Buichi Terasawas magnum opus “Cobra“ began as a manga in the late 70s and it spawned an anime adaptation in the year 1982. This 31 episode long TV anime by “TMS Entertainment“ had numerous sequels from movies in the 80s to the latest 2010 OVA.
Space Adventure Cobra is made out of three main arcs, with smaller 1-3 episode long stories in between.
In the first arc cobra does not who he is, but his forgotten past returns after a trip with the dream machine. Now that his memories have returned he decides to continue his old life with his partner “lady“ a female Armaroid. Cobra leaves the planet after some minor conflicts with the pirate guild and now its back to pirating and adventure. On his way he meets many different characters, one of those characters is the bounty hunter Catherine. Cobra finds himself confronting a large guild operation, so Catherine joins him on his journey when she realizes that she has more to do with this than it first seemed. While this is happening they are also hunted by the guilds number one assassin “Crystal Bowie“.
The second arc is about cobra investigating a drug operation for the galactic police force.
This seems easy until he finds out that they are using a “Rug-ball“ league as cover.
Cobra has to to disguise himself as a player and work his way up the ranks of the league, to find enough evidence so he can blow the guilds drug-ring apart. He did not know that “Rug-ball“ is not only the most brutal sport in the galaxy but the players kill each other on the field and also behind the scenes.
The third and last arc in the anime is a more personal story in which cobra has to beat the leader of the pirate guild. After their first encounter it seems clear that this will not be an easy task, so he rounds up a few of his old acquaintances to have one last fight against the guild.
Cobras Arc structure allows the viewer to enjoy the show in small bursts, which enables you to appreciate the different strengths of the show like the animation and great soundtrack.
The opening especially will be stuck in your ears for a while, the same goes for the ending.
The animation is superb, with cobras swift and fast movement looking especially great while he
runs away from danger, which happens a lot.
The story itself is interesting enough to keep you watching but it’s not something you would mention if you talk about the strengths of this anime, unlike the main characters which are all interesting and funny.
If i had to criticize one thing it would be the character designs. It is obvious that Cobras universe borrowed a lot from western Sci-fi like “Star Wars“. Most if not all female characters look the same which can be distracting.
In my opinion is a good thing though, because they “all” look extremely hot.
The audio on the other hand can be distracting, you can clearly hear that this anime is from 1982 and unlike the visuals which are remastered into HD the audio can be something you need to get used to every time you start watching cobra which can take a few minutes.
“Space Adventure Cobra“ is a fun and enjoyable show that works great as an introduction into older anime and thanks to it’s HD remaster the visuals are something to behold.
I recommend this anime to everyone who wants to start with older anime but is afraid of the dragging nature they are so notorious for.
The overall comedy heavy characters and action make it a way easier watch than anime like
“Space Runaway Ideon” or “Uchuu Senkan Yamato” which are known to drag on with long running dialog and sometimes boring exposition.
Thanks to that cobra allows you to enjoy it like you would any other action comedy anime.