Project A-Ko Review

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As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had an odd fond remembrance of Project A-Ko. Being one of the first experiences I had with non-Saturday morning American anime, it showed me a side of anime I never knew about. After picking up the Eastern Star remastered version, I wasn’t entire sure if those memories were best left untouched.

projectako03Synopsis
After an alien space craft crashes into Graviton City leaving only a crater in its wake, a new city is rebuilt in its ashes and becomes the setting for a new future. At Graviton High School, childhood friends A-ko and C-ko would soon begin a new year-if they can get to school on time.

Oddly enough, A-ko possesses superhuman speed and strength, although she believes she’s just an ordinary school girl. Her friend C-ko is an overly bubbly and innocent girl who only cares to be with her friend A-ko who has always protected her. Though the two would soon see their friendship put to task as fellow classmates and even aliens seek to separate them.

Story
It’s quite obvious from the beginning that the creators of Project A-Ko had one simple task in mind when they created this movie. Take everything action, comedy, mecha, explosions, aircraft, aliens, space and cram it all into one. One would call it a satire to everything anime. There’s no attempt to create a narrative, provoke thought, or dive into the psyche of anything. It’s just stupid fun.

projectako09While I can’t claim that this fact excuses it from allowing itself to be anything great, I can judge it based on just how well it executes that. Which, after watching it now as an adult, I can say it does it decently well.

This is due in part by a few things: good animation, randomness, good pacing, and a decent cast. Though, one could argue that C-ko is absolutely obnoxious, especially when going into one of her crybaby moments. Outside of that subjective fact, the craziness of the moment to moment manages to keep me entertained from beginning to end. Only struggling during the more drawn out space battle sequences.

Seeing A-ko drag C-ko to school by thrashing through the town in a reckless and carefree way, watching populations of people get blown to bits without a moments thought, or even B-ko fighting A-ko over C-ko in the midst of a global war is just a sort of fun I can’t really explain.

With all that said, I can see the comedy in this movie being quite divisive. It’s easily the most dated aspect about Project A-Ko. It plays heavily on silly and lighthearted humor without asking too much of its viewers. Even still, I got quite a projectako11few chuckles out of it this time around. Though I won’t claim I was holding my side in pain.

Animation
Released back in 1986, 29 years isn’t too kind to most films. Even still, Eastern Star did quite an excellent job of remastering Project A-Ko for today. While still in 4:3 aspect ratio, it’s very nicely cleaned up and only faces problems with some slightly bright scenes and flashing brightness.

What makes Project A-Ko still stand out even after these long years is its nicely done animation. Character actions, animations, and battles are all well animated and flow nicely. A stark contrast to the difficulties we see in today’s anime offerings. A testament to classic cell animation.

Verdict
Back when Project A-Ko was introduced to me in the early 1990s, it opened up quite a different world to anime than I had ever experienced. Violence, bikini armor, action, explosions, and even a touch of ecchi. While I can’t claim that my fond memories were completely justified by watching it today, I’m not bitter either.

Project A-Ko is something that will remain a fond memory and something I never regret watching. It opened up the world of anime to me and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s simply a stupidly entertaining action show with a lighthearted and fun feel to it. Something you turn your brain off for and just enjoy. Though I won’t claim it’s something most modern-day anime fans will get much out of.

NOT BAD, BUT NOT GREAT..

REVIEW VERDICT:
Okay

Goods:

  • Stupid fun action
  • Some comical moments
  • Nicely animated and lively

Bads:

  • Comedy is dated
  • No deep plot or purpose
  • May be too simple for today’s fans
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.