Joe Shimamura (島村ジョー Shimamura Jo), also known by his codename 009, is the eponymous protagonist of the manga Cyborg 009.
He is the most advanced cyborg created by the organization Black Ghost during their initial attempt of creating cyborg soldiers. After living through several bad experiences, including his conversion into a cyborg, he becomes leader of the team.
009's characteristics have changed over the years, owing to Ishinomori's evolving art style and changes in decisions through the course of the manga.
In the manga's beginning stages, Joe was depicted with a wide-eyed naivety to his face and looking more like a younger teenage boy. His facial expressions and features were toned down in later arcs to have him look a little more melancholy and mature. His height was also gradually increased, and he became a little more muscular in appearance. This may be chalked up to art evolution or an initial intent in slightly aging the character, as The Underground Empire of Yomi has a bit of dialogue stating that two years passed since Joe escaped the Kurihama reformatory. Following this, the character was consistently drawn as a young man in his late teens at the earliest.
He has swept-back, semi-spiked chestnut brown hair, the fringe of which usually falls over one of his eyes. His hair being chestnut-colored is meant to be a visual indicator to readers that he is not fully Japanese, as well as providing a hint to the rest of the team upon their meeting. 009 is visibly agitated when 002 expresses doubt about him being Japanese.
However, around 1979, his hair was later referred to as being "golden" in the Aztec arc of the manga, and it occasionally also appears as a lighter shade in some of the colored artwork throughout the 1960s to 1990s. Despite this, his hair color was reverted back to its chestnut shade in the final one-shot "Emergency Simulation 1992".
He is mostly seen in the cyborg's team uniform, which is a tunic and pants with gold suit buttons and a yellow scarf. In the early chapters published in 1964, the color artwork depicted the team uniform as green, the belt as brown, and the suit lacking its black contrast armbands. Joe would also alternatively be depicted with a red scarf in some color illustrations, around the time of the "Assassin" arc. However, with the "Vietnam" arc in 1965, the tunic and pants were changed to be red in the colored artwork, and the new color scheme stuck to where later colorized editions of "Birth" and "Assassin" had the uniform depicted red.
His eyes were originally given visibly blue irises in the earliest covers and artwork, but his eyes would then be depicted as a deep brown/black for most of the publication history, before Ishinomori settled on depicting his irises as a lighter brown.
Personality and RelationshipsEdit
Joe has a tender heart with having gone through a terrible childhood and wanting to find the good in people. At the beginning of the series, he was rather alarmed by everything that was happening, such as his transformation and the events surrounding it.
Eventually, he calms down with the ideal to strive for peace by defeating Black Ghost, proving himself to be a capable leader along the way. However, his tenderness is also a weakness, especially in battle where life and death seem imminent, often causing great confusion. Some people have also pointed out 009's rather fragile mind after going through a crisis. Still, this also shows how much he values the other cyborgs and how he cannot stand to lose them.
Among the other cyborgs, 009 interacts with Dr. Gilmore the most, often speaking with him about the problems he faces. Dr. Gilmore in turn treats Joe like a son and does whatever he can to assists him in his time of need.
009's relationships with the other cyborgs vary, but he has a strong bond with them all. He is very close with 001, with Joe respecting Ivan's abilities as a strategist and as a friend. He often works alongside 004 and 007, enjoying their company while getting slightly annoyed at 007's persistent antics. 009 also works with 002 often, sharing their speed abilities and similar thrills while in battle against enemies.
Next to 001 and Dr. Gilmore, 003 is the closest person to Joe. At first they acted more like siblings but later, Joe started to develop strong feelings for Françoise to which she reciprocates.
Their relationship is suggested as being more romantic and intimate in the later periods of the manga, to the point of the two being depicted making love in a flashback sequence in "Battle with the Gods", as Françoise believed that they would both die and had stated her wish to want to bear his child. However, due to "Battle with the Gods" later being obsolete and unfinished, this sequence is questionable in its canonicity.
Due to Joe's compassion for others, especially women in trouble, there was a brief bit of friction between the two in the Yomi arc, as Joe sought to protect Helen while Françoise became jealous and hurt that he was paying attention to the other girl.
Abilities and PowersEdit
As a cyborg, 009 is much stronger and more durable than a regular human. Unlike the other Cyborgs, he was outfitted with cybernetics with a high amount of versatility and a higher capacity of abilities similar to the others, possessing:
- Strength and durability slightly below 005 through artificial muscles, bones, and skin
- The ability to breathe underwater like 008 through a built-in oxygen tank, artificial lungs that recycle oxygen for about an hour, and special equipment that regulate his oxygen and carbon dioxide alteration
- Some of 003's sensory abilities, such as polarized lenses that give him night vision, an electromagnetic reception device implanted in his ear that allows him to pick up electromagnetic waves, and olfactory enhancements that increase his sense of smell
- An upgraded version of 002's accelerator module.
He also possesses an artificial brain that enhances memory, as well as a language translator and voice translator to speak with people. He is even able transmit radio signals in Morse code, as well as communicate with the other cyborgs in messages that can only be intercepted by users with the same system. However, the Morse code ability winds up phased out over the course of the manga and forgotten.
The previously mentioned accelerator module is part of his main ability: by activating a switch in his back teeth, 009 is able to move at very high speeds, with the highest level of moving at such a speed that everything around him slows down or stops. However, this high speed comes with risks, such as air friction build up and touching any object can cause a powerful and deadly impact. This state cannot hear any ambient sounds due to going over the speed of sound. At times, 009's clothes and other objects burn up from the heat caused by the air friction. Joe is only able to carry cyborgs and sturdy objects while in this mode, as a regular human's tissue would rip apart from the high speed.
009 is also one of the team's best pilots, able to pilot any vehicle from cars to airplanes.
Joe was born to a Japanese mother, and a father of an unknown nationality. His mother passed away after giving birth, with Joe ending up in a string of orphanages. For most of his life was met with discrimination and prejudice for being a half-breed, this was difficult when he was old enough to get a job as Japan did not take well to his mixed ethnicity.
Forced to survive on what little he could, Joe grew up a juvenile delinquent. Eventually, he committed a crime that had him sent to a detention center. He escaped with a couple other inmates, but when the guards sounded the alarm, Joe panicked while the other inmates were shot at. He and one other inmate managed to escape, but were attacked by Black Ghost operatives, who picked Joe as their next subject and took him away to their secret base.
After being awakened by 001 and finding out that he was remodeled into "009" by the Black Ghost organization, Joe wound up meeting the previous cyborg prototypes and Dr. Gilmore, who organized a rebellion.
In fleeing X Island and destroying the base, Black Ghost was initially believed to be defeated, but operatives tracked the team back to Japan. 009 would wind up having to face off against the 0010 twins, 0011, 0012, and 0013, who had all been sent out as assassins targeting the 00 team and Dr. Gilmore. After the death of 0013 and a case in Antarctica, 009 and the other cyborgs departed from Japan and learned of a Black Ghost conflict in Vietnam.
- The first Weekly Shonen King run initially referred to Joe as "Joe Muramatsu" (村松ジョー) before switching to "Joe Shimamura" at some point in the run, though this was later corrected upon most reprints. The first volume of the Sunday Comics tankoban release retains the "Muramatsu" references, but then correctly refers to him as "Joe Shimamura" in the following volumes. It is figured that the "Muramatsu" surname may have been an initial mistake or oversight by Ishinomori, as drafts show the "Shimamura" name.
- Early planning materials, reprinted in "Cyborg 009 a la cult", reveal that Ishinomori had also considered the names of Sabu, Jimmy, and Ken for his lead hero. 009's earliest potential design also loosely resembled the Sabu character from Mutant Sabu. "Joe" was also spelled ジョウ as opposed to ジョー,
- Joe is given no set age in the manga itself, although as all animated adaptations have given him the age of 18, this is often assumed to be what Ishinomori may have eventually settled on himself. At the time of the Birth arc, Joe is stated to have wound up in Kurihama after he was at the working age, which would be 15, and the factor of him being in a juvenile hall would also suggest that he was initially planned to be younger. Although at the same time, the ages of 18 and 19 are still counted as eligible for a juvenile hall in Japan, and as no concrete age was given, this ambiguity continued. As he is depicted as a driver in the Yomi arc and on, 18 would work as his minimum age.
- Joe's acceleration device was inspired by the device used by the Gully Foyle character in Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination. While Foyle's facial scars were not utilized in turn, markings inspired by them do pop up on minor villain characters such as the 0010 twins and Van Vogt.
- Joe's role as the racer "Hurricane Joe" came from the 1966 Cyborg 009 film. Tellingly, his racing career is not brought up again after the Yomi arc other than a brief allusion at the start of "Edda", as the beginning of Yomi (and the "Prologue" chapter that preceded its release) seemed to use it as a brief nod to that film and little else. However, the Masato Hayase-drawn "Trump Tower" one-shot released in 2010 does feature Joe as a racer, though as it was done as a tribute to the series, it is debatable if it could be placed in the original continuity.
- In the escape sequence as depicted in the Birth arc, Joe and the other boy from Kurihama wear short-sleeved insitutional apparel, to tie in with it having been drawn and published in July, when summer clothing would be worn. This in turn leads to July 1964 being used as a placeholder for the start of the team's adventures. But by the time "Monster Island" was illustrated in 1967, when Joe relates his backstory, he and the other inmate are shown in long-sleeved uniforms. This may be due to oversight by Ishinomori, or it may be indication of the backstory having been subtly retconned.
- Joe's design is recycled in some of Ishinomori's other works, including Link in his Legend of Zelda manga, Jimmy Henderson in The Way of Ryu, Android V's title character, Angel 1 from Angel 2, and Glacier Warrior Guyslugger's Ken Shiki.
- Other characters use a character model similar to Joe, but with an altered hairstyle that reveals both eyes, such as Android Kikaider's Jiro and Henshin Ninja Arashi's Hayate.