Review: Space Adventure Cobra

Discotek Media (Blu-ray / DVD)

Space Adventure Cobra Blu-ray.jpgAnime has a long tradition of heroes who hide their skills behind a cover of overt oafishness.  Captain Tyler, Vash the Stampede, and Cobra.  Perhaps Japanese culture favours modesty, preferring their superheroes keep their super-ness to themselves,  lest they seem boastful or arrogant.

Cobra is a space pirate with a basic sense of morality.  He doesn’t do anything bad in the movie, and you don’t get the impression that he ever would.  It makes you wonder how he came to be the most wanted man in history.  They should probably make a movie about that.

Anyway, Cobra gets involved with a woman who has stars for nipples.  She is one of three sisters, separately or jointly destined to rule as queen on the planet Miras.  One of the sisters is in the clutches of a crime leader named Crystal Boy, presumably on account of his translucent skin.

I loved the mix of mild-fantasy with science fiction in the film.  It was reminiscent of Galaxy Express 999, in that it depicts space as a place of wonder where anything you can imagine can happen. It’s the fashion in sci-fi these days to have everything be ‘real’ and ‘gritty.’  It’s nice to see a movie that remembers sci-fi can be ‘fun’ as well.

Design-wise, the movie reflects it production date of 1982; flashing colours and women with big hair.  The animation is actually really nice for something of this vintage.  It’s fluid and exaggerated, and includes some superfluous motion that cheaper productions would have left out (like having saliva fly out of a head’s mouth once it’s punched).

Cobra is a likable enough character.  His cigar chomping gruff exterior doesn’t match his personality, which is sweet and noble.  For instance, after he had slept with one of the sisters, he was approached by the next, but clumsily turned her down, as he still cared for the first (not what you’d expect from the killer space pirate).

Space Adventure Cobra is a very campy action/sci-fi film.  If you like the B movie aesthetic and pulp sci-fi storytelling, you’ll be very happy with this.

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