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Cybersix

Entry updated 1 November 2021. Tagged: TV.

Canadian-Japanese animated tv series (1999; vt Cyber Six). TMS Entertainment. Based on the Comic strip by Carlos Meglia and Carlos Trillo. Directors include Keiichiro Furuya, Keiko Oyamada and Nobuo Tomizawa. Writers include Andrew D Hammell, Terry Klassen, Koji Takeuchi, Judy Valyi and Barry Whittaker. Voice cast includes Michael Dobson, Alex Doduk, Tesshō Genda, Takanobu Hozumi, Terry Klassen, Nahomi Matsushima, Tomoko Nakajima and Cathy Weseluck. Thirteen 24-minute episodes. Colour.

Adrian Seidelman (Weseluck/Nakajima) is the new literature teacher at a school in the South American city of Meridiana, who befriends its biology teacher Lucas Amato (Dobson/Genda). Lucas is puzzled by Adrian's habit of suddenly making excuses and leaving when they meet up ... for in reality Adrian is the female Superhero Cybersix (Weseluck/Nakajima): lanky, athletic and strong, with a broad brimmed hat and dressed in black save for her long cape's red lining. Cybersix, named after the "cyber 6" tattoo on her left arm, is an organic Android who escaped from the evil Scientist Doctor Von Reichter (Klassen/Hozumi). She has dedicated herself to frustrating Von Reichter's criminal ambitions, mainly by combating his Clone son José (Doduk/Matsushima), an obnoxious child prone to goose-stepping. Cybersix is lonely, but as the series progresses a found family builds around her, including her brother Cyber 29. He had died but Von Reichter transplanted his brain into a black panther (see Identity Transfer), eventually sending it to kill Cybersix; but Cyber 29 recognized his sister and teamed up with her.

Stories include Von Reichter using radio waves to control birds – nodding to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) – and Cybernetic headsets to mind-control the police; but mainly he creates Monsters through Genetic Engineering, most memorably a giant soul-sucking flying eye and a living Island that explodes. José is also not without skills, constructing a circus of Robot animals. The series ends with Cybersix and Lucas growing closer, and Von Reichter setting his creations on to Cybersix, only to find they allow her to escape before turning on him.

Originally Cybersix was a Comic by the Argentinians Carlos Trillo (writer) and Carlos Meglia (artist), published in the Italian edition of the magazine Skorpio 1992-1999. Despite Skorpio being founded in Argentina, Cybersix was commissioned by its Italian publisher (it subsequently had an Argentinian release, but not in Skorpio). Though translated into other languages, there has been no official English edition. A poorly received live-action Argentinian series (1996) in eight 60-minute episodes seems to have been that country's first sf Television show. Trillo and Meglia believe the series Dark Angel (2000-2002) plagiarized the Cybersix comic; a lawsuit was filed, but was apparently dropped due to a lack of funds; it has been argued that show's change of direction in season 2 was a result of those complaints.

Cybersix was an entertaining show with reasonable characterization and good-looking animation. The target audience is younger than that of the interesting source comic, whose darker themes were not carried over. There Von Reichter is a World War Two Nazi war criminal, here only hinted at; similarly, as the only one of her batch who escaped termination by Von Reichter for being defective (or rather, rebellious), Cybersix's trauma over her origin is downplayed; whilst in the comic her need to feed off Von Reichter's creations is portrayed as more unsettlingly Vampiric. In the original José is less clownish, an adult in a child's body (and having a Hitler moustache-like shadow under his nose). The Anime sometimes uses the comic's dramatic and dark style – where Cybersix's portrayal recalls the more serious incarnations of Batman – which contrasts with the series' more slapstick moments. [SP]

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