In an alternate version of Earth, the Cold War is still in effect after 140 years. The world has been divided into the East and West Bloc, each with powerful organizations and assassins running the show. Agent Mylene Hoffman is as sexy as she is deadly, and while she isn’t bedding with the enemy, she works for Western Bloc’s elite Zero Zero organization as a top-rate spy. With assassins at every turn and an unending war on the horizon, Mylene will use her wiles to charm and kill the enemy – all without breaking a nail!
Oh where to start... Story: It starts out pretty episodic, with Mylene pretty much acting like the female, gun-boobed version of James Bond. Towards the end, there is an actual plot revealed involving the psychic children and some sort of world-wide network. Animation: Was it just me, or did Mylene's eyes look like they contained male anatomy? Besides that, her cyborg body seems a little ill-proportioned (but it's a cyborg body, so of course it is o.o) The style was similar to that of the 70's and 80's, perhaps to connect with the Cold War feel. Also, the "Russians" were almost misshapen in the face... Sound: I watched the English dubbed version, and the voice actors were chosen well enough (though why all of the girls had a different accent is beyond me) The only issue I had with it was the third episode, mainly because I kept laughing at Vic's attempt at a "hard-boiled assassin" Characters: Besides Mylene, most of the characters were bit characters that only appeared to further the story a little. The focus was entirely on Mylene (for whom the anime is titled).
PREFACE 009-1 is an action/drama series, which tries to rekindle the spark of the Old School way of drawing. It has a sixties feeling to it, boosted with modern day flashy graphics. THE STAFF Based on an old title by the now deceased Shotaro Ishinomori (mostly famous for his Kamen Rider and Ultraman live action series), it has been animated by the homonymous company he left behind. It is quite close to the feeling of the original; they did a good job at retaining his trademark gloomy and a bit morbid atmosphere. This is exactly the reason why this show is not for everyone. It won’t feel likable for most of the modern audience and will be appreciated only by retro fans or middle aged men who grew up with Shotaro’s shows and are fans of his work. PRODUCTION VALUES It is refreshing to watch and listen to the series, despite its retro style. Thanks to its fore mentioned combination of old and new form of animation, it stands out from most other anime series. If you got tired of the cop-out looks of most modern anime, this one will not disappoint you.Basically the main characters are all curvy ladies, packed with cybernetic limbs and a hundred gadgets makes them the perfect combination between the Bionic Woman and James Bond . Although remarkable at first, the facial expressions will probably become annoying for the younger viewers. They will seem unappealing because they don’t look like modern anime (such as the mainstream Clannad or Bleach designs) . But this is just an artistic choice and most of the older viewers will have no real problem with them. Even graphic artists may prize them. But for the rest of the audience out there (that is, almost all of them) it will most likely be a big “Geez! How ugly!” But even from an artistic perspective, I can’t say they are that great. They look a bit different but they are otherwise kinda simplistic and definitely not memorable in the longrun. There are plenty of detailed backgrounds, dressed with nicely made lightning effects. Nothing major, but they pass by your eyes nicely. They are pretty dark colored, with a mostly chilly mechanical/industrialized look on them, which makes them claustrophobic and creepy. If you prefer cheery atmospheres, look elsewhere. There are fluid movements, backed up with computers to look realistic when they turn around or spin, and there are even some simple battle choreographies present. The problem comes when you try to reason the whole thing. Like in most superhero and action films, the bad guys seem stunned when the heroines pull out their secret high-tech gadget and beat them out of the blue. It feels rather fake when you see the bad guys suddenly moving like slowpokes when the heroines take the offensive. SCRIPT Nothing sort of amazing and yet not the usual “super heroines save the world in the name of justice and love”. The protagonists are a team of female cyber-spies, taking up missions than involve the protection of their leader/creator’s status quo (there is no right or wrong) . The backdrop is interesting but they use it in a very light manner. Most episodes are stand alones and from time to time a flashback occurs to give a few simple twists to the story. It’s a generally good form of narration with dead time in between. Also the series is short and ends before it becomes annoying.The scriptwriters offered us an alternative history, where the Cold War still rages on to the future and both sides still use spies, now of cybernetic nature. They otherwise went too easy on the whole technology issues; there is no elaborate explanation about how all this hi-teck gismos work. How does that cybernetic woman move around with a smokescreen bomb thrower inside her kneecap? After awhile the sci-fi setting isn’t any different from a generic fantasy realm full of magic. Ok, I understand it is a light sci-fi series but I tend to like something more when they throw in some explanation, even if it feels like technobabble.The ending is nothing major. You will get to know the characters better but that’s it. You’ll probably have seen the same scenario on dozens of spy films so far and most likely won’t remember anything special about it after it’s over. CAST Girls with hi-teck gadgets and sexy bodies. They look lovely and cool but their faces are kind of a turn off. And besides that, they will never feel like they own the screen for you to cheer for them. The atmosphere of the show ends up being more important than them interacting. Every girl has a dramatic past, there are greedy and merciless villains, there is a secret hiding somewhere… Ok, they cover all the basics of an interesting cast but never in a very detailed or realistic way. It feels rather basic and even overblown with cheesy drama after awhile.Nothing major here occurs to them by the end of the show. Most character development is in reality colorization presented through flashbacks and the ending does not leave out the chance of a sequel. This tends to make them feel like plot devises thrown in just to show an idea and not to deal with an issue. I can’t say they are people you will identify with; a common trait of most retro shows where the story was more important than the characters. You will probably only care about their gadgets and their sexy bodies instead of their tragic pasts. LEGACY Can’t say I enjoyed it much. I liked the retro feeling but most of the plot was quite boring and although the drama and the action were fine on their own, the final comment I had was “Seen it all before, in a lot better setting than this”. It was mostly the artistic aspect that I enjoyed; which tends to be only a small part of the whole. The battles were not exciting, the stories lasted too little, and the characters felt basic.It is a typical story dressed handsomely to appeal to the older members’ emotions. It is mostly interesting to look at it as an interesting idea rather than an enjoyable time waster, thus it eventually becomes a passable title. I myself did not bother keeping a copy, as it has no actual replay value or is that great as a spy/sci-fi series. If you are a hardcore fan with a taste for retro and originality, go ahead and get this jewel. Its unique feeling make it memorable and cult important. But for the rest of the mainstream guys, it will be forgotten fast. SUGGESTION LIST Kamen Rider (live action sci-fi about superheroes) Ghost In The Shell (hard sci-fi cyberpunk) Battle Angel Alita (manga only, hard sci-fi cyberpunk)
THE STORY: Story? Oh yeah. Now that you mention it, it did have a smidgen of story in there didn't it? Honestly, the "geniuses" behind this anime ought to be proud of themselves for making another anime that begs the question "Why did I just spend that chunk of my life watching this?". OK, getting serious now, the story wasn't so much horrendous as it was non-existent. From episode to episode there seems to be absolutely no congruency whatsoever aside from the accepted notion that time is passing and we are simply watching mission after mission that our main character Agent 009-1, or Mylene Hoffman rather, is assigned to carry out. Finally, in the last episode, some references are made and a character from our past appears, which gives this anime its glimpse into a progressive story telling. It's much more like a collection of shallow poems than a novel of any sort. It was hard to grind through this series and now that it's over I can safely say that I don't intend to ever watch it again.THE ANIMATION: As far as animation goes, I was unimpressed. After having seen some beautiful anime it is hard to jump into this series and manage to take it seriously. A step out of the norm, 009-1 takes a more unique approach with the same quirky drawing style seen in the old Sonic TV Series, as well as Cyborg 009. The women are all drawn fairly normally despite their outlandish bust and rear accessories, but the men are for the most part, a laugh. Drawn with extra large noses, sunglasses that shape to their eyes, and clumsy, pudgy hands, the masculine portion of the series would be funny if it wasn't first a tad annoying, as 009-1 crept along I found myself expecting to see Doctor Robotnik around every corner. Beyond the people the guns that she uses look, more often than not, like a squirt gun. How is a spy supposed to deliver any kind of fear into the enemy with something like that? Just because it is shaped like a gun doesn’t mean that it strikes the same amount of fear as one. The cars are all very Speed Racer and I couldn't help but notice that the main character (a Spy, if I may remind you) has her code-name on her license plate, I don't think that is the wisest of choices Mylene but you're the secret agent not me.SOUND: The music in this show was actually quite nice and gets the highest rating in my review, although, it won't rise above a five since the implementation of said sound was a bit mediocre to say the least. I particularly remember a very sad melody playing while a character was raging their life away in a monologue. Other than that, the sound effects were all your general tire skids, laser blasts, and gun fire, followed by a cliché ricochet. As a side dish, the music was quite nice and I did like the occasional Big Band touch, but the cooks dumped it on thick and spoiled the main course. CHARACTERS: Mylene Hoffman was a very static character and really the ONLY main character to speak of, very much a female James Bond, the only break in her "I've got a job to do" attitude was her occasional puns and playful banter. Throughout 009-1, the studio did manage to find it in their best interest to introduce some background to the cyborg super agent, which is a touch I could appreciate, except that her unchanging personality remained, and I again found myself getting bored with her. 009-1 will at random find some sort of compassion in herself to help people who get caught up in her missions, whether this is simply because she actually cares, or because her missions are already too easy, and she is looking for more of a challenge, is beyond me. OVERALL: This series was really just an excuse to show someone with a nice rack kick some ass, and I can't help but feel that anyone looking to watch something with more depth than a sheet of paper will be sorely disappointed.
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