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Manga: Cyborg 009

Originally a manga by Shotaro Ishinomori, Cyborg 009 has been adapted into four movies, as well as three anime series in 1968, 1979, and 2001.

A few years ago, the Black Ghost organization kidnapped nine ordinary humans and performed experiments on them, turning them into superpowered cyborgs. After the nine of them escaped, they were given codenames (001-009) and now, with the help of Dr. Isaac Gilmore, fight the Black Ghost organization and stop their diabolical plot to spark the next world war.

Recap

The nine cyborgs are:
  • 001, a small Russian baby named Ivan Whisky. He was probably the most powerful of them all, but as a baby, his powers often exhausted him and can only use them fully once after two weeks of sleeping. Power: A whole array of Psychic Powers (telepathy, teleport and telekinesis)
  • 002, real name Jet Link, a gang member from New York City (a la West Side Story). He is The Lancer and Fragile Speedster to the core. Power: able to fly via rocket feet. Voiced By Kirk Thornton in the English dub.
  • 003, a French ballerina named Francoise Arnoul. Pretty much The Chick, though latter adaptations make her a bit more of an Action Girl (sometimes Faux, sometimes a genuine one) and Team Mom. There was a bit of a romantic subplot between her and 009. Power: surveillance, thanks to enhanced hearing and sight. Some Machine handling skills were added in the 2001 adaptation.
  • 004, a German man named Albert Heinrich. Quite a Deadpan Snarker and excellent tactician, with some degree of angst because of his enhancements and the tragic loss of his fiancee Hilda. Power: his whole body was chock full of weapons (he was human machine gun/rocket launcher/grenade launcher, etc).
  • 005, A Native American called Geronimo, Jr. The Gentle Giant of the group, somewhat of a Genius Bruiser as well. Power: superhuman strength and superhuman endurance, some degree of empathy with nature in the 2001 series.
  • 006, a Chinese chef named Chang Changku. Along with 007, formed most of the comic relief. Cheerful, a bit child-like, nagging but fatherly towards his teammates. Power: could shoot fire out of his mouth.
  • 007, a Brit code-named Great Britain (no, really) who was, in his prime, one of the world's greatest actors. Power: could transform into anything.
  • 008, an African refugee/guerrilla warrior (2001), Pyunma. His backstory as a freedom fighter was given some light in a two-part episode. In the original manga, he escaped from slavers before Black Ghost abducted him. Power: could swim at great speeds and breathe underwater without assistance.
  • 009, the leader of the team, real name Joe Shimamura. The Hero of the team, very sensitive and compassionate, with a strong sense of justice. Power: officially, super-speed accessed via one of his molars, but according to the manga, he was the last cyborg created, so he had a much more powerful body than the others (he could breathe underwater like 008, though for a shorter time, and was almost as strong as 005).

All but 5 episodes of the pretty good most recent series, were aired on the Cartoon Network a few years back.

There are now petitions to get Cyborg 009 released in English!

Joe and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.

A movie was released in 2012, directed by Kenji Kamiyama of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. A manga adaptation of this film also came about, and was published in Monthly Big Gangan magazine. But wait—there's more! In addition to this, a A western graphic novel reimagination was released in September 2013, written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Camp and illustrated by Marcus To. Don't quit reading now! Look at the bottom of the GN page.There is also apparently a live-action movie being planned.

Through 2012 to 2014, a finale titled "Conclusion: God's War" was published through Shogakukan, adapted from Ishinomori's notes and drafts of a final arc that he'd never gotten to write for the series. It was written by his son, Jo Onodera, and illustrated by Masato Hayase and Sugar Sato, who were assistants of Ishinomori. This officially ended the Cyborg 009 manga, after the series was left hanging for decades and after Ishinomori passed away before he could complete the story.


Contain examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In the manga, the "Angel" arc (originally serialized in Adventure King), which Ishinomori later attempted to resume and retell in the "Battle of the Gods" arc (serialized in COM)... which also ended abruptly, leading to a hiatus which lasted a few years.
    • Judging from some themes explored in the arcs and Ishinomori's own intent for each to be the final Cyborg 009 story, both attempts can be seen as prototype versions of "Conclusion: God's War". The anime version of the arc also takes cues from these early attempts, with an angel showing the cyborgs the darkness in their hearts, as well as Ivan upgrading the others (which Francoise claimed he was able to do in the infamous cliffhanger to "Angels"), and the eventual "God's War" manga puts its own spin on them.
  • The Ace: Parodied in the 2001 series, with 002 befriending a young child from the USA and presenting himself as a Gary Stu like hero.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The new designs for the 2012 series aim for a more modern and somewhat realistic character design, which is specially favorable to 005 (his also minimizes the Unfortunate Implications a bit), 007, 008 and 009. In a subversion, while 002's design is quite bishonen-like, fans tend to dislike it instead since it drastically reduced his iconic Gag Nose.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The 2001 series, which mainly adapted stories from the first ten volumes note (and ended its TV run there, with the "God's War" OVA arc following), but also included a few later stories that were re-arranged to take place earlier in the cyborgs' history, such as "The City of Wind". The general setting is also updated to take place in the modern day, although the historical settings of the first four cyborgs' backstories are retained by having them be cryogenically frozen for decades afterward and them being marked as the "first generation" of the 00 project. The anime also gives the Mythos arc more of an actual conclusion, as the manga equivalent of the arc wrapped up very abruptly due to the series being dropped from Weekly Shonen King.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: For some reason, most characters are prone to change hair and uniform color with every new adaptation of the series ('specially Joe's hair note ).
    • The Pu'Awak sisters are blonde in Ishinomori's colored artwork, but red-haired in the 2001 anime. The Mythos cyborg Helena was also originally a blonde in the manga, but had her hair color and the very style altered along with her name (see "Adaptation Name Change").
  • Adaptation Expansion: The cyborgs' time at Dr. Kozumi's house is elaborated on a little more in the early episodes of the '01 series. 0012 was also given a backstory and identity, while in the manga she was only witnessed as a Brain in a Jar and never had any indication of what she was before.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Helena of the Mythos cyborgs became "Artemis" in the 2001 series, and also received a design overhaul to distinguish her from the similar Helen (of the Pu'Awak sisters).
  • Adaptation Personality Change: See Characterization Marches On for more details. Some characters tended to have their personalities vary through different adaptations of the manga, with 002 and 004 being most affected in the long run.
  • Adapted Out: Dr. Uranus (the professor that may resemble a poodle at first glance) did not make the cut in the anime adaptation of the Mythos arc, perhaps due to time constraints as well as his design amounting to blackface and looking somewhat fantastical.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "Compu-Utopia"
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Very controversially invoked in the manga in the unfinished "Battle with the Gods", when the 00 team all flash back to shameful things they had done: 009 and 003's sequence depicts 003 pleading "I want to have your children!", followed by the two proceeding to strip off their clothes and have sex. The angry fan-mail that ensued played a part in Ishinomori leaving the arc unfinished, and it being dropped from COM.
    • 002 becomes another example in "The People Drifting Through Space and Time", when 009 and 005 walk right in on him finishing up an intimate moment with his next-door neighbor.
  • Arm Cannon: 004's legs hide missiles and his hands hide either knives or bullets. In some continuities he even has a mini nuclear bomb inside of his body. Lampshaded in the 2001 series when he hands 009 a ray gun and rejects it when 009 gives it back after the first big fight, saying he can relay on his bullet hands.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For the 2001 series, unless you count the "God's War" OVA arc as canon, as well as volume 10 of the manga: Jet and Joe burn up in the atmosphere upon their descent to Earth, and are mistaken for a shooting star by two children, with the older sister wishing for "world peace".. However, in the case of the manga, this was averted by a fan outcry which led to Ishinomori resuming the story and throwing in a retcon.
    • "Conclusion: God's War" also has this, at least in the manga (as the anime version cut off on a cliffhanger): All the cyborgs have died, but get to exist on an alternate, peace-filled copy of Earth known as "the world of light", where they're reborn as humans and get to enjoy happier lives. The vague nature of the ending has been debated over its bittersweetness as well, as there are implications that they're not so much "alive" as much as that they're now existing as purified spirits.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Psychic Assassins can't overexert on their powers, otherwise their bodies age rapidly. The 00-Numbers also seem to see their powers this way, though they come to grips with them, to varying degrees.
  • Blood Knight: Cain, leader of the Psychic Assassins team. Self admitted, too.
  • Bowdlerise: While regarded as the adaptation that sticks closest to the early manga, the 2001 anime underwent this in some instances:
    • Jet's Accidental Murder in his backstory is eliminated, with him only about to get into a gang fight before the cops come and he winds up on the run for his delinquency.
    • "Man or Machine?" has a key plot moment toned down and changed up a little to allot for the younger audience; In the manga, the fake 004 stomps on a nest of owlets and then murders the mother, in an attempt to hide from Albert and not have any noise to alert him to his location. Albert finds the duplicate anyway, and manages to finish him off. In the anime, the owl nest is disturbed and winds up falling, but Albert manages to catch it and the robot becomes confused due to being unable to predict that movement. Albert is then able to finish his duplicate off.
    • Ivan's backstory in the manga depicts his father as beating his mother to death over her protests about what he's about to do to the baby. This did not make the transition either, with Erika surviving (although she may have died in the proceeding decades).
    • At the end of episode 47, the deaths of the Pu'Awak sisters were relegated to an off-screen moment, with their screams being heard as Von Bogoot shot them. It's followed by a shot of Viina weakly calling out for Albert, who winds up screaming her name. In the manga? Readers get to see a spread of Von Bogoot shooting all five sisters at once, all experiencing a very Family-Unfriendly Death. The start of episode 48 does adapt the actual scene of their deaths, although it still appears a bit toned down. The scene is further bowdlerized in the dub, which cuts Von Bogoot shooting the sisters, as well as making snippets to the rest of their death sequence.
    • Before the dub of "Legend of the Super Galaxy" was available in its original full cut, fans had to make do with a shortened 92 minute version that trimmed the violence, as well as scenes and dialogue relating to the team members' backstories.
    • This trope also hit when Jo Onodera adapted "Conclusion: God's War" from light novel format to manga for Club Sunday: In the light novel, 004 is stated to have lost his ENTIRE lower half in the climactic battle, just before the moment where he asks 007 to leave him to self-destruct. In the manga, his legs are stomped on and he's rendered crippled. The novel also had 002 not only get bisected, but also lose both arms. In the manga, Jet is still torn in half, but retains his arms (although one is crushed).
    • In the original manga and anime, Jet/002 is an atheist. A key point in the manga version of the "Underground Empire" arc (as well as in the equivalent moment in the anime) has him internally pleading that although he's never believed in a God, that now he's praying to them that he can save 009. An earlier moment in the 2001 anime (in episode 4) also has Jet angrily state "I don't even believe in God!", when he rants that he cannot trust anyone. As far as the English adaptations went? Tokyopop toned down Jet's lack of faith to have him state that he needed "luck", while the dub changed Jet's line in episode 4 to be "I couldn't even trust my parents!" and changed his internal monologue in episode 48 into a general speech of facing his destiny and ridding the world of evil.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Francoise once loses her powers while in the mountains, and under certain conditions as well.
    • Happens to Albert at the end of "Legend of the Super Galaxy", when he's brought back to life- but it's then quickly averted when he requests that Dr. Gilmore turn him back into a cyborg.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Averted with a passion. The 00-Numbers are explicitly all non-Japanese, to the point that they come from eras and backgrounds that largely prevent them from even traveling out of their home countries. Joe is the exception, being half-Japanese and having a father of an unspecified ethnicity, but he was born and raised in Japan - and got bullied and ostracized by society for being biracial and a bastard.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Ishinomori himself did not consider "Empty War", "The Man with the Expensive Castle", or the retconned origin in the prologue to the Underground Empire to be canon. The first is due to the fact that he re-wrote it as "A New Type of Bomb" (most manga releases include both versions alongside each other), and the latter two examples have to do with his distaste for having to rewrite 007 into being a child to tie into the changes that were made in the first film adaptation. There's also a visual discrepancy within that origin; while the narration mentions Joe having been captured on his escape from Kurihama, the artwork depicts an ambulance carrying him off (much like the one in the film, that carried him off after his racing accident).
    • The manga version of "God's War" essentially overwrites the unfinished "Angel" and "Battle with the Gods" arcs, which were the first and second prototypes of Ishinomori's concept for the "last Cyborg 009 story".
  • Carrying the Antidote: A whole episode focuses on the Cyborgs trying to stop the Villains Of The Week who were trying to use biological bombs to get people sick and then sell them the antidote.
  • Cat Smile: Dr. Kozumi. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.
  • Character Development: All of the Cyborgs escaped the Ethnic Scrappy label thanks to their pretty good backstories, specially in the 2001 anime. Like... 002, the ex-Delinquent who bemoaned his inability to save street children from becoming rotten like he almost did; 003, the ex-ballerina who wishes she was an genuine Action Girl but her enhancements and powers don't let her; 004, the thoughtful German who's forcefully given a body chock-full of weapons and is traumatised by the death of his fiancée; 007, the ex theater star who abandoned his girlfriend when he reached stardom and later became an alcoholic out of guilt; 008, the ex-guerrilla warrior/ex-slave who then gets involved in his war-torn homeland's struggle; etc.
  • Characterization Marches On: As the manga went on and was developed into various anime series, the characters changed drastically. Some of the more obvious examples:
    • While Jet/002 started out as part of a street gang (and spent part of his original manga introduction performing the dance from West Side Story), he was quickly established as an easygoing, agreeable Big Brother Mentor to Joe. In the '79 series, he even had to remind Joe that he didn't have to be The Hero taking on the world alone and that his friends were more than just 'something to protect'. The 2001 series, on the other hand, starts him off as a Hot-Blooded Jerkass desperately searching for targets to lash out at and wary of the other cyborgs, then having him grow from there into a loyal and Boisterous Bruiser who is revealed to carry the pain of not having been able to be the Big Brother Mentor to the New York kids from the sixties. There were hints of his original personality in the 2001 flashback episode, though, as he rescues a confused and panicking 003 from the battlefield she's been thrown into and manages to calm her down before they met up with 004 and 001 and develop a strategy to save their lives.
    • Albert, on the flip side, mixed a bit of Blood Knight with a hint of Death Seeker and a lot of Black Humor about his situation. He had no illusions about the fact they were meant to be weapons, was cold and pragmatic... and also willing to activate the nuke inside his body if he felt it would save the others. The 2001 version, meanwhile, was more of a thoughtful Sugar and Ice Personality who openly grappled with the question of whether or not his enhancements made him less human, also taking up the Big Brother Mentor role towards 002, 003 and 009.
    • To complicate this somewhat; while Albert definitely had stayed more on the serious and cold side, the '80s run of the manga has the two display traits that would seem to be the seeds for their rivalry and personality reversal in the 2001 version. Albert becomes more introspective about his humanity, while Jet becomes a little more jaded in light of realizing the drawbacks of being a cyborg, as well as showcasing a bit more of a hot and belligerent temper when pissed off (such as the argument over holiday traditions in the story "Cyborg Soldier, For Whom Do You Fight?").
  • Chef of Iron: 006, who cooks for the other 00-Numbers and runs a restaurant in his spare time.
  • Composite Character: Helena and Helen tended to be merged into one character in some media, such as the 1967 film "Monster Wars", as well as the 1993 Sega CD video game. This was probably part of why Helena was changed to "Artemis" in the 2001 anime. Tokyopop's translation of the manga even changed one of Joe's lines to hang a lampshade on Helen's resemblance to Helena, with him saying "Hey, I remember you!".
    • Helena was also given the title of "Cyborg 0010" in the aforementioned film, while the character known as 0010 in the manga became "Cyborg 0011" along with his twin brother.
  • Corrupt Church: Averted heavily. As with all Shotaro Ishinomori works, extreme reverence towards Christianity is shown. The "church" in the 2012 movie isn't corrupt so much as completely off its goddamn rocker.
  • Crapsack World: The Black Ghost group wants to create this via War for Fun and Profit And they succeed, in at least one continuity. In the 2001 series Joe is sent forward in time, lands into this apocalyptic Alternate Future, and when he finds out the truth he's this close to cross the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: During the final battle between 009 and Scarl, Scarl spends most of the battle beating the crap out of 009, but then he stupidly taunts the professor about how he'll "make him watch as I burn them in the furnace", causing the professor (who is hinted to be Ambiguously Jewish) to break free and turn the anti cyborg weapon on him. Scarl becomes distracted by the pain, allowing 009 to tackle him and knock him into the reactor, where the explosives kill him
    • The manga version of "Conclusion: God's War" has this when the cyborgs are overwhelmed by the gods and creatures that they have to fight. Even with their upgrades from Gilmore that came about due to them being attacked in the earlier fight, they're still unable to defeat the hordes, and the giant Buddha makes quick work of 007, 005, and 002, as well as killing off Dr. Gilmore with a quick squish of his foot.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: The Tokyopop translation of volumes 1-10 took quite the liberties with the original source material at times, with some dialogue being far from what Ishinomori originally wrote. One example included some retconning/softening of a later retelling of 004's origin to have him state that he was contacted by Dr.Gilmore and gave himself up willingly to him after the accident. 002's origin meanwhile, was "punched up" to have his fellow gang members refer to the Sharks as "Spics" and "P Rs", while in the original, the other boys were supposed to simply be cheering Jet on. 0012 and Hera were also misgendered within the translation, as was Kubikuro (who then had his gender corrected mid-chapter).
    • 002's line of "God, I'm praying to you for the first time..." in the Yomi arc also found itself changed, to him saying "Luck, if I ever needed you, it's right now!". The rest of the dialogue in the ending sequence also underwent revision, with it being a key point in the original that nobody referred to 009 as "Joe" up until his fall to Earth. In Tokyopop's translation, he's called "Joe" by 002 and others beforehand, which loses the impact.
  • Darker and Edgier: The 2012 film, as well as the manga and light novel adaptations of "God's War".
  • Darkest Africa: 008's homeland. The trope is played straight in the manga and the older series, but subverted in the 2001 one and averted entirely in the 2012 movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually Jet/002 in the 2001 anime, although a particularly great example occurs in the first episode between Joe and Ivan.
    • 004 is also pretty good as this, especially in the early volumes of the manga.
  • Demoted to Extra: 002, 004, 005, and 008 all experienced this in the '68 series- 'specially 002 and 004, while 008 at least managed to get a spotlight episode.
  • Derivative Differentiation: The cyborg team all of a sudden gets to go to outer space in the 1980 film Cyborg 009: Legend of the Super Galaxy. This may be attributed the success of of Star Wars and Space Battleship Yamato which at the time popularized Space Opera (further evidenced by the fact that the Galaxy Express 999 director Rintaro was originally attached to the film). However, the film quickly downplayed the Space Opera elements in favor of a more subdued story that focused more on cosmic existentialism and our place in the universe.
  • Doorstop Baby: Joe/009 in the 2001 version.
  • Dub Name Change: While the dub of the 2001 anime mostly kept characters' names, there were a few changes. Gamo Whisky had his surname changed to "Asimov", thus making Ivan have that surname as well. Von Bogoot has his name romanized as "Van Bogoot" (though the spelling seems to give a lot of trouble). The Pu'Awak sister Dinah had what appeared to be pronounciation trouble with being called "Deena" in one episode and by "Dinah" in the following one. Two of the Psychic Assassins also had their names altered slightly; Nichol became "Nicholas" and Mii became "Mai".
    • The dub of the "Legend of the Super Galaxy" film Anglicized Francoise's name to "Francis" (oddly in the masculine spelling), changed Jet to "Jedd", Pyunma to "Puma", Geronimo Junior to "Chief", and most egregiously renamed Great Britain to "O'Shaughnessy" while Albert Heinrich became "Heinrich Struller". The 00 Cyborgs were also referred to as "The Galaxy Legion", perhaps to better explain why they'd be going out into outer space.
    • The Spanish dub of Super Galaxy also had its own name changes in store: Jet was renamed "Zanahoria" ("carrot", for his red hair), Albert to "Siegfried", Geronimo Junior to "Arizona", and "Great Britain" to "Chamberlain". These same name changes carried over to the French dub, although Jet was now called "Poil de Carrote" ("carrot head").
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Dr. Gilmore tended to have his eyes shadowed out a lot early on even after escaping Black Ghost, to mark him as shady and ambiguous. This effect would come and go throughout the early manga.
    • As seen in the "Birth" arc: 004 used to have to take off one of his boots and roll up a pant leg to fire off his knee missile, rather than his pant leg being able to split and accommodate the ability.
      • Combined with Art Evolution; 004 used to wear his hair in a bowl cut, had a sharper face, and had a pointy nose that could almost rival 002's in some instances. Due to occasional art mistakes by Ishinomori and him likely having not decided just how cybernetic 004's overall body would look yet, there also at least two blink-and-you'll-miss instances where he's shown to have a visibly more humanoid body during the "Assassins" arc note .
    • The pupils in 005's eyes would come and go.
    • 009/Joe wore a green uniform in early colored artwork, and his scarf varied between being yellow or being red (the red version being the origin of the "red muffler" line in the theme for the '60s films and series). The entire team originally wore green uniforms as well, but Ishinomori eventually opted to depict them as all wearing red (however, there is some merchandise with the early manga color schemes, as well as artwork and statues with them at the Ishinomori Manga Museum). Early color art also gave Joe blue eyes, as opposed to brown/red.
    • 003 had her hair length vacillate wildly in the early chapters, and her headband was initially not drawn in.
  • Electric Torture: Used a lot by various Black Ghost villains and other opponents. 0010 is a notable example.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: At least two in the 2001 series.
  • Eye Open: The first episode of the 2001 anime starts this way, as Joe/009 wakes up in a laboratory in one of Black Ghost's bases.
  • Foreshadowing: Jet/002's first lines to 009 in the 2001 anime have him ask where he would like to fall. Come the finale, Jet's last words are "Where would you like to fall?" as the two plummet to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere. The Underground Empire arc in the anime also has a moment where Francoise muses about wanting to be able to wish for peace on the next shooting star. She doesn't get that chance, although another girl does.
  • Gainax Ending: The 2012 movie is likely to come off as this, unless you're really paying attention and are already familiar with the series... and even then you'll probably need a second viewing.
  • Gay Paree: 003's focus episode happens in her natal Paris.
  • Genius Bruiser/Gentle Giant: 005 is calm, gentle, wise, empathic... and not only Made of Iron, but gifted with Super Strength.
  • Good Bad Translation: The Swedish dub of the '79 show is absolutely legendary. Not for the translation, but due to the fact that one single guy dubs every character in the show. Including the females. Also, he was Danish.
    • The translation is every bit as bad as you would think though. It's very doubtful that the characters in the original series "let themselves be fooled by a flying fertilizer ufo".
  • Goo Goo Godlike: 001, when awake.
  • Grand Finale: "Conclusion: God's War", at least as far as the manga goes. An earlier adaptation of the concept used for the 2001 anime could also be considered such, although the OVA wasn't originally planned to be made, with the Underground Empire arc serving as the actual intended ending. The anime also treats their adaptation of "God's War" as a "prologue", leaving off on a cliffhanger.
  • Heavy Sleeper: 001 must sleep for long periods of time, due to his weak baby body.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The English dub of the 2001 TV remake was notorious for this.
  • Ill Boy: 001 aka Ivan was born with a serious illness.
  • Island Base: An Island Base showed up in the first episode of the anime. It was used by two Mad Scientists like their Mad Scientist Laboratory.
  • James Bondage: The '79 series frequently saw 007 get caught by the enemy - far more than Francoise ever was, in fact.
  • Knife-Throwing Act:
  • Love Makes You Crazy - Love Makes You Evil: 0012 has the memories of a lonely lady who lost her husband several years ago. Carl Eckermann aka Sphinx attempts to kidnap Francoise because he's love-starved and lonely. Also, Mad Scientist Gamo started as a not very stable but still not fully evil surgeon who went nuts searching for a cure for his sick child Ivan, who'd become Cyborg 001.
  • Lethal Chef: 002. That's what happens when you don't take the lessons offered by the local Plucky Comic Relief who happened to be a professional chef. 002 rightfully wonders why the Black Ghost had their Cyborgs able to starve to death. They won't. The food is to maintain their remaining organic parts - their mechanical parts run off of a separate power source - and in the manga continuity they apparently require less than normal humans.
  • Mad Scientist: LOTS of Black Ghost people, specially Gaia, Gamo and Van Bogoot.
  • Magical Native American: Played around with 005 in the 2001 anime, whose empathy with Earth doesn't come from his enhancements.
  • Mailer Daemon: Carl Eckermann's other self, the super computer Sphinx.
  • Master of Disguise: 007's power. Justified since he was a prize-winning actor in his prime days.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest
  • More Dakka: 004 lives this trope.
  • Multinational Team: Pioneer in this, preceding even the "all-new, all-different" '70s incarnation of the X-Men. The story goes that Shotaro Ishinomori took a trip around the world just before starting this series, and this inspired him to take this trope and show how it was supposed to be done.
  • My Hero Zero: The 00-Number Cyborgs are all Black Ghost Super Prototypes.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The unnamed esper of the Mythos team became "Hera" in the 2001 anime, while the talking hippo (originally named "Hippo Man" in Ishinomori's character guide) was christened "Nereus". Joe's old friends also received full names, with Mary receiving the surname "Onodera" and Ibaraki and Oyamada receiving the respective given names of "Shinichi" and "Masaru".
    • Cyborg 0013 is given the name of "Tsutomu" in the 1979 anime, although his story was changed for him to be a cyborg of the Neo Black Ghost, so there was no 00 number codename for him.
    • English dub-wise, Van Bogoot/Van Vogt received the given name of "Klaus" (or "Claus"), which carried over to other dubs that were made to follow that adaptation. In both the Japanese anime and manga, the character is only ever referred to by his surname or as "Director".
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Let's face it, had it not been for Black Ghost augmenting the characters with their cybernetics, most of their lives would have been terrible.
    • 001 would have succumbed to his disease before his first birthday.
    • 002 would have been jailed due to his accidental murder, and if not that then he would have been on the run for the rest of his life.
    • 004 would have died of his injuries sustained from his accident.
    • 005 would have continued wandering alone.
    • 006 would be dead, either from suicide or starvation.
    • 007 would probably have continued living in the gutter as an old drunk.
    • 008 would have become a slave or escaped successfully, living in the wilderness, or died in battle.
    • 009 would probably would have been put back into juvie, or on the run.
  • Number Two: 004, usually, due to always being able to bring out some big guns when needed and keep his wits more or less cool while using them. The rest of the cyborgs have yet to be shown functioning as a full-fledged team without him. Black Ghost halted the entire program for the guy for 40 years. Not to mention 002 and 009 are all but stated die in the final dubbed episode. Even villains as high as Black Ghost tend to notice (far more than some viewers) about the role 004 plays. The 1st fight with 0010 - leaves everyone else unconscious (save for 003). Pre-battle, 004 is the lead tactician (with 008 as the strategist)He has several character-enhancing discussions with other entities; machines, cyborgs, people. He's the backbone of the team, which is ironic considering he's all machine except for his brain and spinal cord.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Happened with one of the later manga stories, "Heart of the Machine". In the original serialization, the Fille Fatale Nana Kashima was stated to be an 11 year old 6th grader. Perhaps due to the risque content in the story, her age and grade were raised when it was reprinted in the tankoban releases (to where she was now in 8th grade and a 14 year old).
    • Ishinomori initially gave 009 the name of "Joe Muramatsu" in the first print run in Weekly Shonen King, but the instances of his surname were corrected to "Shimamura" in the later reprints. 003 was also only initially referred to by her surname "Arnoul", or by "Francois" (the masculine spelling of her intended name), though these too were corrected (save for a moment of Joe referring to her as "Arnoul" in the "Assassins" arc).
    • A one-shot scientist in the "Aurora Strategy" story had a daughter named "Iruka". In some reprints, her name was altered to "Cynthia", which the 2001 anime also utilized. The Tokyopop edition sourced the original printing of the chapter.
    • Originally in the "Immigration" arc, Lina and her nameless brother were said to have deformities due to the fact that a nuclear war had happened on Earth and the fallout caused several children to be born with defects. Ishinomori later revised the text due to controversy, to have Lina state that the nuclear war caused animals to mutate and become hostile, and then attack humans and cause them to lose limbs and have the deformities.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: "The City of Wind" is seen as an Out of Character Episode for 009. once he meets Princess Ixquic. It's not unusual for him to immediately empathize with others and want to help those in need... the problem is his abrupt Lack of Empathy for his True Companions, particularly towards G.B./007, who has just lost one of his oldest and most idolized friends from his old life (and the person they were searching for in the first place) as well as towards his best friend and possible Love Interest Francoise/003 (who had been Brought Down to Normal and traumatised upon finding several emtombed corpses, so she was desperately trying to not give into Heroic Self-Deprecation) because Ixquic, while not being evil, isn't very good at being Kabrakan's leash. Considering that compassion is one of Joe's defining traits as a whole, his treatment of the others during that episode is jarringly off (and specially when he openly tells 007 to stop mourning his friend because his pain was less important than that of a girl he has just met hours ago), though thankfully isn't brought up again. The possibility that Ixquic has a siren-like influence on him with her beautiful singing) is brought up by Albert who compares her to the legendary Lorelei, but it's neither confirmed nor denied.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The 2012 movie puts 009's Super Speed to the test when he has to outrun the shockwave and thermal pulse of the atomic bomb dropped on Dubai by a thrall of "His Voice".
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Surprisingly Averted. Every cyborg has their own advanced powers. Despite that 009 is the most advanced make of the cyborgs, he actually doesn't render them useless; even 002, despite having an Obvious Beta for 009's accelerator, can still fly. If anything, 001 can overshadow everyone with how he seems to have near unlimited Psychic Powers... when he's awake, that is. 002 proceeds to avert this even more. Out of the 1st Generation Cyborgs, he was the only one who did not need to be fixed in order to work.
    • Played straight in the first anime adaptation, however. There, 009 Took a Level in Jerkass and was clearly The Hero, while some of the other cyborgs were lucky if they even got to appear in the episode. Thank God that was fixed later.
    • Also played straight with 004's role in keeping the team functioning.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The Cyborgs, and Ishinomori Shotaro's trademark.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: 006 and 007.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: The Egypt episode of the 2001 series is about the Cyborg team trying to defuse one of these. It's also 003's Episode of Awesome, as her Super Senses and Wrench Wench skills make her the perfect Spanner in the Works.
  • The Professor: Gilmore in all continuities, and both Dr. Kouzumi, Dr. Eckermann and Professor Finder in the 2001 series
  • Psycho Electro: 0010 +/-
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: A few of Black Ghost's employees claim to be this, including Gilmore himself. Some of them are lying... including Gilmore too.
  • Retcon: A later retelling of the cyborgs' escape from Black Ghost had 007 depicted in his child form (which Ishinomori had introduced due to Executive Meddling, but was never consistent with), although this seemed to get forgotten about later due to Ishinomori's stated distaste for having had to incorporate that change.
  • Russian (and German) Guys Suffer Most: Disturbingly, they are also the only ones even slightly justifiable in that Black Ghost saved both of their lives. The 'Russian Guy' is a baby who never knew life outside of constant experimentation (by his own father, prior to the team's escape. The German... hard to know where to start with him.
  • Ripped from the Headlines : The civil strife in Pyunma's native country in the 2001 anime involves access to a precious mineral. This may have been based on the real-life role of coltan and other "conflict minerals" in central Africa's ongoing strife.
  • Robot Buddy: A thin, simplistic robot Chang calls Scarecrow.
  • Sad Clown: 007.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The main heroes of Cyborg 009 named their ship 'The Dolphin', much to 002's chagrin. In the manga, genetically and cybernetically enhanced dolphins were a pretty common enemy, used by Black Ghost as underwater scouts, soldiers and assassins.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: This is the same guy who later created Kamen Rider, after all...
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Gilmore sees his proteges as his adoptive children, and they often live together like a real family. Specially in the 2001 series where Gilmore's beach house is also the home of Ivan/001, Francoise/003, Chang/006, G.B./007 and Joe/009. Lampshaded in one of the earlier episodes of the same series by Gilmore's friend Dr. Kozumi, who dedicates a whole scene to telling Gilmore how he had gained a new family after leaving Black Ghost.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Was used in the episode 'Mystical Island.' The self-destruct sequence was deactivated when the black scarecrow robot knocked the computer chip out of the self-destruct mechanism.
  • Series Fauxnale: The Underground Empire arc was intended to wrap up the series, but the fans didn't agree with its ending. The manga resumed soon enough with "Monster Island", which included a retcon to explain that two of the characters didn't die.
  • She's a Man in Japan: 0012's former appearance is never shown in the manga, although Ishinomori seemed to intend them to be a woman. The Tokyopop release has 0012 referred to by male pronouns by others. Averted in dubs of the anime, due to them clearly being a woman. Hera was also misgendered in the Tokyopop translation, with 001 referring to her as a "he".
  • Shout-Out: The Brit is codenamed 007 and changes shape. Who do you think he's based on?
  • Smart House: 0012.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Various cases crop up through the series, here and there:
    • Black Ghost's second-in-command has had his name rendered as "Von Bogoot", "Van Bogoot", "Van Bogart", "Ban Bogart", and "Van Vogute" throughout official sources. The English dub went with the second option, while Tokyopop's translation shifted between the third and fourth spellings. His surname was inspired by the science fiction writer A.E. von Vogt, although the katakana used to spell his surname (ヴァン・ヴォークト) is different from the Black Ghost character (バン・ボグート). This may have been intentional by Ishinomori, or there may have been difficulty in trying to render the name in Japanese.
    • The Pu'Awak sister with the blue tiara is "Vina" in the English dub, while Tokyopop referred to her as "Venus". The katakana spelling her name is ビーナ, which can be rendered in multiple different spelling (Vina, Beena, Bina, Veena, etc.). The spelling "Venu" has also been seen, as it's theorized that Ishinomori might have had the Roman goddess in mind but altered the name slightly (removing the "su" katakana). "Vena" is another option presented that keeps the pronunciation intact but edges closer to the possible intent.
    • 001's name is sometimes spelled "Iwon Whisky" in official materials, owing to the difficulties of rendering "Ivan" in Japanese and then translating it back. It has also been seen as "Ivan Wisky", which Archaia used in their version as well.
    • 006's name, due to the complexities of the Chinese alphabet, has alternatively been rendered as "Zhang Zhanghu", "Chang Changhu", "Chan Chanko" (based off the Japanese spelling of his name), and "Chang Chanko" (used in the dub).
    • 002's surname sometimes appears as "Rink", due to L/R confusion, although Ishinomori and most related materials use "Link".
    • 008's name is sometimes translated as "Punma" or "Puma".
  • Starfish Robots: 0011 resembles a flying saucer; its "windows" can shoot adhesives, or 0011 can bring out its legs through them. 0012 serves as the AI for an even bigger mech.
  • Stealth Pun: From 008 in Episode 4 (2001): "Let's see how he likes being behind the 8-ball for once. I have an advantage under water!"
  • Super Speed: 002 and 009. Makes sense: 002 says that his accelerator was a prototype of 009's.
  • Super Strength: 005, and the other 00-Numbers (minus Ivan/001) to varying degrees. Yes, even Francoise.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: 005 on the Spirit Of The Earth, then 009 and 003 on Carl Eckermann aka Sphinx.
  • Team Chef: 006; the 2001 series even devoted a full episode to showing how important his skills were.
  • Team Dad: Gilmore, sometimes 006.
  • Team Mom: 003.
  • Teru Teru Bozu: One briefly appears hanging upside down in the fourth episode of the 2001 series. To put this in context, the episode takes place after the escaped 00-cyborgs horribly lost their first battle with 0010 but barely survived due to a sudden downpour preventing the enemy cyborg from using his electric powers.
  • Time Stands Still: When 009 uses his Super Speed, he sees the world like this. In fact, he once spent a whole episode like this.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: In the 2001 series, the Cyborgs must convince a bunch of powerful psychic children to fight against the ones who want to enslave them.
  • Trapped In Villainy: Black Ghost is fond of picking a hero, then going out and getting a nice and sympathetic guy (or tracking down the hero's loved ones if Black Ghost is feeling particularly mean), forcibly augmenting them with cybernetic parts, and ordering them to go kill said hero or the self-destruct mechanism in them will explode. Scarl does this so often that it's practically his modus operandi.
  • Unexplained Recovery: As far as the 2001 anime goes, the writers seemingly don't explain how 002 and 009 survived their fall to Earth when they aired the "Conclusion: God's War" OVA arc after the end of the Underground Empire arc. This is due to the fact that episodes 49-51 of that adaptation aren't counted as being in continuity with the rest of the series, although fans would only know this from some outside sources (such as the artbooks), or if they were aware that the events of "God's War" are meant to happen in a timeline parallel to the original one created by Ishinomori. In short, 002 and 009 are dead at the end of episode 48, while episodes 49-51 take place in a timeline where they survived. The English and Latin American dubs getting rid of the special opening and ending sequences for the arc may add to the confusion.
    • As far as the manga goes, Ishinomori was rather vague on what happened to the 00 cyborgs after the Mythos arc, or how they survived the explosion. This probably had to do with the fact that the manga switched magazines after that arc, and he had to re-introduce the characters with a retconned version of their origin story.
  • Universal Driver's License: Justified, since Joe is able to become a star car racer in the manga thanks to his enhancements.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Black Ghost.
  • Wham Line: Near the end of the Mythos arc, Dr. Gaia (who built the Greek god cyborgs) reveals that he is still loyal to Black Ghost, even though Black Ghost was seemingly destroyed before the start of the arc.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Sometimes, poor 003 could only sit and watch as things went boom, causing her genuine psychological problems and, at some point, almost sending her into an Heroic BSOD until 004 asked if she'd rather be a war machine like him.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?
  • What You Are in the Dark: Horribly twisted during the "God's War" OVA arc when the cyborgs go through a collective Mind Rape meant to draw out the fear that, underneath it all, they really are just horrible monsters, along with the rest of humanity. This is also visible in the "Battle with the Gods" arc in the manga, when the team members suddenly experience flashbacks to shameful things they had done. The manga and light novel version of "God's War" has another take on this, where the team is driven mad and wind up either nearly killing themselves or others in their despair (leaving Ivan to have to bail them out).
  • Whole Episode Flashback: 2001: Episode 38 relates the history of the 00-cyborg project as filtered through Gilmore's eyes. It concludes where Episode 1 begins.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Greek God Cyborgs thought their mission was to cleanse Earth by destroying humanity.
    • Also present in the 2012 movie, if you're charitable.

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alternative title(s): Cyborg009; Cyborg 009
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