For our May spotlight, we are staying in the 1980s with the Space Opera anime classic: Space Cobra.
Set far in the future, Space Cobra follows the adventures of Cobra Johnson. Living a mundane life as a salaryman, Johnson visits Trip Movie Corporation where he experiences a virtual reality dreamscape in which he is ‘Cobra’, an adventurer who explores space with his android partner Lady Armaroid. Following this incident, he rediscovers his true identity and sets off to resume his life as an adventurer.
On his travels Cobra will hunt for the galaxy's ultimate weapon, rob museums, break into and out of maximum-security prison, play the highly physical sport of Rugball, engineer a coup on an alien world, confront the Pirate Guild's most fearsome leaders, and do much else besides—smoking cigars, cracking jokes and finding female companionship along the way. Some have even suggested a likeness between the characters of Cobra and James Bond!
If you are not yet convinced as to why Space Cobra is worth a watch, we would like to provide a little more depth to our recommendation. Sci-Fi fans will be able to get a lot out of the series. For example, the story's beginning lends itself well to the Sci-Fi genre, paying homage to tropes of false memory found in classics such as Philip K. Dick’s "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". For those of you who would not consider themselves a Sci-Fi fan Space Cobra still has a lot going for it. The show has a very cohesive look and feel, the animation is very well done with an unusually high number of shots and layers for a TV anime. The soundtrack and lighting contrasts also help to create a strong atmosphere which complements the narrative.
In terms of the plot, the series offers a refreshing variety of narrative with much less of the filler that we have become accustomed to in modern anime. There is also a healthy mixture of longer and shorter story arcs. The show successfully keeps plot twists, new gadgetry, vehicles and characters coming thick and fast, with Cobra himself maintaining a point of wry observation and reliable violence in the centre of it all. We hope that this has aroused some interest in the show as we feel that whether you are an avid anime fan or not, you will not be disappointed by Space Cobra. For sure a blast from the past, but a welcome one!