A longtime cult favorite among anime buffs, SPACE ADVENTURE COBRA offers the far-flung adventures of a muscular, cigar-smoking blond adventurer and a series of voluptuous female companions as they battle galactic criminals in the far future. Its sexy leads and colorful design are more
reminiscent of BARBARELLA (1968) than most Japanese animated space operas.
In the 30th century, Jane Flower (voice of Barbara Goodson), a buxom bounty hunter, crosses paths with space pirate Cobra (voice of Dan Woren), an interplanetary adventurer long presumed dead. Jane falls in love with the two-fisted, wise-cracking space fighter and, after he saves her life during a
chase, she enlists him in her battle with the Space Mafia Guild, which has imprisoned her sister Catherine (voice of Mari Devon) in an orbiting prison colony. Cobra's attempt to rescue Catherine puts him at odds with Crystal Boy (voice of Jeff Winkless), leader of the Space Mafia Guild and owner
of a powerful transparent crystal body. The sisters are reunited, but Catherine, under the hypnotic influence of Crystal Boy, kills Jane.
Jane's mentor, a holographic image known as Professor Topolov (voice of Kirk Thornton), guides Cobra to another planet where he connects with Dominique (voice of Wendee Lee), Jane's other sister, who also falls in love with Cobra. Dominique reveals that she, Jane, and Catherine were the sole
survivors of a race that once thrived on the Miras Star, a self-powered, egg-shaped planet that travels around the universe. The future of Miras Star will be determined by which of the three sisters survives. If Catherine survives and becomes queen she will turn the planet over to Crystal Boy, who
wants to use the planet to destroy the Seventh Galaxy.
Crystal Boy's robot army attacks and kills all of Dominique's followers, a female rebel army called the Snow Guerrillas. In a final confrontation, Dominique is mortally wounded by Crystal Boy who is then killed in a duel with Cobra. Now free of Crystal Boy's control, Catherine decides to sacrifice
herself to engineer the self-destruction of the Miras Star in accord with ancient prophecies. Cobra soars off into space with his android co-pilot Lady (voice of Joan Carol O'Conner), having lost all three sisters.
A theatrical film from 1982, COBRA finally makes its belated video release in the United States, after having developed a widespread cult following, particularly after clips from it were used in singer Matthew Sweet's 1991 rock video, "Girlfriend." Based on a comic book and subsequent TV series
from preeminent Japanese manga and anime creator Buichi Terasawa (RAVEN TENGU KABUTO), COBRA offers an extraordinary mix of American pulp adventure motifs, including the retro design of Cobra himself, and stunningly beautiful outer space vistas and spaceship exteriors. The overall design
scheme--clean lines, round, curved faces and bodies, and bright colors--are closer to American comic books and science fiction art than to standard anime art direction. The director, Osamu Dezaki, went on to supervise the equally stylish theatrical film, THE PROFESSIONAL: GOLGO 13 (1983) and the
made-for-video BLACK JACK series (1995).
The pleasures of COBRA for an American audience are undermined by a persistent tragic undercurrent. Although Cobra is destined to be loved by all three beautiful sisters, two of whom are seen amply in the nude, he never succeeds romantically with either one. The first two die violently and the
third rejects him to die in the self-destruction of her planet. There are dozens of other beautiful women in the film, but all die in battle. The unflappable Cobra seems to handle it well, while the viewer is left somewhat frustrated. (Violence, profanity, nudity.)
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- Released: 1982
- Review: A longtime cult favorite among anime buffs, SPACE ADVENTURE COBRA offers the far-flung adventures of a muscular, cigar-smoking blond adventurer and a series of voluptuous female companions as they battle galactic criminals in the far future. Its sexy leads… (more)