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Space Adventure Cobra
Reviewer: Aaron Murphy 08/18/2009

Review:
An old school space opera with a lead to rival Lupin III, Space Adventure Cobra follows legendary pirate Cobra as he battles and steals his way through life with his trusty comrade Armoroid Lady and his über spaceship the Turtle.  Having grown tired of the hustle and bustle of being the most wanted man in the universe, Cobra decided to change his face and block his memories in an attempt to live a normal life.  Now, five years later, his peaceful existence is about to be thrown asunder when a chance encounter with an old nemesis revives the pirate within him.  With his psycho-gun back in action, Lady found and a spaceship to uncover, Cobra’s just about ready to resume his role as the most notorious pirate to ever traverse the vastness of space.  That is, as long as he can focus on the task at hand and not get too sidetracked by every beautiful woman that passes his way.

Cobra’s as much a lover of beautiful women as he is of priceless artifacts, and when he isn’t fighting off the Guild or Galactic patrol, he’s off planning and scheming for his next big heist and charming every woman he meets along the way.  Sadly wherever he goes and whatever he tries always seems to run him into someone trying to take him out.  The Guild is his arch nemesis; effectively a pirate conglomeration under the guise of a collective alliance whose goal is to overthrow the governments of all inhabited planets so they can rule all with an iron fist.  On the other side you have the Galactic Patrol, effectively the space police force tasked with keeping order and fighting against the forces that would cause havoc and chaos.  They’re namely working against the efforts of the Guild, but they also have to keep up the chase against Cobra too considering his line of work.  They often find themselves working together against the Guild however, as the old saying goes; the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  At least, whenever he can be of use anyway.

The stories mostly follow the same sort of pattern over Space Adventure Cobra’s three main story arcs.  Cobra heads out to steal some priceless bounty, but in the process it ends up either being somehow connected to or pursued by the Guild and thus his battle with them once again ensues.  The first arc follows Cobra as he tries to find the Nelson’s treasure, an item said to be the ultimate weapon, capable of conquering anything and everyone.  Nelson left a piece of the treasure map on each of his three daughters’ backs, and Cobra’s out to find them and put the map together before the Guild and their assassin Crystal Boy are able to.  This is where Cobra first meets Dominique; the only woman who appears throughout the series and whom Cobra is constantly fawning over.  The second tale centers on a mission request from Dominique who’s hoping Cobra will help her and the Galactic Police find out the Guild’s drug trafficking routes that are being funneled through a rug-ball stadium.  A mixture of rugby and baseball, they couldn’t have designed a more fitting game for Cobra’s indomitable body and spirit, and when the time comes to play a little ball on the field of honor, Cobra’s going to show them what a real man can do.  Finally, Space Adventure Cobra gets back to its roots with a climatic finish as Cobra battles against Salamander, the head boss of the Guild, in a bid for revenge against him and all his evil underlings after they killed someone close to him.  But nothing’s quite as it appears as he pulls together his old team in a last ditch effort to take out the head of the snake.

The episodes can be slightly repetitive in structure but damn do they have style.  Every episode you have Cobra decimating mountains of enemies with his psycho-gun (his left arm is an energy weapon controlled by his mind), making women swoon with his suave and irresistible charm, and just all around having fun no matter what situation he’s in.  Aside from a few choice areas of serious business, there’s a real focus on keeping things fun and lighthearted, even when Cobra has hordes of enemies trying to kill him as he’s juke-jiving around all their lasers.

That’s all part of Space Adventure Cobra’s allure.  You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the retro space opera greatness as Cobra and Lady tackle adventure after misadventure.  Lady is really the only other character that appears consistently throughout, usually in a supporting role.  She’s certainly practical to his purposes with her super tough metal humanoid body that holds a human spirit inside (however one does that), but I could never really come around to being a big fan.  I like my women to be flesh and blood, and Dominique fills that quota quite nicely.  Now if only she was in the series a bit more I could have fully contented myself with her ample presence.

Given its 1982 production, Space Adventure Cobra has the familiar look of a series made with hand painted cels and all the loving care that goes along with the old production method.  No, it’s not going to knock your socks off, especially if you’re a lover of eye candy, but both the animation and level of detail are high enough to satisfy anyone looking to span the 31 episodes of sheer enjoyment.  A varied, jazzy soundtrack complements the series extremely well, with its wonderful opening “Cobra” that really sets the stage for the entire series.  It definitely has a bit of 80’s flair to it, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.  Even though a Space Adventure Cobra movie has been dubbed long ago, I don’t hold much hope for the series, at least any time soon.  The Japanese language track is certainly up to par, even though the fansubs may not be the best out there.  But there’s not much one can do about that.

Space Adventure Cobra is an anime series that truly embodies what I love about the medium.  These episodes are just so much fun to watch, with such great style, charm and characters that seem to have been lost as time wore on.  That’s one of the best parts of these older titles, and they certainly don’t make them like this anymore.  Do yourself a favor and go watch some Cobra right now, you won’t regret it.

Miscellaneous:
Cobra had the most classically badass look to him before he changed his face.

Space Adventure Cobra has not be licensed in the US.

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Space Adventure Cobra
Space Adventure Cobra
Space Adventure Cobra
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Review Title:
Space Adventure Cobra
Type:
TV
Episodes:
31
Duration:
775 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1982-1983
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi,
Space
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