009-1, Vol. 1
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In a world where the Cold War never ended, East and West continue to battle for technological and political supremacy. Mylene Hoffman, field commander of the elite Double Zero intelligence division, exists in this world with her eyes open and her body always ready to do battle. Theres no problem Mylene cant solve that doesnt use the proper application of high explosives, fast-talk, deceptive jewelry, make-up and the right moves behind closed doors!
Mylene Hoffman is agent 9-1, a pneumatic spy for the Western Bloc: although the broadcast series 009-1 (2006) is set more than a century in the future, Cold War agents out of Ian Fleming novels fight clandestine battles. Mylene dispatches assassins and spies with a variety of high-tech weapons, but somehow manages to lose her clothes in each episode. While she's deadly, Mylene isn't the most effective spy: she allows a lethal mutant to escape in "Holy Night" and sleeps with the obsessive assassin known as The Egg in "Hard Boiled." The characters are drawn in an oddly flat, cartoon-y style: Mars in "Invitation from an Old Castle" resembles Duke Red in Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis; The Egg looks like Alice the Goon in "Thimble Theater." The plots may be thinner than Mylene's undergarments, but adolescent boys watching the jiggle shots and gun battles aren't likely to worry about the finer points of storytelling. (Rated TV-MA VSL, suitable for ages 17 and older: nudity, violence, violence against women, profanity, alcohol and tobacco use, sexual situations, including lesbianism) --Charles Solomon
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The first thing that catches your eye about this show is it's retro look that mirrors the late 1960's origin of the original Shotaro Ishinomori manga, which was seen as a more mature spin-off of the kids manga Cyborg 009. Ishinomori wanted to add a little more sex and violence to his work than he had previously. He was ahead of his time by making his main character a woman in male dominated Japan. Mylene bears a striking resemblance and is probably the prototype of the Major in Ghost in the Shell and a zillion other cyborg gungirls. While some might find the look of the show a bit hard on the eyes, I liked it. If you've read any of Osamu Tezuka's manga or seen the anime Metropolis or Cyborg 009, it will be nothing new. The style of that era was just more cartoony and wasn't as interested in photo realism. The animation itself is awesome and really flows, probably because the director of the show was a big fan of the original manga and did a lot of the work on the anime by himself. The cool thing about Mylene is that she reverses the usual male stereotyped James Bond spy. She uses men, she uses sex, she's ruthless, but tries to protect the weak when she can. She seems fully rounded. Ok, a couple of moments in the first four episodes were pretty cheezy, such as when Mylene and Egg chase each other for days, trying to kill each other on an island resort. And some of the other characters are overwrought and melodramatic, but all in all, this first installment was cool, sexy, and exciting.
Although known for his works such as "Cyborg 009", "Kikaider" and "Kamen Rider", "009-1" would focus on a female main character and a storyline that would mirror the world that was undergoing the threat of nuclear war, the Cuban Missle Crisis and the USA and Russia tensions at the highest level.
The storyline features an alternate world 140 years into the future with the cold war separating the Earth into the Western and Eastern Bloc.
The main character is Mylene Hofman, a female cyborg who with other 009 units are the Western Bloc's top spies.
The first episode features the 009 units working together to rescue a scientist who has been kidnapped by the Eastern Bloc. The episode highlights the talents and skills of the cyborg units and how Mylene Hofman who has the look and the body of a woman but in reality is a deadly killer.
From cyborg units that can change their identity, super athletic agility and hidden weapons in their body parts and in Mylene's case, turrets hidden in her breasts.
Sure, the anime sounds like "one of those anime" that is made for the man fixated on women with hot bodies and well-endowed but although the anime has its share of fan service, it does not overshadow the major storyline that bares a resemblance to the popular "007" films.
The second episode focuses on Mylene's thoughts of her own organization as it hunts down humans with a mutant gene that gives them incredible powers. You start to realize through the episode that the scientist in the first episode that the 009 units were trying to rescue is the same scientist who experiments on these mutants.
But what makes Mylene's character more interesting is her human side that starts to question the organization when it comes down to hunting the mutants (in this case, a young girl who uses her power to hurt those who are trying to kill her).
The third episode focuses on Mylene's killer instinct. While the second episode features compassion, the third shows Mylene in a cat vs. cat, kill or be killed storyline with master hitman known as Egg.
Showing that despite her compassionate side shown on episode 2, in this episode... she is definitely a killing machine.
The first volume comes with the first four episodes and being a fan of spy storylines and to see a female-like "007" (aside from the cyborg enhancements) with the sexual innuendo, beautiful jazz music and action-packed storyline, I found "009-1" an awesome manga-to-anime transition.
The first DVD volume also comes with a 16-page booklet with character information and interviews.
Special features include the opening and closing themes, interview, weapon profile and information on how the manga became an anime.
I also found Ishimori's manga style quite interesting with the women very sexy and the men looking, well ugly with pickle noses. Having said that, the anime from scenery to the overall ambience is just beautiful.
Both English dubwork and Japanese voice work was excellently done and all in all I enjoyed it tremendously.
I highly recommend "009-1" because it's a series that is action-packed, beautiful and dangerously titillating.