Albert Heinrich (アルベルト・ハインリヒ Aruberto Heinrihi), aka 004 and the God of Death, is a long-haul truck driver, who originally lived in East Germany during the separation. After an incident where his fiancee was killed when they attempted to escape to West Berlin, he was taken by Black Ghost and made into a cyborg.
Albert has short silver hair, and stands at an average height. His eyes lack noticeable pupils and irises, though this is a stylization choice and he is not intended to be blind (nor are they an indication of his cybernetic status, as his fully-human self also appeared this way in flashbacks).
He is mostly seen smirking in the early manga up to the end of the "Birth" arc, though he is later more often depicted with a stoic demeanor or frowning, except when he's noticeably enraged. When not in uniform, he usually wears long-sleeved tops and modest clothing that would conceal the mechanical nature of his arms and body. However, later chapters in the '79-80 run of the series depict him as wearing a flesh camouflage layer to his body that would allow him to wear short-sleeved tops and shorts (as seen in "Aphrodite" and "Barefoot Zanzibar").
In the earlier chapters, Ishinomori depicted Albert with much shorter, bowl cut-styled hair, and a longer pointed nose. His appearance gradually evolved to where his nose was altered to appear in more of an aquiline shape, while his hair was slightly lengthened. He temporarily appears with much longer, pageboy-styled hair in "The People Drifting Between Space and Time", although Ishinomori would revert this change by the time of the final one-shot for the series ("Emergency Simulation 1992"). However, two color illustrations in 1996 and 1997 do depict Albert with the longer hair, making it questionable if he would have had that style for the original concept of "GOD'S WAR".
While silver/white-haired in a majority of the covers and colorspreads featuring the character, the 1970s full-color reprints of "Birth" through "Underground Empire of Yomi" inconsistently depict Albert with strawberry blond hair or white hair depending on the arc, with "Mythos" and "Yomi" favoring the blond hair most. This may be due to an assistant's oversight, or an attempt to make his hair stand out. The full-color "Emergency Simulation 1992" also curiously depicts him as a blond man, along with the usually silver-haired 001. Regardless, the final illustrations that Ishinomori had drawn in 1996 and 1997 had reverted Albert's hair color to being silver.
004 is a battle-hardened person, speaking with a nihilistic yet sarcastic attitude. However, he is also friendly and a trusted partner for anyone in battle. He enjoys a good fight and often dislikes it when someone else takes the glory. 004 tries to look out for the team and tries to deal with any threats to their position, even in the chance of unlikely spies.
Among the cyborgs, he spends the most time with 007 and 009 early on, as shown in "Assassins" and "Vietnam", though he does show concern when 009's tenderness might bring problems. 004 became rather close with Vena after they had a few arguments over the nature of Black Ghost, and was distraught when she was killed.
While he was a bit louder and more expressive and glib with his sarcasm in the "Birth" arc, he takes on a much colder and grim demeanor through subsequent arcs, as Ishinomori worked out the details of his character.
Abilities and EquipmentEdit
Among the cyborgs, 004 has the most notable modifications. Most of his body from the neck down is simply mechanized, giving him higher defensive abilities. He also references having artificial skin made of plastics, which is depicted in later chapters.
His right hand is a machine gun that fires bullets out of its finger tips, while his left hand is armed with a sharp electromagnetic blade that he is able to use with great skill (able to effortlessly cut off a man's hair without scratches). Both legs contain missile launchers in the knees, that are able to shoot down a jet fighter. During the Mythos arc, he also mentions having a nuclear bomb stored inside his body.
Three instances in the early manga ("Assassins", "Aurora Strategy", and "Underground Empire of Yomi") depict his left hand as also being able to fire its fingers off like darts, although this ability seems to have been forgotten over time.
The only organic part that appears to remain in his body would possibly be his brain, as a flashback in the '80s story "Invisible Strings" shows his skull and facial structure to be made of metal and rivets. However, at the time of the Yomi arc, it may have been intended for his head to be the remaining organic part, to mirror 008's situation as well as the visual similarity to an Ishinomori character named "Mr. Revenge" that appeared in 009-1.
There are instances such as in "The People Drifting Between Space and Time" where both of his hands are depicted as being able to fire bullets, however, it is uncertain if this is an oversight by Ishinomori (as sometimes the character's hands would be mixed up) or if it was an intentional upgrade.
During the Cold War, Albert attempted to cross the Berlin Wall from East Germany with his fiance Hilda. However, he forgot to take back his identification card from the wall guard, and panicked and drove off, causing the guards to shoot at their truck. Hilda wound up killed in the ensuing gunfire, while Albert was near-fatally wounded from the bullets and the truck crash. Falling into despair at his fiancee's death, Albert lost consciousness and was instantly carried off by two Black Ghost operatives, who saw him as their next cyborg subject.
By the time 009 was completed and set upon to destroy his predecessors, 004 helped out in the escape by using his weaponized body. Afterwards, he was used in the field when a weapon was needed, which was usually with 009 and 007.
In the battle with the Mythos Cyborgs, he was thought to be consumed in the eruption on Magma. But he had survived and retired, attempting to find work in West Germany but not enjoying his life as his cybernetic body marked him as a freak among society and made it difficult for him to find work. He reunited with Joe, picking him up in a helicopter after initially scaring him by shooting at his car with it.
When the other cyborgs were gathered, he immediately grew suspicious of Joe's companion Helen and thought she was a spy for Black Ghost. This turned out to be true, as her mind was being peered through by her sister Vena. When Vena was brought in and served as a guide along with Helen, 004 still found Vena suspicious but later warmed up to her after learning of her past and her situation. He was later captured and placed in a coliseum until he was rescued by the other cyborgs. He showed despair at Vena's death, and killed Van Vogt to avenge her.
After Black Ghost was defeated, 004 continued to fight alongside the others against other threats across Earth.
- The initial arcs of the manga only ever referred to him as "Heinrich", including Hilda referring to him as such in his origin, although Tokyopop's localization had Hilda refer to him as "Albert". This early instance may be due to his full name not yet being set, although it is also theorized that Ishinomori may have initially meant for "Heinrich" to be his given name. Heinrich can in fact be that, as it is a German form of "Henry", though it also appears as a surname.
- The planning materials reprinted in "Cyborg 009 a la cult" also hint to this, with the early considered names for 004 being Heinrich, Danke (an old German name meaning "son of Daniel"), and Achim (a diminutive form of the German name Joachim). However, it is worth noting that "Danke" and "Achim" can also be used as surnames.
- Other early discrepancies in the manga include Albert claiming "It's not like I regret my past" when he and Great Britain comment on having been converted to cyborgs. This may be indication that his tragic origin story was not yet considered and set as "Birth" was first being written, and his demeanor in the early arc would also indicate that.
- Though usually referred to as "Heinrich" when the team do not refer to him by number, the Edda arc presents a rare time when he is called by his given name by 002 and 009. In contrast, anime adaptations after the 1960s works (which only referred to him by number) usually refer to him as "Albert", with the exceptions of Cyborg 009 The Movie: Legend of the Super Galaxy and 009 Re:Cyborg. While the "Heinrich" name never appeared in the 1960s animated works itself, it can be seen in the 1967 Asahi Sonorama record for "Monster Wars" (in which 003 is also referred to as just "Arnoul").
- His name is believed to derived from the German composer Heinrich Albert, who lived through the 17th century. The character later being established as having been trained at the piano in his youth would help support the musician inspiration. There is also speculation, albeit unconfirmed, that Ishinomori may have read the 1963 Tsunoda Fusako novel Hilda of East Germany, which featured a protagonist named Hilda and her brother Heinrich.
- In early printings and some instances of the early manga through reprints, Albert can be seen using the pronoun "boku" (which is considered softer and more casual in usage) . Ishinomori would settle on him using "ore" as a pronoun, which became standard for anime adaptations and consistently used through the rest of the manga, fitting with the character's tougher outlook and personality.
- While an exact age was never set in the manga, his 1979 series age of 28 years old is often used as a placeholder, with it being figured that Ishinomori might have approved and intended it, as well as the factor of there being a long gap between the 1979 and 2001 adaptation (which gave him the age of 30).
- Tokyopop's translation presents a significant continuity error and misconception in "The Underground Empire of Yomi", in having Albert suggest he gave himself up willingly to Dr. Gilmore and Black Ghost out of despair at Hilda's death.
- Officially, his lack of pupils and irises are to convey a nihilistic image, and these "robot eyes" were used as a staple for similar characters drawn by Ishinomori, with some actually being robots (hence the name and classification of the eye style).
- Albert's design had been sourced for various Ishinomori characters, although usually it was just his facial features that were carried over. This can most notably be seen in the character of Ichi from Sabu and Ichi's Detective Tales. When Ishinomori redesigned Ichi to have age lines and eye bags, these features were also briefly carried back over to Albert's design in the manga, appearing in "Song of Lorelei", "Angels", and "Battle with the Gods". However, when the Cyborg 009 title came back from hiatus with "The City of Wind", the age lines were removed and Albert was reverted to appearing younger.
Dispute on Home Country (Shotaro Ishinomori Character Guide vol.1)Edit
While most adaptations give 004's home country as East Germany and assume that he was living there long before the accident, Ishinomori fanclub member and historian Junichi Fukuda presented a different idea when he put out his Cyborg 009 Research Guides and published the Shotaro Ishinomori Character Guide vol.1 . He theorized that Albert had actually been born in the west side of Germany and had lived in West Germany when the country was split, but could freely travel between sides due to his trucking job, while Hilda was a native of East Germany.
This theory seemed influential enough to be reflected in the visual development trailer for the 2001 series, with Albert's profile card reading that his birthplace was "West Germany". Although, it would appear that Fukuda's conclusion was later discarded, as the series composition writer Shinsuke Onishi opted to describe Albert as being born in "East Germany" when the anime went into production. The books edited by Fukuda (particularly the Ishinomori Character Guides) have also been debated over due to the fact that he substituted his own theories as fact for vague points of canon, such as his insistence that Ibaraki was Joe's friend in the "Birth" arc.
Part of the idea of Albert being native of the West derives from a statement he makes in the Japanese edition of "Birth": "I'll certainly take you out to the West this time!" (こんどこそぜったいにきみを西側へつれだしてみせる!!), with the particles "連れ出して" (tsuredashite) and "連れ出す" (tsuredasu), meaning to "take (someone) out (to a place)", which Fukuda had found would be unlikely to refer to the escape of two people. In contrast, the Tokyopop English adaptation, as one of its numerous differences, has Albert state "We've got to make it out this time!". Albert's guise as being an animal handler for the Hagenbeck Zoo is also used for evidence he'd worked in the West, as the zoo was located in Hamburg.
However, the "Yomi" arc has Joe make the statement "When you tried to escape to West Germany from East Germany..." ("東ドイツから西ド イツへにげだしてくるとき"), which provides a different context, as it would seem like both Albert and Hilda were trying to escape, rather than Albert trying to bring Hilda freedom (To compare, the Tokyopop edition translates the part of the passage as "When you tried to flee to West Germany..."). During the cyborgs' retirement prior to the arc, Albert is also stated to have returned to East Berlin and attempted to find work, which would seem a bit unusual for someone who was already in the West, suggesting that he had always lived and worked in the East and that perhaps the trucking job had been his opportunity of trying to break free. It may be that Ishinomori had not settled the details of the character's backstory with the lines from both arcs, or that he was in fact intended to be East German. Owing to the shifts in continuity and some details that were forgotten or changed over time, or that were only decided by further adaptations, there is enough ambiguity to allow for the character to have been from either side.