Joe Shimamura, designated "009", is one of the nine protagonists of the anime, Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier.
Joe was originally a half-Japanese orphan who was raised by a Catholic priest, until he was wrongfully framed for his murder and the fire that followed by Black Ghost. He is seen as a powerful combination of almost all his 00 Cyborg companions, possessing Geronimo, Jr's strength, Pyunma's underwater breathing, and an upgraded version of Jet Link's acceleration module.
Joe is a young man of average height with a slender build, and is approximately 18 years old. He is chronologically the youngest 00 cyborg, being a year younger than his teammate, Francoise Arnoul (when not counting the 40 years that she spent cryogenically frozen). He has dark brown, windswept hair with red eyes; one eye is always covered by his bangs.
Like his teammates, Joe wears a red, double-breasted military uniform with four large buttons on the front, padded shoulders, and black contrast bands underneath. On his waist is a black belt with a holster for his gun (which has 6 modes; the blue ray gun; the gold blaster; the magnum shot; the freeze ray; the sleep ray and the needle gun), and he wears knee-high black boots.
In the OVA "Conclusion: GOD'S WAR", the Joe of that timeline wears a similar uniform, but in dark blue and with a red scarf.
Joe is a very heroic and compassionate character. As the youngest of the 00 cyborgs as well as their newest addition, he is an idealist at heart, which shows through his interactions with others. He loathes killing his opponents, and firmly believes that everyone can be redeemed. Because of his experiences, he deeply sympathizes with other cyborgs and often tries to invoke their sense of morality in order to convince them to fight Black Ghost. In several instances, he has failed more than he succeeded, since Black Ghost has often employed gruesome ways to prevent their employees from rebelling against them.
Joe has a self-sacrificing side as well. As a 00 cyborg and the protector of mankind, he believes that everyone's burdens are his to bear as well. This often leads to him trying to do things on his own, much to the concern and worry of his friends. Even if the people in danger are his enemies, Joe will still try to save them nonetheless. His hero complex may have stemmed from losing everyone he knew and loved as a child, which ultimately led to a very strong desire to protect everyone as an adult.
This has led to problems on occasion. In the Cyborg Soldier episode "The City of Wind", he put his entire focus on relieving the suffering of Princess Ixquic, causing him to ignore the emotional needs of his team; especially Great Britain, who has lost a very close of friend of his to Ixquic's robot guardian. Joe's coldness and lack of care towards Great Britain's grief has concerned and even angered his teammates.
Like the other 00 cyborgs, Joe is dedicated to defeating Black Ghost. Since Black Ghost was responsible for almost every single tragedy in his life, Joe has enough reason to want to try take them down. While he believes that enemies can be turned into allies, he still won't hesitate to attack when necessary, particularly when innocents are involved in the conflict and/or his friends are in danger.
He is also no-nonsense and rational when he faces with his teammates in a war
Early life Edit
Joe's early childhood memories contain a lonesome past, compared to his fellow 00 cyborgs. When he was just a baby, he was left on the stairs of a Catholic church by his mother, who shortly died after doing so. He was then found and adopted by the church's priest, who raised him as his son. Despite the presence of a father figure, Joe often felt very lonely, with no memory of his real parents, and had to struggle every day in life against bullies and the fear of never being adopted.
He soon became friends with those who were also orphaned, one of which was named Yasu. Unfortunately, few of them actually made it to adulthood, for most mysteriously disappeared shortly after being given to foster care. Joe would never see most of his childhood friends again until several years later, when he discovered some of them had been turned into cyborgs by Black Ghost.
Black Ghost Edit
Unknown to Joe, the priest who raised him was also affiliated with Black Ghost. It was implied he was responsible for the trafficking of the missing children, since as soon they were adopted they were never seen or heard of again. When the priest tried to expose Black Ghost, he was killed by one of their agents, who also set the church on fire.
Joe came home that night to find his home on fire. To his horror, he found that his beloved father figure was stabbed to death. Unfortunately, he came at the wrong time, as the police arrived while he was trying to salvage the priest's body from the fire. Because Joe was the only one at the crime scene, he was believed to be the culprit, and was wrongfully arrested.
While being escorted to jail, the truck transporting Joe was suddenly smashed, providing him with the opportunity to escape. He soon found himself cornered at the edge of a cliff, with the police surrounding him at all sides. With no other choice, Joe jumped and plunged into the ocean below. Unfortunately, he landed himself in even bigger trouble when he was recovered from the shoreline by Black Ghost agents. They subjected him, along with eight other people, to horrendous experiments, eventually turning him into the last cyborg "009".
Soon after his transformation, the other 00 cyborgs rebelled against their "creators" and escaped with the help of Dr. Gilmore, a Black Ghost scientist specializing in cybernetics. With the help of the first cyborg 001, Joe was able to successfully escape as well, albeit with scattered memories. Upon meeting the other 00 cyborgs, Joe learned that Black Ghost was a global organization that thrived solely on the promotion of warfare. They will do anything to make a profit, including turning people into cybernetic weapons.
While initially doubtful of himself, Joe ultimately decided to side with his fellow cyborgs. This gave birth to a friendship that would last for a very, very long time.
Cyborg 009 Edit
While living with the cyborgs, Joe was able to go to places all across the world in their unwavering quest to defeat Black Ghost. In a few such adventures, Joe was able to confront the events of his past - including the death of the priest and the mystery behind his birth mother - and gain closure from them. Supporting him all the way are Dr. Gilmore and the 00 cyborgs, who remind him that in experiencing hardship, he has gained a treasure that cannot be bought with wealth: a family.
While the 00 cyborgs are individually powerful and unique, Joe truly shines above the rest. His body was built by combining elements taken from the designs of his predecessors with the newest technology at the time, making him the most powerful out of all his friends and teammates.
He has inherited Geronimo, Jr.'s iron skin, which allowed him to survive being shot in the back multiple times by Black Ghost's robots. In "A Phantom Dog", Joe was completely unaffected by Kubikuro's pyrokinetic flames, with not a single burn on his body (although he was wearing civilian clothes at the time, which served as a buffer).
Joe also has Pyunma's underwater breathing to some extent, and an upgraded version of Jet Link's acceleration module, referred to as "Acceleration Mode". The Acceleration Mode is Joe's signature ability, and has been used as his primary method of attack. By activating a switch in his back molar, Joe can move at superhuman speed which makes everything around him stop to a stand still or move very slowly. He can run up to speeds of Mach 5, which is just as fast as Jet flying at maximum speeds.
However, as episodes "The Escape" and "Frozen Time" have demonstrated, Joe cannot touch people while in Acceleration Mode, since normal people cannot physically endure such fast speeds for very long. Doing so will produce devastating results, bringing severe injury or death to the person being Accelerated.
In the anime adaptation of Conclusion: GOD'S WAR, Ivan enhanced his abilities to a higher level, allowing him not only to move faster than light, but accelerate the molecules of objects on contact, causing them to explode.
- After "Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier" was aired, the 2001 incarnation of Joe as "009" became the most popular and iconic version of the character, being featured as a cameo in other Ishinomori-related works and other forms of media several times throughout the years.
- Joe was initially voiced in the 2001 anime by Derek Stephen Prince in the English dub, but was abruptly fired as Sony producers were unsatisfied with his vocal delivery. Joshua Seth, who had originally planned to retire from anime dubbing, served as his replacement, and since then all episodes except for "Tears of Steel" and "Satan of the Deep Sea" were redubbed with Seth's vocals.
- Aside from Joe's delinquent backstory from the manga being eliminated, the classification of him as biracial (or "hafu"/half or terms such as 混血児 konketsuji, "mixed race heritage") was not present in any character settings by Shinsuke Onishi after the initial settings seen in Hobby Link Japan in January 2002, which did describe him as having been born to a Japanese mother and a father of unknown nationality. The setting may have been discarded due to the writers not finding a way to work it in, and it eventually becomes a non-issue. In the manga, his hair color was given as indication of this.