The character of Cobra has a nose like Barney Rubble (“The Flintstones”), the guile of Han Solo (“Star Wars”), with the charisma of James Bond! Like Leiji Matsumoto’s Captain Harlock, Cobra doesn’t swear an allegiance to anyone, other than to suit his own causes (and often times, for the sake of a seductive damsel). This spaghetti-Western space adventure is a strange, yet very pleasing power fantasy — from start to finish!
⚠️ This review will contain light spoilers ⚠️
Synopsis: Meek salaryman Johnson discovers that he is in fact the notorious (and reportedly dead) space pirate Cobra, with a new face and altered memories. Embedded in his left arm is Cobra’s unique Psychogun, a famous weapon powered by his own will. Having recovered his past, his partner-in-crime Armaroid Lady, and his spaceship, he journeys across the galaxy seeking adventure.
I mentioned in the intro paragraph that Cobra fights for himself and no one else, and the manga creator, Bu’ichi Terasawa states that he wanted to make a “samurai”-like space odyssey. This isn’t usually done with manga adaptations, but allegedly, Mr. Terasawa was given permission from Osamu Dezeki to not only be in charge of the script, but also to arrange the arcs in the narrative to suit his fancy! I thought that was pretty incredible, since manga artists are usually more hands-off with the animated versions of their stories!
With that being said though, I slightly prefer the film-version of “Space Cobra” (“Space ADVENTURE Cobra”) to the TV series, because a) it had higher production values, and b) the series kind of jumps the gun and introduces the Crystal Bowie arc right off the bat, and Crystal Bowie is the most interesting villain! So, the second half of the series wasn’t nearly as strong! The static-electricity villain, Salamander, couldn’t contend against the gold-boned enigma of the pure-evil, Crystal Bowie! Not even by a long shot.
This has a similar brand of brutal to something like “Hokuto no Ken” and “Saint Seiya” — where there are very deadly events that Cobra is forced to participate in: in Episode 28 (“Cobra’s Angry Revenge”), there is a threat to be infected with a deadly strain of dysentery, in another story arc, starting in Episode 16 (“To Hell! Rug-Ball!”), Cobra competes in a deadly sport that is a combination of American football and baseball. There’s also jet-powered skateboards and magnetic roller-skates skirmishes!
Not only that, but Cobra has “Wolverine”-syndrome bad, because almost woman that he gets involved with, ends up dead! But, he always has Lady Armaroid with him, so I guess it’s all okay? I think out of many heroines from the ’80s, Lady might be the most badass (along with vixens like Haman Karn from “Zeta Gundam”). Usually, female characters from that time are more passive and tactical, but Lady is a fighter! She was probably my favorite character out of the bunch because of her loyalty to Cobra, her combat capabilities (though she does play the role of a damsel, herself, a couple of times), and gynoids are just really cool.
Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅
Osamu Dezaki (director), notable works:
- Ace wo Nerae!
- Ace wo Nerae! (1979)
- Ace we Nerae! 2
- Ace wo Nerae!: Final Stage
- Air the Movie
- Ashita no Joe ✅
- Ashita no Joe (Movie)
- Ashita no Joe 2 ✅
- Ashita no Joe 2 (Movie)
- Black Jack (eps 1-10)
- Black Jack the Movie
- Bōken-tachi Gamba to Nanbiki no Nakama
- Burning Blood
- Clannad the Movie
- Eiyū Banka Kōshi-den
- Gamba no Bōken
- Genji Monogatari Sennenki
- Golgo 13 ✅
- Golgo 13: Queen’s Bee ✅
- Hakugei Densetsu
- Ie Naki Ko
- Ie Naki Ko (Movie)
- Kaitei Chōtokkyū: Marine Express (“Undersea Super Train: Marine Express”)
- Karate Baka Ichidai
- Kasei Yakyoku
- Lupin III: Bye Bye Liberty — Kiki Ippatsu!
- Lupin III: Harimao no Zaihō wo Ō!!
- Lupin III: Hemingway Paper no Nazo
- Lupin III: Napoleon no Jisho wo Ubae
- Lupin III: Russia yori Ai wo Komete
- Manga Sekai Mukashibanashi (“Manga Fairy Tales of the World”)
- Mighty Orbots
- One Pound Gospel
- Oniisama e… ✅
- Shin Ace wo Nerae!
- Shuranosuke Zanmaken: Shikamamon no Otoko (“Sword for Truth”)
- Space Adventure Cobra ✅
- Tetsuwan Atom: Atom Tanjō no Himitsu, Ivan no Wakusei — Robot to Ningen no Yūjō, Kagayakeru Hoshi — Anata wa Aoku Utsukushii, and Uchū no Yūsha
- Tezuka Osamu no Kyūyaku Seisho Monogatari: In the Beginning
- Tottoko Hamtarō Movie 1: Ham-Ham Land Daibōken
- Tottoko Hamtarō Movie 2: Ham-Ham Hamūja! Maboroshi no Princess
- Tottoko Hamtarō Movie 3: Ham Ham Grand Prix Aurora Tani no Kiseki — Ribon-chan Kiki Ippatsu!
- Tottoko Hamtarō Movie 4: Hamtaro to Fushigi no Oni no Emon Tō
- Ultraviolet: Code 044
- Versailles no Bara ✅
- Yuki no Jō (TV) ✅
Commentary: I’m not the biggest fan of Mr. Dezaki, but I can appreciate his work and see him as a staple in the industry (as you should). The “Cobra” franchise is something that I consider to among some of his greatest achievements, along with his adaptations of Riyoko Ikeda’s publications! He is the master of the dramatic freeze frame, and has a very romantic slant to the projects that he chooses to adapt. Mr. Dezaki was the one that made Cobra’s iconic “Psychogun” so memorable, since he slowed down the frames and animated the recoil and smoke to accentuate the impact of the weapon. Legendary director, great work on this project!
Good Seiyū Work = ✅
Really Enjoyed the Seiyū’s Performance = ✅ ✅
One of Luna’s Favorite Performances OF ALL TIME = ✅ ✅ ✅
Nachi Nozawa as Cobra, notable roles:
- Jin Munakata, Ace wo Nerae! 2
- Deimos, Deimos no Hanayome: Ran no Kumikyoku ✅✅✅
- Hyakkimaru, Dororo to Hyakkimaru
- Masumi Hayami, Glass no Kamen
- Alexander Anderson, Hellsing (2001) ✅✅✅
- Taka, Kaisei Yakyoku ✅✅✅
- Doctor Victor Frankenstein, Kyōfu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein
- Dr. Hasford, Macross Zero
- Sasurai-kun, Sasurai-kun
- Hans Axel von Fersen, Versailes no Bara ✅✅
- Raphael, Wata no Kuni Hoshi ✅✅✅
Commentary: I absolutely adore Mr. Nozawa’s voice, it is so distinctive and manly! His role as Cobra reminded me of his roles as Taka (“Kaisei Yakyoku”) and Raphael (“Wata no Kuni Hoshi”). He has a very commanding presence, an incredibly talented actor! He passed away in 2010, and will be missed by everyone who has enjoyed his delightful performances, over the years. Rest in peace!
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Lady Armaroid, notable roles:
- Reika Ryūzaki, Ace wo Nerae! 2 — originally voiced by Masako Ikeda
- Meichi Yuri, Akuma no Riddle ✅✅
- Queen Nehellenia, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS and Sailor Stars ✅✅✅
- Sybel, Black Magic M-66
- Azusa Matsudaira, Blue Seed
- Sylia Stingray, Bubblegum Crisis ✅✅
- Mitsuko Asatani, Cat’s Eye ✅✅✅
- Silene (“Sirene”), CB Chara Go Nagai World ✅✅✅
- Miran, Chōjikū Seiki Orguss 02 ✅
- Silene (“Sirene”), Devilman: Yochō Sirene-hen ✅✅✅
- Frederica Greenhill, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu ✅✅✅
- Aila Mu, God Mazinger
- Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate ✅✅✅
- Sesshōmaru’s Mother, InuYasha: Kanketsu-hen
- Princess Airfield, Kantai Collection (“KanColle”) ✅✅✅
- Shinobu Nagumo, Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor
- Project 2501, Kōkaku Kidōtai 2.0 (“Ghost in the Shell 2.0”)
- Haman Karn and Mōar Pharoah, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam ✅✅✅
- Jōshū Kasei, Psycho-Pass (series) ✅✅
- Karura-Ō, RG Veda
- Flore, Rokushin Gattai GodMars
- Medea, Saint Seiya Omega ✅✅✅
- Tomiko Asahina, Shinsekai yori ✅✅
- Feb Fall, Sol Bianca: Taiyō no Fune
- Tekka’s Maki-chan, Sore Ike! Anpanman
- Misaki Kamiki Jurai, Tenchi Muyō! (series) ✅✅
- Antoinette, The Humanoid: Ai no Wakusei Lezeria
- Aoi, Tide-Line Blue
- Her Majesty the Queen, Otama, and Ogin — Urusei Yatsura ✅✅✅
- Elle de Rosenbach, Urusei Yatsura Movie 1: Only You ✅✅
Commentary: Ms. Sakakibara is incredible. Her character archetype is usually cold and sensual. I would compare her role as Lady Armaroid to Silene (“Devilman: Yochō Sirene-hen”) and Sylia Stingray (“Bubblegum Crisis). Incredibly talented seiyū!
Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Crystal Bowie, notable roles:
- Talos, Crusher Joe ✅
- Dr. Sid, Final Fantasy: The Sprits Within
- Adrian Rubinsky, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu ✅✅
- Mohammed Avdol, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (1993)
- Daisuke Jigen, Lupin III ✅✅✅
- Levih Rah, Makai Toshi Shinjuku (“Demon City Shinjuku”)
- Gregore Garosh, Sōkō Kihei Votoms
- Violence Jack: Jigoku Gai-hen ✅
- Bem, Yōkai Ningen Bem
Commentary: Mr. Kobayashi makes such a menacing villain, when he’s playing Crystal Bowie! He’s most famous for playing Daisuke Jigen (“Lupin III”), and he has only recently retired from the role of Jigen. Amazing work with what he does!
Gara Takashima as Dominique Royal, notable roles:
- Hild, Aa! Megami-sama
- Diana Barry, Akage no Anne
- N’duhlle Gilford, Ao no 6-gō ✅
- Eri Kisaki, Detective Conan ✅✅✅
- Lady Lynx, Giant Gorg ✅✅✅
- Eva Friedel, Memories
- Alice Miller, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team — Miller’s Report
- Plakia Lexshue, Seikai no Monshō (“Crest of the Stars”) ✅
- Lebia Mavelick, Silent Möbius ✅
Commentary: I really loved Ms. Takashima as Lady Lynx (“Giant Gorg”), that character was the most enjoyable to me in that series! She’s also really great as Ran’s mother in “Detective Conan”! She usually plays headstrong, yet alluring women — strong performance!
Toshiko Fujita as Jane Royal, notable roles:
- Enrico Pocchini, Ai no Gakkō Cuore Monogatari
- Sharaku Hosuke, Akuma Tō no Prince: Mitsume ga Tōru
- Bonobono, Bonobono ✅
- Rui Kisugi, Cat’s Eye ✅✅✅
- Tom, Chibi Neko Tomu no Daibōken: Chikyū wo Sukue! Nakama-tachi
- Taichi Yagami (“Tai Kamiya”), Digimon Adventure (series) ✅✅✅
- Dorimogu, Dorimogu Daa!!
- Dai, Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibōken
- Genki Horiguchi, Ganbare Genki
- Kokiden no Nyōgo, Genji Monogatari Sennenki (“Millennium Old Journal: Tale of Genji”)
- Chigusa Tsukikage, Glass no Kamen (2005) ✅✅✅
- Rena, Hi no Tori 2772: Ai no CosmoZone
- Ikkyū, Ikkyū-san
- Hiroshi Tateno, Jigoku Sensei Nube
- Yuki Oda, Junk Boy
- Steven, Kaze no Naka no Shōjo: Kinpatsu no Jeanie
- Elizabeth Murray, Kaze no Shōjo Emily
- Eiichi Kite, Kiteretsu Daihyakka
- Meme, Meme Iroiro Yume no Tabi
- Pierre, Nagagutsu wo Haita Neko
- Linlin Charlotte (“Big Mom”), One Piece
- Maraich Juschenfe, Patalliro ✅
- Pipi, Pipi Tobenai Hotaru
- Alfredo Martini, Romeo no Aoi Sora ✅✅✅
- Eris, Saint Seiya: Jashin Eris
- Hilda, Seihō Bukyō Outlaw Star ✅
- Rally Cheyenne, Silent Möbius ✅
- Jane Royal, Space Cobra ✅
- Mother, Uchū Kazoku Carlvinson (“Space Family Carlvinson”)
- Tamao Inokuma, Yawara!
- Makie, Youjū Toshi (“Wicked City”)
Commentary: Ms. Fujita’s performance as Jane Royal is comparable to her performances as Rui Kisugi (“Cat’s Eye”) and Rally Cheyenne (“Silent Möbius”). Great job!
Conclusively, “Space Cobra” can feel very rinse-repeat with its indefatigable machismo, but Mr. Terasawa always has some fun little trip wires to get the audience invested — whether it be science magic, psychedelic telepathy, or laughable absurdity — it stands alone with its iconography and apathy towards being anything other than pure entertainment! I would suggest this series to people who are a fan of Kazuo Koike’s works or Buronson (a.k.a. Yoshiyuki Okamura)! I give “Space Cobra” a 5/10!