Well it finally happened. After years of searching, I finally found an Osamu Dezaki anime I liked more than the one with the angsty boy who never does anything and the sweet girl who sings about dangos and ended up dying in the last third because it’s not a touching drama until someone is dead. Now I admit to never seeing any of Dezaki’s non-Key films, let alone finishing any one of his f*cking long series that drag so much that they make me want to throw my hands in the air, turn off the screen, and go hang around on Twitter like an anti-social nerd. I did notice that almost all of them are franchise films though. Golgo 13? Hamtaro? Black Jack? The only two films he directed that are attached to series he also did are Aim for the Ace and Space Adventure Cobra.
The latter is what I’m looking at for in this review and apparently it’s a different interpretation of what happens in the series, but I’m not going to be doing any comparisons as I won’t be finishing the series until the second part gets released in a few weeks and it wouldn’t affect the quality of the film in any way. In other words, it wouldn’t increase nor decrease just how fucking AWESOME it was.
I’m no stranger to the Cobra franchise due to watching that revival a few years back, but in case you guys haven’t seen it (and not many of you jackasses did because you’re awful people who would rather watch a shitty Nodame sequel during that cold dark Winter of 2010) I’ll fill you in. Cobra is a wanted man with the highest bounty in the universe who is handsome, strong, and all-around perfect to the fact that Jesus Christ worships him. He has a female assistant named Lady who dresses in some metallic suit and does fuck all, and together they go adventuring across the stars, helping out women dressed in clothing so skimpy you’d probably mistake them for the cast of Highschool DxD – except with blond hair – and fighting bad guys who you know Cobra is going to beat the crap out, but they’re so varied and entertaining that you don’t give a crap.
Most notable of the bad guys is Crystal Boy, who’s basically the Joker to Cobra in that whilst you know he’ll never be able to win, he’s the archenemy of the show that provides a great contrast to our hero due to Cobra’s most powerful weapon not affecting him, having legions of henchmen to do his bidding, and being much more interesting than our main…okay he doesn’t quite reach that level of Joker-dom. But he kicks ass nevertheless.
It’s basically pulpy space opera at its best and if you have something against that, then obviously you were born with genes so recessive that it’s a miracle you can operate an electronic device to read this review.
Cobra’s adventures pretty much rely on whatever substance is given to him and whether he can chew on it harder than that oversized cigar he always carries in his mouth, and in this particular adventure, the substance given to him is how he deals with “love”. That’s right. Love. A weapon so powerful that Ma-Ti from Captain Planet could use it to cause more damage than all the Smash Ball attacks from Super Smash Bros Brawl combined if the show had been written by someone who knew what AIDs actually was. And not with just one lady. But three. Sisters. It’s the harem anime movie we’ve always wanted, and it was made years before that blasted genre existed.
The actual story details elude me, partly because I was too busy admiring Cobra’s muscles and charisma and practically everything that I’d want to be if I was space-travelling – let alone be in real life – and partly because I don’t get what the actual importance of the grand plan was. Apparently those three sisters I mentioned above are the only ones left of some doomed planet and when two of them die or all three fall in love with the same person, that planet gets revived. Whilst I can understand reviving a civilization, I don’t really get what Crystal Boy gets out of it. He becomes ruler or something? He gets enough cash to make Scrooge McDuck weep? He makes his gold metallic body shiny to the point that he’ll have the power to blind his enemies when light refracts off of him? I’ve seen plotlines in Legend of the Galactic Heroes that were easier to understand than this.
Also, the whole bounty-hunter sister just disappearing into the other sister because she fell in love with him? Yeah, how does that make sense?
The only part I really understood, besides Cobra being the invincible hero who wins in the end obviously, was the way the film deals with the whole romance angle. Cobra and the first sister fall in love. They eventually get separated because of that disappearance mumbo-jumbo I mentioned earlier. The second sister falls in love with Cobra, but he’s not ready to move on so soon and resists. The third sister is brainwashed by Crystal Boy to love him and when she eventually gets free (not a spoiler because that plot point is more predictable than Barney the Dinosaur singing “I Love You” at the end of every fucking episode of that fucking show), she (actual spoiler) rejects the whole love thing and basically dooms her planet so that its power – whatever the fuck that was – can’t be used for evil.
Considering that Dezaki is known for directing dramas, I don’t think this was all an accident. I think he purposefully wanted this particular Cobra story to be a metaphor for what Seo Kouji tries and fails to do in every single thing he writes. You see Mr. Kouji, you don’t have to have the most unlikeable people on the planet go through angry misunderstanding after angry misunderstanding for over two-hundred f*cking chapters (which is the equivalent of like a three to four-cour series) to show the pains of first love, moving on, and the final inevitable conclusion. Sometimes, all you need is a flawless guy with a gun for his arm sailing through space on his ship with his lady cyborg fighting men made out of crystal and aliens that would give the one in Star Wars a run for their money. It surprisingly works a lot better than trying to emulate real life. Or not so surprisingly because experience has shown that anything that tries to emulate real life is almost always less realistic than Dragonball F*cking Z.
Being a guy who has a soft spot for romance at heart and a love for the whole space western thing more than Justin Bieber loves being a massive douchebag, it was pretty much guaranteed I would love this movie. But the icing on the cake that really complements how awesome it is is the animation/art direction. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the shit production of Magic Bus’s revival, but the visuals in this thing blew me away. It doesn’t exactly make you feel like you’re in space, Gravity-style, or anything, but it does a great job of adding atmosphere to the whole shebang beyond just moving pictures. It’s kind of like how we thought the N64’s polygon graphics looked impressive at the time, but when the Gamecube came into town, not only was the eye candy causing us to need glasses 3x faster, but suddenly the opening to Mario 64 causes more nightmares than learning that someone on this godforsaken planet thought it’d be a good idea to make another Garbage Pail Kids film.
In other words, go see this movie unless you hate awesome things. You monster!