009-1 (ゼロゼロナイン・ワン, Zero Zero Nain Wan, pronounced "Zero Zero Nine-One") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Shotaro Ishinomori. The manga was serialized in the Futabasha publication Weekly Manga Action from 1967 to 1970, then returned briefly in 1974. The story concerns Miléne Hoffman (ミレーヌ・ホフマン Mirēnu Hofuman; "Mylene" in the English translation), a female cyborg who works as a secret agent. The Japanese title of the manga was 009ノ1, or "Zero Zero Ku-no-ichi", a pun on kunoichi (female ninja) and a reference to the main character's espionage occupation.
The original manga was adapted into a live-action drama for Fuji Television in 1969 entitled Flower Action 009ノ1. The manga was also adapted into a 12-episode anime series by Ishimori Entertainment and first broadcast on TBS TV in Japan in late 2006. The anime has been licensed for a North American release by A.D. Vision for $325,000. The first volume was released on June 19, 2007, although it was originally scheduled for release in March 2007. In 2008, the show, along with 30 other ADV titles were relicensed to Funimation.
Although it was also created by Ishinomori, and features similar themes, this seinen manga, despite the "00" name and the cybernetized protagonists, has no relation to his previous work Cyborg 009, a shōnen manga (although in the original manga, the cyborgs from Cyborg 009 actually make appearances in some chapters). In the final episode, there are two homages to Gerry Anderson television shows involving the moon, an Eagle Transport from Space: 1999 and SHADO Mobile's from UFO. In the episode "Reverse-Explosion" a spaceship is destroyed by impacting the moon. This is Thunderbird 5 from Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds.
On June 2013, it was announced the manga would be adapted into a live-action film directed by Koichi Sakamoto, and starring Mayuko Iwasa. Minehiro Kinomoto, Nao Nagasawa, Mao Ichimichi, Shizuka Midorikawa, Naoto Takenaka, and Aya Sugimoto were also cast. It premiered on September 7, 2013.
Main charactersMylene Hoffman (ミレーヌ・ホフマン, Mirēnu Hofuman) (009-1)
Voiced by: Yumiko Shaku (Japanese); Alice Fulks (English)
An agent of the all-female "Nine Number Group", one of the ten groups in the "Zero Zero Organization", a Western Bloc intelligence organization. Almost her entire body has been cybernetized, and various parts of her body are equipped with special functions which are necessary for spy activity. Besides her standard weapon, which is a ray gun, the WA-P009 (commonly called a plasma gun), she also wears earring communicators, boots with a hidden needle gun, and other agent gear. Her most secret pieces of equipment are her 9 mm machine guns integrated into her breasts, which have been made into a part of her body and fire bio-bullets. Various secret equipment has been installed and modifications done, but her physical abilities were high to begin with, and she also has a clear mind. Together, all of this makes her the single most outstanding agent in the Zero Zero Organization. In the episode that takes place at the haunted castle, she tells Loki that her code name is Muse.
Number Zero (ナンバーゼロ, Nanbāzero)
Voiced by: Houchu Ohtsuka (Japanese); Grant James (English)
Number Zero is the command of the Zero Zero Organization. His personal history is wrapped completely in mystery, and no one knows his true identity. His relationship with Mylene can be seen as one of a father figure, but during a mission, their exchanges are always businesslike. On occasion, he has shown emotion when speaking frankly with his subordinates, but he is essentially calm, cool, and collected, allowing him to give his subordinates appropriate orders.
Loki (ロキ, Roki)
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese); Gray Haddock (English)
A man of mystery that Mylene gets to know. He is an agent from the Eastern Bloc. He was invited to the haunted castle along with Odin and Freya. He is always calm, cool, and collected, and is never fazed, no matter what happens right in front of him. With his sharp mind and uncommonly-good physical abilities, you could call him "the 009-1 of the Eastern Bloc". It is revealed that he is 009-1's younger brother, Paul.
Vanessa Ibert (009-3)
Voiced by: Satsuki Yukino (Japanese); Celeste Roberts (English)
She has been specially modified with a focus on electronic-analysis equipment. Just by "looking" at the target, the camera built into her eye can store the target's data in her brain's memory. She is also capable of downloading the information she has gained into a compact device through the connector on the back of her neck.
Berta Kastner (009-4)
Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe (Japanese); Serena Varghese (English)
Her four limbs have been modified, and both elbows and both knees can be equipped with tactical units suited for the particular mission. Among the 9 Number agents, she has the most points of cybernetic modification. Her motif is that of Albert Heinrich (004) from Cyborg 009
, who was equipped with weapons all over his body.
Mia Connery (009-7)
Voiced by: Marina Inoue (Japanese); Rebekah Dahl (English)
Her entire skeletal structure, as well as all of her muscles and skin, are composed of a special biological tissue, making it possible for her to make a complete transformation into any person: a transformation that goes beyond a simple disguise. It would not be expected from her cute baby-face, but she is a cool agent who never shows any sentiment or emotion during a mission.
Extra episode. "R&B". DVD-release only (volume 5 of the Japanese DVD release).
- "Infiltrators" (潜入者たち, Senyūsha-tachi). 2006-10-05.
- "Holy Night" (聖夜, Seiya). 2006-10-12.
- "Hard Boiled" (ハードボイルド, Hādo Boirudo). 2006-10-19.
- "Invitation from an Old Castle" (古城よりの招待状, Kojō Yori no Shōtaijō). 2006-10-26.
- "Woman of Gold" (黄金の女, Ōgon no Onna). 2006-11-02.
- "POP" (ポップ, Poppu). 2006-11-09.
- "Port" (港, Minato). 2006-11-16.
- "Calendar of the Past" (昨日の暦, Kinō no Koyomi). 2006-11-23.
- "Revenge" (復讐, Fukushū). 2006-11-30.
- "Reverse-explosion" (逆爆発, Gyaku-bakuhatsu). 2006-12-07.
- "Exodus" (脱出, Dasshutsu). 2006-12-14.
- "Daybreak" (夜明け, Yoake). 2006-12-21.
Anime News Network's Theron Martin said the anime series "carries much of the style and flavor of Ishinomori's other iconic works like Kamen Rider and Kikaider" and noted "the series emphasizes Mylene's sex appeal by offering healthy and regular doses of fan service, although it leaves the most graphic parts to the imagination." He commented the character designs have "the same angular, caricatured look that all anime series based on Ishinomori's works have, with younger female “good guy” agents invariably being gorgeous sexpots and the bad guys (whether male or female) usually looking quite ugly." Martin also praised the musical score, saying it's "the other star of the series", aside from Mylene. Writing for Mania Entertainment, Chris Beveridge said 009-1 has "a good sense of pacing and style to it, going over the top in some ways but also keeping itself rather grounded in others. This is a world that I would love to see revisited on a more regular basis and lament that we're already more than halfway past it with this release."
Bryan Morton from Mania Enterntainmente described it as "James Bond with women, Najica with no panties (meaning that there are no panty shots), a cold-war Ghost in the Shell - sort of. Morton said "the stories themselves are fairly typical secret-agents tales - recover the scientist, prevent killings and so on - just with a slightly futuristic feel to them," but noted "all the stories hold together well and make sense." As the original manga is "so old", for him "it’s amazing that the show still feels contemporary." The kind-heart from the protagonist that is far more you would expect from a spy, "makes it different enough from other secret agent stories to really grab the attention, while the individual stories are a good combination of action and emotion that keep you entertained" in Morton's opinion.
Derek Elley of Film Business Asia gave the film a 6 out of 10.