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Cyborg 009: Conclusion GOD'S WAR (2012 Manga)
Every story must end
Author Shotaro Ishinomori (Posthumously)

Joe Onodera

Illustrator Masato Hayase, Sugar Sato
Publication Order
Preceded by
Cyborg 009 (Manga)
Followed by
Cyborg 009 (Graphic Novel)

Cyborg 009: Conclusion GOD'S WAR is a 5 volume manga, loosely based off of a concept that was drafted by the late Shotaro Ishinomori. It was intended as the final story for Cyborg 009, and serves as an updating of two unfinished attempts at a finale; The "Angels" arc, and the "Battle with the Gods" arc.

In concept, it is one of the final works of the cartoonist, with him having started to write out the outline in late 1997 while ailing from lymphoma, which eventually culminated in his death from heart failure in January 1998. Before his death, Ishinomori had stated his intent for the manga to resume in the year 2000 with this arc.

In 2012, 14 years after Ishinomori's death, the story was finally published in manga format by his son, Joe Onodera. Onodera had outlined the story based on the conceptual drawings and notes that his father had left behind. Masato Hayase, a former assistant of Ishinomori, illustrated the artwork for the first nine chapters, but was then replaced by Sugar Sato (another assistant) for the remainder of the story.

The manga version of GOD'S WAR ran from April 2012 to February 2014, and was available for free reading on Shogakukan's Club Sunday website until each volume was released.

OverviewEdit

Although The Underground Empire of Yomi was originally to be the final arc of Cyborg 009, fan revolt and emotional letters sent to Shotaro Ishinomori had convinced him to resume the manga soon enough.

However, he had in mind a new idea for a way to wrap up the series, plotting out a long and dramatic final battle for the nine cyborgs. This arc, stated to be the "last Cyborg 009 story", was the Angels arc. It was serialized in Adventure King magazine from February 1969 to June 1969, but ended off on an abrupt cliffhanger as Ishinomori soon encountered writer's block.

Months later, in October 1969, Ishinomori resumed the story in a revised format in COM magazine, under the title Battle with the Gods, but it also ended on a cliffhanger in December 1970, in light of fan complaints and more difficulty in finishing the arc. Ishinomori then opted to put a hold on ending the manga, instead focusing on writing shorter stories and different arcs, but stated that his lifelong dream would be to resume the final story and bring the manga to a conclusion "that must be achieved at any cost". The structure of the final arc was to be a three-part storyline, done in the phases of "Angels" ,"Devils", and "The Battle with the Gods". This carried through to the next attempt.

Starting around August 1997, Ishinomori began drafting a third concept for the final story, eventually titling it "2012 009 Conclusion: GOD'S WAR" as he worked out the plot details. He envisioned the story as being published as both a light novel and a ten-volume manga compilation, and had hoped to publish both versions by the year 2000. Even while ill, he insisted upon drafting out a manuscript and various concept notes for the arc, but passed away before he could further revise the material and fully finalize the plot. Furthermore, the Comic Alpha magazine that he intended for the "GOD'S WAR" manga to eventually be serialized in also went defunct, making one wish in his will to be an impossibility.

During the development period of the arc, Ishinomori had requested Kazuhiko Shimamoto to co-plot the manga with him, and also had requested that he work on the remake of The Skull Man. Shimamoto would first work on Skull Man, but the plot eventually had to be rethought after Ishinomori's death, and the collaborative intent of "GOD'S WAR" became an impossibility.

Joe Onodera, the son of Ishinomori, eventually opted to complete his father's work, as he had remembered having the plot detailed to him and had his father's notes and manuscripts to work from. However, due to the varying stages of completion for each chapter and the details for battles and plot elements being rather vague, Onodera professed to having to write new material for some stages of the plot. This is what lead to the long delay in completing the story as both a novel and manga, with there being an extended hiatus between the release of the first light novel for "GOD'S WAR" (published in 2006) and the second and third volumes, which were released before the manga commenced.

Prior to the release of Onodera's novels and manga, the 2001 anime of Cyborg 009 attempted to loosely adapt the prologue and other parts of "GOD'S WAR" as a 3-episode mini arc and OVA titled "Conclusion: GOD'S WAR: Prologue". However, the OVA differs greatly and ends off on a cliffhanger, suggesting that there was later reconsideration of how to adapt Ishinomori's notes as well as a hesitance from the anime staff to bring the incomplete story to any outright conclusion. Ishinomori's younger son Akira Onodera (a producer at IshimoriPro) had also anticipated there being being a follow-up OVA, but nothing came of it.

ControversyEdit

Both manga and light novel encountered controversy from the Cyborg 009 fandom in Japan and overseas, as Joe Onodera had punched up the storyline to make several dramatic moments have heavy elements of gore and sexual content. 009's chapter in particular underwent heavy revision for the sake of being more "dramatic", which became controversial for the fact that Onodera had deliberately changed what his father had written, for the 009 chapter had actually been fully plotted out and the version as written by Onodera does not bear any resemblance to the original intent. The apparent neglect or refusal to involve Kazuhiko Shimamoto in the planning also did not go over well, particularly with Shimamoto himself.

The revelation of Joe being in a romantic and sexual relationship with Hisui Kagariya was met with controversy, as Ishinomori's notes had stated that Joe's feelings towards her were platonic and that he was to refuse any advances from her. The added "love triangle" angle and Joe's seeming indifference to Francoise in both his spotlight chapter and the Tokyo battle also lead to criticism of him being out-of-character in the story. In addition, the first light novel reveals that Francoise had slept with a young man named Alain, which created more infidelity and was felt to cheapen the bond between 009 and 003. The manga telling leaves this bit out, but the infidelity angle still exists in Joe's character arc.

Later plot elements also became contested, as Onodera had either deliberately diverted from things that his father had written in the outline for the arc, ignored elements, or had added gore and violence that was deemed to be too gratuitous in its nature in filling in the blanks. There had also been criticism of the plot feeling shallow compared to Ishinomori's own works, and accusations of dishonesty with Onodera claiming there were no notes written for 007's chapter while the "Conclusion GOD'S WAR" concept notebook released by Kadokawa showed there to be a rough summary of the events.

However, the manga version, while still controversial for its violent content, is slightly toned down from the light novel's descriptions of the gory elements. Examples of the softening include Joe not getting his jaw broken by oni during the Tokyo disaster, along with some death sequences in the final battle being less graphic in Sugar Sato's depiction.

Another controversial point was that the light novel adaptation used a framing device in each volume that chronicled Ishinomori's failing health as he struggled to figure out a way to end the manga, culminating in him passing away in the prologue to the third and final volume. While these framing sequences were not entirely adapted into the manga version, Ishinomori's death is referenced in "Convocation of the Warriors" and his declining health is referenced at the end of the 009 chapter.

CharactersEdit

As Ishinomori came up with the idea to have the cyborgs' origins modernized for the 21st century and these versions are stated to be the "real" characters that the original manga continuity was based off of, some details may differ from what readers know from the earlier manga. Ishinomori's concept notes also state that their names and numbers from the earlier manga continuity do not actually apply to these characters, but that those "pseudonyms" would still be used in the story for convenience.

StoryEdit

Main article: List of chapters in Cyborg 009: Conclusion GOD'S WAR (2012 Manga)

In August of 1997, an ailing Shotaro Ishinomori is met with the revelation that his fictional character Dr. Gilmore is a real human being, along with the other characters of Cyborg 009. Dr. Gilmore tells Ishinomori of how his works were actually inspired by the telepathic transmissions of 001, who reached his mind back in the 1960s.

Thus, Dr. Gilmore has traveled back in time to ask Ishinomori to write an ending to their struggle, as the fate of the world relies on his prediction and the ending of his life-work.

In the year 2012, the world is on the verge of apocalypse and the nine real cyborg soldiers that the manga was based from must rise up to battle the Gods, unlocking new powers along the way. It's a race against time for the cyborgs to save the world and hope to achieve the "happy ending" that Ishinomori was unable to complete for his manga.

Chapter ListingEdit

  1. Prologue: Cyborg 001: The Fluttering of Angels' Wings
  2. Cyborg 002: The Bottom of the Skyscraper (Part 1)
  3. Cyborg 002: The Bottom of the Skyscraper (Part 2)
  4. Cyborg 003: The Impossible Choice (Part 1)
  5. Cyborg 003: The Impossible Choice (Part 2)
  6. Cyborg 004: The Fairy Road (Part 1)
  7. Cyborg 004: The Fairy Road (Part 2)
  8. Cyborg 005: Gaia's Capital (Part 1)
  9. Cyborg 005: Gaia's Capital (Part 2)
  10. Cyborg 006: The Food of Heaven (Part 1)
  11. Cyborg 006: The Food of Heaven (Part 2)
  12. Cyborg 007: Phantom Theater (Part 1)
  13. Cyborg 007: Phantom Theater (Part 2)
  14. Cyborg 008: The Deep Sea Pyramid (Part 1)
  15. Cyborg 008: The Deep Sea Pyramid (Part 2)
  16. Cyborg 009: The Conspiracy of the Goddess (Part 1)
  17. Cyborg 009: The Conspiracy of the Goddess (Part 2)
  18. Cyborg 009: The Conspiracy of the Goddess (Part 3)
  19. The Final Chapter: Call of the Soldiers
  20. The Final Chapter: The Massive Tokyo Earthquake
  21. The Final Chapter: The Devil, the Sea, and the Sky
  22. The Final Chapter: Defeat of the Cyborg Soldiers
  23. The Final Chapter: The Shinjuku Stronghold
  24. The Final Chapter: Destruction of the Stronghold
  25. The Final Chapter: The Gods' Trap
  26. The Final Chapter: Awakening
  27. The Final Chapter: The Factory of Gods
  28. The Final Chapter: The Gods, Gathered
  29. The Final Chapter: God of Gods
  30. The Final Chapter: The Two Universes

Collected VolumesEdit

NotesEdit

Ishinomori and Gilmore
  • A major difference between the adaptations of "GOD'S WAR" is that Ishinomori is only contacted by Dr. Gilmore in the OVA and light novel. In the manga version, Cyborg 001 briefly contacts him first before Gilmore arrives. The OVA also takes cues from the "Angel" and "Battle with the Gods" prototype stories, with 001 being the one to upgrade his team members, as well as the team being shown the darkness in their hearts from an angel's brainwashing.
  • Most curiously, the endings of both "GOD'S WAR" and the film "009 Re: Cyborg" were noted by Joe Onodera and Kenji Kamiyama to have unintentionally wound up similar to each other, despite their different views and ways of handling Ishinomori's concept of the final arc. The seemingly-intentional ambiguity of both endings, and the debate over whether characters should be considered alive or dead would both factor into some of the similarity, along with the hope of peace and a new start after an apocalypse.
  • Before Onodera adapted the concept notes for "GOD'S WAR", the concept was loosely re-purposed for the series Kamen Rider Agito.

Art ErrorsEdit

  • On the cover of the first volume, 008 has his black face appearance, yet in the manga he sports his more modern design- save for an art mistake by Masato Hayase in 004's chapter.
  • Both parts of 004's chapter contain art inconsistency between what Albert wears in the actual ending vs. the in media res depiction at the start of his story.

Light Novel versus MangaEdit

  • Among the differences between Onodera's light novel and manga, the most notable change involves the final scene. In the light novel, 001 is depicted with the rest of the team at the beach, being held by 003. In the manga, he is entirely absent from the sequence, which lead to confusion about his fate.
  • In the light novel, Iere's transformation does not involve nudity afterwards.
  • As mentioned in "Controversy", the light novel version of 003's chapter has her develop stronger feelings for Alain, which culminates in the two sleeping together. The manga omits this, and has her feelings (seemingly) remain platonic, with Alain's crush appearing to be one-sided.
  • 009 is more directly stated to be in a pre-established sexual relationship with Hisui Kagariya in the light novel, and the impression is that he had forgotten all about 003. This makes the "bed scene" later in the chapter more outright consensual in the text, and it is presented as less of a hallucination and more in reality.
  • In the light novel, before 004 returns to Germany after the Tokyo battle, he requests Dr. Gilmore to upgrade him, foreshadowing his atomic bomb. In the manga, the bomb is treated like it had always been part of his enhancements.
  • The light novel displays updated origins for 004, 005, and 006 which are not depicted in the manga, with a one-panel flashback of 004's origin instead referencing the original manga depiction (with a crashed animal truck and lion cage).

Ishinomori's NotesEdit

  • In Ishinomori's original concept art, he drew himself as a bald and flushed elderly man, as he had envisioned himself as living longer and into the new millenium. The manga and anime depict Ishinomori as he looked before his death. Due to his death, the subplot of the light novel and manga that focused on him and Dr. Gilmore had to also be overhauled.
  • The climax was to originally involve 009 winding up in an intergalactic courtroom after his and the other cyborgs' deaths during the final battle, to where he would have to make a plea to the higher powers (a council of aliens) for the Earth to be spared, and call upon the other inhabitants of Earth to pray for their planet. The alien council were to have been pivotal in the backstory of Earth as well, when the origins of the "World of Light" were told.

ReferencesEdit

  • Cyborg 009 Volumes 11 and 12, Shotaro World anthology collection (Media Factory)
  • Cyborg 009: The Complete Book (Media Factory, 2001)
  • Skull Man Volume 1 (Media Factory)
  • ETV Special Feature: "Shotaro Ishinomori: The Man Who Made Cyborg 009" (NHK Educational TV)

External linksEdit

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