Space Adventure Cobra (1982-1983) anime series review

Rated: 3 / 5

So I got interested in seeing this after someone tweeted about how awesome that Sylvester Stalone movie Cobra is, and someone else tweeted how this is the other awesome Cobra. The cover they showed of the series was of the later OVA series, with this blonde aryan guy and some scantily clad babes. That was enough to catch my interest, and research led me to the original series. And once I read this portion of a review from T.H.E.M. anime 4.0:

The women in the show aren’t just there to receive Cobra’s crude compliments- oh, no. They are frequently nearly, or completely, nude- the most outrageous example was a woman who seemed perfectly comfortable in a bikini on a planet of ice and snow- and the women are ALSO there to be subjected to particularly cruel abuse, and gruesome murder, by the villains. If Cobra rescues them, they typically just increase their stay in this universe by only a few days, for while Cobra is good at snatching them out of the villains’ clutches, he’s lousy at keeping them that way. (In fairness, Cobra’s male buddies and helpers have a pretty high mortality rate, too.)

[…]

The good stuff caused me to go three stars here despite the show’s usually archaic attitude toward women.

http://www.themanime.org/viewreview.php?id=1815

Archaic attitude towards women? Well sign me the hell up. That made me want to watch that series about as badly as their negative review of Agent Aika made me want to watch that series:

heaps upon heaps of panty-clad ass, and you have Agent Aika. It SHOULD probably have been a guilty pleasure, but becomes more of an overdose. EVERY action scene seems to end up with unconscious females lying with their butts poking up into the air. And, of course, the future has miniskirts being the only female-approved attire. This OAV series has more panties than I’ve ever seen in any anime before, and I’ve seen only half of it.

[…]

I really can’t recommend you watching this unless you do have a panty or ass fetish. For everyone else, this just becomes too much.

[…]

There’s a lot of violence, some deaths (one rather icky one too), nudity, and a neverending supply of ass.

http://www.themanime.org/viewreview.php?id=679
From Agent Aika. Don’t play the drinking game of taking a shot every time a panty shot happens; you’ll die of liver failure before you make through just one episode.

It doesn’t matter how much they say a show or movie sucks because of misogyny and objectifying and oversexualizing women. At this point, that’s a cow bell for me. Unless oversexualizing involves having an ungodly boob size. I mean, there’s small tits, voluptuous tits, and then there’s ungodly tits that could smother you to death because they weigh at least as much as you do. I only go for the two former options, and this series, like most 80s animation, went for the middle-ground voluptuous option. And by voluptuous, I mean the “ideal” boobs, the perfectly shaped boobs. A real woman’s boobs. The type of boobs the modern day feminist and beta bitch man-wannabes envy so badly that they either decide to get implants (with the beta bitch-man wannabes making themselves even less manly and more beta-bitchy), or shame all the good looking women into hating themselves and making their employers hate them too, so they make them lose jobs and job opportunities. Because I’ve had enough of a world where voluptuous women are shamed so much that we can’t have NASCAR chicks or good-looking cheerleaders anymore (mark my words, that will also become the case for waitresses at restaurants too, where these fat-ass bimbos who shove so much food down their system like the pigs they are, they don’t even realize their boobs have already reached into the ungodly size spectrum, like their asses).

Not okay. This is just downright disturbing (and not from the show).
At least her entire body size is proportional to her boob size here.

Wait, where was I going with this? Oh right. The point being voluptuous women are good-looking, and the 80s was honest enough with itself to know that. So pretty much every chick in this anime has a voluptuous figure. And I’m not ashamed to admit I enjoy looking at these figures. To compound things further, I also have no problem with how the women are portrayed in this. I say we should respect any society where pretty much all the women dress in scantily clad outfits, indicating they are proud of their looks (and thank God none of the ugly bitches are strutting around doing that in this series, I get enough of their fatasses shoved in my face in modern film and media).

So with that out of the way, this series did two things. One, it made me realize Trigun completely ripped this off. Seriously, the protagonist dodges bullets and/or lasers while sounding like a goof doing it.

And his arm is also a giant laser cannon.

Fuck you Vash!

Two, it also made me realize Total Recall ripped this off. Because the entire first episode is basically Total Recall. Then again, Total Recall came out in 1990, Space Cobra came out in 1982, and Philip K. Dick’s We Can Remember It For You For Wholesale came out in 1966.

Well anyway, the series isn’t something I’d say is consistently entertaining. The first 13 episodes, they are pure gold. An overarching story linking virtually all of them together, which is something that surprised me. I was expecting this to be more episodic in nature. However, after episode 13, that is what the show becomes. Highly episodic, stand-alone episodes. Every now and then you might get something that has 2, maybe 3 consecutive episodes in a story arc, but none of them would be as good as those first 13 episodes. The first 13 had an interesting premise that was ripped off by some shitty live action show that came out several years ago whose name I can’t remember (it had to do with an intricate tattoo on a woman’s back). It had a couple shocking twists, and a solid final villain to close the story on.

Crystal Boy. I’m not kidding, that’s his name.

It’s kinda like that other longer running anime Rurouni Kenshin, where the first half of that show was one long ongoing story arc, and then after the final villain got killed everything else after it was just padded filler until the final episode. Except in this case, it’s not even half the series, it’s just the first 13 out of 31 episodes. Everything else is filler until you get to episode 26, when it finally gets interesting again. Mainly because it pics up on a few things where episode 13 left off (if you ignore a couple of the stand-alone episodes where a significant character shows up again off and on).

The robot sidekick’s name is Lady. That’s not a joke either.

That being said, there were a couple episodes not related to the “significant” ones that I found quite good. There’s a 3-episode arc one involving a more violent form of baseball, like that Nintendo game from 1991 called Base Wars. And then this one episode where he steals some jewels and bands together with these militants to get to this airport. Aside from those two, most of the other episodes weren’t all that memorable to me.

Can’t use the arm cannon all the time. He needs another cannon, with bullets.

As for the finale and the last story arc, it’s good and all. But I didn’t care for how they decided to end the series on a goofball note. I mean, I can find entertainment in tonal whiplash, but that’s different when it comes to the ending. Wish it was less goofy and more sincere with things. Regardless, it’s decent enough closure for the show.

Overall, there’s enough fun moments in this series to make it a worthwhile watch. I’m more of a sucker for series that have one overarching storyline going on (except Cowboy Bebop, because that’s an exceptional one, and each stand-alone episode serves a certain purpose in the overall scheme, even if it doesn’t seem like it does on the surface), so this series loses points for dropping that format for a time (I guess God said He would smite them if they didn’t make this longer than 13 episodes). And the resolution to both arcs were mostly satisfying, just not enough to have a cherry on top. But despite its faults, there aren’t enough shows that are like this in existence, let alone ones that are good. Shows where the man can be a man, women can be damsels in distress (with a few being capable of holding their own), women can be saved by the alpha male, and everyone can have a good time. And seeing as how this is getting a blu-ray release soon, that will be a perfect opportunity to get a hold of it. Unless you want to track it down somewhere online and watch it for free.

And just remember. In this day and age, retro is the future. At least when you go retro, you realize they had bigger ambitions for the future, with space travel and colonization and everything. They were more focused with looking ahead towards a futuristic society that expanded mankind’s presence in the universe and acknowledged how we are capable of great feats and achievements, without spending too much time on looking down and backwards to focus more on our faults and the ways we come up short. So be more like the retro 80s and 90s (in some cases 70s), and hope for a future primarily run by white guys with blonde hair who get all the good looking voluptuous babes (of which there are aplenty) in the galaxy (and be grateful they treat women better than Duke Nukem does).

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