From left to right: Rosaland, Loneken, Park Iro and Anling.Cyber Weapon Z
is one of the first Manhua
to gain notoriety worldwide and often regarded as a pioneer of the genre.
Written by Hong-Kong based Chris Lau and drawn by Andy Seto, the story begins in a not-so-distant future where humanity has stopped evolving due to economical stability and superior technology
. The scions of the Shaolin temple thus devised a program that would enable humans to initiate the next stage of evolution by maximizing humans' physical and mental abilities through intensive training.Park Iro
are two newcomers who integrated the program and who are to undergo the exacting tests that would push them beyonf their own limits. In the temple, they meet Loneken Carlsber
, his henchwoman Rosaland
who will also test their mettle, as well as Bu Kang, the local Plucky Comic Relief
. The series then introduces antagonists Leiting
, ambitious and iron-willed, and Soti
, both of them opposed to the Cyber Weapon Z program and seeing the project of sparking a new evolution in humans as inherently hazardous. And soon an even more terrible enemy is revealed...
The 10-volumes series started in China in 1993 and began gaining fame when it was released in Europe in 1994. Its use of colour is what differentiates it from a regular manga, even though said colours are extremely flashy at times.
The series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Anling, even though she isn't as strong as her peers. Rosaland also qualifies as a stronger example since she's capable of standing toe-to-toe with Iro.
- Always Someone Better: The reason why the Shaolin temple started its program was indeed to find always better subjects.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Loneken, who refuses to battle anyone incapable of beating Rosaland in a fair fight. Leiting qualifies even more. Iro may also qualifiy sometimes, being rather brash and cocky about his skills.
- Ambition Is Evil: Leiting. His motivations may appear "realistic" but all he really care about is his increasing his own power.
- Back from the Dead: Rosaland at the end of the second combat against Leiting and Molitofu.
- Badass: Loneken especially but Iro also counts. Leiting on the other side is of course the best example.
- Big Bad: Leiting but only in appearance.
- Can't Catch Up: Anling can only go so far in her training and she reaches her limit way before Loneken, Iro or even Rosaland did.
- Cat Girl: Rosaland, who can morph into a black panther, her very own Super Mode.
- Dark Action Girl: Soti, even though her morality is a rather gray area.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Quite expectedly from anyone beaten by Iro.
- Designated Girl Fight: Anling and Rosaland often square off against Soti but it's averted several timess such as in the preleminaries selection battles where Anling battles Bu Kang and then Park Iro and then when Loneken fights Soti (who's disguised as male at the time).
- Dragon with an Agenda: Soti, whose goal all along was to destroy Soloté and thus avenge her family.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: We never get to see Molitofu die, only his program slide is left of him when Loneken comes back from the fight.
- Facial Markings:
- Bu Kang wears a red circular symbol on his forehead which looks a lot like a target.
- Rosaland wears more war paint-like markings.
- Femme Fatale: Soti qualifies, being aloof, sensual, tall and mysterious.
- Floating Continent: The Southern Shaolin temple floats about the Earth. We never see the people living on the ground.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted. Park Iro isn't better than everyone else because he's just that good, he better because his first fight against Molitifu infused him with knowledge of most Shaolin techniques. Which may pass off as an Ass Pull indeed.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Tina Guy, sends off her men to the safety ships and puts her humongous space ship right in front of the huge gamma ray deflagration that was supposed to destroy the temple, dying in the process.
- I Work Alone: Loneken's motto, with the exception of Rosaland.
- Ineffectual Loner: Averted. Iro is quite uninterested in making friends and was quite effective on his own. However, he gradually formed bounds with the other students in the program.
- Magic from Technology: A big point in the series, even though plain old magic can be found.
- The Man Behind the Man: Solote, the chief of the demons, is actually the one who causes all the SNAFUs around the Cyber Weapon Z program.
- Ms. Fanservice: Rosaland, blatantly (look at the illustration picture).
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Played with. Rosaland and Soti have little significance without the men in their lives, but Anling, even though she fills in for the smurfette role at first, was let into the program thanks to her... mother, who also trained her. Not her father.
- Non-Standard Character Design: All the fighters in the Shaolin temple wear the same garments, except Rosaland. It might be because she's not officially part of the program.
- Number Two: Rosaland to Loneken, Soti to Leiting.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: How Park Iro reacted the first time he and Loneken crossed paths.
- Out-Gambitted: Leiting wanted to use Soloté's power for his own, but was actually a tool in Soti's hands all along.
- Pretty Boy: Soloté looks very pretty for an Evil Overlord...
- Plucky Comic Relief: Bu Kang, although he can be quite effective.
- She-Fu: Anling's main way of fighting, obviously.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Invoked by Soti upon explaining why she used Leiting in her scheme to destroy Soloté.
- Sphere of Destruction: Often used in the various techniques used throughout the series.
- Stripperiffic: Rosaland.Just look at the illustration.
- The Speechless: Rosaland. Her inability to speak heigthens her ominousness and her aggressivity, despite being a total knockout.
- Squishy Wizard: Soti. A very powerful sorceress but she's not that good at hand-to-hand fighting.
- The Quest: The quest for betterment and going past one's own limits, such is the goal of Cyber Weapon Z.
- To Be a Master: The motivation of most people who enter the program, especially Iro.
- Token Romance: There isn't much use for Park Iro and Anling's romance. The story wouldn't have changed much without it. As such this whole romance subplot feels like they're both Strangled by the Red String.
- Two Girls to a Team: Anling and Rosaland are the only females of note in the Shaolin temple.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Discussed. The Shaolin master says that having another female in the temple would make Rosaland feel a little less lonely.
- Vague Age: It's quite difficult to assign an age to the various characters in the series. Most of them look 20-something, except for the old Shaolin master.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Leiting, who looks a lot like Tsume even though he predates him by quite some margin.
- Wolverine Claws: Rosaland is a good example due to her strap-on claw bracers.
- You Have Failed Me: Subverted. Molitofu gets thoroughly scolded and manhandled by Soloté upon reporting his failure at stealing the program containing the Shaolin techniques but survives Soloté's thrashings.
- You Shall Not Pass: Domie Bussi pulls a successful one on Park Iro to cover Molitofu and Soti's escape, only to get vaporized by the Special Forces right after.