because he has metal hands.

Gilmore: “Those scales allow him to move even more quickly underwater. He should be grateful. And silver is far better than the black of his skin. I was thinking of him.”

Gilmore….what the hell? This is the first indication I’ve seen of Gilmore being racist. I legitimately needed time to pause reading and process that. Not just that Gilmore is so blatantly racist here, but the thing is, he’s not just saying he dislikes the appearance of black skin….he’s saying SILVER FISH SCALES are more visually appealing. Wow….just….just wow.

Francoise, however, is having none of his shit. She argues that he definitely wasn’t thinking of Pyunma at all. He’s very proud of his heritage and his black skin, and replacing most of that with scales is an insult to his culture and him as a person. You tell him, Francoise!

After she leaves, Gilmore clearly has a moment of reflection on her words.

Outside, Albert meets with Pyunma and talks to him about his new body. Albert, previously being the most altered out of all of the cyborgs, has a metal cyborg body, and the only part of him that really looks human is his head. I know I mentioned before that his metal hands were the only parts of him that were causing him prejudice – I said that because I can’t see any reason why he couldn’t wear long-sleeved shirts on whatever job he got.

Likewise, I should mention that, for some reason and somehow, Pyunma’s hands are black when the previous shot showed that his hands were whitish-gray and had scales on them. I don’t know if he’s wearing some sort of ‘skin’ gloves or something. It was probably just easier to draw him that way instead of drawing scales on his hands every time he was shown.

Albert learned to accept who he was and how he looked because it gave him the power to make a difference. It’s a curse, but also a gift that he can use to protect people and stop evil.

His pep talk works, and Pyunma thanks Albert before taking off his clothes and diving into the water to test out his new skills. He’s now insanely fast in the water and even shows off for 005, 006 and 007 who are underwater in the Dolphin keeping watch.

Pyunma heads back into the house to thank Gilmore for the new body. Dr. Gilmore was attempting to apologize for what he did, but Pyunma interrupts him to thank him.

I’m….not entirely on board with that. It’s great that Pyunma has accepted his appearance and is learning to make the best of it, unfair as though it may be, and it’s great that Dr. Gilmore was even attempting to apologize, but I feel like he should have actually gotten the chance to apologize because, really, he did majorly fuck up in changing his appearance so drastically without taking Pyunma’s feelings into consideration. Even without the racist comments, no one would feel happy being covered from the neck down in metal scales. For a guy who felt so guilty about turning them into cyborgs in the first place that he chose to live a dangerous life on the run from Black Ghost in order to help the cyborgs, he sure doesn’t understand how they feel in regards to their increasing loss of humanity.

After that scene, we show Albert suddenly shooting off a finger dart to kill a fly. And then we get this looming shot.

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You guys remember the last time we saw a fly? Hmmm?

Anyway, did you know that Jet is from America? Because he has a shirt on that just says ‘USA’ over and over.

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Oh, excuse me, most of the words say ‘USA’ but some of them say ‘UAS’ and ‘ASU.’

001 is back to sleep, so he’ll be out of commission for another two weeks. Meanwhile, Joe has headed back to Tokyo to meet up with the journalists from before who were tailing him. He’s interested in learning if they have any information on Mitsutomo Engineering – the company that made the anti-ultrasonic gun.

According to them, the anti-ultrasonic gun was made a little over a year ago, and the president is someone named Ban Bogart (Whose name was really messed with in translation. His actual name is meant to be Van Vogt, which is how I will refer to him.) who lives in the Hakone mountains. When 009 arrives at Van Vogt’s home, he’s confused to find a building with no windows or doors. When he infiltrates the property, he finds even more oddities such as an incredibly small horse, a sea monster and a weird bigfoot/caveman monster.

What’s even more shocking, however, is that Joe sees Helen through one of the windows that is not supposed to exist.

009 is attacked by the weird bigfoot/caveman monster thing, which has a legitimately horrifying design. It looks like he’s about to be killed when ‘Helen’ yells out the window for it to stop. However, with one final panel showing that the blow connected, we’re left off on the end of the volume assuming the worst of poor 009.


And that was volume eight! We had quite a bit to go through there, but it was a fun and interesting ride from start to finish.

As you can see, this volume kinda acts as a very, very soft reboot of the series once the cyborgs had finished their initial mission and went off to live their lives. I like how mostly everyone found a career and success doing something they loved, but I will never not be confused as to why Albert has such difficulty getting work when his hands are really the only piece of cybernetics anyone can see regularly. Can he not wear gloves? I can imagine people with prosthetic limbs get plenty of discrimination too, but people are so off-put by the mere sight of his hands that he can’t find work anywhere and nearly went homeless? Maybe I’m just not thinking through the era and location.

Let me also clarify – I’m not saying anyone’s prejudice against their cybernetics is right in any way, of course it’s not, but if you can’t help what people think and you can do something to blend in better, I’d think it’d be better to take that option instead of running risk of being homeless.

The fact that literally everyone else went off to find success despite their cybernetics, several of them even finding fame and fortune, just seems weird to me when put in contrast to Albert’s plight.

Also, despite this being a gentle feather-touch ‘reboot’ the only backstories we recap are Joe’s and Albert’s, and Joe’s basically took up an entire chapter. I get that recapping everyone would be tiresome and repetitive, but, to be honest, Joe’s was tiresome and repetitive on its own. It was literally like they copy-pasted the entire actual first chapter and called it a day.

At least Albert’s was a brief flashback that was chopped up.

I liked the addition of Joe’s childhood friends, I just really wish they had been given more characterization. Mary in particular seemed like she had an interesting story attached to her, but they all had potential.

Their story was predictable after a point, everything was just going way too smoothly for this manga, but turning Joe’s friends into cyborgs sent to kill him from Black Ghost was an interesting way to hook him in particular back into the conflict. Things were already going down, but targeting Joe specifically and through his old buddies was a great way to actually get him emotionally invested, even if the way the conflict resolved itself was really confusing and jarring.

I still don’t buy that they exploded because their minds wandered away from killing Joe for a microsecond. Black Ghost is a really backwards company if they keep spending millions of dollars on these cyborgs, allow them to keep their free will but then put a bomb in them that will make them explode if they don’t obey.

Their reasoning is also a bit difficult to follow. They should know full-out that Joe didn’t abandon them, and warning them about the existence of Black Ghost would do nothing. It’s not like they could defend themselves against Black Ghost even if they knew about them. Their only option to protect themselves if Joe did tell them is by staying with Joe, and that’s just as risky if not moreso.

I can excuse this, though, because they’re probably just externalizing their own shame and guilt for being kidnapped by Black Ghost and ‘allowing’ them to turn them into cyborgs.

It was a great moment to get the old gang back together, and I was devastated to see what had happened to poor Pyunma. It makes sense, though. I was wondering why Black Ghost had only targeted Joe and everyone else was seemingly left to their own devices, but then Pyunma is suddenly targeted by this massive robot crocodile and veritably destroyed.

I felt a lot closer to Francoise then ever before. Everyone else just kinda joins right back up again when the call to action comes, but Francoise is very understandably put off by the suggestion. She has finally managed to find peace and happiness doing something she loves. Asking her to give all of that up in order to go back into the torment, pain and death of war is devastating to her, especially considering her powers. However, she realizes it’s a necessary evil. After all, she knows plugging her ears and going ‘lalalala’ isn’t going to help any. The death and destruction will just infiltrate her new happy life.

I also love that she was the one who confronted Gilmore about what he did to Pyunma. They could have easily made this as direct as possible and had Pyunma lash out at Gilmore immediately, resulting in a major fight. Instead, they cut right from our first exposure to Pyunma’s new body to showing Pyunma quietly dealing with the aftermath, lost in a depression.

Francoise has consistently been the one most vocal and passionate about maintaining their humanity at all costs. We saw this in a previous volume where she was appalled at Gilmore giving them new enhancements and powers, further increasing their status as machines instead of humans.

Not only is she defending Pyunma’s humanity, but she’s also trying to get Gilmore to understand that Pyunma’s skin was a very important part of his identity. He treasured his culture, and his skin color was a massive part of that. The fact that Gilmore threw so much of it away was like he was throwing Pyunma away.

Granted, a lot of his body was simply lost either way, but Gilmore has the ability to make artificial skin and could have easily restored his appearance, but he didn’t, which is even weirder considering he gave him black hands, in some capacity. In hindsight, that detail is almost insulting because it’s essentially Gilmore proving he could have restored all of his skin but chose not to because he really wanted to make Pyunma into Troutman. He not only didn’t think it was a big deal in the first place, but he thought he was doing him a favor by getting rid of his black skin in favor of silver scales, which is something I still can’t believe was said by Gilmore.

Francoise is also the emotional center of the group, because of course she is, so she can present her case in Pyunma’s defense very effectively to the point where Gilmore actually starts to feel apologetic for his actions, even though I was really disappointed that he never got to actually apologize.

Likewise, choosing Albert to approach Pyunma about his situation was a great choice since Albert is so drastically changed physically. He’d be the only one who really, fully, understands Pyunma’s feelings and how to talk to him about it to make him feel better.

Time will tell as to how useful his new enhancements will be, but I’m glad that he’s learned to use it to his advantage instead of hating himself for them.

Helen’s part of the story is intriguing so far. You know there’s more to her than meets the eye, but she’s not a cyborg and she’s seemingly a good person. She has this veil of darkness over her character that insists that something’s not right with her, which is ‘proven’ more or less when we see ‘Helen’ at the home of the president of Mitsutomo Engineering.

I definitely believe Albert went too far when trying to test her, though. He can be as suspicious as he wants, and he can even yell all he wants about it – at this point in the story he has a right to be paranoid of anyone with relations to Black Ghost – but doing a literal Salem Witch Trial test on her was way too far. Even if she is a bad guy, even if she was a cyborg, there’s no need for that level of extreme. He could have easily killed her for something that could be determined by using an x-ray on her.

However, in the opposite extreme, Joe’s being way too trusting for a guy who was betrayed by some of his closest friends literally minutes before randomly meeting Helen, who was seemingly being held captive by the people who just betrayed him. I get it. Joe’s a nice, trusting guy and he has a crush on her maybe kinda for some reason, but Albert’s got a point about her. He’s right to be suspicious. He goes too far with it, but he’s right to not trust her entirely.

And for those of you wondering if Helen is somehow controlling or manipulating Joe, she’s not.

Helen is an integral part of the final arc of Cyborg 009 – the Underground Empire of Yomi. I say ‘final’ arc despite being a long way away from the end of the manga, because most fans and even official sources, including Tokyopop, take this as being the grand finale of the series. You’ll see why at the end of volume ten, and when I start talking about all of the…..many…many things that come after it, but for now, there IS more to Helen than meets the eye.

……And it is super distracting that she is designed to look so much like Helena and has basically the same name. I get liking her character design, Ishinomori, but you could at least give her a more different name. The ‘Helen’ at the Mitsutomo house is even dressed like Helena.

Finally, the weird creatures at Van Vogt’s home are very interesting. I love the idea of a dog-sized horse, and that bigfoot/caveman giant at the end was legitimately horrifying.

Join me next time for volume nine!

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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 26 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode of “What the Hell is Wrong with Mokuba? Like, Really. Someone Lock This Kid Up.”

Today, Mokuba ‘invites’/psuedo-kidnaps Jonouchi and Yugi to his mansion for a party, but poor Seto is too tired from all of the preparation on his secret project, Death T, that he’s sleeping and can’t be bothered to tend to their guests. It’s up to Mokuba.

Mokuba decides to prepare them a feast – which is really just a bunch of random mundane foods like burgers and kids meals. However, Mokuba has prepared them in such a way that it is more than worth it to eat them, supposedly. The foods are on a spinning wheel, and one of the foods has a treasure inside. The only way to get the treasure is to eat your whole plate of food.

Jonouchi jokes about Mokuba poisoning the food, which he denies, but then Jonouchi eats it, and, yeah it’s poisoned.

Jonouchi is going to fucking die in 30 minutes unless Yugi can beat Mokuba at this game and find the ‘treasure’ without getting the other poisoned plate.

What….the hell…is wrong with Mokuba?

Mokuba is made out to be so much worse than Seto at this point. All Seto has done is rough up a few people and cheat at a card game. Mokuba has threatened Yugi with an uzi, threatened to chop off his fingers if he couldn’t beat him in Capsule Monsters, and now he’s poisoned Jonouchi and is aiming to poison Yugi.

Shadow Game (Kinda)

This isn’t really a Shadow Game because Mokuba’s the one running it, but eh.

Yami spins the wheel and gets the spaghetti, which is perfectly fine. Mokuba spins and gets the chocolate parfait, which is also perfectly fine. Yami notices that Mokuba touched an empty syrup bottle as he was spinning, which Mokuba says is just symbolic of his fate because of the old saying ‘The misfortune of others is like sweet syrup.’ In actuality, Mokuba’s cheating again. The bottle is a switch, and he can stop the wheel wherever he wants with it both for himself and Yami. He also knows where the poison is located.

He has committed the ultimate sin. Mokuba has spat in the face of 4Kids and every America to be American in America.

He poisoned…..


Yami spins the wheel, but he has a trick up his own sleeve. He ties his Millennium Puzzle to the wheel and gives it a strong spin, smashing the syrup bottle and rendering it inoperable. Mokuba no longer has the ability to stop the wheel where he wants – and guess where it ends up.

Mokuba gets the hamburger, and even though he could simply refuse to eat it, he does actually eat it and gets poisoned himself. Yami gets the antidote and saves Jonouchi, but…I guess leaves Mokuba to die? Because the chapter just ends there.

Granted, I assume he has more antidote for such an occasion, and his servants were coming to help him, but still, that’s kinda messed up, Yami. Is that his penalty game?


This chapter was pretty unnecessary given that we already had a run-in with Psychokuba a couple chapters back, and some elements were pretty nonsensical. For instance, why did Mokuba choose to put the switch in a glass syrup bottle on the table as opposed to being in a remote in his pocket or on the underside of the table or something?

Not only is it very obvious that he’s cheating, even given the extremely weak explanation he gave, but he’s leaving the switch open to being smashed. Even if Yami didn’t do the trick with the Puzzle, he could’ve easily just gone over and smashed the thing. What would Mokuba do about it?

Then there’s the question of why Mokuba would eat the poisoned hamburger. I was going to say maybe it’s a pride thing, but anyone who would cheat at the drop of a hat doesn’t have much dignity to play with. Mokuba would have just thrown the food and surrendered the antidote.

It wasn’t a bad chapter because it set up the main overarching plot for the next several chapters, and the game was pretty interesting and intense, but it was still technically unneeded.

Next time, Kaiba brings Yugi and Jonouchi to Kaiba Land for a fun day out playing games! Also, to try and kill Yugi’s grandpa! Ya know, just a relaxing Sunday.

Final Notes: So, I play Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, and one of Mokuba’s decks is called ‘Poison Hamburger.’ It’s centered around the ritual monster, Hungry Burger. I always wondered what the hell Mokuba had to do with hamburgers because I never recalled him doing anything related to burgers in the anime.

This chapter explains everything.

It’s really weird, because Duel Links!Mokuba will also make references to being really good at Capsule Monsters when that’s another thing that wasn’t carried over into the anime.

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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 20 (Placeholder Review)


We’ve finally gotten to the last of Kaiba’s Shitennou – Daimon – and this one’s pretty intriguing. Daimon is basically Kaiba’s surrogate grandfather/mentor, much like Sugoroku is to Yugi. Ever since Kaiba was a child, Daimon taught him everything he knew about games. Back then, Kaiba had a deep and sincere kindness and passion for gaming, but the kindness in his heart vanished over time.

Daimon was very elderly and sick even when Kaiba was a child. You may be wondering how Daimon is Kaiba’s last Shittenou if he was so badly off even back when Kaiba was young. Surely, there’s no way he’s alive now, let alone strong enough to be Kaiba’s Shitennou.

Well, Kaiba loaded him up with cybernetic organs and synthetic….stuff flowing through his veins that allow him to live even though, by Daimon’s own admission, he should have died a long time ago, and is basically a walking corpse. Even a doctor says as much. Daimon has to, for lack of a better word, charge or hibernate in a special pod for most of his day. He can only last about three hours outside of the pod before he is back on death’s door.

Basically, Kaiba turned his mentor into a cybernetic zombie, and that is insane and awesome on levels I can’t even fathom.

Kaiba remains to have a lot of respect for his mentor, enough to do all of this to make him his final Shitennou, but it’s clear his kindness and caring are mostly gone even for someone as important to his past as Daimon.

The only manga note in this episode comes from chapter 40. In the chapter, Mokuba recaps his and Seto’s history, eventually leading up to Kaiba taking over the company behind Gozaburo’s back. In the manga, when he’s faced with this betrayal, Gozaburo commits suicide by smashing himself through the window and falling several stories to his death. He’d rather die on his terms than accept failure. In the anime, we get this scene in real time, not a flashback. However, in this version, Gozaburo is too scared at the concept of dying once he reaches the window and has a heart attack, which seemingly kills him. (Daimon says he wishes to pay his respects to Gozaboro immediately after this happens, so I assume he’s dead.)


Despite the fact that I do like Daimon and really wish he was a character who had been carried over into the 2000 anime, this episode is pretty darn bland. It’s a shame considering it’s the final Shitennou showdown.

A good chunk of the episode is taken up by Daimon and Kaiba’s backstories together. Then Yugi kinda causes Daimon’s car to crash by walking out in the middle of the street to get to a game store.

Daimon’s unconscious when the car crashes and is taken to a hospital. Yugi waits in tormented anguish thinking he’s either badly hurt or killed someone, but the doctor rather non-nonchalantly tells him it’s no big deal because he was already dead before the crash. (By the way, they never say if the driver was okay.) He explains all of the tech and surgeries that are being used to keep him alive long beyond his intended death.

Daimon wakes up and reveals he’s mostly fine. He immediately challenges Yugi to a game of Duel Monsters when he sees the cards in his pocket. Daimon manages to win, but he respects and admires Yugi because he reminds him of Kaiba when he was younger.

Later, Anzu and Yugi go to an amusement park together, and once again Anzu notes that Yugi acts like a little kid and longs to meet “Cool Yugi” once more…..*sigh* Also, she’s a damsel in distress in this episode because why the hell not?

They enter a monster house because Yugi thinks it will scare Anzu and get her cuddling up with him, but he’s disappointed when she starts petting the giant monster animatronics and saying they’re cute.

One of the monster robots grabs Anzu, puts her head in its mouth and she passes out. Kaiba and Daimon reveal themselves in a dome above them, and Kaiba tells Yugi to duel Daimon or else he’ll crush Anzu’s head in the robot’s mouth. Also, the dome somehow reads their minds, and this ability somehow creates perfect holograms of the monsters and everything they’re playing, because I guess that’s literally the only thing they’re thinking about.

Shadow Game (Not Really)


It’s just a simple game of Duel Monsters, so…..yeah none of it makes any sense. They don’t even keep track of the Life Points at all. It’s ridiculous, quite frankly. Out of all the duels so far, this is probably the one with the least amount of explanations outside of that first montage duel Yugi had with the first Shitennou. It’s a little insulting that this episode is all about people who have a great respect and passion for games but then when it comes to depicting one they’re just like “Yeah, just show monsters doing shit. I don’t care.”

Because it takes a staggering 16 minutes before any duel actually happens, they have to slam that gas pedal and rush through this duel. I’m going to try and go through this duel turn by turn to see if I can make actual sense of it.

Daimon sets one card face down (Yes, they finally start using that mechanic, although he doesn’t declare this part of the move.) and then summons Skull Bat with an ATK of 800.

Yugi, now Yami, plays King Rex with an ATK of 1200 and declares an attack.

Daimon states that the attack of the King Rex triggers his trap, Golgotha’s Punishment, which immobilizes King Rex. Also, Skull Bat is able to defeat King Rex now for some reason. I tried to translate the text on the card with Google Translate, but the footage is too low quality, and Daimon’s thumb is covering half of it. The Wiki just says it reduces the enemy’s ATK by “???” I do see an 8 at least, and maybe a 7, but that’s about it.


Either way, they don’t update the Life Point counter, so there’s no way to tell. It has to be more than a 400 point reduction, though, given the ATK point differences between the two at base stats.

Yami plays Big Tree in defense mode with 600 DEF points.

Daimon then summons Bloody Zombie with an ATK of 700 and attacks the Big Tree. Yami activates the trap card he DIDN’T SET FIRST. So glad the continuity is as pristine as ever. The trap is called Miraculous Water, and unlike Golgotha’s Punishment, we actually know what the text on this card says…..and it’s just useless flavor text. “Those who go against its torrents are swallowed up,

and in time give water to the earth.” How the hell does anyone know what traps and magic cards do if they don’t have their effects written on the card?

This is one of the bullshittier cards. Miraculous Water causes a wave to wash over the opposing monster that triggered the trap and destroy them. Not only that, but the water also feeds the tree, prompting it to create and drop seeds. These seeds sprout, and the plant that grows from it destroys the Skull Bat.

Being fair, yeah, that is kinda what the flavor text describes, but if someone did that and pointed to the flavor text as the true explanation, I’d call bullshit. I could believe it destroys the attacking enemy and powers up earth-based creatures, but it doesn’t imply anything about immediately destroying other monsters.

Anyway, again, I can’t determine any Life Point changes here, if there are any.

After this turn, Daimon doubles over in pain. He’s spent too much time outside of his pod and is starting to deteriorate. Kaiba immediately activates a series of tubes that pump Daimon with probably a liter or more of intense painkiller that allows him to continue.


To help him along, Kaiba puts an extremely obvious visor over Daimon’s eyes that allow him to see Yami’s cards. It’s so obvious, in fact, that Kaiba might as well just stand behind Yami and yell out each card he draws. Kaiba, why bother keeping Daimon alive for the express purpose of using his awesome gaming skills to defeat Yugi if you’re just going to encourage him to cheat?


Daimon refuses to use the visor since he’s an honorable duelist who would never resort to cheating.

Daimon plays his…..Isn’t it Yami’s turn?……..Whatever, Daimon plays Golden Pegasus in attack mode with an ATK power of…..uhhh…..Dammit, this series needs to be released in HD.

According to the Wiki….it’s…..000?….Uh….okay…..Why the actual hell would Daimon, this supposed game master, play a monster with no ATK points in ATTACK MODE?

Yami plays Devil Dragon, which, considering it’s just Koumori Dragon, I know has 1500 attack.

The dragon beats the pegasus, so, at the very least, Daimon should be sitting at 500 LP.

Daimon then summons Fairy Ophelia in attack mode with 350 ATK. Devil Dragon defeats it, and Yami wins.

Nevermind. I thought I was watching a duel that followed rules and logic. Silly me.

Daimon then summons Bug Demonmyst with 200 ATK and 400 DEF, but I don’t know what mode it was in.

Devil Dragon also makes quick work of the bug.

Yami wonders what Daimon is doing summoning weak monsters that will obviously fall to his dragon, and Daimon reveals his secret strategy. He summons Zombiemaster, which resurrects all of the fallen monsters over the course of the duel (from the player’s graveyard) and absorbs their power. The Wiki says it gives Zombiemaster “????” amount of ATK points for each monster and allows multiple attacks per monster resurrected. However, if it is as Daimon explained it, that would mean he’d get 350+200+literally zero added onto 500, which is 1050, which isn’t enough to defeat Devil Dragon.

Whatever, he defeats Devil Dragon.

On Yami’s next turn, he summons three monsters in attack mode.

The first is King Beetle with 1400 ATK, the second is Dark Mammoth (I think) with 600 ATK and the final monster is Mushroom Man with 800 ATK.

Daimon defeats all of them in one swoop because, apparently, another effect Zombiemaster has is being able to attack multiple times in a single turn depending on how many monsters he resurrected with it.

Yami uses Revive the Dead on Fairy Ophelia, which….I don’t think he can do because, at the moment, Fairy Ophelia is not dead. It was ‘resurrected’ by Zombiemaster, was it not? I guess the Wiki acts as if the monsters are more representations of Zombiemaster’s acquired power than actually resurrected, and, looking at the field, Daimon only has two cards out, so maybe that is right.

Anyhoo, Yami revives Fairy Ophelia, which reduces Zombiemaster’s power by whatever since it has one less monster in the graveyard to draw power from.

Yami: “If the dead are revived, Zombiemaster loses its power. Its power returns to normal.” Huh….does that mean Zombiemaster needs at least three monsters in the graveyard for its ability to work at all?

Yami uses Flute of Light on his new Fairy Ophelia which lets himmm…..*Translates flavor text* “Sacred timbre becomes light and evokes the true power of fairies.” …..Hmmmm…….pbbbbbttttttttt….He wins okay?

Daimon collapses after the defeat, and Kaiba walks away, seemingly not caring that his once beloved mentor and grandfather figure is on the floor dying. Yami comes up to him, and Daimon takes his hand pleading with Yami to return the kindness that he knows Kaiba still has deep within him. Meanwhile, Kaiba’s outside stepping on some kid’s orange that fell on the ground. Guys, he’s abandoning his dying mentor because he lost a card game. We don’t need bonus proof Kaiba’s a dick.

It’s implied that Daimon dies in Yami’s arms, and Anzu is freed from the robots. She’s been passed out this whole time? Someone get Anzu to a hospital. That’s not normal.

And, uh, that’s it.


Not much else to say, really. Oh, they do tease Kaiba Land, which will be important for the second to last arc, but other than that, that’s it.

Again, it’s a shame they never implemented Daimon into the reboot. There was a good opportunity there for some extra humanity points for Kaiba instead of just relying on his bond with Mokuba.

Poor Daimon all around, really. The guy chooses to live a sad existence spending most of his time in a pod, only being let out when he’s needed to play games or test Kaiba’s new equipment. And all just to do whatever he can to turn Kaiba back to the kind kid he knew before he passes on, which he couldn’t do. It’s really sad.

Next time, Kaiba kidnaps Yugi’s grandpa and starts the events of the final arc, the Death-T trials in Kaiba Land.

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Alright, You Have Got to be Kidding Me

Screenshot 2023-04-24 215628



I am laughing my ass off. My cheeks hurt. Am I on some Youtuber’s prank show? Are you kidding me with this? I thought they were, at the very least, purposefully avoiding recycling my content theft posts for VERY obvious reasons, but nope. Five minutes ago I got this notification because, again, I had links to my own content in the post so it notified me that someone else was posting the links.

Either they’re mocking me or they’re using a bot who just crawls a bunch of different anime blogs, puts the posts in some kind of filter and then posts them automatically. That’s the only way this makes sense.

I know I said I was done with them, and I am now, but I couldn’t ignore this. Beautiful self-report. Mwah. Bravo, Mangarabe. Thank you for one last belly laugh.

Ya know what? I’m going to put another link to a post of mine in here just to see if they take this one too. I’ll update this post if they do. Geez, I was angry before. Now I’m just doubled over in laughter. You can’t make this stuff up, man.

EDIT 4/27/23: Yup! They took this one too! Thank you, WordPress notifications. Unreal. And my other post is still up there as well. Literally no one is keeping an eye on that place. It’s weird as hell. Also, I just now realized they aren’t even hosting the images themselves. They’re direct linking to the images on my posts. Can these people do nothing themselves?

Screenshot 2023-04-27 101106

Content Theft UPDATE #2


Mangarabe’s back. Somehow, they got their account unsuspended and they’re back up and running. Not only that, but

Yeah, they’re still stealing content – including mine. They just stole my most recent Hell Girl manga review and my newest Flint the Time Detective SDC entry.

Screenshot 2023-04-24 144055

HOWEVER, they noticeably didn’t steal my recent posts about content theft. Golly gee fuckin’ willikers. I wonder why. What a mystery.

They had to have read those posts and yet guess what else returned?

Screenshot 2023-04-24 140003

Yup, that giant abyss of a sinkhole in their security is right back up there, front and center. Do you not just not care? Is your view on community so accepting you’re just opening the door for anyone to become an admin of your site? Talk about working on the honor system, which is ironic given the, ya know, thieving you do.

Oh and they’re also still reporting on morbid QVC facts for…..some reason.

Screenshot 2023-04-24 135601

At this point, I don’t know what to do. I don’t really think there’s anything I can do if someone actually managed to get them suspended and they were able to, I guess, appeal and get their account back.

I’m sick of this whole situation. I’m just leaving this at don’t go to this place. If you do, only do it to check to see if your content or the content of someone else has been stolen so they can know about it – use an adblock extension to avoid giving any ad revenue to them. Otherwise, just help spread the word of what this place is doing so either people can avoid it or maybe someone with more knowledge/skills/power than me can do something about it.

Oh by the way, as a final note that I didn’t mention before, just because I’m that salty, they even stole their logo from

Screenshot 2023-04-24 143453

Yes, it does say free for personal and commercial use, but with attribution, which Mangarabe doesn’t give anywhere on the site. Also, their logo is weird, isn’t it? Their name, as written all over the site, is Mangarabe, but the logo says Manga Arabe. Did they put that through a crappy translation program too? This whole site defies logic.

For those anyone missing context, please see these posts:

PSA – Content Theft

Content Theft UPDATE

Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 6 Review

Plot: The continuing stories of Hell Girl….

Chapter 22: A Request for Hell

This chapter is very interesting because it breaks some rules of Hell Girl. Most notably, Ai gives our main character, Asuka, a straw doll when the client in question was misusing the service. I’ll explain why later, but Kikuri asks Ai why she gave her a straw doll, and Ai responds, “I wanted to see what she’d do.” That is extremely against the rules. Ai’s personal opinions and emotions do not factor into her job. If they do, she gets in big trouble.

Asuka is being viciously bullied by basically everyone in school, but most specifically a bitch named Ichida. When a cute boy named Katase joined their school, Ichida tried asking him out but he rejected her. He and Asuka had been spending a lot of time together, and the word around school was that they liked each other. Ichida got so jealous that she started bullying Asuka horribly and even got her friends in on it. No one was willing to call them out on the bullying and just left Asuka to suffer.

She didn’t want to tell her mother because she was a recently divorced woman who worked very hard for her daughter. She also didn’t want to stir up trouble at school and risk damaging her record. She saw Hell Correspondence as a way out….but not really. She fully understood that sending someone to hell would not solve her problems. Even if she did send Ichida to hell, her cohorts might still bully her or more bullies might come out of the woodwork. She even overheard that her mother was also being bullied at work.

The bullying gets so bad that she decides to pull the string. Turns out, she called Hell Girl on herself. She’s too scared to commit suicide in any other manner, so Hell Girl was seen as the better option. She should not have even been able to input her own name into the service let alone get a straw doll out of the deal because, as Ai mentions at the end of the story, Hell Correspondence is for settling grudges, not committing suicide. Yet she allowed her to use the service this way just because Ai was curious as to what she’d do.

Asuka is sent to hell and is devastated that the hell she winds up in is basically just a recreation of her life back on earth – being bullied by the same girls relentlessly only now they have supernatural powers and whatnot.

…..I uh….don’t know she expected. Using Hell Girl to commit suicide never made sense to me. I get that mental illness as a whole makes you think irrationally, but typically people commit suicide as a means of ending their pain. I know that there are people who believe in hell who still commit suicide, but it’s really difficult to understand why they would outside of believing they need to be punished even more than they believe they are in the living world for some reason. It’s not like you could ever think hell is preferable to whatever you’re experiencing in the living world. Hell’s whole shtick is to take whatever pain you experienced in life and magnifying it by about ‘fuck you’ many times. It’s a very complex topic that has no firm answer, but in this particular case I don’t get Asuka at all.

How is she gutsy enough to send herself to hell for absolute certain instead of taking her chances with committing suicide in another manner and maybe going somewhere else in the afterlife? I’d be scared shitless if I had a one-way ticket to hell in my hands. Suicidal thoughts are already terrifying just wondering what might happen to you after you die, if you even believe anything will, but knowing for certain that you’d be sent to hell? I can’t imagine why anyone would pull the string.

But she did.


Ai tricked her. She never sent her to hell, she just created hellish illusions to teach her a lesson about using Hell Correspondence properly. It’s not a means of committing suicide – it’s a tool to get vengeance. If she has such a grudge in the future, she’s free to use it. However, Ai notes that she probably won’t be needing such services.

In the real world, she nearly falls off the roof and just barely hangs on to the railing. Katase grabs her in the nick of time and pulls her up, saving her life. He explains that he used to be bullied quite badly in his old school, and her optimistic words to him when they were bonding before she got bullied resonated with him. He felt ashamed for not helping her when she got bullied, but now he’s not afraid to show his affection for her and stick by her. It’s implied that the bullying more or less dies down after this, or, if it doesn’t, they deal with it together instead of suffering alone.

Kikuri asks if this case brought up any memories for Ai, and we get a rough flash of her being bullied as a child.

This is a very rare case where there’s a happy ending and it’s fully happy. As in no one’s going to hell in this one. Granted, yeah, Ichida’s a massive bitch and I wish she at least got some comeuppance, but Asuka’s okay, Katase’s okay, they’re together and happy, and they’re heading for a brighter future. That’s all I can really ask for.

Overall, this was a pretty cut a dry story at face value, and I’m a bit iffy about breaking the rules so blatantly, but it was a good story with strong characters and a very satisfying ending.

Chapter 23: The Bright Dream

This chapter was kinda sloppy, but it ended up being alright. Midori is a middle-school girl who is constantly pressured by her mom to study harder and get better grades. She very rarely gets to do anything else but study. One day, she accidentally rides the train too far and winds up in Shibuya where she has a really good time trying on fashionable and colorful clothes she never gets to wear and allowing herself to have some fun. She’s talent scouted by a guy who says she’d make a great model, and she’s excited for the opportunity, but her mom doesn’t want to let her do that. She’s appalled by her grades and tells her she needs to focus on studying and forget frivolous things like modeling.

Midori is so distraught and burned out that she runs away and finds the talent scout guy, who winds up kidnapping her. Turns out, he has a nice side-business making and selling CP while keeping middle-school girls trapped in his house. If they resist too much, he sells the girls and finds new ones.

She manages to take his phone and call the cops once, but he’s able to send them away without them even setting foot in his house just because he waves it away as a prank. Good job, cops. They point out that the call came from that location, too, which would clearly indicate abusing emergency services, but they just leave without doing anything.

With his phone still in hand, she contacts Hell Girl and sends him to hell. She has a tearful reunion with her mother where she admits that she struggled a lot after her husband divorced her, and she never wanted Midori to go through that same pain. In order to protect her from that, she wanted her to focus on her studies as much as possible to carve out a better future.

This sounds really sweet, but this line kinda ruins it.

Midori’s Mom: “I just wanted you to be a good girl so your dad would care for me again.” Uhmmmmmm…………Fuck you. In that one sentence, you not only placed the blame for your divorce on your daughter, but you also admitted that you treated her like crap because you thought if she was better your husband would come back to you. You’re messed up, lady.

She apologizes to her mom, they make up and everything’s better.

Overall, this was a fine story but it kinda went a mile a minute. It hopped all over the place and felt way too rushed. It’s a fairly realistic and pretty good story, but even then that final line from her mom rubs me the wrong way. I guess it’s good that she admitted it so she can be better later on, but still. Maybe there was a mistranslation there?

Chapter 24: The Winners in Love

This story was……really uncomfortable….and unsatisfying.

A middle-school girl named Chinami asks her teacher, Furuya, out on a date, and he agrees. They secretly start dating, and I have to read lines like “It will be tough dating an adult.” and “When I graduate from middle school, we’re getting married.” It’s no secret at all that this guy is a skeezeball. He’s even more of a skeezeball than he seems because not only is he still dating a woman he’s been seeing since he was a teaching student, but he’s also clearly stringing along other young students behind Chinami’s back. It’s also no big mystery as to who will be sent to hell in this story.

The two twists that actually caught me off-guard disappointed me above all else. First of all, I really thought Orihara, his adult girlfriend, was actually trying to protect Chinami from Furuya because she knew the kind of man he was……but nope. What you see is what you get with her – she’s just an incredibly jealous woman who wants Chinami out of the way.

The second was that they both called Hell Girl and basically had a stand off. Chinami and Orihara seemingly wanted to send each other to hell and attempted to pull the strings at the same time. I could tell from a mile away that Furuya was really the target of one of them, but I was surprised that it was Orihara, and even more surprised that Chinami didn’t pull the string. It’s good that she didn’t, but it was still a little surprising.

Orihara pulled the string on Furuya because she wanted to have him all to herself and find happiness in hell, a statement that has been made by a few clients/targets in the anime, and one that is nonsensical as Ai points out on the ferry ride. “Happiness in hell? I really don’t think so.”

Orihara wound up killing herself shortly after the string pull, and, since she was a client, she immediately went to hell. I don’t know why Ai allowed them to be together in the ferry, especially considering they didn’t die together. Is that even the real Furuya?

Overall, this chapter was fine. It was just a little disappointing and uncomfortable. Admittedly, it was less predictable than I thought it’d be upon first impressions, but I still didn’t care much for what came out of it. I’m really glad that Chinami didn’t get sent to hell, though, because, at the end of the day, she was just a kid being manipulated by a creepy guy. She didn’t deserve to be sent to hell.

Also, Kikuri had more presence in this chapter than she ever has in the manga, but it was mostly to torment Chinami about her decision on whether or not to pull the string. She specifically pointed out that Orihara had called Hell Girl as well so it would put her on edge about possibly being the target, and she observed how lucky she was to have her grudge be taken care of for her. And, yeah, she’s right. Both Furuya and Orihara are both gone and didn’t have to damn herself at all.

Chapter 24: Special Chapter – Ichimokuren

This is Ren’s backstory chapter. It basically follows the same beats as the backstory episode he had in the anime, Silent Gaze, however the client story is entirely different.

In this version, he’s following a girl named Ayana whose father recently passed away. He committed suicide because he borrowed a huge amount of money from work and couldn’t pay it back. Her mother passed away some time before her father, so she’s entirely alone. She keeps getting harassed by people connected to her father’s work who want their money back. I’m not exactly why or how these people are affected by this. She said he borrowed money from his work and couldn’t pay it back, but these people are acting as if he flatout stole money from their pockets.

At the start of the volume, someone is threatening her with a knife and trying to kidnap her, implying that, I guess, he was going to make her pay him back with her body? It’s unclear. Later, someone is sent a message where it says “The father of this house borrowed money and then killed himself!” and the person who got it yells out that “This is the robber!” as if they didn’t know that information beforehand.

She has called Hell Girl before the story even began, but the target is unclear. She just says she’s going to get revenge on her father’s enemies. Oddly, she says her father is probably in hell too. Is that just because he committed suicide, or is she taking the terrible sin of borrowing money as severely as the random people are?

Ayana barricades herself in the house after that because they start pounding on the door and yelling at her, demanding their money and calling HER a thief. One of them even yells that, if she’s not going to work to pay off the debt, she should kill herself like her father.

What the hell is wrong with these people? How were they all so terribly affected by a defaulted debt to a company by a single person that they have such massive hate for them that even committing suicide isn’t enough for them? That they’ll also harass their young daughter and tell her to kill herself? Does she live in the same town as Yuzuki?

As all of this is going down, her clearly creepy as fuck uncle keeps insisting that she move in with him, but she doesn’t want to. One day, her house is set on fire. It was arson, but the fire department was able to contain it quickly, so the damage wasn’t massive.

She runs to her room to pull the string on the doll, but a voice tells her not to. It’s Ren, who is watching her from the shadows. This is the point where the manga differentiates wildly from the anime. In the anime version, Ren never directly interferes with the case. They’re not supposed to interfere at all. It’s against the rules. I don’t know what repercussions Ren would have if he broke the rules. Either he’d be forcibly removed from the Hell Team, turned back into a sword or Ai would have to pay for his mistake. Either way, you’re not supposed to do it, and, in the manga, he did. And this won’t be the first time.

After her house is set on fire, she decides to move in with her uncle, who, being creepy as fuck, quickly starts showing his true colors. And they’re even worse than you probably thought. Not only is he a creepy fuck who is obsessed with Ayana, but he also reveals that he’s been obsessed with her for a long time and wanted her all to himself. He made her father borrow the money and drove her father to suicide. He also set her house on fire to basically smoke her out and force her to live with him. And now, despite having her right there, after all of this, he’s just going to stab her to death anyway because she doesn’t want to give in to his advances.

That’s quite the reveal….I kinda thought he had straight-up murdered her father and made it look like a suicide. I guess he somehow predicted that the town/random people/I dunno would drive him to suicide because they’re all irrational morons without a thought between them.

Ren, realizing what’s about to happen, runs to the house to hopefully save her since he doesn’t want to see anymore bloodshed. He gets there just in time – saving her from being stabbed by standing in the way and getting stabbed himself, which, despite being really sweet and heroic, is also a no-no. He’s very much interfering right now. I guess he’s not interfering directly with Hell Girl business, but he definitely did the first time, and this is still a large form of interference.

In the anime, they faked out Ren interfering. Wanyuudou and Ai were very concerned he would let his emotions get in the way and affect the case. Like here, he was seen running off towards the scene of the final confrontation supposedly to interfere, but, in the end, he didn’t. He just consoled the girl after the events were already over. But in this story he did fully interfere. I can’t even say the circumstances are particularly different. In neither story was he about to interfere in a string pull. In the anime, the main character’s mother was going to kill herself, and in the manga the main character is about to be killed.

I do appreciate that they pointed out the irony of a katana being stabbed, though. I also thought that, while a bit weak, it was interesting that this story kept bringing up blades to create a stronger connection with Ren.

Ayana is safe. Hone Onna says they apprehended her uncle for borrowing the money – what? He wasn’t apprehended for nearly murdering his niece or stabbing Ren? God, what is with this town and borrowing money? At least I can assume he gets the death penalty for that heinous loan.

Ren is content. Ayana may no longer have any family, but she has good friends and hopefully a bright future, and she won’t be sent to hell when she dies. Ren also now realizes that Ai and the others are his family now, just like the revelation in the anime. I guess he gets no punishment whatsoever for breaking the rules of his job. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see Ren get punished at all, but it’s confusing that the rules keep getting broken without any consequences or even anyone mentioning it.


And that was volume six! And it was…..okay. I like that we’re getting some insight into the backstories of the Hell Team now, but I’m not particularly liking that so many stories ended with a reveal that was both obvious and still surprising, but just because of how insanely over the top it was. I like that the manga is more comfortable ending stories without having the string be pulled. The anime really doesn’t seem to like doing that at all, but it adds a lot of suspense to the stories if you do it right.

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

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Content Theft UPDATE

Greetings my blog readers. It is I, Twix, again with an update on the content theft/Mangarabe situation.

I had actually written up a fairly long update post yesterday that I decided against posting because….Let’s just say my investigation into this situation lead me to some places that concerned me. Long story short, I had looked up the domain information to try and find a valid email, which showed me that the owner was using a hosting service, NameCheap, that was suspected as knowingly covering up for scammy/criminal websites – the words of several reviewers, not mine – and their information when searched on WHOIS was being masked through a website called “withheldforprivacy” despite WHOIS’s guidelines demanding that information be public.

To be clear, both of those services are seemingly very legit and legal, it’s just that they might be used for shady things by third parties, and they both, seemingly, turn a blind eye to those activities if their reviewers are to be believed.

Once I had hit those dead ends, something else happened…..I had accidentally signed up as an admin for their website.

See, the site originally had a “Sign-in/join” option. It was public, right at the top, right next to the date.

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I decided to join with a spoof temporary email (Because I didn’t want any spam or what have you that I might get using my real email) for the sake of trying a last resort in contacting them because absolutely no other avenue reaped any results.

Commenting? Needed moderator approval, and it never went through.

Contact Us form on their website? No confirmation that the message went though, just basically refreshed the page on submit, and no response.

Social media links? Pretty sure all of them were just the company that made their website template and had nothing to do with them. Their social media links were likely used as placeholders that were meant to be replaced by the website owner when they altered everything else for their own use.

Emailing them directly via the email address in the footer? Immediately got a bounceback notification saying that the email didn’t exist.

So I signed up. I clicked the link sent to me in my spoof email. That directed me to WordPress. I was confused, but I logged in under the credentials I signed up with on their website anyway.

And I was greeted with their admin dashboard.

Full access to everything. My jaw dropped and I was speechless for a good five minutes. There’s not being security savvy with a website and then there’s putting up a welcome mat for people to infiltrate your website and do what they want with it. It’s not even infiltrating. That implies there was some measure in place to stop people. The link tells people to sign up! And you only need a valid email to do it. It doesn’t ask for any other information.

I want to be clear here that I didn’t do anything while I was there. I didn’t even leave the main dash screen. I promptly logged off, exited my spoof email, cleared my cookies from that website and left Mangarabe in the dust. I also decided then to not post about it.

That may seem like an overreaction, but considering how shady their background was and how paranoid I am, I didn’t want to take a chance that maybe there were actual criminals behind that site who may track me down for “hacking” into their website, even though, again, I did nothing. Hell, I could have taken down my posts myself, but I didn’t. The integrity of my little anime blog is not worth meddling with whatever shady individual might be behind that site.

Anyhoo, with all that said, you may be wondering why I am posting this now. The short answer is, I don’t think it matters anymore.

I decided to peek back into Mangarabe about an hour ago out of pure curiosity just to see what new weird nonsense was being posted (as I was writing the update post yesterday, they had posts up about, and I quote “Which QVC Host Dies of the Most Cancers?” and “Which QVC Host Not Too Long Ago Died?”

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I don’t know why two morbid QVC posts were suddenly on their site, but it was darkly funny while it lasted.)

This is what came up when I clicked the link in my previous post.

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Yup. Their account was suspended and, subsequently, their website was taken down. I have no clue who managed to track down someone who could suspend their account or who made the case to do so, but all of my hats off to you, kind person. I’ll buy more hats just to take them off for you. I really thought this was a hopeless situation, but I guess good things do happen sometimes.

I don’t know if this is the last we’ll see of Mangarabe. I really hope so, but places like that just seem to pop back up under other names. We’ll see. I’m just happy that, for now at least, my content and those of talented anime reviewers/writers is not being stolen…..Also whoever is writing about dead QVC hosts…..

Happy writing, everyone!

PSA – Content Theft

Hey everyone! Twix here with a PSA for all you bloggers out there.

I’ve had numerous reviews taken by a website called Mangarabe. I don’t want to direct anymore traffic to that website since I know for a fact that they’ve stolen other people’s content as well, such as Beneath the Tangles and 9 Tailed Kitsune, but I’m posting the link anyway just to help directly warn people.

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I had been made aware of them taking my posts in the past through a couple different means a few weeks ago, but this time was different. Before, they were pretty much just lifting my content word for word so I naively thought that maybe they were just making some sort of aggregate site for blog posts, even though they weren’t crediting the original author (All posts on this website seem to just be accredited to ‘admin’) but this time…..Hoo boy, this time they clearly, and I do mean, CLEARLY, ran my review through some crappy AI or some content spinning software or something to avoid being detected as a copy.

The post in question was my recent review for Pikachu’s Ice Adventure, the 13th Shorties review.

In a way, I guess this is ‘better’ because what they made was ad libs from a person who doesn’t know what ad libs are – I mean a good 40% of the post is nonsense, but on the other gigantic hand that has a particular finger pointed up, this proves that they know they’re stealing content and have to take measures to avoid people finding out that they’re stealing content. (Although, pro tip, guys. Maybe next time check if the author at any time refers to themselves in the article by name. Unless the person running your site just happens to also go by Twix.)

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“Snow White with the PURPLE Hair” Eh?

If you write anime reviews or the like, I suggest checking out Mangarabe (with Adblock on – just to prevent them from getting revenue) to see if they have taken any of your content. There are many anime reviews and other anime posts on that website, and I really don’t believe any of it is original content by their own writers, if they even have any, especially considering every post is credited to ‘admin.’

I have no idea if they’ll take posts down when requested. I posted a comment on the stolen Pikachu’s Ice Adventure an hour or so ago, but it needed to be approved by moderation, and it hasn’t yet. While I was writing this post, I also sent them an email requesting them to take down the posts as well as any other content they’ve stolen and cease doing so in the future, but I feel like they probably wouldn’t do it anyway. Or maybe they would do it for your own content so you’d leave them alone, but if everything they post is stolen then just asking them to stop stealing would be akin to asking them to take down their entire website, which I doubt they would. It’s worth a shot anyway.

If you can, just warn people of this website anyway. Content/art theft is one of my biggest hot buttons, and this is just a waterfall of it.

So, since they stole my content, I’m going to steal their stolen content because their gibberish version is pretty funny. Allow me to share the story of “Pikachu’s Ice Journey Evaluation.” (Which, by the way, still says “Pikachu’s Ice Adventure Review” in the URL.

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Good job.)

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(Pre-Posting edit: And what a surprise. As as I was looking around the website some more after getting these screenshots, I noticed they also recently stole my Tokyo Mew Mew New Episode 4 review, my Here is Greenwood review and my most recent Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun SDC and AI filtered them as well.

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Also, I don’t know what compelled me to look this up specifically, but I searched for Cyborg 009 in their website, and, sure enough, they’ve taken at least my volume 7 review, filtered it through their garbage disposal, and posted it….on my birthday.

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All the fuck you, Mangarabe. That project is a labor of love.

I really don’t care if each of these posts only has a few views. It’s the principle. Write your own content.)

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 7

Buckle up, ladies and gents, because things are about to get seriously crazy.

The Mythos arc is reaching its grand crescendo, and the 00 Cyborgs keep hanging on by the skin of their teeth. In the sub, the gang is struggling to escape from the mighty Atlas, whose size, armor and strength keep overpowering them at every turn. What’s worse is that Atlas keeps using the environment to his advantage, breaking off chunks of rocks to pelt at the cyborgs, damage their sub and eventually bury it.

005 has to nearly kill himself just to give the other cyborgs time to escape, and even that was mostly fruitless. (And despite clearly losing an arm, he’s very quickly fixed later) 004 asserts that, should their attacks all fail, he’ll utilize his atomic self-destruct device to destroy Atlas.

As if that weren’t bad enough, 009 needs medical attention desperately, but Gilmore can’t perform any complicated surgeries while the sub is being rocked by battle.

Right as 004 sets out to sacrifice himself, Helena decides to trick Atlas by claiming she’s been outfitted with a bomb that is set to detonate if Atlas kills any of the 00 crew. Atlas, being close with Helena, agrees to stand down for an hour, but if she’s not returned to the Mythos cyborgs with the bomb removed by that time Atlas will return and finish what he started.

This gives 009 ample time to frickin’ die.

Nope, I’m not kidding. 009 is technically dead right now. His brainwave frequency is flatlined, there’s no response from any of his systems – Gilmore even straight out says he’s dead numerous times.

However, he’s not SUPER dead.

Being a cyborg, there is still the chance to revive and repair him, but they don’t have the parts there. The closest Black Ghost outpost is in Vietnam.

Thus, he’s dead, the others lose their fight without 009’s help, and the world is doomed to fall under Black Ghost’s horrible war-perpetuating rule.

And that’s the Cyborg 009 manga, everyone. Bit of a downer ending, but–

Wait a minute….Do you guys feel that? Yes, I…I know this feeling. Could it be?

It is! 001 is awake!

And I’m not really being snarky here. The kid is literally the ultimate turner of tides here because the first thing he does when he wakes up – and bear in mind that he wasn’t set to wake up for another two weeks – is, and I’m not kidding, bring 009 back to life. Purely through psychic power, 009 is revived from certain death and is even conscious. He’s not repaired, because that’d just be silly, pbbbt, but 001 literally rose 009 from the grave.

And he’s not done.

It’s been an hour, so Atlas returns, demanding Helena be handed over and restarting his rocky assault on the sub. 001 uses his telekinesis to shoot all of the rocks back at Atlas, finally knocking him on his metal ass while also freeing the sub from being pinned by the rocks. The sub won’t work, however, since the propeller was damaged by the rocks, so 001 uses his telekinesis to move the sub away while they make repairs.

Atlas isn’t down for the count, however, and sends a barrage of missiles at the sub. 001 responds by telekinetically changing their trajectory and sending them back at Atlas, which wounds him badly.

However, he’s still not done. Atlas utilizes an attack which involves separating his body into several sections and shooting them at the sub. On impact, the sections will explode.

His parts explode….but the sub is gone. 001 teleported them 500 miles north to keep them safe from the enemy while repairs are made to 009 (and 005 I assume).

Phew, that was quite the cavalcade of ‘why didn’t they focus on psychic abilities after creating 001’? It’s almost like they try to dance around his clear overpowered nature right before he wakes up too. Gilmore tells Helena that 001’s totally useless because, despite being the most powerful, he sleeps for weeks on end. Yeah, yeah ‘totally useless’ except he always has a tendency to wake up right when he’d be the MOST useful – which is typically right when all that shit is hitting the fan.

I love this series, I do, but 001 truly is one of the biggest deus ex machinas I’ve ever seen in any form of fiction.

Let’s switch gears here and see what 003, 007 and Pan are up to. Dr. Uranus ‘accidentally’ frees them from their prison and they make their escape. Uranus is found out by Gaia and he plans on killing him for his betrayal, so 007 sets out to rescue him while 003 and Pan make their escape.





















Anyway, dinosaurs.

Yup. That’s a dinosaur.

003 suggests that it’s probably a robot, but Uranus says it’s a real dinosaur that lives in the caves around the island. He had always meant to study it but he never had time.

…..Excuse me?

Ex-frickin’-cuse me?!




A real, live, breathing….for some reason creepy as hell, DINOSAUR. How have you not gotten around to studying this!? I get it, the cyborg stuff takes up a lot of your time….



She manages to narrowly escape the dinosaur only to be captured yet again by Centaurus D.

Not kidding. I burst out laughing when this happened. What, is this like the fourth time 003 has been kidnapped in this arc? Someone do some investigating – she and Mokuba might be related.

Using his power of invisibility, 007 managed to knock out Gaia and save Uranus off-panel, but since the others teleported away, they’re stuck on the island with nothing to do but wait and hope for their return. 007 wishes for 009’s return most of all, because screw the others I guess? His imaginary image of 009 suddenly turns into the real, good-as-new 009 standing right before him in a rather cool and triumphant panel. He and the others have returned and they’re ready to have their final face-off with the Mythos cyborgs.

We then reach “The Final Chapter” Yeah, I’ll talk about that in a bit.

Rewinding a little, we cut to right before the gang teleports back to Magma Island. 001 states that he feels they must go back to Magma Island, but Gilmore argues that he, and I quote, doesn’t “think (he’s) ready to trust the unclear psychic premonitions of an infant.”

Gilmore……it astounds me that you can be such a genius and ignoramus at the same time.

You don’t think you can trust the premonitions of the PSYCHIC infant? The infant that is the smartest person on this team and just took down Atlas and saved all your asses in one fell swoop single-handed minded? The infant who is basically just an infant by sheer happenstance because he’s locked in that form due to his cyborg nature? The infant who might as well be a demigod at this point? That infant?

As if he were somehow channeling my frustration (and that’s possible, he is psychic after all) 001 telekinetically flings and holds Gilmore up in the air demanding he never call him an infant again. Whoo, yeah! You go off, Ivan!

Helena shares the information that the Mythos Cyborgs also have an esper on their team (who is not named here, but is named Hera in the 2001 anime) so 001 and Helena rush off to help the 00 Cyborgs.

Meanwhile, on Magma Island, the volcanoes on the island start to erupt and the ground begins to break apart. The team is met by Minotaur, Lion Man and Horse Man. 002 – 6 stay behind to fight the trio while 007-9 head underwater. The battle starts turning in the Mythos Cyborgs’ favor when they’re met with Hera. However, in the nick of time yet again, 001 arrives to have an esper on esper battle with her.

008’s task is to fight off the cyber sharks while 007 and 009 head into the cave where 009 just punches the dinosaur and says “As if volcanoes and sharks weren’t enough!”


I. Love. This. Series. Only in Cyborg 009 can fighting a dinosaur come off like an inconvenience among a slue of other weird shit.

Once the dinosaur is felled, more rocks start falling around them due to the tremors. 009 wants to use the rocks to their advantage, so he and 007 split up. 007 is meant to find and rescue 003 while 009 goes off to investigate.

Almost as if 009 were psychic himself, right after 007 finds 003, the falling rocks destroy the electromagnetic barrier in which she was being contained. 007 says it was all part of 009’s plan to ‘shake things up’ but he didn’t shake anything up. It was just the tremors from the eruptions.

On 009’s side, he finds Apollo, and the two reignite their battle from before. It’s mostly a lot of chasing each other until the two face off on a cliff side. Desperate to end the battle and save both of them, Helena lunges toward Apollo, burning herself up. The force of Helena colliding with Apollo and the shock of him accidentally severely injuring/killing his sister causes Apollo and Helena to accidentally fall off of the cliff and into the water below, killing them both.

As the other battles continue, the island suddenly bursts with massive surges of ocean water. In seconds, the island crumbles apart and sinks into the ocean. The volume (for this story anyway) ends with “In the calm that followed this fury, no sign of the Cyborg team remained.”


Wow. That was quite the volume. Definitely the most intense volume we’ve gotten so far with an awesome jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

Well…it would be awesome if they continued the story. Sadly, we’ll never get adequate resolution to this cliffhanger due to the bane of existence

*spooky music*

*thunder clap*


When Ishinomori was writing the Mythos arc, Weekly Shonen King, the magazine in which Cyborg 009 was being published at the time, gained a new editor-in-chief who basically shut the door on Ishinomori as soon as his ass hit his new chair. He told him that the manga was going to be canceled immediately, claiming the Mythos arc was too confusing for their target demographic of children, so Ishinomori basically had to wrap things up on a cliffhanger.

While the series in Weekly Shonen King was canceled in 1965, the manga was still running supposedly non-canon short stories under the moniker “Cyborg Soldiers” in Separate Shonen King until sometime in 1966, which is where Vacuum War, The Aurora Strategy, The Golden Lion and A Phantom Dog ran.

As for my feelings on the arc, I really did enjoy it a lot. I don’t see how it could have been too complicated for children to grasp in regards to themes and having too many characters. Do you realize how many heavy as hell themes the previous stories had? And how many characters we’ve had to keep track of in past volumes? I think this guy had a stick up his ass. There’s little information on Weekly Shonen King, but there was never any indication that I could find that the reception for the manga was lacking at this time. Hell, they literally just got done making a Cyborg 009 movie that was so well-received that they made a sequel just a year later. What is this guy smoking?

Admittedly, 001’s powers do grate on the nerves because he’s simply too powerful. I don’t care if he does have weaknesses in his small baby body and his need to sleep constantly, he’s still way too powerful. Between him and 009, you sometimes feel like the other team members just help fill time.

Also, the rematch with Apollo was underwhelming to say the least, but the match with Atlas more than made up for it. That guy was an absolute powerhouse. 001’s powers aside, he was literally the only one who could defeat himself. Everyone else could barely scratch him. Really glad Helena saved 004 from sacrificing himself too. Smart plan. I’ll miss Helena. Even though she didn’t really have any powers, that we were made aware of anyway. She could have made a good addition to the team.

Speaking of the side stories that ran in Separate Shonen King (but got repackaged for the Tokyopop release), we’re at the next chapter – Golden Lion.

Fair warning, this chapter takes place entirely in Africa and, uh, Ishinomori still hasn’t gotten around to not using the racist depictions of black people yet.

Pyunma, Joe and Francoise are heading to Pyunma’s village in Zanzibar to help him with something that is threatening his people – a golden fire-breathing glowing flying lion who is slaughtering people. Ya know, typical Tuesday.


When he arrives at the village, he’s greeted with the tragic news that, literally minutes before he arrived, his family was slaughtered in their home. His mother, father and little sister were all killed by the lion in what appeared to be a hit considering Pyunma was the former leader of the independence movement that lived and still operated in the village.

The lion is actually pretty intelligent and can communicate through typing. He approaches some English douchebags who are trying to take advantage of the land’s resources and offers a deal – he’ll kill and scare off the freedom group who are impeding their plans in exchange for rods of radioactive isotopes, which he seemingly eats…and/or takes back to a glowing golden tentacle tree, of course.

Also, the English douchebag thought the lion was a ghost at first and tried to shoot it, because apparently too many people think that will work.

After the funeral of Pyunma’s family, the three cyborgs vow to take revenge, but they need more information in order to defeat the lion. They obviously believe the lion is a cyborg and note that blasters won’t work on it. He also seems to be as fast as Joe.

I want to take a moment to note that this is the second time Pyunma has thanked Joe for coming on this trip to help him with his problems….but hasn’t said a single thing to Francoise. She’s not doing anything, but neither is Joe, technically, besides talking about doing stuff. What even is Francoise doing here? Is she just arm candy for Joe now?

An odd fellow wanders through the village. Pyunma explains that he’s the lone survivor of a group of ten people who were suddenly slaughtered by the lion. Ever since, he’s been out of his mind. Joe is instantly suspicious of him because he didn’t have the eyes or mannerisms of someone who was traumatized by such an event. His suspicions prove correct when they discover him trying to relay information to the aforementioned English douchebags.

Using the information gained from the spy, they locate the English douchebags and interrogate them. Knowing they won’t get far by talking to the men, they instead take their isotope supply and head out into the jungle to trap the lion. Sure enough, intent on getting his food, the lion arrives and attacks the cyborgs. Once they retaliate, however, the lion flees. 009 pursues and eventually becomes wrapped up in the tentacle tree.

The lion sets 009 on fire, which accidentally sets the tree on fire. The lion rips the burning tentacles off in order to prevent the rest of the tree from burning. 009 leads the lion to a cave using a couple of the radioactive isotopes. Throwing the isotopes in the cave, he manages to trap the lion inside of it by collapsing the entrance with giant boulders.

And, uh, I guess they just leave because we cut to two months later. Francoise and Joe get a letter from Pyunma in Africa (are Joe and Francoise living together now?) He tells them that they have finally opened the cave back up and Joe was right. The lion was dead. Two weeks after opening the cave, the tree had died as well.

Pop quiz!

What the hell was up with the lion and the tree?

A) They were cyborgs sent by Black Ghost.

B) They were cyborgs sent by someone else.

C) They were mutants and this chapter was meant to be a PSA on the dangers of radioactivity

D) They were aliens

If you guessed D for some reason, you were right!


Yes, aliens now exist in Cyborg 009. And….Joe just kinda brushes this off like it’s nothing.

Joe: “Just as I suspected…They weren’t cyborgs. They were extraterrestrials!” Why would you think that?! I mean…you were right, I guess, but how did you come to that conclusion!?

“Lion and tree were somehow linked together. The tree needed the lion to survive. A perfect symbiotic relationship. Without the lion, the tree died.” Dunno how you knew all that either, but it’s more understandable than knowing the alien thing.

Francoise: “What about the lion? I don’t understand what happened to him.”

Joe: “I trapped him in a uranium mine. He ate until his stomach exploded!” How did you know there was a uranium mine around? And if there was a uranium mine in the area, how did the lion not know about it? How did it know a couple of English yahoos could provide him with radioactivity but not that there was a mine loaded with uranium within walking distance? Why was he willing to take a job that required slaughtering people to obtain his food when he had a feast in a cave nearby? How did you know the lion would be such a glutton that he’d eat himself to death? How did you know he wouldn’t just get more powerful?

The letter concludes with telling Joe and Francoise to have fun together while visiting France and he hopes they can come back to Africa some time for a visit.

And that’s the end of the story…..

Yeah….I really don’t know what to make of this story. Taking a step back from the insanity that is everything to do with the alien tree and lion, this chapter is a bit of a waste, is it not? They kill off Pyunma’s entire family and the story ends up not being significant to Pyunma. 009 is the one who does everything. He determines that a crazy guy in town is a spy just because he doesn’t act the way he knows traumatized people act, even though that varies wildly from person to person, he comes up with the plan, he executes it, he figures out what the tree and the lion are, somehow, and somehow devises the perfect way to kill them both at once, somehow, and Pyunma gets to do nothing.

This is framed as a perfect revenge story for Pyunma and he doesn’t get to do anything. He interrogates the Englishmen, but they didn’t get any info from them. He didn’t really participate in the battle against the lion at all. All he did was blast the cave to cause the cave-in, and he only did that because 009 told him to. There’s no reason 009 didn’t do that himself, honestly.

Did I mention that the English douchebags didn’t get any comeuppance? They get a little roughed up by the cyborgs, but they end up being mostly left alone. The guys who called for the hit on Pyunma’s family, as far as we know, don’t get any punishment for their actions. That’s some bullshit.

This story just hurt Pyunma for the sake of glorifying 009 again, and I kinda hate that.

Don’t even bring 003 up. All she did the entire trip was exclaim that the lion was approaching about two panels before he arrived.

Now for the final chapter of the volume, Phantom Hound.

So….I’ve been kinda dreading this chapter to be honest. Dog deaths and whatnot. Let’s just get this over with.

Joe is thinking back fondly on his dog, Kubikuro. Several months prior, he had seen an old man on the street with two dogs. They were performing tricks where the dogs could do math.

A while later, he found the old man and the two dogs dead in the street, seemingly murdered in a hit and run. He notices straight identical scars on both of the dogs’ foreheads and suspects the old man was experimenting on them. Among the bodies was a puppy that he named Kubikuro. He took care of Kubikuro for three months and discovered that the puppy was just as intelligent as his parents, meaning he was also experimented on.

Joe tells Kubikuro that the man who killed his parents was apprehended by police. Shortly thereafter, Kubikuro goes missing. A month later, Joe hears the news that the man who killed Kubikuro’s parents died in a seeming incident of spontaneous combustion. One after another, reports pour in about animal abusers and other criminals being set ablaze. Joe, somehow, comes to the conclusion that Kubikuro is doing this.

He says that his enhanced intelligence made him as smart as a human, but humans are vengeful and cruel. It’s like he’s implying that Kubikuro had no choice but to become a vengeful serial killer because he was smart as a human. That’s a bit of a dark outlook on humanity. I can totally understand Kubikuro killing the guy who killed his parents, but there’s no reason he’s killing all these other people. He’s like an anti-animal abuse anti-hero, but it’s also a bit confusing. He leads a pack of dogs, and when he saves a train filled with pigs he also…lets the dogs kill and eat some of the pigs? I dunno.

Oh, yeah, Kubikuro can set people on fire with a glance, by the way. ……Here’s how the manga explains how this happened.

“Kubikuro, gifted with intelligence only to turn it into a pyrokinetic rage.” Yup, smart as human + rage = pyrokinesis somehow.

Long story short, Joe feels responsible for the monster Kubikuro has become for some reason so he lays a trap for him. Pretending to be part of a convoy containing someone related to the murder of his parents, he lures Kubikuro out of hiding, has one last exchange with him and shoots him. The last shot of the story is Joe crying with Kubikuro’s body in his arms.

This story is….emotionally manipulative and kinda stupid. The former might just be my bias in the belief that, nearly every time a dog or other animal is killed off in a piece of media, it’s for emotional manipulation, but the latter stands. I can believe fully that these dogs gained human-level intelligence from some vague brain experiments, but I can’t believe that this would result in sudden pyrokinetic abilities nor do I feel I can swallow that Kubikuro turned into a monstrous serial killer just because he’s more human-like with human-level intelligence. That’s just silly…..and this is in a volume with dinosaurs and aliens.

Kubikuro was a little pup when Joe found him. He spent three months being lovingly cared for by Joe. He was a sweet little puppy who even offered to clean up his pawprints in the lobby of Joe’s apartment building because one of the other tenants got upset by it. You don’t suddenly turn into a monster after all of that just because you learn that the person who killed your parents was apprehended. Hell, that’s a good thing. Did Joe not teach him about justice? Like I said, I don’t even get his motivations. It seem like he just wanted to be a vigilante against animal abusers, but that goes out the window when you realize he was letting some of the animals he was saving be killed by his allies.

And then Joe has to Ol’ Yeller Kubikuro, and I just wound up feeling hollow. I saw it coming from a mile away. It’s sad, of course, but I feel like the backbone of his story was so flimsy that it managed to make me not feel tearful at a dog death. I felt much more like crying over Kubikuro’s parents, and they were barely in the story. Kubikuro was adorable, even considering Ishinomori’s odd style in drawing dogs, but he didn’t need to be written as a monster, especially in the sloppy manner he was here. Give him a real reason to be doing what he’s doing and be consistent in his actions but still leave him sympathetic.


And that was volume seven! I am disappointed that Ishinomori had to cut off the Mythos arc here. It was a really interesting and exciting arc for what it was worth, and he did the best with what he had. I mean, granted, if the entire manga had actually ended here it would have been terrible. Maybe the reason I’m not as shaken by it is because I know the series continues on. But imagine being a fan back then and thinking that the last image you’d ever see of the series was a barren shot of the ocean with looming implications that the characters you’ve come to know and love drowned?

Then we have the…..eehh….interesting side stories we’re left to enjoy until volume eight. I didn’t really hate or even seriously dislike either story. I just felt like the first was a big wasted opportunity for Pyunma to get some focus and the second was poorly executed.

Next time, we start what was actually intended to be the grand finale of Cyborg 009 – the Underground Empire Yomi arc!

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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 18: Don’t Touch the Forbidden Game/Manga Chapters 46-47


Today’s episode starts out with a dream the character of the week, Imori, is having about the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu (the jar that is sealed beneath the cards.) which I will explain later. The dream seems to show a Chinese emperor or other high-status figure trying to protect the ‘Senhai’ (I couldn’t find what that meant, and Google keeps confusing it with “senpai” but it’s referring to the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu jar. Sugoroku later refers to it as the Ryuuhai, so maybe there was a mistranslation there?) during travel when they’re attacked by a rogue militia. The jar falls, opens and a purple mist emanates from it, revealing a neon green dragon that attacks them all. Gotta say, out of all of the things I thought would come from a jar supposedly holding the embodiment of all darkness to balance the light of the world, I honestly never considered a neon green dragon…..

After the title card, we cut to the main group walking to school. Jonouchi kicks a small bag of garbage at the back of Honda’s head and then whines that he’s so bored with daily school life. He wants more excitement. Dude, we’re in episode 18 of Season Zero. How can you have experienced all the screwed up stuff you’ve gone through to this point and say you have a boring life?

He wants the world to be in terrible danger, and then he can save the world, turn it into a utopia and make Honda the janitor of the world. The group looks on like he’s an idiot, which they should in this instance, before quickly noticing Imori getting bullied. The bullies are forcing him into a game where they try to get coins into a pot by throwing them off the stairs. Whoever gets their coin in or gets closest wins 500 yen.

The first bully gets it in the pot, but it bounces out and lands closeby. It’s Imori’s turn, but Yugi steps up to take his place. Yugi easily flips the coin off of his thumb, onto the stairs, on the boxes below, bounces off a bush somehow and spins along the rim before landing in the pot. Obviously, the bullies whine that he cheated somehow. They try to force him to do it again only to have Jonouchi step in and assert that Yugi followed the rules so he doesn’t have to do it again. Honda steps up to the other bully, and they intimidate them into backing off and leaving.

Anzu compliments Yugi by saying such skills are to be expected from the grandson of a game shop owner. Imori laments that he’s not good at anything and wishes he could be like Yugi.

While Yugi is flattered, Jonouchi is instantly put off by the boy. He approaches Yugi covertly and quietly tells him to not get too close to Imori because he doesn’t like how dark and gloomy he is. In Jonouchi’s words, “He’s a wet blanket. If he gets too close, you’re sure to get moldy.”

While Yugi is in class, he finds a note from Imori thanking him for saving him. Imori tells him that, in order to thank him properly, he’d like to bring Yugi to his secret base.

Later, at Imori’s house, which is quite a nice mansion-esque place, Imori shows Yugi a secret passage in his floor to his cellar, which is his secret base. He likes spending time there because no one can bully him. He has a bunch of old games stacked in shelves on the walls and tells Yugi that his family heritage is loaded with people who treasure games. They spend a lot of time and money collecting and playing them. However, Yugi notices that all of the games on display are single-player games, so he wonders if his entire family had a problem making friends.


Imori asks if Yugi will be his friend, and he happily agrees, making Imori tear up. Apparently, Yugi is his absolute first friend ever. As a sign of their budding friendship, he decides to show Yugi his family’s rarest game – a completely unique heirloom even he’s never seen before. He leads Yugi deeper and deeper into the catacombs of the cellar until they reach a strange door. Even with both boys pushing on it, the door doesn’t budge. Suddenly, Yugi’s Puzzle starts glowing, and he realizes something mystical must be behind the door. After analyzing the door further, he realizes that the sections of the door act as a slider puzzle. When the puzzle is finished, it reveals an image of the dragon from before and opens, revealing the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu.

We cut to grandpa’s game shop which is where we finally (basically) intersect with the manga.

In the start of the manga chapter 46, Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu are being shown an ancient Egyptian bullfrog game at the game shop before Imori shows up out of the blue to show Yugi’s grandpa his family’s ancient game to figure out what it really is. Sugoroku immediately realizes it’s the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu. According to grandpa, the Dragon Cards were used in ancient times to act as the final test of Feng Shui masters.

By the laws of yin and yang, the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu act as a vessel for all darkness (yang) while everything else in the environment act as light (yin). If the seal is removed from the cards and jar, the darkness will be unleashed and the balance of the world will fall into disarray.

In the anime, the scene is pretty much the same, but Jonouchi and Anzu aren’t there. Instead of yelling at Jonouchi to not open the seal, Sugoroku yells at Imori to not do the same. The game is called Ryuuhai or Dragon Block in the anime.

The Puzzle didn’t react to the artifact in the manga like it does in the anime. Shockingly, grandpa and Imori both notice the Puzzle glowing in reaction to the artifact and just casually talk about it……Okay.

The next day, in the manga, after the group goes swimming at school, Yugi returns to his locker to discover that the Millennium Puzzle is missing. In its place is a note that tells Yugi his Puzzle has been stolen and, if he wants it back, he’ll have to meet the thief alone in classroom C otherwise he’ll lose his Puzzle forever.


When Yugi arrives, Imori is waiting for him with the Puzzle around his neck. He tells Yugi that he’s been watching him for some time. His grandfather left him a lot of books on games, and one of the passages explained the powers of the Millennium Puzzle, claiming that whoever solved the Puzzle would gain the power of the Game of Darkness and become the Shepherd of Darkness. When Yugi solved the Puzzle, Imori noticed that his life turned around. He got friends and elevated his social status. Ever since then, he has sworn to defeat the owner of the Puzzle and become the new Shepherd of Darkness.

He challenges Yugi to a Shadow Game with the Dragon Cards and breaks the seal on the container. After the darkness has been unleashed, he tells Yugi that, according to an ancient Chinese book, anyone who breaks the seal on the Dragon Cards has to partake in a game of darkness, otherwise the land will be cursed forever.

The only way to reseal the cards and tame the dragon inside is to sacrifice a soul.

Back in the anime, Imori walks home with the Ryuuhai while mulling over what Sugoroku told him. He’s cornered by the two bullies again, and the Dragon Block falls out of his hands when he trips, breaking the seal.

I gotta say, for something that could basically destroy the world when unsealed, this thing is ridiculously easy to unseal. In the dream sequence, it was opened the same way, by someone accidentally dropping it, but it’s only “sealed” by a rope that could easily be untied. The easy slider puzzle on the door of the room this thing was stored in was a better seal than rope – and that slider puzzle door is only in the anime. In the manga, this thing might as well be sealed by a warped tupperware lid.

When the bullies realize what he dropped was a game, they challenge him to a match and force him to bet money on the outcome.

After a cutaway, we see an island sink into the sea under a dark sky.

After the commercial break, Anzu informs Jonouchi that Mizuno, one of the guys who was bullying Imori, was found unconscious in the street last night and he’s been hospitalized. Miho talks about how her family was planning a trip to a beach only for them to cancel it once they caught news of the island sinking. Honda blames Jonouchi for Miho’s sadness because he wished for Japan to be destroyed, but Jonouchi says if his wishes came true, Honda would have died ages ago.

…..Someone tell me again why these two are friends.

Yugi looks over at Imori, and his demeanor has changed entirely. He’s got a more confident look on his face, and he’s even got his feet up on his desk. Imori takes Yugi aside and asks for his homework because he didn’t have time to do it last night and there’s no time to copy it now.


Jonouchi comes in, having followed them because he’s suspicious of Imori, and tells Yugi to not listen to Imori because he’s just being selfish. Yugi decides against giving Imori his homework, and Imori takes this as a sign of betrayal to their friendship.

We get the exact same scene with the swimming and Millennium Puzzle being taken with Imori using it as bait to get Yugi to face him in a game. The only difference is instead of Imori telling him to meet him in classroom C, he tells him to meet him at his secret base.

When he arrives at the base, we get pretty much the same pre-game scene as in the manga, but they omit most of the preamble about Imori watching him from afar, swearing to defeat him and becoming the new Shepherd of Darkness. Essentially, in the manga, Imori is almost blatantly a bad guy from the first time you see him whereas in the anime he seems like more or less a legitimately timid and well-meaning kid who just got corrupted by dark magic and perhaps his own dark desires of wanting to hold power over others after being bullied for so long.

In the manga, since the bullies don’t exist there, we don’t get any discussion about what happened to Mizuho like we do in Season Zero. It’s confirmed that he used Mizuho’s soul to reseal the Shin Tsuen Fu.

Shadow Game

In the manga, the Dragon Cards are, well, cards, while they’re Mahjong-esque tiles in the anime, but other than that the game is kept basically the same. I’m still not certain why they changed them to tiles, but I feel like they maybe wanted to avoid having this feel too much like Duel Monsters.

The game is played by putting the deck (or box of tiles in the anime) into the center of the table. From the guidance of Feng Shui, energy collects in the mountains and flows into the land. The deck/box acts as the mountain and the table is the land. The deck is surrounded by five elemental powers – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

At the start of the game, each player draws six cards/blocks from the deck/box. There is one symbol on each card/block that is representative of one of the elements. Each card also has different levels ranging from one to five, but this detail is missing from the anime version. If you get three of the same element and level, you can summon a dragon. Whoever summons the two most powerful dragons in the end is the winner.


In the anime, they also add in a real world map with bases. Each player gets to decide where the opponent’s base will be.

Each player takes turn drawing cards/tiles. When you draw a card/tile, you have to discard one. The strategy comes in taking note of what cards the other has discarded. You can determine what they’re not summoning by what they’re throwing out and what they’re likely summoning by deducing what’s left to summon.

The way the dragons are more powerful than the others (IE what if you have a level four dragon going up against another level four dragon?) is by the typical elemental advantages. Fire beats metal, metal beats wood, wood beats earth, earth beats water and water beats fire. While they don’t mention it at this point, the elements also work in tandem with each other and offer support.


After Yugi and Imori summon their first pair of dragons, two Water Dragons, level three and four for Imori, and Fire (level five) and Metal (Level unknown) Dragons for Yugi, Yugi explains that the Water Dragons will only be made more powerful by the Metal Dragon. By how much, I don’t know. His other dragon is Fire, so even though it’s level five it’s at too much of a disadvantage.

Yugi is, shockingly, defeated, and his soul is consumed by the Shin Tsuen Fu. Before his body goes limp, he’s able to touch the Millennium Puzzle, which summons Yami into his body. Yami challenges Imori to a match with the same bet conditions – whoever loses sacrifices their soul.

In the anime, Yugi summons two Fire Dragons. Imori, however, has two Water Dragons. Yugi’s dragons are slain, and they suddenly feel tremors in the earth. The purpose of the map and the bases is revealed – whenever one of them loses a battle, the real-life location of their bases will be hit with a natural calamity. Imori chose Tokyo for Yugi, and now some of the (unoccupied, I presume) land in the forest is disappearing as a result. That’s why that island sank when Mizuno was defeated.

The loser’s soul also gets taken by the Shin Tsuen Fu. Yugi lost, so he has to sacrifice his soul, but, just as in the manga, he’s able to barely manage to touch the Puzzle before passing out. Yami takes over and asks for a rematch in order to get Yugi’s soul back – however that works. Imori agrees and reveals that it takes at least three months for the jar to fully consume a soul, so getting Yugi back is still possible.

This time, he chooses Imori’s base location. He chooses the ocean so no real damage will occur. Imori chooses Tokyo once again for Yami.

They draw their cards, and I seriously feel like Imori’s cheating in the manga. Their hands weren’t fully revealed in the match with Yugi, but in the match with Yami it shows that Yami has Earth 4, Wood 1, Water 2, Metal 5, Wood 5 and Fire 2 while Imori has two Water 5s, Fire 4, Wood 5, Water 4 and Metal 4.


After some draws and discards, Imori deduces that Yami is trying to summon a Metal 5 and an Earth 4, but Imori is planning on summoning Water and Wood Dragons to take them out. He has enough to summon a Water 5.

Yami discards a Wood Dragon card, and Imori reveals that you can actually take cards from the discard pile to summon dragons if you want. Yami basically gave him the last card he needed. Yami finishes his hand as well and summons, as Imori predicted, a Metal 5 and an Earth 4 while Imori summons a Water 5 and a Wood 5.

Imori believes he has the game in the bag, especially when he reveals that Water Dragons have the special ability to instantly destroy a Metal Dragon, which, pardon my French, but you’re a cheating sack of shit, Imori.

So Water is specifically powerful against Fire, but it also has the ability to instantly destroy Metal Dragons? Didn’t Yugi say that Metal Dragons power up Water dragons? That’s not the same. I’d expect it to be a case of like Water Dragons get one more level when an enemy has a Metal Dragon because rust or something.

Yami uses his Earth Dragon’s special ability, which is to create earthquakes, to negate the Water Dragon’s special ability and protect the Metal Dragon.

I guess I won’t argue that this could happen given that Earth is strong against Water, but I am just so confused. How did Yami even know of these effects? Even if he can see the helpful-ish diagram that the manga uses, which I don’t think he can, I think it’s just a graphic for our sake, how would he know of these special effects? He just knows certain elements support others.


I’m going to try really hard to summarize what happens next. Imori reveals that his Wood Dragon is powering up by feeding on the water of the Water Dragon. He attacks the Earth Dragon, sucking up the water that he absorbed with the earthquake attack. Apparently, this means that the Earth Dragon is incapacitated. Imori launches another attack on the Metal Dragon from his Water Dragon, but it survives the attack because, apparently, the Wood Dragon took too much of the Water Dragon’s power after absorbing some of its water. The Metal Dragon, despite taking some damage, is able to attack the Wood Dragon and destroy it. However, the Metal Dragon dies in the process for some reason, and also, for some reason, him doing this revives the Earth Dragon.

It’s now just a face-off between the Water Dragon and the Earth Dragon. The Earth Dragon has an advantage over the Water Dragon because the Earth Dragon, again, absorbs the water with its gorges. Imori loses, and, since the jar can only hold one soul at a time, Yugi’s soul is ejected and returned to his body while Imori is left as a soulless husk.

……..The end.


Nope, not kidding. Imori’s just gone forever now. You basically just witnessed a child murder.

In the anime, the game goes a bit different. Instead of summoning Fire and Metal Dragons, Yugi summons two Fire Dragons while Imori summons two Water Dragons. This type matchup obviously results in Yugi losing and his soul being sacrificed to the jar.

When Yami is up, the game goes the same again, only they manage to depict the match in such a way that it’s not so confusing. Mostly because they don’t say anything about special abilities and instead just point out that their dragons support each other, allowing them to survive their attacks. The one time it’s really confusing is when they don’t explain why the Water Dragon’s attack didn’t manage to kill the Metal Dragon. One line of “The Water Dragon’s too weak from supporting the Wood Dragon to finish it off!” would have sufficed.

They show that a giant crevice did open up in the real ocean when Yami defeated the Water Dragon, which was promptly closed up….somehow. I’d think a massive crack in the ocean floor or something would cause more severe and lasting effects, but I’m not an oceanologist.

The rest of the story kinda doesn’t make sense because 1) they added the aspect of the bully getting his soul taken and 2) they basically wimp out on ‘killing’ Imori.


When Imori’s soul is taken in the anime, Yugi’s soul is ejected and returned. However, Imori never explained that this would happen if he won. He never stated the fact that only one soul can be in the jar at one time like the manga does. In addition, this wouldn’t have made sense anyway. If only one soul can be in the jar at any given time and it takes three months for a soul to be consumed in the jar, then what happened to Mizuno’s soul? Did it get returned when Yugi’s soul was taken? Because they never showed that.

Imori is only unconscious for a minute after his soul is taken in the anime. He wakes up not having remembered anything of what happened after the seal was broken the first time and being his normal, timid and kind self again. Yami explains that the jar took Imori’s ‘haughty’ heart and left normal Imori alone. Somehow….Imori had two souls because….he was friendless, lonely and bitter? That’s such a cop out.

Granted, they made Imori so sympathetic in this version that it’s hard for me to complain too much about the poor kid not being a soulless husk for all eternity, but it just seems so lame that their excuse is that he had two souls when he basically just had a dark section of one soul.

The episode ends with Imori and Yami sealing away the Dragon Block for good. Then we get a short snippet of Sugoroku’s speech about how some ancient games and artifacts are best left alone because they could be dangerous…uhm, yeah. Thanks for that?


This episode was………Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……an improvement on the manga version. I think making Imori more sympathetic was a good move and having more backstory for him with Yugi and his friends was also a good decision. I just don’t really agree with all the decisions they made in the episode like not fully explaining how Yami won, not explaining if Mizuno got his soul back, randomly adding the map thing (Souls aren’t enough of a bargaining chip? Also, it affected nothing), and making such a piss-poor explanation as to why Imori got to keep his soul.

If Jonouchi’s intuition is anything to go by, Imori wasn’t that influenced by the Dragon Block. He had bad mojo before the seal was broken, so it’s not like you can say the jar created this other soul within him. It takes souls – why would it create a new one in Imori? Unless the logic really is that having bitterness and dark feelings in your heart, even if you’re a relatively harmless and kind person otherwise, can create an entirely different soul in your body, which is just….no.

What I find funny about this is that it reminds me so much of when Yami mind crushed Kaiba and sent his evilness to the Shadow Realm in the 2000 anime dub, and 4Kids passed off his evil half as a separate entity that looked nothing like him.

Was sending manga!Imori’s soul to be locked away forever too much? Maybe. Imori was just a kid, but he did have the power to basically destroy the world in the palm of his hand, and he didn’t give a crap when he used it for his own gain. It’s actually kinda odd that the anime made Imori even worse than in the manga by adding the aspect of them destroying parts of the world when they lost. If they didn’t basically hand-wave Imori’s evil side, it definitely would have negated any sympathy he garnered in the first half of the episode. They were lucky they got off so easily with just a sunk uninhabited island and some empty chunks of land in Tokyo disappearing. He was hoping the entire city of Tokyo would crumble with Yami’s loss.

Winner: Anime

Next episode seems like it will be a weird jumble. It seems pretty Miho focused, which, yaywhoohoofun, but it’s also the introduction of Bakura. This is not mirrored from the manga, so we’ll see what’s up.

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