So far for me, 3D films have been a failed experiment. Films have had to incorporate needless moments to try and justify the increased expense the format has brought with it; or they are simply nothing more than demonstrations of three dimensions on screen, with a loose plot fitted around it. My hopes, therefore, for Kenji Kamiyama's addition to the 009 Re:Cyborg manga and TV series were somewhat muted.
'009 Re:Cyborg' is the first animated 3D film I have seen, and I have to admit, the best yet. On looks alone, the film is a nice piece of work, with the multilayers that the format offers working brilliantly, despite the need for subtitles on screen. Much like that other mangaanime franchise that Kamiyama has worked on, Ghost in the Shell, '009 Re:Cyborg' is suited to a 3D format, combining futuristic action scenes in an aesthetically pleasing environment.
But that's all about the format: what about the film itself? Plot-wise, the film centres around the reforming of a group of nine cyborgs from the 00 series to combat mysterious acts of terrorism carried out by those that claim to hear 'His voice'. Having followed different paths over the years, there is friction between certain members of the group, hindering their ability to save the day. The ending leaves little explanation as to events or really establishing what 'His voice' is, felling a little unsatisfying as a whole.
Much like Kamiyama's 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex', there is a lot of philosophy throughout the film, with lengthy explanations of various values and ways of thinking. And maybe that is where the film falters a little. With each 'GITS: SAC' Gig, there were 26 episodes to develop and execute as many deep philosophical musings as possible, but in just over one hundred minutes of cinema time, the ideas around 'His voice' are a little patchy and in need of more development and work.
This is very much a Kamiyama work, appearing and written in a similar vein to the 'GITS: SAC' anime series. Throw in religious undertones similar to those of 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' and you find Kamiyama's interpretation of Shotaro Ishinomori's 'Cyborg 009'. The film shows two things: firstly, the strength of 3D when used appropriately in anime to create an extra dimension to 2D design, justifying the four times extra effort that Kamiyama claims it added; and secondly the potential for Kamiyama to take 'Cyborg 009' to a television series format, allowing him to explore all those crazy ideas he so loves further. It also shows the great Japanese sense of humour, with British Cyborg 007 named simply 'Great Britain'.
Review by politic1983 from the Internet Movie Database.