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009 Re:Cyborg Blu-ray Review

009-re-cyborg-bluray-coverU.S. Release (Region A Locked)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

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Directed by Kamiyama Kenji (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) and produced by Production I.G and SANZIGEN Animation Studio, 009 Re:Cyborg is the sequel to the cyberpunk anime film Cyborg 009.

The world is faced with an unknown threat when terrorists, intent on destabilizing civilization, begin to blow up skyscrapers around the world. Dr. Isaac Gilmore, head of the team of “00” cyborgs, is brought in to neutralize the threat, but something is awry. The cyborgs themselves seem to be a threat, hearing instructions from a mysterious source known as “His Voice”, echoing passages from the Bible, and driving them to carry out terrorist attacks. Gilmore and his lead cyborg, 009, must somehow figure out what is going on and stop the world from spiraling into chaos.

Kamiyama brings the same sense of the cutting edge to the 3DCG production of 009 Re:Cyborg as he did to GiTS:SAC, and he also brings the same philosophical sophistication to its screenplay. Like the GiTS:SAC, this film takes sophisticated concepts of religion, politics, war, and technology, and mixes them all up into one tight knot wherein the common thread is humanity.

And, of course, as always, this is all fed to us in a stunning visual style that uses the latest tech wizardry, but also stays true to the core of the anime art form. This may be 3DCG, but the 3D part is de-emphasized for a style that is intent on mimicking the hand drawn world we have come to know so well, but one that is bolder, a little more dimensional, and highly stylized and cinematic.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

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The digital animation for 009 Re:Cyborg that looks so beautiful is hampered in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement on Blu-ray from FUNimation by a lot of strong color banding and instances of posterization. I’m not really sure why this occurs, because the bitrate is rather consistently high. It must be something in the digital source itself during production. Otherwise, the colors and detail look very good, but these aforementioned anomalies take away from overall viewing pleasure.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

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One again, what has happened here with this FUNimation release on Blu-ray is that what sounds like it would have been an incredible sound mix has somewhere along the line been crippled. They’ve screwed the pooch, so to speak, on both the original Japanese-language soundtrack in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and the English dub, also in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, by squeezing the dynamics and mastering it so low that I had to literally turn the sound up 12db above my normal listening levels to get a decent volume going. At least this time around I didn’t have problems with lip synch. Otherwise, the mix itself was actually good, with lots of solid sound effects panned through the surround channels, pretty deep low end, and clean dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

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It’s mostly promotional material offered up on this release as extras, which is not really required viewing, but still nice to have.

  • DVD
  • Special Prologue (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:08:58)
  • Promotional Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:32)
  • Teaser #1 (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:16)
  • Teaser #2 (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:15)
  • Theater Ad (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:49)
  • Trailer #1 (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:00:42)
  • Trailer #2 (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:39)
  • U.S. Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:57)
  • FUNimation Trailers


The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

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A worthy cyberpunk entry that continues that trend set by Ghost in the Shell, 009 Re:Cyborg is a mesmerizing feature that will enrapture you and draw you into its world. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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