Cybersix Revisited

(I know no one ever reads this blog so I can say anything I like in it. WARNING: loaded with spoilers!)

Cybersix is an amazing science-fiction comic created by Carlos Trillo and Carlos Meglia. It was a real breakthrough in many ways, especially in its heroine title character. There was an attempt at a live-action TV version, which was utterly bad save the actress playing Cybersix (Carolina Peleritti). There was also an animated series, which was in English and produced in Canada. This is probably the most famous version of the franchise, and the one I will discuss.

First, the good points. Really good writing, directing, and animation. The fact is 90% of what makes a show a show is done right in this cartoon, and there are few things to argue about. The subtleties are there, and some clever use of colour and shading for dramatic effect (outside the realm of realism). On the whole you can enjoy all 13 episodes, with only occasional flinches and winces. There are a few ongoing flaws, such as the hair depiction (short hairs shown as ridiculously large magic marker lines, as it were, and long hair in very odd styling that wouldn’t work in the real world). Some of the subtleties include accurate depictions of automobiles to the extent where you can identify some even if they are “non-specific” makes. Remember this was done in 1999, long before Pixar started flaring up our movie screens with excellent CGI work.

The bad points include a lack of the back story found in the original comics, laughable bad guys, and some ridiculous monsters that spoil certain episodes. It’s like they occasionally got tired of working so hard and went for silly. In my opinion “The Eye” is the worst of these.

Now to the meat of the matter.

I’d like to see it remade, with a few changes. Basically raising it up to ‘adult’ level across the board, with more examination of the underlying love story which is so poignant and less emphasis on the monsters. In fact the love story is a complex one, involving not only Cybersix (with her conflicting inner feelings) and Lucas (and his odd friendship with Adrian as well) but also with Lori (who seems a shallow character but obviously has more depth than is related) and Adrian and how it all centers around Adrian being Cybersix in disguise.

Some character changes I would make:

Cybersix/Adrian. They did a fantastic job on her. Okay, a big floppy hat, cape, and stiletto heels are probably the worst possible costume for a superhero imaginable. I mean it’s all just an accident waiting to happen. Never mind the palm gloves. But this impractical outfit creates such a distinctive, seductive look it should not be discarded. About the only adjustment I’d make is a little attention to detail over matters like how well the voluptuous Cybersix can disguise herself as an indistinct literature teacher. Let’s face it, there’s only so much binding of breasts that can be effective, and a pair of rimless glasses doesn’t do much to hide a face. We need to have her hair flow over her face more (again this is a seductive move) and Adrian’s combed over back to hide the bounty. More attention to each version of the character trying to hide their obvious similarities.

Lucas. Well all he really needs is a check on proportions. He’s supposed to be a big, strong, smart guy and as such is a perfect companion and love interest for Cybersix. Remember he has to be strong enough to effect the Fixed Idea units even if he can’t defeat them himself.

Lori. Just tone her up and give her some more story line. That her crush on Adrian might develop into real love would be a good angle, especially when the truth is revealed at the end. Yes, put her through the emotional wringer and grow her up the hard way.

Julian. Not a thing wrong with the street urchin, frankly. They did a great job here.

Von Richter. Okay, that nose is absurd. Make him more human proportioned and keep up the good work with the shadowy depictions; it doesn’t do good to fully reveal your master criminal.

Jose. Give me a break. This is the dumbest character in the whole thing. I’m sure they found it amusing to make him an eight-year-old brat, but he’s not menacing enough in that form to pose a serious threat to our heroine. He’s incompetent and so are his helpers. I’d make him an adolescent clone of Von Richter, with the accompanying angst of puberty getting in the way of his megalomaniac manner. Get rid of the short jokes, and play up the father/son conflict (as it figures importantly in the end).

Fixed Idea units. Ditch the dollar store Frankenstein Monster depiction. Make them believably large and powerful, sure. But the green skin is silly as is the flat head and weird mask-like eye depiction. Don’t make them stupid, make them dumb. The name origin is from the psychological “idée fixe” which is a notion that once implanted is not easy to change; so you have these biological giants capable of following simple instructions literally but not good with handling new situations, adapting, thinking for themselves. This provides the contrast for Cybersix with her advanced strength, agility, and intelligence and provides a basis for her being considered a failure by Von Richter (she wouldn’t follow rules blindly).

Miguel. I’m not sure that’s the right name, but Von Richter has a right-hand man (who looks suspiciously like Michael Jackson) who gets displaced by Jose in the organization and becomes #3 in the outfit. Not much wrong with him in depiction, but needs a bit more story to fill out the whole relationship.

Data 7 (#29). Well, he’s an enhanced panther with a human brain. How do you make that better? The back story needs better explaining because I think some people may not assemble it just from the pictures (brilliant narrative device, though).

Various Monsters. Some of them need to go. They need to concentrate on the two main themes of Von Richter’s plans: control of the world and destruction of Cybersix. This is why he & Jose & Miguel are always trying to get money (taking control of the city’s criminal base is a good plot point, don’t lose it) to fund the operation. Not all of the monsters make sense to this goal. Certain ones specifically sent to get Cybersix work well, but the ones designed to help take control of the city (prelude to the world) are sometimes not well-thought-out.

I’ve mentioned certain aspects of the story that need attention, but over-all it is fine. If there was more time to explain it would work out better. Note I said “time” not “words”; the last episode does a brilliant service to watchers by not being a wordy explanation at the end. Yet I would change that a bit. I’d like to see Lori break down in tears as she struggles to understand if she really loves Adrian and/or Cybersix (a whole new sensation for her there) and wondering if her love interest survived the blast. Lucas is seen looking up at a lighted window of Adrian’s apartment and smiling, which is too telling. Turn the light off and let him wonder too.

There. Have I offended enough people now?

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