|“||It is a disposable world, 009. And now your time has come too.||„|
|~ Skull taunting Cyborg 009.|
|“||For years I have sold weapons to countries that are at war, and now they are prepared to strike their targets and destroy each other at my command!||„|
|~ Skull revealing his plans to the 00 Cyborgs.|
Skull (in Japanese: スカール Sukāru), known in the Tokyopop English translation of the manga as Scar and in the English dub of the 2001 anime as Black Ghost, is the primary antagonist of Cyborg 009. He is the tyrannical leader of the arms dealing organization Black Ghost. Skull and his organization seek to make a profit by either starting wars or escalating existing wars so they can sell their weaponry to both sides. His true identity is not known, but he is shown to be an incredibly powerful cyborg.
Skull played a direct role in the creation of the 00 cyborg line, ordering their kidnappings and overseeing their cybernetic conversion.
He is voiced by Norio Wakamoto, who also voices M. Bison in Street Fighter. In the English dub, Skull is voiced by Richard Epcar, who also voices the Joker in Mortal Combat vs. DC Universe and Colonel Icebot.
Encounters with the 00 Cyborgs
Skull oversaw the development of all nine of the 00 cyborgs. When Cyborg 009 woke up and tried to escape, Skull ordered the scientists to fill the room with tranquilizer gas.
Later, when the 00 cyborgs infiltrate the base where the Black Phantom was being developed, Skull contacted Commander Skarr and ordered him to activate the base's bombs. After Skarr set off the explosives, Skull killed him, having no more use for him. Skull then taunted 009 before disappearing.
Skull later held a conference with Black Ghost's executives and affiliates, where he presented to them the destructive capabilities of Cyborg 0013 as it devastated Tokyo. However, the 00 cyborgs interfered and were able to disable 0013's stealth shield. Skull ordered for 0013 to be immediately sent back underground. However, Cyborg 009 convinced 0013 to turn over a new leaf and 0013 sacrificed himself to escape Black Ghost's control.Skull later contacted the three scientists who led 0013's development team via hologram, and executed them for not making a stronger robot. He then sent Dr. Beruku and Captain Zanburozu to recover the brain.
Later, Skull attempted to elevate the conflict in the West African nation Muamba to cause an all-out global war. He did so first by sending Cyborgman #1 to deliver the "Black Monster" supertank to the Muamban rebels. Skull later met with Unbaba, the dictator of Muamba, and convinced him to buy Black Ghost's weapons. With Metal X involved, Skull planned for America to enter the war, causing other countries to follow. Skull's plan was ultimately foiled again by the 00 cyborgs, who aided the rebels in overthrowing Unbaba.
Skull then contacted Commander Farej, the Black Ghost official in charge of the incident in Muamba, and offered him a chance to redeem himself by eliminating the 00 cyborgs. However, Farej ended up unintentionally helping the cyborgs infiltrate Black Ghost's headquarters by bringing them there, thinking they were dead. As punishment for his failure, Skull set Farej on fire, burning him to death.
Vs. Cyborg 009
|“||Hey cyborg, come out come out wherever you are. I know you're hiding in there. I have a proposition for you. What do you think about a little one-on-one? You and me, mano a mano? If you win your friends go free.||„|
|~ Skull to Cyborg 009.|
Skull's ReturnIn truth Skull had survived the explosion. He sent Van Bogoot to take control of the Yomi Kingdom so they could use the Pu'Awak people to complete the Demon Statue, Black Ghost's ultimate superweapon. After Bogoot captured Cyborgs 006, 007, 008 and Dr. Gilmore, Skull had him lead them to where the Demon Statue was being worked on. The four were shocked to see that Skull was still alive. Skull laughed and had them thrown in a dungeon. He then talked with Van Bogoot about the Demon Statue.
When the Zattan attempted to reclaim the Yomi Kingdom, Skull activated the Demon Statue and used it to completely kill off the reptile-like creatures. After the death of Van Bogoot, Skull gloated to the 00 Cyborgs about his plan before activating the bomb beneath them and taking off in the Demon Statue.
|“||I've enjoyed watching you suffer, but all good things must come to an end. That's right, although you cyborgs aren't smart enough to realize it, every last detail is complete, and the countdown to your destruction has already begun.||„|
|~ Skull taunting the 00 Cyborgs.|
However, 001 teleported Gilmore and the 00 cyborgs out of there just in time. All of them landing in the ocean except for 009, whom 001 teleported inside the Demon Statue.
Skull faced off against 009 and easily overpowered the cyborg. Skull decided to show 009 the "true form" of Black Ghost, revealing Black Ghost's true leaders to be three brains. 009 then breaks free of Skull's grip. Skull attempts to damage 009 by spitting acid at him, but he misses. 009 then knocks Skull's head off, revealing him to be a brain piloting a robot suit. Skull transforms his arms into talons and pins 009 up against a wall. Skull brags to 009 that he is the superior cyborg, but 009 tells Skull that he is nothing more than a "puppet controlled by a faceless evil force" before knocking Skull's arms off.Skull charged and fired his ultimate attack at 009, but the attack was stopped by the Black Ghost brains. The three brains then executed Skull for almost destroying them. They attempt to kill 009 too, but he moves out of the way of their electricity blasts.
The brains then arm all of their weapons across the globe, setting the stage for another global war. Before anything can come of it though, 009 shoots the interior of the statue, causing it to begin to collapse. However, the brains state that the Black Ghost organization is universal and that they are just cells in a network of Black Ghost that will continue exist as long there's evil in men's heart.
Skull's identity was later taken up by the leader of Neo Black Ghost, a successor organization to the original Black Ghost seeking to follow in their footsteps. The Neo Black Ghost leader makes his debut in the "Golden Triangle" arc and later reappears in the "Aphrodite" arc.
Skull was split into two one-shot antagonists for the 1968 Cyborg 009 anime: Skull Mask and Ghost.
Skull appears as the secondary antagonist of the Cyborg 009 SF Roman light novel. He fills a similar role to what he did in the "Underground Empire of Yomi" arc in the manga.
Sega Mega CD Game
Skull appears as a boss in the 1993 Cyborg 009 game for the Sega Mega CD.
The Skull Man (2007)
Skull makes an appearance at the end of the 2007 anime adaption of Skull Man where his true identity is revealed to be the Skull Man, a suit created by Tatsuo Kagura's father and worshipped by an unnamed religious group. The suit grants its user powers at the expense of turning them into a ruthless killer.
At the end of the anime, the suit takes control of the second Skull Man, Hayato Mikogami, and remodels him into Skull. Skull then takes up leadership of Black Ghost (which appears here under the cover of a corporation called "Brain Gear"). The final sees shows Skull talking with an unseen entity (possibly the Generalissimo). It is unknown how canon this origin is to Cyborg 009 however.
Cyborg 009 vs. DevilmanSkull appears in the Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman OVA as a minor, but important antagonist.
He later makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film, where he is seen standing in front of the Generalissimo.
Skull wears a black suit with a yellow ribcage on the front, a black cape with a red interior and white boots and gloves. His defining feature however, is his skull-shaped helmet, hence where he gets his name from.
Upon returning, Skull's appearance undergoes a few changes. He wears red boots and gloves instead of white ones; instead of a yellow ribcage on his chest, he has a red slot where his brain can be seen, and his cape has a blue interior instead of a red one.
Skull is shown to be incredibly cold and manipulative, willing to escalate wars into global conflicts just to generate more sales for his weapons. He is also very affable and persuasive when need be, such as when he presented his weapons capabilities to Unbaba.
Skull is also incredibly ruthless and will not hesitate to terminate a subordinate who has failed him. Even if subordinate succeeds in his mission Skull will still kill the underling if he feels his purpose has been served, such as with Commander Skarr. He also seems to enjoy taunting his enemies, as he mocks Dr. Gilmore after incapacitating all of the 00 Cyborgs.
Powers and Abilities
Skull's cybernetic augmentations grant him immense strength and endurance. He also has an Accelerator that allows him to run at supersonic speeds equal to, if not greater than, Cyborg 009. Other abilities Skull has include the ability to spit acid from his head and the ability to turn his arms into spikes. His most powerful attack, however, is his ability to summon a giant ball of electricity and fire it at an opponent. While it's destructive capacity is never seen, it is implied to be very high, as the Generalissimo stopped the attack due to fearing it would cause damage to the Demon Statue.
|“||Well now Cyborg 009. I have been admiring your accomplishments, you are quite a destructive little weapon.||„|
|~ Skull to 009 after 009 meets him face to face.|
|“||All of you embody the concept of Black Ghost. You are my friends who truly believe in the power to rule society. Welcome to a demonstration of our latest weapon. First, please take a look at our target location. Tokyo, a city of overcrowded with people who fear that a disastrous earthquake could come at any time. An ideal target for our next attack. Now I will show you all an active demonstration of our destructive power. I give you, Cyborg 0013.||„|
|~ Skull showcasing Cyborg 0013's abilities to Black Ghost's investors.|
|“||My esteemed engineers of the Cyborg 0013 project, I, Black Ghost, cannot believe that such a hardworking and talented group such as you could have failed me this way. Please explain it to me.||„|
|~ Skull to three leaders of Cyborg 0013's development team following the cyborg's destruction.|
|“||I know everything. You might say I am a seer.||„|
|~ Skull to Unbaba in Episode 14.|
|“||Remember, we must capture them first, and then disassemble them for our research. If all we wanted to do was destroy them, it would not be a difficult task. Our satellite-deployed particle beams could take care of that instantly. However, that's not all we want. We need to find out how these mere prototype cyborgs are getting their powers. We have to obtain this important secret gentlemen. The very future of our entire Black Ghost organization depends on it. We must view these cyborgs as a real threat to our association, and we of the Black Ghost must never be bothered by any threats. Nothing will stand in our way! Nothing will stop us! We will smash all of the opposition and rule supreme!||„|
|~ Skull to the other members of Black Ghost's leadership council.|
|“||Commander Farej, I shall give you one more chance to redeem yourself. Capture the 00 Cyborgs and bring them to me. We will find their power source. And if you fail this time you're through!||„|
|~ Skull to Farej after his failure in Muamba.|
|“||Cyborgs. Finally I have found you. I am Black Ghost. I have come to offer you traitors a chance to surrender. If you give yourselves up now, I, Black Ghost, will welcome you back into my organization and I will spare you your lives. Otherwise I'm afraid I will have to destroy all of you.||„|
|~ Skull to the 00 Cyborgs via hologram.|
|“||All this is the result of your own doing, Gilmore. But never fear my friend, you will get to watch them as they are melted down in my furnace.||„|
|~ Skull to Dr. Gilmore after defeating Cyborg 009 and capturing the other 00 Cyborgs.|
|“||Greetings, old friends.||„|
|~ Skull to Cyborgs 006, 007, 008 and Dr. Gilmore after revealing himself to still be alive.|
|“||Our forces are in place and ready to wreak havoc on the world the moment the Demon Statue is completed.||„|
|~ Skull to Van Bogoot in Episode 47.|
|“||The Demon Statue, the symbol of my great Black Ghost organization, is finally done. Now we're ready to demonstrate our invincibility for all the world to see.||„|
|~ Skull upon the Demon Statue's completion.|
|“||You overgrown lizards. We should have finished you off long ago.||„|
|~ Skull to the Zattan before using the Demon Statue to wipe them all out.|
|“||For a scientist you'd make a great lab rat, Dr. Gilmore. I'm capable of more than your textbooks can possibly imagine.||„|
|~ Skull to Dr. Gilmore in Episode 48.|
- In a possible shout-out to another one of Shotaro Ishinomori's works, the container that houses Skull's brain in the 2001 anime resembles the head of Hakaider from the Kikaider manga.