Review: Space Adventure Cobra (1982)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

Nostalgia can be a bad thing. It makes you remember things, being better than they really were, after a period of time has passed. I remember watching a cartoon, as a young lad, called M.A.S.K. about a bunch of guys that drove around in cars that could transform and they had to wear these masks to make the cars work. Watching it again recently was just downright painful. I thought the cheesiness of it all would kill me. Sometimes old things should be left buried. But who gets to decide whether something from the blackness of times past should be brought back to haunt the present? Whoever they are, they should be shot for deciding that Space Adventure Cobra needed to be brought back.

Space Adventure Cobra the movie (there are Manga and Anime series available, thankfully not easily acquirable in Australia) is a story about a space pirate named Cobra who is wanted by a guild – that run the many star systems of the future – with a rather large price on his wanted by bounty hunters everywhere. One the bounty hunters Jane Flower doesn’t want Cobra for the money, but for a prophecy that says she will fall in love with him and that he can save her world a long ago mythic planet (or star depending on which language track you listen to) along the lines of Atlantis. However there is a small problem. Only the rightful queen can save her planet and before she can become queen she has to either A) make her sisters all fall in love with the same man – Cobra – or B) be the last sister standing.

It’s not easily explained in the dialogue but it all boils down to the fact that the three Flower sisters are actually parts of what would normally be one whole person, and only if all the sisters love (love being seen as a an actual force in the universe, like… well I guess the best example is “The Force” from Star Wars) the same man, can they form this whole being that can save their world, however the universe will settle for the last one standing. This is slightly problematic in that one of the sisters is being brainwashed by the rib bone of the see-through leader of the bad guys known as Crystal Boy into believing she loves him.

If it sounds ridiculous that’s because it is. What scares me the most is that it is a very chauvinistic portrayal of the world. Even though the sisters are the ones that will eventually save the universe they need a man to do it, and every single major female character and a number of minor ones as well are killed, usually brutally. Fan service is found throughout the movie in nude shower scenes, tight costumes and the very nature of the plot of Cobra getting it on with the sisters – a fantasy to some members of the half of the species that I have the unfortunate problem of being a part of. And don’t get me started on the phallic nature of Crystal Boy’s head in one scene.

Is it completely useless? No. If you are someone that sees yourself past the problems already mentioned, you might be able to enjoy the art style that while dated doesn’t look as dodgy as I remember it being. The Japanese voice track is the way to go on this just because it does a better job of explaining concepts that they don’t bother to explain in the English track, such as what Cobra’s psycho gun is and how it works. It also removes the possibility of your brain imploding later when you are required to perform a complex task such as open a door.

Why did I review this film when I’d seen it before and knew what I was getting into? To save you guys from yourselves. I know what goes through your minds when you hear of film with a “character that gets it on with sisters” as one old friend put it. I took the bullet so you wouldn’t have to. But if you insist on watching this relic from the time of mullets and Yello (a band that had music in a English dub of the film which is now strangely absent from the soundtrack for unknown reasons) I suggest the following: friends; share the misery around and the laughter may just might deaden impact. If you are alone, the Japanese track is the way to go to avoid bad dubbing and other problems that are previously mentioned. I would say also consider alcohol, but I’m unsure of the average age of Heroic-Cinema readers, so only drink if you are of the legal age in your area and for god’s sake do it responsibly. Now I’m going to put something intelligent into the DVD player to reverse the effects of all this.

3 See-through bad guys out of 10.
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