Quick Review – Cyborg 009: Call of Justice

Hey everyone. This will be first official post of Mecha March. It’s technically not a mech show, but there are pilotable robots in it and the main characters are cyborgs. That has to count for something, right? So like the last review, this show is on Netflix as well. Unlike the last review though, I actually have some attachment to this series. Cyborg 009 is an old series that had a reboot in 2001 which aired on Toonami. I used to watch this show between DBZ and Gundam and it was interesting. There were a lot of cool character work and concepts that were explored pretty well. I don’t remember everything about it, but I remember enough to make this show worthwhile. There is also the Cyborg 009 vs Devilman miniseries on Netflix that is a fun action crossover event between two older franchises. Even without those, I would consider Call of Justice a good watch. It’s a decent introduction to this franchise if it sounds interesting to you.

Before talking to the series, I want to talk about the movie before it. Re: Cyborg 009. To me, this film was a complete disaster. It was trying way too hard to be Ghost in the Shell with all its attempted philosophical themes and political themes that tried to make the movie feel smarter than it actually is. The best part Re: Cyborg were the graphics. It’s a cgi film that had the budget behind it to make it beautiful. Call of Justice is a sequel to this film, but it’s the exact opposite of Re: Cyborg in these two aspects. Well not exactly, but let me explain my point of view in more detail. That’s what a review is for, right?

Call of Justice’s main set up is simple enough to understand. For an anime at least. After destroying the organization that created them (Black Ghost) and spending years fighting in many important wars, the cyborgs just want a normal life. They live in a special place away from people so they could live as a family. That is until a report comes in with information about them and a threat that wants their help to face. Human beings whose genes have evolved them to the point that they can live for hundreds of years and have psychic abilities. They turn her down at first, but they end up fighting anyway. Call of Justice is about the war between cyborgs and mutants. There is a minor amount of depth to it, but the concept is just so cool.

The cyborgs are the main characters of the series of course, but there are too many of them to talk about. The most important cyborgs are 009, Joe Shimamura who is from Japan and has the ability to move extremely quickly, Francoise Anoul, who is a former ballet dancer from France and has enhanced vision and hearing, and Ivan Whisky, the Russian baby who has psychic abilities beyond compare. Doctor Gilmore is the doctor that keeps the 00 cyborgs together and is the team father. Lucy Davenport is the report that tracked the cyborgs down and involved them into the plot. Altogether a fun cast of solid characters.

Okay, let’s talk about the major weak point of Call of Justice, the graphics. The whole series is cg and while it’s still better than a lot of other cg series, it’s extremely lacking. For one thing, there is a limited amount of character models used in the series. While the ones that are used are incredibly detailed, all other characters are put into giant robots. Like, the voices are there but that’s all we see. Similar limitations went into each of the locations as well. When a place is going to be a battlefield, you can tell from how much empty space there is. Production I.G. must have been on a smaller budget when they made this series.

I feel like I can use an old Star Trek movie adage to describe the latest installments of Cyborg 009. When they are placed on a higher budget, the writing suffers (Re: Cyborg 009). When the budget is slashed, the writing improves as a result and it’s a lot more tolerable watch (Cyborg 009: Call of Justice). This doesn’t that Call of Justice doesn’t have flaws. It manages to do quite a lot in 12 episodes, but it’s not as deep of a series as it could be. There are a lot of characters and while some get some good high lights, others are left behind. The story is fun and the reason for why the Blessed and the Cyborgs are fighting is explained, but their differences could be explained more in a nuanced sort of way. Still, it’s pretty good and a good starting place for this franchise.

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