Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie – Nonstop And That’s It

Space Adventure and Dezaki

The late 70’s to early 80’s in the early world created the time period or space adventure series. The more I see it, the more I agree with so many people how the original Space Battleship Yamato film, recap or otherwise, along with the appearance of the first Star Wars film, created that desire for more science fiction in this time period. I’ve watched a lot of space based anime series much to my love because it’s my catnip. It leaves me fulfilled and I need to look more into series from the late 70’s and early 80’s then I have because I feel like there is a massive gap I’m missing. That is something for the future and not now. 

But anyway, the push for science fiction space anime resulted in some really cool people and/or anime creators working on producing some of those series. Osamu Dezaki, famous for Tomorrow’s Joe and Aim for the Ace among other series, took part in this and worked on one of them. Well, I think you know which series that is at this point because I am writing about its movie. Which is great because Dezaki also worked on this film too. Especially with this being based on a manga series that was on Weekly Shonen Jump from 1978 to 1984. This was another surprise to see how much anime and Shonen Jump has changed since then.

The Adventure Starts

Space Adventure Cobra starts with the appearance of a bad ass bounty hunter stalking her prey. Her name is Jane Flowers and she kills a creature, takes its head, and then boasts about her hunt in a bar. An event that leads to the mysterious “Cobra”, whether or not it’s him, follows her to her home to confront her. Something which she doesn’t believe because this guy named Cobra died and also had his arm replaced by something called “The Psycho Gun”. Whether you would be surprised or not, Cobra proved himself during a car chase after the head came back alive and he used his weapon during a car chase to cobra’s ship underneath a cemetery.

So yeah, that is the beginning of this space adventure between Cobra and a simple group intending to rule the Universe called the “Pirate Guild”. A group controlled by the invisible Crystal Boy or Bowie depending on which version of this film you watch. It is a journey that is almost nonstop in nature in a sci-fi pulp sort of way as Cobra travels from one planet to another to face the mighty foe which seeks to eliminate Cobra’s existence and have all of space underneath his thumb. Can Cobra and his really attractive robot assistant Lady Armaroid as they face the adventure of their life dealing with all the crazy deaths and plots they all come across. 

This Is Non Stop, But I Love It

This film is a large bit of chaos. Not only with how it’s directed in a very psychedelic way with some very large amounts of sexually charged imagery at points. That feels like Dezaki experimenting a little bit here and there like he did with Golgo 13: The Professional which really bended what was possible and efficient while on a movie screen. So there is that very interesting direction there, but also a lot of things appear out of nowhere or are introduced in such a strange way that will really wreck people who need a solid and easily follow-able plot. Part of it feels like an introduction film introducing its cast, but not a lot of people last long enough to be in that supposed next film if there was one. I guess there is a television series, but regardless…

So yes, a lot of strange concepts show up in the film and you have to be able to accept them otherwise the film will be no fun. The concept of Professor Tepporo, who is an unusual space being, floating through space and affirming what Jane Flowers says about love is a part of that. Or the concept of Jane being a special space being who holds romantic feelings with her two other triplets after falling in love with Cobra. That it means their love is spread across the bounds of the galaxy and how love can transcend time and space. Can you imagine someone falling in with Cobra that hard after only meeting him? 

The thing is that I love that sort of energy because most films aren’t like this. So many space opera series or anime either don’t have the animation prowess or the sense of imagination to keep going at that insanity. You know, even with that energy being from the manga itself. It still takes a creative crew to see those ideas and put them on a film screen in such creative ways. That and I’ve learned to love overly expressive anime that dip in the level of the psychological in their visuals. It is peak animation to have the ability to do whatever the creator wants to do even if it’s working the crew’s fingers to the bones. That is what makes a lot of this so worth it to me. 

Love Is Transcendent

 If there is one main idea throughout the film, it’s that love is more powerful than anything. The film and the show are called Space Adventure Cobra which means that you would naturally expect the film to be about him. No, I think the film is him only being the focal point of the film. His warm sense of feeling that he can gain against Crystal Boy/Bowie who is the epitome of everything that isn’t human. Can you call a character built from a golden skeleton and an impenetrable clear skin a human? No you can’t? The two are only facing the effects of love.

The main characters of Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie are the three triplets. Those being Jane Flowers who is the bad ass bounty hunter, Dominique the resistance leader on an ice planet who gets Jane’s love sent to her after Jane dies, and Catherine who is actually in love with Crystal Bowie/Boy until the end where she changes her mind to save the universe itself. Yes, she does just like the others but she doesn’t regret falling in love with Cobra just like the others. Cobra may seem like a woman chaser in the opening, but he is an honest person that you can see why people would fall in love with him besides his bad ass musk and good looks.

Space Adventure Cobra and Freedom

This film is incredible on the animation front. I know that I already mentioned the Dezaki direction and the beautiful animation already, but it is worth mentioning again. This film is amazing and while it does stop and rest at points, it still moves around to keep going too. For instance, one part of the film dedicates so much to wanting to move around that Cobra swims in a fluffy carpet while Catherine was providing exposition to the current situation. The whole film is just alive with space ships, planet scapes, space aliens that look really cool all carried by great animation. Not sure what else to say on that front.

Space Adventure Cobra is a really fun sort of classic pulp fiction. I’m talking about stuff like Flash Gordon and/or John Carter of Mars. That means one guy saving the universe while traveling from place to place, the James Bond sort of attraction that women have for him, some stuff with a sexual sort of angle, and the women’s inevitable deaths too unfortunately. So yeah, there are a lot of things that make this film outdated in 2023, but for its time it’s just a lot of fun. You can see a lot of those time periods flaws, point them out, but yet still enjoy it and that is where I am with this film and I would recommend this film if you can walk into it with the same way of thinking. 


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