Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie (Supēsu Adobenchā Kobura) (1982)
Space Adventure Cobra was another gap in my anime viewing history and I’m glad that I’ve now seen the film, as it was fascinating to experience so much psychedelia within a post-Star Wars, action-adventure Space Opera.
There’s also a bit of the horniness common to Bond films present, and what I considered a dash of Lupin, yet if I go too far with the comparisons I’ll probably do the characters a bit of a disservice.
If any of that sounds like your thing, then let me add that you’ll also encounter aliens, laser-arms, spaceships, mystical powers, fun cheesy names like ‘Crystal Boy’ and even snow-boarding rebels facing off against a powerful Pirate Guild 🙂
In a way, it comes across as a wild grab-bag of stuff… or even a somewhat stoned version of the Pulp genres, but I certainly didn’t find that any reason to stop watching. It was heaps of fun, something that maybe I forget to gravitate toward sometimes. Or perhaps I’m just easy to please when it comes to my fiction?
But while I do think I’m fairly forgiving, for me it all works, at least in part due to the pacing.
Space Adventure Cobra is not a short movie, and it covers a lot of ground (or space, I guess I should say) but does so at a fair clip, which keeps you watching. Due to that pacing I didn’t always get enough time to really interrogate some of the things I saw, I just accepted that everything fit together in the universe and found myself instead wondering, just how far could bravado take Cobra on his quest to save the beautiful Royal Sisters and escape the Pirate Guild?
This isn’t all to claim that the adaptation lacks flaws for me… but I haven’t read Buichi Terasawa’s manga, so I can’t focus on differences/omissions there. Instead, I’ll note that the animation can swing from lovely to quite uneven and I don’t know if the psychedelic-naked-chick-montages do much beyond establish a tone (or that retro aesthetic) but otherwise, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that characterisation takes a back seat to action in terms of balance.
Should you check out this classic?
If like me, you’ve always been curious, then yeah. Because while there are parts of Space Adventure Cobra that will feel quite derivative, to contrast that, I think the inventive side of the film compliments the action-adventure feel and so maybe you’ll find plenty to enjoy after all, especially if you can watch it as a product of its time.*
*Part of me really dislikes that term, but it’s fairly apt here I guess.