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Sesho's Anime And Manga Reviews

Mar 25, 2008

009-1 Volume 2, ADV Films, $29.98

In the world of 009-1, the Cold War between the Western and Eastern Blocs has gone on for 140 years.  This is not a war fought between great armies on desolate nuclear battlefields. This is a war fought by covert agents on both sides in a cat and mouse contest for technological advantage. Mylene Hoffman, cyborg agent 009-1, is the best spy the Western Bloc has, but she has one distinct weakness. She still has a heart. Time and again, she has faced situations on her missions where her compassion has compromised her original orders. Her superiors are even beginning to wonder whether it's worth the risk to keep her in the field. Her old mentor, ironically named Ironheart, told her a long time ago that the worse thing an agent could do was to let their emotions get the better of them. Wouldn"t you know that Mylene would be seen to talk her one-time mentor into rejoining the Zero Zero Organization or face execution.  She also opens  a heap of worms when pity gets the better of her when she helps a stranded motorist outside Rome who is being chased by gunmen. Mylene  also uses a kid to get closer to a suspected enemy agent and faces another moral quandary. In the last episode we get a flashback to Mylene's past and how she came to become a 00 agent, which is unusual because in most series of this type, the lead character"s past is left a mysterious blank with nary a hint of how they developed.

This second volume of 009-1 suffered from a sophomore slump after an intriguing but sometimes flawed first volume. While I respect the complex emotions the writing was going for, the episodes were a bit too predictable. They seemed nothing more than a series of moral debates in search of a storyline, or a sequence of yes or no questions. Will she shoot her old mentor? Will she lie to the young boy? Will she help the stranded motorist?  With questions like this, you have a 50% chance of guessing the outcome of each episode. The animation quality was very high and the 1960's wardrobe and car designs were definitely cool in a chic retro sorta way. But the writing didn't aspire high enough for a series with such a beautiful look.

My Grade: B