| The Cursed Desert|
Cyborg 009 (1968)
|Air date||July 5th, 1968|
|Written by||Masaru Igami|
|Directed by||Keimichiro Kimura|
Secret of the Devil's Castle
Tragedy of the Beast Man
The Cursed Desert (呪われた砂漠?) is the fourteenth episode of the 1968 Cyborg 009 anime series. The episode is an adaptation of the "Middle East" arc of the manga.
A mysterious old man claiming to be the reincarnation of Moses is terrorizing the Sahara Desert with powerful sandstorms, earthquakes, parting the seas to sink ships and attacking the Cyborgs with a giant monster! Is this the act of God's wrath from his reborn messenger or is it a sinister force of science behind this?
The episode opens on the christening and launch of the world's first atomic powered tanker ship, the Mayflower. Dr. Narumi and Dr. Gilmore exchange handshakes in congratulations as the ship makes preparations for her maiden voyage, the vessel being one they designed and built together. Dr. Narumi's daughter Saeko thanks her "uncle" for helping her father, but Gilmore is all too humble to take credit. 006 and 007 bicker over who should take credit as 006 gave ramen from his cart to the shipyard construction workers and 007 simply wants to impress the young girl. Saeko thanks them both for their moral support and 009 for performing the calculations from the lab computers necessary to build the ship. Dr. Narumi and Saeko leave on a helicopter to board the tanker, with the 00 Cyborgs sending them off and saying goodbye.
009 and 003 admire the ship as it is the latest in technology. It can move five times faster than older tanker ships and carry ten times the capacity of oil any regular tanker can and due to its automated systems, it can be run by a crew of only six people. The Mayflower departs on her maiden voyage as the press cover its first run at sea with 006 and 007 watching, even though 003 berates them for slacking off as 006's restaurant has no one tending to it.
Saeko is reading a map of their current course with her father preparing to take over, until the boat is violently rocked by a tidal wave and the sea opening up and parting, then closing once the Mayflower goes over the falls created by this strange phenomenon and is swallowed by the waves. A search and rescue squad scours the ocean for the Mayflower the next day, using submarines jets and patrol boats, but no trace of the Mayflower is found. At Gilmore Laboratories, 009 and 007 suggest heading out to find the Mayflower, as since the 00 Cyborgs helped Dr. Gilmore and Dr. Narumi build it they feel responsible for its safety as well as Saeko's. Gilmore agrees and 003, 009 volunteer to go while 007 and 006 are left behind to babysit 001.
007 refuses to babysit and stows away on the search helicopter with 009 and 003. 003 detects something nearby with her super hearing. The trio soon see from the helicopter an inflatable raft with Saeko clinging to it and sharks circling the raft and leaping out of the water, attempting to eat her. 009 dives into the water with a combat knife and wrestles one of the sharks, stabbing it to scare it away. 009 is soon surrounded by6 sharks who charge at him in an attempt to attack him. 007 transforms into a rescue bungee cord and pulls Saeko up to the helicopter while 009 stabs the sharks with his knife and then uses his super speed to leap out of the water and get back on the helicopter. Back at the lab, Saeko wakes up from unconsciousness and finds 009 waiting at her bedside for her to wake up. Saeko is confused then panics as she does not see her father anywhere. 009 apologizes as they searched for hours and could not find Dr. Narumi. Gilmore asks Saeko what caused the Mayflower to vanish, but this traumatizes Saeko as she starts to cry. 006 tries to comfort her and tells her that by talking about it they can help her.
Outside, a sniper uses a high powered rifle and takes aim at Saeko. Saeko explains how the sea parted and swallowed the Mayflower, with Dr. Narumi giving her a life preserver and an inflatable raft to escape the sinking ship. 003 detects the sniper outside and pushes Saeko out of the way of the sniper's shot as he fires. 009 chases the sniper to his submarine and corners him. 009 tries to interrogate him, but the sniper uses a nearby rope to knock 009 back, then lunges at him and beats him unconscious, boarding his submarine and escaping. At first 009's teammates berate him for being weak and letting the enemy get away but 009 reveals that was all part of his plan as he had planted a tracer on the sniper so they could follow him back to his base and possibly find the Mayflower. Using the Dolphin and 003's radar-like abilities, the 00 cyborgs track the sniper to the African coast and head for the Sahara desert. Once there, they follow his footprints in the sand and the tracer's signal is lost in a castle that is located past a nearby sand dune. The 00 Cyborgs think that is where the sniper is hiding and 009, 006 and 007 scout ahead to investigate while 003 stays behind and watches over Saeko.
009 uses his super speed to search around the castle, 007 climbs up the castle walls and 006 walks inside carefully thought the front gate. 007 mistakes 006 for a prowler and lunges at him, much to 009's dismay as he tells them to quit goofing around. The trio find the sniper, but he does not respond or move when they question him. 007 tries to grab the sniper by the collar, but the sniper falls over to reveal he is nothing but a corpse as someone shot him in the back. A sandstorm starts to blow as an eerie laugh echoes through the castle, revealing a shadowed figure above the 00 Cyborgs. The figure is revealed to be a man claiming to be Moses from the Bible, who has come to warn the Cyborgs of "God's message" to leave this castle or "God" will send terrible judgement upon them and send them to the depths of Hell for their "sin". The trio think the man is clearly a mentally disturbed person and this causes the now agitated Moses to summon a bolts of lighting from the sky into his staff to attack the 00 Cyborgs. 006 and 007 attempt to draw their Super Guns and Moses uses his powers to part the sands of the desert with an earthquake to summon a giant monster to attack the 00 Cyborgs. 006 tries to burn the monster but it is immune to his flame attacks, 009 and 007 use the beams from their Super Guns but it also has no effect. 009 realizes that to stop the monster they need to stop Moses who is controlling it. They fire their Super Guns, but the beams pass right through Moses as do 006's flames. Moses vanishes after giving his monster orders to destroy the Cyborgs. The monster begins crushing the castle just as 009 hears 003 screaming. The trio dodge a giant boulder the monster throws at them and retreat. They call out for 003 but they cannot find her or Saeko. 009 realizes that Moses and the monster were a tactical diversion so the enemy could kidnap the girls. 009 deduces since they vanished just minutes ago, the enemy base must be underground nearby. They search the castle and stumble upon a hidden entrance behind a boulder, which opens as a guard comes out to search the perimeter as they hide and then sneak in the door as it is about to close. The three cyborgs fall into a compound and at first are seemingly trapped as there are no corridors that lead anywhere. 006 melts one of the walls, revealing through the hole a drydock with the Mayflower anchored there. 009 realizes that the dock has an underground tunnel that leads out to sea, explaining what a ship is doing out in the middle of the desert. Moses appears and has the girls hostage and demands the Cyborgs drop their weapons and surrender as an army of soldiers surround the three. Moses threatens to kill 003 and Saeko if they do not obey his demands. Moses demands that the cyborgs work as slaves to rebuild the tanker into a nuclear powered battleship to rule the world.
009 of course refuses such a ridiculous demand and 008 arrives to help, knocking out the soldiers on the boat as 004 appears as well to take out the soldiers above them with missiles. 005 hurls construction equipment at the soldiers and 002 carries 007 and 006 to rescue Saeko and 003. Using teamwork, the 00 cyborgs defeat the soldiers and 009 demands Moses to reveal where Dr. Naurmi is, but he vanishes after 004 tries to shoot him and the bullets pass right through. Moses reappears and summons his monster to attack the 00 Cyborgs again, this time holding Dr. Narumi hostage in its clutches. 009 and 002 try to tackle it but are repelled by an invisible barrier. The monster is armed with a shield that blocks all attacks. This means that "Moses" is an imposter and the "acts of God" they saw was the work of advanced technology. 009 figures out that the reason they cannot hit Moses is because he is a 3D projection created from multiple beams of light. 009 destroys the projector cameras surrounding the building and Moses vanishes then fires at the hidden shield generator protecting the monster in an effort to destroy it. After a bit of a struggle to beat it due to is sheer size and power, 002 manages to rescue a falling Dr. Narumi and 009 hits the monster's weak spot in the eyes with his Super Gun. The monster collapses and Saeko is kidnapped by the remaining solders and Moses's voice can be heard form behind a wall. 009 shoots the wall to reveal it was Dr. Narumi's lab assistant Miyamoto, who stole Narumi's research to get revenge on the world for mocking his ugly form. If he could not be loved, he would get respect by ruling through fear. 009 berates Miyamoto's thinking as you cannot force people to give love or respect to anyone. Miyamoto threatens to kill Saeko if they come any closer, but 007 disguised himself as one of the guards and takes down Miyamoto as 009 rescues Saeko from falling off the Mayflower.
Desperate to win the day, Miyamoto activates the robot monster's self-destruct bomb to destroy his enemies, cackling like a madman as the robot detonate and destroys him and the Mayflower, causing a small atomic explosion which destroys the compound. The Cyborgs and the Narumis manage to escape just in time as the sand closes up the ruins of the base. Once outside, Dr. Narumi says he regrets not being able to help his assistant or see the signs he was going mad. 009 says that whatever happened "Moses" is now at peace as they look at the smoking crater where a sand dune used to be.
- The camera crew observing the launch of the nuclear tanker are from NET (now known as TV Asahi), the network responsible for broadcasting the 1968 iteration of Cyborg 009.
- 007 speaks a phrase after being ignored by Saeko and 009 gets admiration from her: "The biggest opposition comes from within". This line if rephrased in translation would say "The Enemy is at Honnoji", a reference to the betrayal of Oda Nobunaga by Akechi Mitsuhide in the Sengoku era.
- Given the limited animation of this series, "Miyamoto" is a reused character model of Dr. Senmushi from the first episode.