|The Kick of Death! The Suicidal Soccer Match of Assassination|
|Written by||Yamazaki Haruya|
|Directed by||Takizawa Toshifumi|
Joe! Follow your Father!
Plot Summary Edit
The 00 Cyborgs take the chance to attend an important soccer championship tournament so they can meet a famous soccer player. However, the soccer player holds a terrible secret, and it's only a matter of time until innocent lives are threatened... unless the 00 Cyborgs can figure out what's going on!
The episode begins with the ending of a soccer tournament. Sander, one of the players, manages to score a goal by kicking the ball into the opposite field. A group of children cheer Sander's name as the man celebrates his victory.
Later that night, Sander is driving home when he gets into a car accident with a cargo truck that leaves him in pain and both of his legs trapped in the wreckage. The truck driver smiles at Sander evilly, revealing that the accident was on purpose, and drives away without a second thought.
The next day, Peaceland, a neutral country located in central Europe, decides to host the Peaceland Cup, an international soccer championship tournament held every four years. The Peaceland Cup is widely regarded as an important event among soccer fans. Among those attending the Peaceland Cup are Dr. Gilmore and the 00 cyborgs Jet Link, Francoise Arnoul, Great Britain, Joe Shimamura, and Albert Heinrich. Upon seeing Sander emerge, the 00 cyborgs are excited. We learn that Sander, "The Black Lightning", is Brazil's national hero and a popular international figure. He is also the leader of his team, the Black Montes. Opposing Sander is Beckham from West Germany, "The Man with the Golden Legs".
As the soccer players wait for the arrival of President Calios, Sander hears some children cheering him on and waves at them. Francoise is quick to notice and comments that he's very kind to children despite his imposing figure. We learn from Albert and Jet that Sander also does kind things such as holding soccer lessons for orphaned children, and is someone who won't readily submit to authority. Great Britain points out that despite being in a car accident, Sander has made a miraculous recovery. Albert replies that Sander's unique training methods had a hand in his recovery.
Joe comments that Sander had lived in poverty and had to take care of his younger brothers and sisters. Despite that, he managed to find time to practice soccer, and worked his way up to fame. Joe also recalls that during his time as a juvenile delinquent, he at one point was obsessed as Sander over soccer. Suddenly President Calios appears, signalling the start of the tournament. Both Albert and Jet notice that Calios is surrounded by bodyguards. Francoise explains that he is a very influential politician who happens to be a pacifist. Joe muses that Calios must have a lot of enemies to have as many bodyguards as he does.
Beckham and his team start first, but Sander and his team manage to steal the ball and head for the goal, with Sander himself steamrolling any opposing players along the way. He scores a hit, earning one for the Black Montes. As for Beckham, he had to be replaced due to a leg injury from an attempt to tackle Sander. The game continues; however with Sander's leg power, the opposing team is quickly curbstomped, with Sander scoring a goal again and again. During a brief tussle with Beckham, Sander steamrolls by him, leaving the other player with a leg injury. Sander then kicks the soccer ball so hard that it moves as fast as lightning.
Although the crowd and the 00 cyborgs are amazed, Joe suspects something odd about Sander's legs. Albert brushes it off as a unique training regime, but Joe isn't convinced and requests for Francoise to follow him. Suspicious, Jet follows after his fellow 00 cyborgs until he finds them in Sander's locker room. Joe asks Francoise to use her X-ray vision to look at Sander's legs, and she does. To her horror, she discovers that Sander is a cyborg due to having mechanical legs. Enraged that the soccer player he admired used dirty methods, Jet tries going after Sander and has to be restrained by Joe and Francoise.
The commotion Jet causes catches the soccer player's attention, including Sander. Sander asks Jet why he wants to pick a fight with him, but when Jet reveals his secret, the soccer player pushes the 00 cyborgs away from the locker room to a more isolated part of the tournament building. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched. Once Sander and the 00 cyborgs are alone, he attacks Jet, trying to make him swear to keep his cybernetic legs a secret. Jet punches Sander in response and tries to go after him again, but Joe and Francoise beg for their friend to stop. It becomes apparent that Jet is furious with Sander for using cybernetics to "cheat" his way to winning the Peaceland Cup.
Sander demands to know the 00 cyborgs' identities, and Jet replies that he and his friends are cyborgs just like him. To back up Jet's claim, Joe takes a heavy dumbbell and easily bends it in two with only one hand. The 00 cyborgs take the time to tell Thunder that unlike him, who only received cybernetic legs, their cybernetic transformation was more thorough and covered their entire bodies. They also want to know if anyone suspicious gave Sander his cybernetic legs so they can manipulate him. This catches Sander off guard, and he explains that he was only given anesthetics before being taken to an unknown location.
Jet, however, is not satisfied with Sander's answer and tries to dig deeper. Sander then reveals the real reason he earned his cybernetic legs: the car accident he got into left him paralyzed and desperate to return to his prime. He was approached by a shady man who offered him to restore his legs as if his accident never happened. Joe is concerned about the whereabouts of the man who "fixed" Sander, but Jet is more angry that he would stoop so low to achieve fame. The 00 cyborg's prodding led to Sander revealing an even more sadder truth: he took up the offer of having his legs fixed because he watched his younger brother die from a severe illness in front of him due to being too poor for a doctor. His brother's death motivated Sander to become a famous soccer champion so he and his surviving family will never be poor again. To make it worse, Sander is forced to constantly maintain his public image as "The Black Lightning" by making frequent enhancements to his legs.
At that moment, Sander's team calls for him, due to the game resuming. He leaves without a word, leaving the 00 cyborgs speechless. Outside, Sander is approached by the same man who "fixed" his legs, who requests that he help him and his "organization" (implied to be Neo Black Ghost) assassinate President Calios. When Sander tries to refuse, the man threatens to have the children who idolized him killed. At the start of the next game, Sander is handed the ball by a fake referee that the man hired to keep watch on him. Meanwhile at the stands, Francoise voices her suspicious that Sander's cybernetic legs were given to him by Neo Black Ghost. Jet wonders what the organization's purpose was if that was true, causing Joe to remark that he finds it very likely that Neo Black Ghost helped him just to further their own goals.
As Sander places the ball on the field, he remembers the Neo Black Ghost agent's plan: he switched the real soccer ball with one made of iron so Sander can kick it towards President Calios and kill him. If Sander doesn't do it, the agent will order his fellow agents planted all over the tournament to murder the children that idolized him, and then Sander will forever be crippled, destitute, and remembered as a criminal who cheated in soccer and murdered an important politician.
Sander's inner conflict causes him to remember his brother's death and he suffers a momentary breakdown. The referee comes out and secretly tells him that he and his agents will set up a fireworks show that will distract the audience, allowing Sander to kill President Calios without being noticed. By the time the deed is done, Neo Black Ghost will frame someone for the murder, while Sander will walk free without worry over his secret getting out. The enhancements done to his legs will also allow Sander to travel at Mach speeds, but Sander's unique training will let him survive that for a few minutes.
The assassination plan doesn't go unnoticed by the 00 cyborgs; Francoise's X-ray vision makes her discover the fake iron soccer ball, causing Joe to suspect that Neo Black Ghost has ulterior plans for Sander. It isn't until some fireworks suddenly go off and Sander disappears during the chaos that the 00 cyborgs realize that he's going to kill President Calios. While Albert, Jet, Britain, and Francoise go after the president, Joe intercepts Sander's iron ball and engage him in a fight. Joe draws on Sander's morals and the children's idolization to make him stop his assassination attempts, saying that if Sander kills President Calios, then the children will be heartbroken and lose all respect for him.
Sander retorts that if he doesn't kill the president then the children will die, making Joe aware of the various Neo Black Ghost agents secretly standing among the crowds. Joe promises that he and his friends will protect both the president and the children. When Sander still doesn't reconsider, Joe asks the soccer player if he'd be willing to betray the dreams of the children who loved him. This finally forces Sander to come to his senses and with the children in mind, he sends the iron ball flying towards the man who fixed his legs with a kick. The iron ball destroys the wall behind the Neo Black Ghost agent, making the floor crumble underneath him and sending him to his death.
Sander's refusal to kill President Calios causes the other Neo Black Ghost agents to reveal themselves and try to kill the children, but Joe uses his Accelerator to knock them out and stop them from doing so. Meanwhile, Jet, Francoise, and Albert take care of the remaining agents. Britain uses his shapeshifting powers to disguise himself as President Calios and uses it to draw away enemy fire. After all the agents were defeated, more agents come in the form of aerial support. Jet tries to confront them but the new enemies turn out to be very skilled flyers. Albert, Francoise, Britain, and Joe shoot some down, but the flying agents manage to stun Francoise and attempt to kill her.
Sander, who had been protecting the children, saves Francoise by rushing into the field and kicking several soccer balls into the air, hitting the flying agents with deadly accuracy. Eventually all the Neo Black Ghost agents are defeated, and Sander now stands alone. As the terrified crowds emerge from their hiding places, Sander attempts to reveal his terrible secret out of guilt but Joe stops him, not wanting him to ruin his own life. Due to Sander's heroics that day, he is received with thunderous applause from President Calios, the children, and everyone else who attended the Peaceland Cup, chanting his name with earnest.
The epilogue shows that shortly after the Peaceland Cup, Sander retires from professional soccer to become a teacher, dedicating himself to teaching soccer to children from around the world.
The 00 Cyborgs Edit
- Unofficial English translations of this episode gave Sander the name "Sanders", due to how サンダー is pronounced "Sandaa", another name translation could be Thunder.