Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie

#26: Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie

Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie Poster

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Introduction + What we’ve been watching + News (0:00)

Reader Email (29:55):

We attempt to answer your questions about Shin Godzilla, which we reviewed last episode.

Review (42:25):

The space pirate Cobra with his android partner Lady cross the galaxy in search of thrills, treasure, and, yes, adventure!  Cobra first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1978 and is old school space opera through and through, of the sort found in old pulps of yesteryear, with a dash of Barbarella, Bond, Star Wars, Westerns, and any bizarre idea creator Buichi Terasawa can come up with, thrown into the mix.  The film version followed in 1982.  Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha with the backing of the studio’s top talent, such as legendary director Osamu Dezaki, character designer and animation director Akio Sugino, and art director Shichiro Kobayashi, Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie is a kaleidoscopic, tripped out, wild and weird ride from start to finish, featuring some of Dezaki’s most satisfingly “out there” direction.

Twitter Questions (1:47:26)

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5 thoughts on “#26: Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie”

  1. *ahrm* [insufferable nerd nitpicking voice] I’ll have you know that there was an EGREGIOUS error of EXTREME importance in this recording. The ace was indeed achieved goddamn it! A side character literally says “she got the ace!” out loud. [/voice]

    At my private (intended monthly) anime gathering I started 10 days ago with the goal of trying to take a more serious or in-depth approach to anime. My audience was basically my friends who are not hardcore anime fans, but open to stuff that is not just modern anime. Since basically they knew no anime directors and I was trying to encourage them to look into that stuff, I decided to focus on Osamu Dezaki (one of my favorite anime directors period) for the first meeting, with the idea that he has such a recognizable visual style that it would be one of the easier directors to look into and than other directors. I started the gathering with a ~15 minute presentation to showcase the visual trademarks of Osamu Dezaki (or really, the golden combo), leaving the postcard memories for the end since that’s what everyone always brings up even though there is much more to Dezaki + Sugino’s visual style than that. I showed both Aim for the Ace (1979) and Space Adventure Cobra (1982), trying to demonstrate the two extremes (manly and ULTRA-MANLY i.e. girly) of Dezaki’s directorial efforts. As far as Dezaki’s visual styles the Aim for the Ace movie might be the strongest representation of his experimental approach to lighting and camerawork. My friends reacted to it very well, one of them saying “that was the best cinematography I have ever seen in anime”. Unfortunately it seems the Aim for the Ace movie doesn’t get as much attention as Dezaki’s other work but I’m glad I’m not the only one going back and checking it out in 2017.

    Compared to Aim for the Ace, the lighting and camerawork in the Space Adventure Cobra movie is more restrained without losing the unique flair of the golden combo. I think this does make the latter movie more visually accessible (of course the higher budget helps). I love both the Cobra movie and the TV series that followed afterwards. My friend who loved the camerawork in the Aim for the Ace movie was not pleased with the plot progression of the Cobra movie, but in spite of the plot overall everyone had a visual blast like you guys. I am personally not too critical about the substance of the movie, but I thought the comparison in the podcast episode of this movie with the Cobra TV series was very spot-on as far as Cobra’s characterization is concerned. I give Dezaki a lot more of a pass when it comes to diverging from the tone of source material just because his portrayal of melodrama is so strong. In general, I find it easier to enjoy a tonal shift from comedic to grave and serious than vice-versa.

    It’ll probably never happen *wink wink*, but it would be great if Discotek picked up the Aim for the Ace movie (come on they licensed Chargeman Ken!)

    The term I use when referring to nostalgia for a time in which you never lived is theoretical nostalgia. I can empathize with this very much and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one when it comes to anime.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m always fascinated by stories like this, since I never had the “aniime club” experience. It’s great that the crowd you showed it to responded so positively, which I think is a testament to Dezaki’s work.

      On a side note, I find myself hoping for a daring Discotek rescue for a lot of properties these days…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My school had an “anime club” but it was not my sort of thing at all. I realize that what I want in an anime club (a place where people actually discuss what they watched; a place to go see anime that was unlike anything they had seen prior; a place where anime was more than just a cesspool of memes to people) is basically the opposite of what anyone should do if they actually wanted people in the seats.

        The gathering I described was a very careful selection that amounted to four of my friends, because I really don’t have the patience for dealing with certain kinds of bs (like people trying to do their own MST3K). It is the anime club I wanted really badly while I was in college but never had.

        We just have to keep saying “oh this will NEVER get licensed” and wink at Discotek. There’s no other way!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. *Reads comment*

      Ah, a kindred spirit!

      In case I didn’t make it clear on the podcast, Dezaki is probably my favorite anime director, too. Discovering Dezaki rekindled my love of anime during the dark years of moe — yes, I realize moe was a thing in the 80s, too, but I’d argue the proportionality, quality, and purpose of the titles was completely different than what emerged after the anime crash in the mid 00s — so hearing that we got it mostly right on this one, especially from a fellow Dezaki fan, means a lot to me.

      Your story about the anime club brought a smile to my face also. It might sound silly, but the same passion that led you to introduce Dezaki to the friends at your club, is the passion that drives the BLT crew together every two weeks to record a new podcast. We love watching, talking about, and taking apart films together, but getting to share that with listeners and having them respond in kind is the real thrill, at least for me.

      Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, Discotek has really cemented itself as the savior of old school anime. Honestly, I would be ecstatic if they put out the Aim for the Ace movie on Blu-ray. Odds are low but not completely unthinkable. Case in point: 1) they recently licensed the almost equally obscure Ashita no Joe film; and 2) with their catalog of titles, Discotek has to have a pretty good relationship with TMS by this point. The only real problem I foresee is if the extra cost of blu-ray (licensing fees), combined with sure to be low sales of such an obscure title as Aim for the Ace, would make a Blu-ray release cost prohibitive. Of course, that just means it’s up to us fans to spread the word! That’s partially what this latest podcast was about, BTW. I think Cobra deserves a lot, lot more love, and maybe, if that happens, Nozomi will release the Cobra TV series on Blu-ray one day.

      Lastly, I still have no idea what an Ace is.

      Liked by 2 people

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