Angel (1969, in Akita Shoten’s“Adventure King”)
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In this attempt at “the last Cyborg 009 story”, 009 and 007 happen upon what seems to be a wounded Yeti while on a skiing excursion. To their surprise, they soon find that the Yeti is able to speak, pleading for the heroes to save him from an “angel“. After he dies, the two are attacked by a pack of more Yeti. In the midst of the confusion, the mysterious angel makes his presence known, setting the stage for the epic final arc.
After the incident, they embark on an investigation to explain the behavior of the Yeti. During their search, 009 and 007 are caught off-guard by a follow-up attack from the angels and find that their powers are suddenly disabled. The two manage to escape and gather the whole team to ponder about the true identity of their enemy, wondering if it might in fact be God. As they go back to investigate, they are confronted by two angels who are the first to ask questions: “Who are you?” and “Why do you desire to fight against us?”, as they make note of the cyborgs’ unnatural humanity.
009 pulls no punches in turn, asking the angels if they’re the cyborgs’ allies or enemies, and if God had sent them. The angels cryptically state that they do not know of a “God”, but it is they who created humans and have come to redo humanity as it has become evil. The cyborgs are warned to not oppose them or intervene, or they will show no mercy.
In a further twist, the cyborgs learn that the Yeti were humans forcibly transformed by the angels. They also learn that the first one that 007 and 009 encountered was killed for trying to warn humanity of the angels’ plans. As the team regroups in an attempt to understand their new enemy, 007 refuses to believe that the angels could be from God for God would not be so cruel as to inflict such a fate on humanity. However, the team skeptic, 002, quickly cites the stories of “Sodom and Gomorrah” and the Great Flood in his rebuttal, claiming that God is cruel and wouldn’t care about killing humans if it was deemed necessary. He then states his theory of the angels:
“God is a name we invented ourselves. However, I have a feeling that it’s true. We may not have created them. Maybe they’re our creators, instead. So to let us live or to kill us, it’s up to them to decide. Just like us humans, we raise chickens and pigs just to kill them later and use them for as food for ourselves.”
He goes on to point out that the angels had spoken of a “Harvest”, and their aim to redo humanity. 007 remains defiant, refusing to let the angels win. In his stance, humanity may in fact be corrupt, but they deserve the right to live. In turn, 004 equates the angels to the Black Ghost organization in their aim to destroy humanity and modify it to their liking. He takes a scientific stance on their new enemy, believing that the angels are living beings equal to them and may be an ancient race that has returned from another planet.
But despite all these theories and the questioning of “Who came first, God or humanity?”, the team members all agree that they are no match for the powers of the angels. 009 comes to the conclusion that they must fight to prove that humanity deserves a second chance:
“Resisting ‘God’, opposing his will… it would be like telling him that human beings deserve to live! That even though we have become evil, we want to improve thanks to this resolution! That all of mankind isn’t the child of a seed of evil! That we reject categorically that everything we know could be brought to a ruin! All of us will stand for this purpose!”
As mysterious flying saucers attack all the nations of the world and start killing humans, the team realizes that their battle has officially begun. 003 then states that 001 will be able to give them all new abilities to fight the angels.
Unfortunately, the arc cuts off on this revelation. Ishinomori revealed in a footnote that he needed a bit of a break in order to figure out how to properly plot out the rest of the storyline. Describing the Angel arc as the “last, long, and violent” battle of the cyborgs, he figured a hiatus would give him what he needed to make it stand out as truly interesting. The series was then dropped from Adventure King after June 1969.