Françoise Arnoul (フランソワーズ·アルヌール Furansowazu Arunuru) aka 003 is a French schoolgirl who was abducted by Black Ghost for the 00 Cyborg project. She is the only female member of the team and the only one that lived without some sort of tragedy in her life until her cyborg transformation.
003 is a young woman of average height and build, with light, shoulder-length hair held back by a red headband. She is usually depicted with blue eyes, although she lacks visible irises in early artwork.
When not in her standard uniform, she is often seen wearing various designer types of fashion, although her most common outfit in the earlier manga was a black turtleneck and plaid skirt. Her hair style varies throughout the manga, eventually settling on the shoulder-length, slightly flipped-up style that was carried through to anime adaptations. However, in the Mythos and Underground Empire of Yomi arcs, her hair is depicted short, and it also appears that way in Angels.
003's hair color most notably vacillated between being blonde and brown up until some point in the 1970s, where blonde became the iconic choice, although her hair appeared in a ginger shade in "Emergency Simulation 1992" and two 1981 colorspreads. This is likely due to the fact that Ishinomori officially listed her hair color as "flaxen", and he and his assistants may have had difficulty interpreting the color.
003 is friendly, polite, and well-spoken and wants nothing more than a regular life outside of death, destruction, and conflict.
Out of her personal opinion and her abilities, 003 often chooses not to fight but will when she has to. She highly dislikes being a cyborg, as she feels that it makes her less human, and is bothered by how her sensory abilities allow her to see and hear hateful events from afar. Françoise has a great amount of affection even towards enemies, to the point that it got her to befriend the Mythos Cyborg Pan.
Among the cyborgs, she is closest with 009, due to him having a protective atmosphere similar to her older brother. Her attraction towards Joe grows as the series goes on, to the point where she exhibits her desire of making love to him in "Battle with the Gods".
In the Yomi arc, she becomes jealous when 009 pays special attention to Helen, angrily slamming the door when she learns they went for a drive to Hakone, as well as coldly regarding him when he protects Helen from a rockslide.
003 has enhanced sensory abilities, allowing her to hear from a 4 km square reach in a radar fashion, and see from a 50km range with some form of x-ray vision. When used in conjunction with the brainwave communication between the cyborgs, she serves as a great navigator and reconnaissance specialist. Her strength and speed are above the average human but lower than the other cyborgs.
However, by the time Neo Black Ghost attacks in "Arctic Ghost", she seems to have acquired some form of self-defense similar to savate and ju-jutsu. Even so, she still prefers to use her more defensive abilities.
Outside of battle, she is shown to be a highly-skilled ballet dancer, as well as a caretaker (often looking after 001 and wounded teammates).
Françoise had been living at a boarding school in Paris and had planned to meet back up with her older brother Jean, who was a French Air Force pilot.
Black Ghost agents were keen to Françoise being a woman living on her own, and abducted her, managing to get away even as her brother gave chase. After her conversion into a cyborg, the newly codenamed 003 worked together with the others to escape while offering assistance to the newest cyborg 009.
After escaping, 003 usually spent time together with 009 and continued to offer him assistance and advice while in battle. In the battle against the Mythos Cyborgs, 003 managed to make friends with the small cyborg Pan. She also made a fake capture plan with help from Pan and 007, however the plan failed and they wound up actually captured. The other cyborgs manage to disable to electromagnetic barrier keeping them in place. 007 managed to escape briefly with Dr. Uranus, but returned for 003.
When the volcano on Magma erupted, 003 was thought to be consumed along with the rest of the cyborgs, but she survived. She would wind up traveling with 009 to visit 008 in Africa and investigate the "Golden Lion" case, before retiring and becoming a ballerina.
When 009 came to recruit her due to the re-emergence of Black Ghost, 003 was reluctant to join, wanting to avoid the death and destruction. However, 009 managed to convince her to rejoin the team. During the mission against Black Ghost in the underground kingdom, she showed jealousy towards Helen for the attention 009 gave her. She was later hypnotized along with 009, 5, 6, and 1 by the former ruler of the kingdom Zattan.
The hypnotism was broken after avoiding attacks from Black Ghost inside a giant coelacanth. After breaking the others out, 001 teleported the cyborgs away before the kingdom exploded, but 009 was teleported inside Black Ghost's Demon God Statue. 003 expressed anguish over this, especially when the statue headed out into space and 001 revealed that he could not teleport it back down. When asked by 004 about how she really felt about 009, she tearfully broke down, confirming his hunch.
Fortunately, 001 managed to rescue 009 and 002 from burning up in the atmosphere, although both were put out of commission for a time due to the damage they sustained, and 001 himself fell into a deep sleep from using up a significant amount of energy.
With 009 and 002's recovery, the cyborgs continued to battle threats. 003 continued to provide care for 001, or join and aid her team in the field with her abilities. She also began to be more open with her relationship with 009.
- Her name would seem to be derived from the French actress who was famous during the 1950s. This is confirmed in the outline to "Conclusion: GOD'S WAR", which states that the real Françoise Arnoul was one of Ishinomori's favorite actresses. Ishinomori had been inspired by the film Les Parisiennes, which Arnoul had starred in (as a character that was also named Françoise).
- Her name was initially written in a reversed order for the Sunday Comics tankoban as "Arnoul Françoise" (アルヌール·フランソワーズ) before it was corrected during the Angel arc. This refers to the initial way her name was intended to be read, as "Arnoul" was originally drafted as her given name. It has also been said that Ishinomori had written her name as "François" (フランソワ) at points. The reversed name may have been a case of Ishinomori using wordplay on the actress' name, but then likely realizing that "Arnoul" was a masculine given name (a French variation on the German "Arnulf"), hence the decision to directly reference the actress' name.
- It took some time for any full name to be given within canon or outside materials. In the Assassins arc, 003 is simply referred to as "Arnoul" by 009, and the early profiles for the team written around the same time also listed her by this name. Her brother also refers to her as "Arnoul" in the original printings of her origin sequence, although later reprints have rectified this to him screaming "Françoise!".
- As revealed in the book "Cyborg 009 a la Cult", Ishinomori's early candidates for names for 003 included Arnoul, Mary (or possibly Merry), and Marianne. This further backs the idea that he only initially considered her name to be Arnoul. The Asahi Sonorama drama album for "Confrontation in Antarctica", produced in 1968, still refers to her as "Arnoul", although it was produced at a point when her full name would have been set. While "Marianne" did not see any use, the "Mary"/"Merry" name was later recycled for another character in the manga.
- Due to her origin being drawn after her original appearance in the "Birth" arc (and after Ishinomori had settled on her design), readers may notice some visual discrepancies in her earliest appearances in the published manga. As originally drawn, Françoise had much longer hair and lacked her headband, as well as having differently-shaped eyes. Ishinomori implemented some design changes mid-"Birth" arc, which included tweaking her eyes, shortening her hair, and adding a headband.
- Later adaptations establish her as a ballerina from the start; however during the original publication time of the manga, she only became a ballerina by the time of the Yomi arc, in order for it to tie in with her being a ballerina in the 1966 animated film. Unlike Joe's racing career, this detail was referenced again in later stories.
- While her exact age is unstated in the manga, "16" is often given as a placeholder, due to it being the age given to her in the 1960s animated works. Her age as given in the 1979 series (17) is also sometimes used.
- As with Joe, Françoise's design has been repurposed in various Ishinomori works, most notably being used for Kiyoko Madoka in Gilgamesh, and Maria Henderson in The Way of Ryu.
- One rejected draft for Françoise's design was later seemingly re-used for the Rina character in the Immigration arc, while two other designs seemed to evolve into Lori from GR Number 5 and the Kinnaru Yatsura lead Marippe.