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The Vanishing School Bus
Cyborg 009 (1968)
Episode 7
009 '68 Ep 7
Air date May 17, 1968
Written by Junya Sato
Directed by Shikubuyuki?? 窪詔之
Episode guide
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The Girl with the Golden Eyes
The Vanishing School Bus is the seventh episode of the 1968 anime.




Plot SummaryEdit

A shadowy organization is using children to create the K series cyborgs, weapons with superhuman powers and suicide bomb implants. The first one attempts to steal a blueprint from an atomic energy research lab to obtain information on an atomic powered engine. After he fails and is killed by self-destruct, the agents of the organization hijack a school bus leaving the lab on a field trip as a diversion to sneak inside and steal the engine. The organization's leader plans on using the kidnapped kids on the bus as the next phase of his K series cyborg soldiers, using the atomic engine as thier power source. Can Joe stop this heinous act of cruelty?

StoryEdit

At a science laboratory in Tokyo, a young boy exits an elevator and enters the atomic research division of the lab. A secretary tries to politely tell the boy to leave when he attempts to go near the vault full of research papers, but she is blasted away by a mysterious force released by the boy. The other lab workers try to hold the kid down when he tears the vault door open with his bare hands and steals a blueprint, but they too are blasted by the boy's powers and knocked away. The boy runs and escapes down an elevator, as the police are notified and a patrol car comes to the lab. Some security guards try to stop the boy, but the child knows the one officer holding a gun will not fire on a child as the guard hesitates. As the police arrive, they attempt to hold the boy down and cuff him, but the boy's powers repels the police officers back. The child then runs, showing that he has superhuman speed as he accelerates faster and faster.

The squad car at the scene of the crime calls for backup, as more police cars come and try to surround the child thief at an intersection. The police chief demands that the boy give up and come quietly and the officers surround him, but the boy uses his powers to blast them backwards, with one officer trying to retaliate by firing his gun, nearly hitting the kid. The chief berates his subordinate for attempting to kill a child and orders him to try again to hold the child down. The police fail again as the boy uses his powers, but then the boy gets weak and collapses as he has run out of energy. A shadowy figure is observing these events from a TV camera in a hidden base. The figure notes that "K1", has failed him as the "electro-discharge switch" was over used and K1's power supply has run out. Not wanting him to be captured and reveal his evil plans, the figure tells his minion to activate the self destruct to keep the secrets of his plans hidden from the police. After the minion presses a switch on a control panel, K1 explodes, to the shock and horror of the police.

At Gilmore Labs, the 00 Cyborgs hear the news of K1's attempted robbery on TV and his violent death by suicide bomb. Dr. Gilmore thinks that the child was some kind of cyborg prototype given the fact the child had superhuman powers and the others put some of the pieces of the puzzle together based on that theory. 009 is concerned about why the child was stealing atomic research plans and 003 suggest they investigate tomorrow. Gilmore says the lab was working on a new atomic powered engine and the team deduces that is the main target of the terrorists.

The next morning 009 takes 003, Dr. Gilmore and 007 to the Japan Atomic Research Center on an isolated island by driving his car through the underground access tunnel. One they arrive there, they meet with the chief of research Kuroya, who is sending his children off as they are going on a class field trip. A worker tells the attendant there is a kid waiting to be picked up at the end of the tunnel with his mother, which she makes note of as the bus departs. The child and the mother are seen waiting at the stop.

The evil agents monitor the bus as it is driving and initiate "phase two", with a few of them driving off to intercept the bus and the K series cyborgs with them.

At the lab, Kuroya lets Dr. Gilmore work on assembling the final, more delicate components of the atomic engine using remote operated robotic manipulator arms as the 00 Cyborgs watch nervously.

The bus is driving through the tunnel while on the other end the boy asks his mother impatiently if the bus is coming. K3 appears in the middle of the road and then holds the driver at gunpoint, but the driver thinks he is playing with him and tells him to just get on the bus. K3 assures him he is not, as he points to an agent holding a much larger gun aimed at the bus.

At the lab, Dr. Gilmore finishes the assembly of the engine's parts and is ready to connect the wiring.

The boy waiting for the bus gets worried as it is running late, though he does see a large truck emerge from the tunnel. His mother decides to call the lab to see if something is wrong.

Dr. Gilmore begins the countdown to do a test ignition of the atomic engine and starts it up, which works perfectly to generate power. Kuroya is pleased as the small device is putting out over 20 million volts of electricity. The two scientists shake hands in congratulations and Kuroya thanks Dr. Gilmore for helping him. The lab gets a call from the boy's mother about the bus seemingly vanishing as it hasn't shown up out of the tunnel and the 00 Cyborgs decide to investigate. As 009 drives off, an agent sees them and relays orders to K2 to initiate "phase three".

009 figures out the villains plan was to abduct the bus as it would give them hostages, given the robbery from yesterday was for plans to the atomic engine. Once inside the tunnel, 009 asks 003 to do a scan of the area using her super senses. She finds a door that leads to an access tunnel, which the trio go through. At the base of the organization, a minion reports that the 00 Cyborgs are headed straight for them, with the boss amused as all is going according to his plans. The 00 cyborgs go into the tunnel and this triggers an explosion as the villains had planted bombs earlier to cause the tunnel to cave in on them. The explosion's blast is felt and heard at the island lab, with Dr. Gilmore and Kuroya racing to see what happened. As they race to the tunnel, several lab workers say the tunnel is flooding from the sea water that burst through following the explosion. Kuroya orders an evacuation of all personnel as they flee from the oncoming tidal wave of water coming toward them, as 009's sports car is briefly seen tumbling in the current.

Underwater, the cyborgs have survived the blast thanks to 007 changing into a giant sea turtle with 003 and 009 getting inside his shell. They emerge from the rubble and 009 tells 007 to surface as 003 is unconscious. 007 tries but the two of them are too heavy so 009 decides to swim up carrying her. 007 changes into a dolphin as he surfaces to swim faster. The staff of the lab are on the beach and spot the 00 Cyborgs surfacing, much to the relief of Dr. Gilmore. 003 wakes up and 009 has to explain to the worried parents that they could find any trace of the bus. The mothers panic and start crying, but 009 reassures them the children are alive as there are no remains of the bus in the wreckage of the now sunken tunnel. An ambulance arrives and takes two worker who drowned quickly to the hospital to try to revive them. Seeing the ambulance load the stretchers carrying the workers onto it, 009 has a flash of inspiration about what happened to the bus. He explains that a semi truck is possibly carrying the bus, the mother who called them about the bus's disappearance saying she did see a very large truck come out of the tunnel. She can't remember seeing any markings on the vehicle, so the Cyborgs have no clues to track it down.

An alarm goes off at the Atomic Research Center, 009 realizes that the kidnapping was a diversionary tactic to lure the researchers and personnel away from the building to steal the engine inside. K2 and an agent enter the facility, with the security guards knocked out and burst into the lab to steal the atomic engine. A helicopter heads to the center as 009 races in a car to get there first. The team is fired upon by the agents in the helicopter and dodge their fire. The other agent points a gun at K2, pretending he is one of the school kids and threatening to kill him if the 00 Cyborgs come closer. As the helicopter lands, 007 turns into a porcupine and bites the agent to disarm him and 009 rescues the "innocent child" using his speed. K2 releases an electro-discharge to hurt 009 which causes him to tumble. K2 tries to get away and board the helicopter as it leaves, but 007 turns into an electric eel and absorbs his electro-discharges to the point where K2 completely runs out of power and collapses. 003 realizes they must save the boy before he detonates as Cloak gives the order to self-destruct K2. 009 runs toward someplace and when the villains try to detonate K2, it fails to work properly. While Cloak curses the Cyborgs, he now has the atomic engine and with it his K series Cyborgs can become unstoppable.

Dr. Gilmore examines K2 and finds the young cyborg's powers to defend himself drain his body's energy at a great rate to the point he can collapse unconscious. So the reason for the theft of the atomic engine was to create super-soldiers who could operate on limitless power generated by the device. 009 suggests they release the boy and follow him, explaining he removed the bomb from K2's chest using his super speed. Saving the thirty kids on the bus is first priority, so they need to know where the enemy base is.

Meanwhile, Cloak orders his men to make thirty atomic engines just like the one they have.

K2 wakes up, get out of his bed and sneaks out of the room as the team observes and follows him. K2 tries to call for help once he hides on a beach behind a rock using a shoe phone to contact headquarters. After a few hours, a submarine picks K2 up on the beach and 009 drives to follow them. 009 hits a switch on his car's shifter knob to turn its boosters on and activate its submersible mode once they hit the water.

They follow the sub into the secret base as it surfaces in the secret hangar's dock. Cloak is informed his desk intercom that the children are ready to be prepped for the tests. As Cloak is about to dissect one of the kids on the bus in the operating room, a silent intruder alert sounds and Cloak is notified of the 00 Cyborgs arrival. Cloak is disappointing in K2 and discharges him from duty, ordering his men to halt the surgery and man their stations to eliminate the intruders. The minions try trapping the 00 cyborgs at a dead end hallway, but get blasted. Frustrated, Cloak orders all K series cyborgs to be dispatched to stop the advance of the heroes, telling K2 he will be forgiven if he kills or captures the 00 Cyborgs. The K Cyborgs block the path of the 00s and Cloak orders the trio to drop their weapons. Rather than harm the kids, 009 aims his Super Gun upward and the three use the debris to buy time so 007 can locate the control room, 007 changing into a mouse so he cannot be seen. 009 tries to reason with the children, but they think they do not have choice as they will die if they disobey. 009 says this isn't true and K2 no longer has a bomb implanted in him. Cloak tries to detonate K2 after 009 taunts him to and there is no explosion when Cloak presses the self-destruct button. 009 reveals he is stalling for time, as 007 has not yet found the control room. 009 tries to convince the kids to reject their leader so they can fight together for their freedom. Cloak threatens to detonate those who disobey him, but 009 says that the bombs are jammed by "homai waves". Cloak knows he is bluffing, as no such thing exists. 003 detects 007 in the control room as 009 taunts him to try with K3, only for Cloak to have his finger bitten by 007. 009 uses this as a chance to get the kids out of there. The group fends off more minions with gunfire while 007 changes into a grizzly bear and wrestles Cloak. Before Cloak can use a chair to pulverize 007, 009 arrives with his gun aimed at him. Backed against the wall, Cloak chomps down on a cyanide pill to prevent himself from being captured.

Later that day, the children from the bus have been rescued and board a boat back home. waving goodbye to the 00 Cyborgs. 009 tells the K Cyborgs Dr. Gilmore will do what he can to help them at his lab, to give them their normal lives as children back.

NotesEdit

  • When K-2 escapes from his captors, he contacts his superiors using a shoe phone. This form of spy communication originates from the classic Mel Brooks TV comedy spy spoof Get Smart.
  • 009 refers to the leader of the organization as Cloak, despite the fact that they have never met before nor had the villain properly introduced himself in the episode.

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