Françoise Arnoul, designated "003", is one of the nine protagonists of the anime Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier.
Originally a talented ballet dancer from France, Françoise became a cyborg after she won a contest held by a professional dancing business, which was a scam executed by Black Ghost. She is endowed with combined telescopic and x-ray vison along with enhanced hearing, allowing her to detect enemies miles away.
Françoise is a young woman in her late teens (leaving aside the 40 years spent in cryogenic sleep). She has long, wavy blond hair held back by a red headband, and green eyes.
She usually wears a red, double breasted military uniform worn by the 00 Cyborgs, with padded shoulders and black arm bands just beneath them. On her waist is a black belt with a holster for her weapon, a gun with three shooting modes.
However, when she first started out as a Black Ghost cyborg in the early 1960's, her uniform was dark green and had a red scarf. Other than those details, the 1960's uniforms remained similar in the design to the later ones that were designed for the second generation of prototypes.
In the three-part OVA "Conclusion: GOD'S WAR", the Françoise seen in that timeline wears a deep blue version of the uniform, and also bears a red scarf.
Aside from being the sole female member of the team, she is also the most pacifistic of the cyborgs. She prefers to try to reach through to their enemies and only fights when it is absolutely necessary. Originally a very shy girl, she learns to warm up to her cyborg teammates.
She is also actually among the oldest team members, owing to the time she spent in deep-freeze with 001, 002, and 004. Because of this, she considers herself an "old woman" in comparison to 009, as she would almost be sixty in her chronological age.
Françoise originally grew up in Paris, France with her older brother Jean Arnoul, who was a pilot. After seeing a film based on "The Red Shoes" as a little girl, she was inspired to become a ballet dancer and took up dancing lessons. Her love for dancing turned into a dream to become a professional dancer, and her skill led her to becoming one of the top dancers in her school by the age of 19.
One day, a professional dancing business reserved a free position for one of the dancers at Françoise's school, on the condition that the school hold a contest on who's the best. Francoise won, but as soon as she left the school, she was knocked out and kidnapped by Black Ghost agents hiding in the car she was riding in. She later woke up on the operating table not as a human, but as a cyborg. She never saw her family or her friends again.
During the test runs initiated by Black Ghost, the sensory overload from her new enhanced sight and hearing caused Francoise so much pain that she suffered from great panic. In one such test run, she encountered the other first generation 00 Cyborgs: Ivan Whisky, Jet Link, and Albert Heinrich. Under the telepathic guidance of Ivan, they planned to escape their confines, but unfortunately Jet's propulsion system was given too little fuel to function, and Albert suffered pain from the extensive modifications to his body.
Because of the flaws in their cybernetics, the first generation 00 Cyborgs were put under cryogenic sleep until new technology and medical procedures were developed. By this time, the second generation 00 Cyborgs have arrived, allowing Black Ghost to work on Françoise again and stabilize her unstable receptive powers. But before Black Ghost could use the 00 Cyborgs as weapons, however, Ivan helped the 00 Cyborgs rebel against their "creators" and escape for good this time, with the assistance of Dr. Gilmore, a Black Ghost scientist who would later become their guardian and mentor.
Françoise was gifted by Black Ghost with the combined powers of telescopic and x-ray vision, allowing her to visually detect things even from miles away and see through internal structures. Her enhanced hearing also makes her capable of detecting the slightest sounds. This makes her useful as the "enemy radar" of the 00 Cyborgs, intercepting oncoming foes before they have the chance to strike.
In addition to her enhanced senses, she also has some experience with electronic engineering, shown most notably when she uses it to hijack a jet plane and disable a bomb carrying a deadly virus in the 2001 anime episode "The Pharaoh's Curse". This is foreshadowed in the episode "Gilmore's Notes", when Dr. Gilmore states that besides studying ballet, she had also been an electronic engineering student (although this reference was removed in the English dub).
In the three-part OVA "Conclusion: GOD'S WAR", after having her powers enhanced and modified by Ivan, Francoise's receptive powers were enhanced to the point she can detect things over even farther distances (such as detecting a large island that was well below ground), with the addition of having precognitive abilities.
- The early Hobby Link Japan setting for Françoise stated that she was captured in the 1950s when the Black Ghost project began. However, by the time of the actual anime series, the references to the 1950s were changed to the 1960s, with the Black Ghost organization coming into power in the early years of the decade. She was also stated to have a specialized translation capability.
- The English dub of "Gilmore's Notes" takes some liberties with a reference to her age, with Dr. Gilmore stating "She looks 18, but is in fact over 80".