Imagine a book about space adventures from The Eighties
. The Stainless Steel Rat
by Harry Harrison with elements of "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dicknote
. Make the overall tone a bit Darker and Edgier
, slightly increase the amount of naked female body, keep the funny level the same and give the main character an Arm Cannon
. Make it all into manga and anime adaptation. Give it an awesome, very Eighties female vocal opening and ending.
Here you have it — Space Adventure Cobra
. A Space Opera
manga by Buichi Terasawa published between 1978 and 1984, and later adapted to anime format and feature-length film.
Two anime adaptations were made, both closely watched by author of the original manga and preserving both plot and style of the original. What is even more awesome, in a recent remake titled Cobra the Animation
they even recruited the same voice actors in Japan for both Cobra and Lady Armaroid. Preserving the character design helped a lot too.
Space Adventure Cobra provides examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Lady and many secondary characters.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like
- Alternate Continuity: The 1982 movie that came before the Anime Series, there are several major changes to the plot involving the Royal Sisters who have been changed from the triplets of a notorious pirate who tattooed the location of a deadly super weapon on their backs to them being Alien Triplets from an artificial planet who are destined (or at least one of them) to become queen and change the route of the planet.
- Arch-Enemy: Crystal Boy
- Arm Cannon: The Psychogun
- Badass: Where do we start? Probably at all those gadgets disguised as cigars....
- Balloon Belly: Taken to its logical conclusion here.
- Biseinen: Cobra, before he changed face.
- Blood Sport: Rugball
- The Casanova: Cobra, all the way.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Cobra, about all the time.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Cobra can bench-press 500 kg. With his right, non-cybernetic arm.
- Cigar Chomper: Cobra always has a cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth.
- Combat Stilettos: A frequent accessory of female outfits.
- Conspicuous CG: The late 1990s' full-color re-edition of the manga makes heavy use of CG imagery for backgrounds, vehicles and monsters. Those updated elements are still the work of Buichi Terasawa, and are certainly gorgeous — going easily into Scenery Porn. But they also stand out rather sharply with the original 2D-art.
- Cool Gun: Cobra's Psychogun.
- Cyborg: Many characters, friends or foes.
- Cobra himself, with his left arm.
- Lady Armaroid was once human, but her brain had to be put in a mechanical body to save her life.
- Dark Action Girl: Plenty of women in the series.
- Eye Scream: Cobra blasts out the eye of the Pirate Guild leader. This is part of the reason why he later recongnises him as the boss of a Casino, when he was still amnesiac.
- Fake Memories: Cobra has erased his own memory in order to evade his pursuers, and regains it by accident.
- Fembot: Lady Armaroid
- Girl of the Week
- Gratuitous English: The Psychogun. Crystal Boy. Also, the setting's currency is the kuredito (credit).
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Cobra himself sometimes. At worst he gets KO'ed for a while.
- Jane and Dominique in the 1982 Film.
- It Only Works Once: In the Royal Triplets arc, Cobra defeats Crystal Boy using an unorthodox strategy of launching his cybernetic arm through the Psychogun's barrel, propelling it at a lethal speeds. It works and Crystal Boy is defeated. However, come later in the first OVA, Crystal Boy is revealed to have been repaired and faces Cobra again. The minute Cobra tries the same attack, Crystal Boy sees it immediately and grabs his arm before it can hit him.
- It's Personal: Cobra declares war on the Pirate Guild upon failing to save both Catherine and Jane.
- Loveable Rogue: One of anime's most absolutely charming scoundrels. Think of him as a Japanese Han Solo mixed in a blender with Arsène Lupin.
- Ms. Fanservice: Most of the women in the series, in addition to being good-looking, wear rather revealing clothing.
- Morph Weapon: The "Ultimate Weapon".
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Crystal Boy; Cobra himself too.
- Out-of-Clothes Experience: The sisters Jane and Catherine Royal are seen together, naked in a void, as they are dying.
- Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame: Anime director Osamu Dezaki is the Trope Maker, and Space Adventure Cobra is likely the Trope Codifier.
- Platonic Life Partners: Lady Armaroid and Cobra. Through thick and thin, one will watch the others back, and they literally are as thick as thieves. The trope is practically lampshaded in the text game when Hammerbolt Joe kidnaps Lady; Cobra himself calls her his invaluable partner. And in the anime movie, Lady is shown to care for him, offering to dance with him, and more than willing to stay up for long periods of times helping him train with the psychogun. It helps both are badass pirates who know their way through combat.
- Rated M for Manly
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cobra and Lady. It's in the clothes.
- Reset Button: In one of the later episodes, Cobra accidentally unleashes an unstoppable ancient weapon that WILL destroy entire civilizations. As a result a little robot chicken guardian has to rewind time, retconning the entire episode out of existence.
- The Reveal: Lord Salamander's true identity is Adolf Hitler.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Both in manga and old TV series, Cobra carries a custom six-shooter. (The bullets are of a special alloy that can pierce some blindages even the Psychogun can't go through, however.) In some versions it's actually a portable mortar, with Cobra refusing to use it inside his ship for fear that he'd destroy the vessel. It's back in the new TV series.
- Robot Girl: Some of Cobra's female encounters aren't quite human. Lady Armaroid herself; the name should be an eyecatch.
- Rocket Punch:
- One of the episodic villains in the first TV series has a very well-guided version.
- Cobra himself can launch his fake arm in that way. It returns too.
- Rule of Cool: Replaces the laws of physics. Every episode.
- Space Pirates: Although in the original Japanese it's more of a "Space Mafia", which decribes better the organization.
- Space Whale: Not a whale, but in one story (later used for the first PC-Engine game) the spaceship Cobra is on in the beginning gets eaten by a giant hammerhead shark.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Dominique in the original TV series.
- Stripperiffic: Every. Female. In. The. Series. Ranging from very skimpy to virtually nonexistent.
- Super Strength: In the manga, Cobra was imprisoned along with a Heavy Worlder native from Jupiter. The Jovian tried to bend the bars of the prison but he wasn't strong enough. Cue Cobra... not only did he bend the bars with ease but he actually ripped apart the cell bars with little effort.
- Theme Music Power-Up: "Shi no Koshin"
- Used Future: It is Space adventure, after all.
- Water Is Air
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The third arc of the new series takes place on a mountain that disappears when characters start doubting it.
- Zeerust: The series takes place in the future, but looks as if it was stuck in the 1960s.