out of Five
Running time: 103
009 Re:Cyborg is an ambitious and visually impressive Japanese anime that starts off well, but the cyborgs’ epic search for ‘His Voice’ quickly becomes a little tenuous and ridiculous, pushing the film into maddening and tedious territory.
What’s it all about?
A Japanese anime written for the screen and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, 009 Re:Cyborg is based on Shotaro Ishinomori’s 1964 comic, Cyborg 009 and transports its characters to the year 2013, when the world is suffering from a colossal suicide bombing problem. The nine regular humans that were abducted and transformed into cyborgs in 1964 re-assemble after 27 years to fight against the faceless enemy (known only as ‘His Voice’) behind it all. However, despite the heroes being untouched by the three decades that have passed, society around them has changed, leaving them to question and evaluate their role in the world.
The first twenty minutes or so of 009 Re:Cyborg are rather engaging and entertaining, with the Tokyo suicide bombing scene providing a worthy character and plot introduction to newcomers and promising a film equipped with magnetic intensity. The computer-generated animation is also impressive; with the 3D elements giving the film’s city landscapes a remarkably detailed scope and realism and the cel-shader treatment gives the film that traditional Japanese 2D animation look. Also worth mentioning is Kenji Kawai’s dramatic music, which is particularly strong during the opening and closing scenes.
Unfortunately, despite the promising opening, 009 Re:Cyborg quickly loses its way and those that aren’t huge fans of Japanese anime will find it particularly hard to stick with it. The screenplay by Kenji Kamiyama is a little over the top and implausible and lacks the control and consistence to make the film as tight and engaging as it needs to be. Too many of the nine cyborgs are stereotypical and irritating to watch and it feels a little unbelievable that the group constitute world heroes (given the fact that none of them really possess any plausible heroic or standout qualities) and their search for ‘His Voice’ soon becomes a little ludicrous. Finally, the combination of 3D with English subtitles means that 009 Re:Cyborg can also be a little arduous on the eyes.
A bold and visually impressive Japanese anime that feels over the top and out of control, 009 Re:Cyborg is a challenging and testing watch. If you’re new to the genre, approach with caution.
009 Re:Cyborg 3D (12A)