The manga has been adapted into a 1969 TV series, a 2006 anime by Ishimori Entertainment, and a 2013 live action film directed by Koichi Sakamoto.
The initial printings of the manga had the title as 009ノ1, with it being a pun when pronounced in Japanese: "ku-no-ichi", for kunoichi (female ninja).
Set 130 years in an alternate future where the Cold War never ended, the world has been divided into two political factions, The Eastern Bloc and The Western Bloc. Each of which are on the brink of war due to their deadly games of spying and espionage.
However, it seems that peace talks are finally underway and a nuclear disarmament treaty is imminent. Unfortunately, there are those in the Eastern Bloc who do not want peace and wish to start World War III by activating a secret weapon on the Moon. It is up to the Nine Number Cyborg spies of the Western Bloc's Zero Zero Organization to stop their evil plots and bring peace to the world, with top agent Mylene Hoffman/009-1 leading the missions.
The original publication of the manga had this story taking place in 1985, however, as time passed, reprints updated the setting to be further into the future, and the anime adaptation followed suit.
Cyborg 009 connectionsEdit
Despite being set in its own universe, there are several connections to Cyborg 009, from Ishinomori including similar character designs as an in-joke to the series, as well as the staff of the animated adaptation providing further allusions.
In the original manga, "00 Number" cyborgs resembling 002 and 004 through 009 appear in a brief cameo in chapter 5 ("Kill the Monster!"), as Mylene's male colleagues.
In Chapter 6, 004's facial features are re-used for a black scientist named Dr. Edison Night, who creates a time machine in an attempt to go back and change the history of racial discrimination. His range of expression and attitude also bear similarity to 004.
A Western Bloc agent known as "020" and also known by "Jet" shows up in chapter 7 ("An Invitation from an Old Castle"), resembling an aged Jet Link/002. The antagonist of the same chapter is a silver-haired German man known as "Mr. Revenge", whose cybernetic body displays a great resemblance to that of 004. It is revealed that he had lost his lover Maria to a shoot-out between Eastern and Western Bloc agents five years prior, which had also gravely damaged his body and reduced him to a head atop a cybernetic body. Now existing as a cyborg and unable to truly recreate his lost lover in his attempt of making an android copy of her, he solely exists for revenge.
Mr. Revenge proceeds to execute Jet and an Eastern Bloc agent named Moorhead for their part in his lover's death. Another agent killed earlier on named "Bem" slightly resembles a more realistically-drawn, lighter-skinned Pyunma/008.
The "Jet" character from chapter 7 appears in the anime adaptation of the same story, although he is renamed "Mars" to go along with the God naming theme of each agent. He is voiced by Keiichi Noda, who had voiced 002 in the 1979 series and Cyborg 009 The Movie: Legend of the Super Galaxy. "Bem" was renamed "Apollo", and resembles Naoyuki Konno's design for 008 in some aspects, but is also a light-skinned, dark-haired man with thick eyebrows.
However, "Mr. Revenge"'s design and backstory was altered to remove the cyborg angle, and he was renamed "Phantom" and allied with an organization known as the Golden Bat, with his secret identity being a Dr. Satonaka. The death of his fiancee was retained, though his revenge was also driven by the deaths of his research staff, who died in a shoot-out while Western Bloc agents had rescued him. Satonaka/Phantom's fate does amount to the same as his manga counterpart, in which he dies in the collapse of the castle, with an android copy of Maria at his side.
In another instance, while prepping for a mission to terminate an assassin sniper codenamed Egg, Mylene plans on meeting the target at a resort on Arnoul Island. This is a reference to Francoise Arnoul/Cyborg 003. The agent 009-3 also happens to be voiced by Satsuki Yukino, who voiced 003 in the 2001 anime adaptation.
Another episode has an in-joke where a couple bearing resemblance to Joe and Francoise can be seen from behind amongst some spectators.
Nine Number GroupEdit
The Nine Number Group in the anime adaptation are loosely based on their Cyborg 009 counterparts in terms of abilities, with the exceptions of Mylene and 009-9 (Mio Murashima):
- 009-1: Mylene Hoffman's cybernetics give her enhanced strength, agility and "bio-bullet" guns implanted in her breasts.
- 009-3: Vanessa Ibert has X-ray eyes with cameras and data ports in her neck which she uses to hack computers or relay intelligence. She is the counterpart of Cyborg 003. In the manga, her equivalent role was given to a a Nine Number Group cyborg named 009-7 who was a visual doppelganger for Mylene, and who was quickly killed on a mission.
- 009-4: Berta Kastner has cybernetic implants in her body, that give her a variety of weapons like Albert Heinrich. In a difference, hers are more like standard spy gadgets (with the exception of the rocket launcher knee joint).
- 009-7: Mia Connery has shapeshifting abilities like Great Britain, only in a more realistic fashion to match the more serious tone of the anime.
- 009-10 & 009-11: Alyona and Vera Theremin. Both are twins and have electricity powers, and are based on the 0010 Plus and Minus twins from the original manga. The one major difference of this is that they work for the heroes. (while Plus and Minus were villains). The two have a brief, non-speaking cameo in the final episode of the anime, as well as in a flashback in episode 8. In an homage to the Plus and Minus duo, one sister wears a blue scarf while the other wears red.
Through the anime series, only 009-3, 009-4, and 009-7 get screentime along with Mylene. However, the twins and the other agents do make brief cameos in episodes 8 and 12.
The Super Gun is the primary firearm of agents of the Zero Zero Organization. In this universe, it is called the WA-P009 Plasma Gun.
- Coincidentally, the plot of a weapon in space in a spy themed setting would be used 9 years later in the James Bond film Moonraker. An irony of this is that this film is considered by fans to be one of the worst in the franchise.
- The red car Mylene Hoffman drives in the manga and anime resembles a cross between one of the XP series concept Corvettes and the Pontiac Banshee I, a concept car from 1969 that was a proposed sister vehicle to the Corvette and a prototype design of the Firebird.
- Although the twelve cyborg women (including 009-1 herself) were mentioned in the promotional notes for the anime series and the final DVD booklet, the actual series never gets to focus on all of the other Nine Number Group members, with only 009-3, 009-4, and 009-7 getting special focus. 009-10, 11, and three others (009-8, 009-6, and 009-2) cameo in the last episode, while the full team is shown in episode 8's flashback sequence. It is unknown if there were plans to flesh out the rest of the cast, had the anime gotten a second season. In a commentary on the DVDs, Akira Onodera had expressed hopes of the show getting a second and third installment, and there was also talk of a theatrical feature (resulting in an actual live action film in 2013).