Follow TV Tropes


Anime / Project A-ko

Go To

B-ko Daitokuji: A-ko, the depth of my vexation is beyond your comprehension!
A-ko Magami: Today I woke up early. This may never happen again! But you! You! Over a stupid, petty... B-ko, YOU IDIOT!!!

Sometime in the future, Eiko ("A-ko") Magami — a teenage girl endowed with absurdly high levels of superhuman strength and speed — attends Graviton High with her bubbly best friend, Shiiko ("C-ko") Kotobuki. Also attending class is Biko ("B-ko") Daitokuji, a beautiful and mega-rich Academic Alpha Bitch who is determined to win C-ko for her own. Unfortunately for B-ko, that means having to go through A-ko first. So each school day, B-ko attacks A-ko with all manner of Humongous Mecha and, eventually, a revealing battlesuit. Things become more complicated after an alien warship descends upon Graviton City with the goal of capturing one of the girls—or rather, rescuing her, as she seems to be their long-lost princess.

A raucous blend of over-the-top screwball comedy, action, and science fiction, Project A-Ko was one of those films everyone saw during the prehistory of anime in America, notably because it was one of the first theatrically-released anime films that could not be considered an "arthouse" film to also receive a commercial release in The '80s. The general level of goofiness in the film is evident in the names of its main characters: "Girl A" (A-ko), "Girl B" (B-ko), and "Girl C" (take a wild guess). Another character is also named "D". But despite—or perhaps because of—that goofiness, the intervening years between its initial release and now have not lessened the influence of, and love/respect for, A-ko.


A-ko was followed by three OVAs which continue the story of the film: Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group, Cinderella Rhapsody, and Final. Those were followed by a two-part Alternate Continuity OVA, A-ko: The VS (released in America as A-ko: Uncivil Wars).

Project A-ko (プロジェクトA子) is a relatively obscure film to later generations of anime fans, but it was and continues to be an influential work in regards to action-comedy anime with a female-heavy cast—including Mai Hime and Kill la Kill, the latter of which could be considered a Spiritual Successor to A-ko in its own right due to similarities in tone and shared elements of both aesthetic and character.

Please go to the character sheet for all character-specific trope examples.


Project A-ko, its direct sequels, and A-ko: The VS include the following tropes:

  • Action Dress Rip: One of the DVD covers for the original film depicted A-ko with one of these. In the film, it happens during her showdown with D: A-ko narrowly avoids one of D's sword swipes, which cuts A-ko's fuku right down the middle.
  • Affectionate Parody: The series was a send-up of just about everything in anime up until the 80s.
  • After-School Cleaning Duty: A-ko is assigned to clean the classroom as a punishment for being late again. It was going well until B-ko staged a run-in between C-ko and Mari. A-ko thus tore across campus in a hurry—and demolished the classroom in her wake. That earned her a harsh reprimand and an even stiffer punishment the next day.
  • Age Lift: C-ko is 17 in the main series, but is reduced to only 10 in The VS. By contrast, A-ko and B-ko are 16-17 and 17 respectively, but are adultsnote  in The VS.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Captain Napolipolita has often a classy glass of wine in the hand, but the aura gets brutally subverted when it's revealed he is actually a pathetic alcoholic.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Alpha Cygnans are amazingly fluent in Japanese, though no one ever comments on it in-series.
  • All for Nothing: The endings of Cinderella Rhapsody and Final render all of A-ko and B-ko's fights over Kei pointless: He only has eyes for C-ko.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Maruten laments this fact in The VS, but considering he is not that nice of a guy himself, it is a bit hypocritical.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: A-ko, B-ko, and their homeroom teacher Ms. Ayumi are all in love with Kei; they all squabble over him, too. His heart, however, is set on C-ko—who hates him for taking A-ko's attention away from her.
  • All There in the Manual: Some info about A-ko, B-Ko, and C-Ko is only mentioned in art books.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The names of the three leads can be taken to mean "girl A", "girl B", and "girl C". We also have "D" and "Kei".
  • Alpha Bitch: Subverted. While B-ko has beauty, vast intellect, and the privilege of being from a fabulously wealthy and influential family, no one really likes her, and they want to see her taken down several notches because of her inflated ego. The other students eventually rally behind A-ko, turning her into their hero.
  • Alternate Continuity: The VS takes place in a distant future, on a dune-covered alien planet, where A-ko and B-ko work and live together as bounty hunters.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Yes, female urinals are a real thing.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Alpha Cygnans are an all-female fighting force of combat pilots and foot soldiers. In the latter half of the film, they smash through Earth's defenses with ease...only to end up in the crossfire of the fight between A-ko and B-ko.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Liza from The VS towers over A-ko, has a much huskier physique, and is dressed in a combination of leather and spandex to show off her ample cleavage.
  • And the Adventure Continues: How Uncivil Wars ends.
  • Anti-Villain: Gail, possibly. His methods are evil, his goal... understandable. He just bet on the wrong horse.
  • Battle Bikini: Akagiyama-23 is a power suit, designed specifically to enhance B-ko's speed and reflexes to match A-ko's. It resembles an armored bikini that includes a matching pair of boots and gauntlets and is usually worn beneath her clothing.
  • Berserk Button: Each of the girls has one:
    • For A-ko, it is having to constantly deal with B-ko's gadgets, since it usually makes her late for class. But she also takes pride in her appearance, so even a minor cut on her cheek or ripping her skirt will set her off.
    • B-ko cannot stand A-ko for monopolizing C-ko's time and hates seeing A-ko defeat another of her mecha.
    • C-ko does not like anyone taking A-ko's attention away from her. She definitely hates Kei—and flatly tells him so both times he tries to confess his love for her. She also starts to grow concerned when it seems A-ko has begun to enjoy her rivalry with B-ko a little too much.
    • And for Captain Napolipolita, it is sobriety.
  • Bishōnen: Gail of The VS is a subversion; he looks quite bishōnen when he is wearing his cape, but when he takes it off, he looks incredibly muscular.
  • Bleached Underpants: The series began life as part of the Cream Lemon series of hentai before becoming a full-fledged feature film; the hentai short that appears in Cinderella Rhapsody is actually recycled from the first film's initial storyboards.
  • BFS: D wields one during her fight with A-ko. Except in D's hands, her sword appears normal length. But when A-ko takes it from her, the blade is nearly 1.5 times her body length; excluding the hilt.
  • Boobs of Steel: Liza from Uncivil Wars, whom A-Ko refers to as "that jiggling juggernaut". Said because she was tough enough to match A-Ko unarmed, with their second fight ending in a draw.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Played with in the OVAs. In Cinderella Rhapsody, A-ko is looking at "the camera" when she admits she lied. In Vs. Blue Side, A-ko is talking directly to the viewer. Even some of the promos break the fourth wall.
  • Broken Pedestal: During a flashback to Gail's younger days, he discovered his mentor (an unnamed nun) had broken her vow of chastity. He didn't take it well, to say the least.
  • The Cameo:
    • Yawara Inokuma and her grandpa Jigoro appear as customers in the burger joint A-ko works at in the third movie.
    • Kaneda, Kei, Yamagata and his girlfriend are seen with their backs turned, watching the broadcast of the alien invasion in Final. Blink and you'll miss it.
      • Pausing the shot seems to reveal not only the main three, but the Colonel, and others of the Capsule biker gang with their girlfriends. They didn't mess around with this one.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • C-ko is shown to be possessive of A-ko in Cinderella Rhapsody when A-ko shows up riding on Kei's motorcycle. She also gets worried about A-ko's escalating rivalry with B-ko in Final.
    • B-ko envies A-ko's relationship with C-ko and tries everything—from treating C-ko to lavish luncheons to beating A-ko into submission—in an effort to win C-ko over.
    • Whereas A-ko and B-ko are both fiercely competitive over Kei in Cinderella Rhapsody and Final; causing their already tense rivalry to escalate even further.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Halfway into the first film, A-ko and C-ko watch a horror flick starring Colonel Sanders as its villain.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group the newspapers the spies use as their "disguises" are titled "Mainichi Daily News". Mainichi is Japanese for "everyday", making the paper the Daily Daily News. For a time, this was actually the name of the website of the English version of the Mainichi Shimbun.
  • Determinator: A-ko and B-ko in the No One Could Survive That! entry further down because both of them did!
  • Did They or Didn't They?: At the end of The VS, A-ko asks B-ko "how far" Gail managed to get with her. B-ko tells her nothing happened, then smiles vaguely over her shoulder and adds, "nothing at all".
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to one of the fighter pilots during the dogfight in the first film. A-ko lands on the canopy of his jet, with her legs spread eagle, which gives the pilot and the audience a close-up view up her skirt. The arrows of his HUD are even positioned at both points of entry at A-ko's privates. The pilot is seen smiling goofily as he enjoys the view, until his jet gets shot down moments later.
  • The Ditz: C-ko (though she does seem to have moments of insight) and Miss Ayumi.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: An Informed Ability of B-ko's Max 5000 mecha.
  • Enemy Mine: B-ko repeatedly shows a willingness to set aside her grievances with A-ko so long as it either benefits both of them or helps B-ko gain brownie points with C-ko.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: A-ko and B-ko's first battle shows they're each capable of smashing through solid walls of concrete and can casually toss tanks several hundred meters.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Liza is a criminal and little seems to faze her, except for when it comes to her partner, Grash. Just the thought of him being dead (or that A-ko was responsible) made her see red... until she saw he was only buried beneath the rubble.
  • Fan Disservice: We can safely assume no one wants to see D in a battle bikini, or Mr. Daitokuji wearing a copy of B-ko's battle armor.
  • Fanservice:
    • Most of it comes from A-ko. Her opening scene has sunlight filtering through her nightshirt, revealing she isn't wearing a bra underneath. She's often subject to upskirt panty shots, including one instance where a lucky fighter pilot gets an extended look at her undies while she's seated on the canopy of his plane with the arrows of his Heads-Up Display positioned directly at A-ko's groin and her ass.
    • B-ko is naked—and her bare chest is shown—during her bath scene in the first film.
      • And her form-fitting battle armor leaves little to the imagination.
    • In Cinderella Rhapsody, a yuri scene at a movie theater is preempted by a city-wide evacuation order.
    • In The VS, A-ko spends the entire first fight against Liza in nothing but her underwear.
    • Although A-ko has the most panty shots, other girls in the series have their moments as well.
    • C-ko's princess outfits are both more revealing than her usual attire. Her pink dress in the first movie is designed so it is split down the middle from the waist down, revealing her legs. It also shows off some of her back. The other outfit is seen in Final—it is initially covered by a cape, but later revealed to be a tight, high-cut leotard that exposes her legs and shows some hip.
  • Fashion-Shop Fashion Show: Late in the third film, A-ko tries on a bunch of different dresses, since B-ko bought the one she had been saving for and gave it to Mari.
  • Fiction 500: The Daitokuji Family is renowned for their wealth and influence. The second film onwards makes a point of showing B-ko's father bankrolling Graviton City's defense force and providing them with new aircraft and mecha designs.
  • Fighting from the Inside: The VS culminates in C-ko fighting Xena for control over her body. This provides A-ko with the opening she needs to finally kill Xena.
  • Flying Brick: A-ko is a textbook example, minus the flying part—she flies only when B-ko is carrying her through the air.
  • Flung Clothing: Which is how B-ko first reveals her Akagiyama-23 battle suit.
  • Follow Your Heart: The theme of C-ko's character song from the original film "Follow Your Dreams".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Midway into the first film, B-ko vows to take A-ko on herself, even if it means revealing her "true power". She does not show it off until Cinderella Rhapsody, when she briefly matches A-ko without her battle armornote .
    • Subverted and played for laughs in Final. The prophecy foretelling the end of the world was just a coincidence when the aliens arrived. And Ms. Ayumi wasn't possessed by her charm; she only did the incantations because she was told it would bring her luck.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The first film includes some very close Panty Shots and some fired missiles actually being soda pop cans (as a Shout-Out to the Super Dimension Fortress Macross film).
  • Freudian Excuse: The film's dub invokes this when A-ko starts complaining about B-ko making her late for class again. B-ko finally reaches her breaking point:
    B-ko: [angrily, with tears] Is that the only thing you care about?! Being a "good girl"?! Charming the teachers?! Well! Obviously it never occurred to you that some children who just aren't born with the same charm! But what do you care?? You get to be the heroine, while I'm the one everyone says is spoiled! Okay! If they say I'm the bad girl, then that's what I'm GONNA BE!!
  • Fun Size: Maruten in Uncivil Wars.
  • Funbag Airbag: Played as an Oh, Crap! moment in addition to a gag, as it's A-ko running into Liza after having kicked her through a wall. [1]
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When B-ko's flunkies interrupt her first fight with A-ko, B-ko can be seen in the background signalling them with a pair of paper fans before quickly putting them away.
    • In Final, one sequence involves rumors about Ms. Ayumi's marriage meeting spreading around the school; in a scene set in the girl's restroom during this sequence, an unnamed brunette is seen using one of the urinals (yes, really).
    • In The VS, when A-ko finally catches up to B-ko at Gail's lair, Grash is semi-conscious on B-ko's back. This causes A-ko to assume they are together, sparking an argument between the two ladies. Grash realizes his hands are on B-ko's boobs and sees she is distracted, so he starts groping her as much as he can.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: B-ko has a penchant for automotronics—she can conceptualize a mecha, draw up the plans, and have it up and running the next day. In The VS, she designes a fully armed battle skimmer from the wreckage of her shared home with A-ko.
  • Girl Posse: Asa, Ine, Ume, and Mari are B-ko's personal mook squad and are implied to be her only friends. Her opening fight in Final, however, shows that they laugh at her behind her back whenever A-ko has the upper hand.
  • Glory Hound: The VS ends with Maruten taking all the credit for stopping Xena and the Dragon God, with no mention of A-ko or B-ko whatsoever. The girls decide to track him down just before the credits roll.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: In The VS, Maruten promises A-ko that he will bring B-ko back to life...for a price. A-ko assumes he wants her body and imagines being doomed to a life of sexual slavery—an idea that Maruten flat-out denies.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The first movie begins with a morning radio broadcast as A-ko prepares for school.
  • Gonk: Asa is the only one of B-ko's flunkies that can be considered attractive. Ume is short and pudgy with Nerd Glasses, while Ine is lanky and has bucked teeth. Mari and D both look (and sound) like muscle-bound men wearing lipstick. (In Mari's case, this is because she is an undisguised Expy of Kenshiro).
  • Graviton City is the Center of the Universe: The radio show in the opening of the film refers to Graviton City as the high-tech capital of the world because of the captured alien vessel that serves as its central landmark. The city also becomes the target of both invasions by the Alpha Cygnans.
  • Hammerspace: A rare instance where a pair of males use hammers out of nowhere on another male happens in Final.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: A-ko and C-ko have been friends since gradeschool, though C-ko's attachment to A-ko borders on girl-crush territory at times.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Mari is basically Kenshiro in a sailor fuku.
  • Human Aliens: The Alpha Cygnans, including C-ko. Also, if we consider that A-ko's father is the Kryptonian Superman, then she's a half-breed human alien as well.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • In the film, B-ko uses numerous mechs in her plans to crush A-ko. When they all fail, B-ko designs the Akagiyama-23 battle armor.
    • Graviton City's defense force has many of their own mechas thanks to B-ko's father—only theirs are used to protect the city from the destruction caused by her and A-ko.
  • Iconic Outfit: A-ko's Transfer Student Uniform is this. When Central Park Media published comic adaptations of the series, they changed her outfit in their version of The VSnote  to the sailor suit as a way of increasing sales.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In The VS, A-ko and B-ko realize that C-ko is Fighting from the Inside of Xena's Demonic Possession, so they attempt this—only to descend into enthusiastic bickering. As C-ko watches the two become Unstuck in Time shifting between alternate versions of themselves (including their classic incarnations), she awakens because of her Intrinsic Vow: She does not like it when A-ko and B-ko fight.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes:
    • B-ko's Akagiyama-23 battle armor is a sleek armored bikini.
    • A-ko and B-ko receive redesigned outfits in The VS that consist of leotards, boots, and knee pads.
  • In Their Own Image: In The VS, Xena and Gail want the Dragon God to destroy the current "degenerate" universes so they can create a new one where everyone is pure.
  • Jerkass:
    • B-ko is initially the antagonist to A-ko, who recounts how she used to bully C-ko when all three of them were young children. Most of the students at Graviton High share A-ko's opinion, which makes her their hero for standing up to B-ko.
    • The VS reverses this: A-ko is the selfish one who is only motivated by greed and personal gain.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Mari, D, and Captain Napolipolita all look and sound like men in drag.
  • Large Ham: Xena's monologues in The VS become increasingly melodramatic, especially once she reaches the Talhoe Sector.
  • Late for School: This is used as a running gag throughout the film, with A-ko always being late for class due to either oversleeping or B-ko picking fights with her. It continues to happen in the sequel OV As, though not to the same extent.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: By Superman and Wonder Woman, and it is not at all subtle. The graphic novelization even gives them the first names of "Clark" and "Diana".
  • Leotard of Power: A-ko and B-ko both wear leotards in The VS; A-ko's includes a removable skirt.
  • Love Dodecahedron: A-ko, B-ko and Ms. Ayumi all fancy Kei, who turns out to only have eyes for C-ko (although the affection is not returned). Not counting the subtext with A-ko, B-ko and C-ko themselves.
  • Love at First Sight: Kei falls hard for C-ko from the moment he sees her; C-ko flat-out hates him.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: B-ko pulls this off with the Akagiyama Missiles. Several spaceships in the series also do this.
  • Made of Explodium: Most of the mecha that A-ko fights—notably B-ko's mecha—are afflicted with this. (Or maybe A-ko has tactile thermokinesis.)
  • Made of Indestructium: By Final, the desks in classroom 2-E are made of this. Good thing, too: The students have learned to use them as cover during A-ko and B-ko's fights. Too bad the rest of Graviton High did not get that upgrade.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • As seen in A-ko and C-ko's introduction at school and the credits, the main characters' names are all written with kanji that reflect something about them. A-ko uses the first character of Eiyuu ("hero"), and she is certainly heroic; B-ko uses "beautiful", and she stands out for her looks.
    • Maruten literally means "ball head" in Japanese; his cranium is approximately the size and color of a tennis ball.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The initial shots of the alien ship in the film are blocked to make it appear to be about the size of Space Battleship Yamato. (Which it resembles. A lot. On purpose.) When the whole ship is shown later on, the "Yamato" part is revealed as the figurehead.
  • Moe Couplet: C-ko looks and acts so much younger than A-ko that she can be easily mistaken for a kid, which creates the impression of A-ko being a protective "big sister" whenever she defends C-ko.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: The second OVA has an entire flock of spies in identical trenchcoats reading newspapers while observing everyone and waiting for a signal.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Near the end of "Final", B-ko's battle armor loses power, which sends both her and A-ko plummeting back into Earth's atmosphere. Both girls survive re-entry—and they are not even fazed by it; B-ko calmly quips about it being "a lovers' suicide" with A-ko, mere moments before they slam into the surface. After a brief cutaway scene, A-ko is shown back at home, where she collapses on her bed, with no sign of injury other than her slighty tattered uniform. B-ko is shown staring wistfully at the night sky from her veranda, in her nightgown...and none the worse for wear.
  • Oblivious to Love: Downplayed in The VS; Liza is not outspoken about her feelings, but when she believed A-ko and B-ko were responsible for the death of "her Grash", she was overcome with rage. As soon as she saw he was still alive, she broke down in tears. Except he had no idea why.
  • Oh, Crap!: A-ko has one of these moments at the end of The VS when she sees Liza advancing on her with a Wave-Motion Gun-style bazooka.
  • One-Gender Race: The Alpha Cygnans are an interesting variation of this trope: they are all female, but some of them—notably D and Captain Napolipolita—look, talk, and act male. Looking carefully during the film reveals that they are female, though.
  • Only in It for the Money: In The VS, B-ko has to bring up the possibility of profit to push A-ko into helping rescue C-ko. As the future heiress to the Kotobuki fortune, her father would likely pay a considerable sum for her safe return. Or at least he would have, if he had not overreacted by spending his entire fortune on her rescue operation.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Subverted in the film when B-ko narrowly avoids an incoming missile and accidentally drops A-ko.
    B-ko: A-ko! [pouts in disappointment] I wanted to have the pleasure of finishing you myself. [beat] ...oh well, can't have everything!
  • Otaku/Otaku Surrogate: C-ko displays shades of this from time to time. In the Japanese version, she remarks Miss Ayumi reminds her of someone, and on the Final Concert album, C-ko's solo song is basically a medley of old anime themes.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragon God in The VS is gigantic (it seems to grow at least as large as a planet), has three heads, and has so much power that it wipes out a number of planets and their defensive fleets with little effort.
  • Outlaw Couple: Liza and Grash in The VS. Liza is the muscle and is described by Mr. Kotobuki's assistant as "incredibly violent", which she demonstrates upon meeting A-ko and B-ko. Grash is the more level-headed of the two and seems to be just a Badass Normal toting a rifle and grenades in contrast to Liza's superhuman strength, making them an inversion of Guys Smash, Girls Shoot. The couple aspect is a bit one-sided in that Liza is devoted to Grash, but Grash is Oblivious to Love.
  • Panty Shot: Most of these come from A-ko, though other girls have their moments.
  • Papa Wolf: C-ko's father attempts this in The VS. He only manages to bankrupt his company with his massive—and fruitless—search-and-rescue effort.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: This applies to both A-ko and B-ko because of their excessive power—especially once they start fighting. From the second OVA onwards, Graviton City has a special detachment of their defense force specifically to limit the ensuing destruction. By the time of Cinderella Rhapsody, they even issue an emergency evaction order over the city's PA system after A-ko and B-ko start fighting aboard Napolitalita's ship.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: In The VS, B-ko wears one as a disguise. A-ko comments on how odd that is, since they are trying to break into the villain's lair, not attend a party.
  • Playboy Bunny: The waitresses in Love and Robots, and B-ko in an alternate universe in The VS.
  • Please Wake Up: A-ko does this to B-ko after Gail blasts her near the end of the first half of The VS
  • Powered Armor: B-ko's Akagiyama-23 battle armor is more like a powered bikini. Her father has a similar suit.
  • Power Incontinence: Guess which two?
    • A-ko often forgets her own strength and usually leaves disaster in her wake, such as when she is late for school. Her speed often creates an aftertow that tears up the asphalt. If she removes her wristbands, simply flicking her wrist creates fissures.
    • In Cinderella Rhapsody, B-ko reveals that she is also capable of similar feats even without Akagiyama-23. By simply flicking her wrist, she created a wind gust that carved a trench through the hull of Napolitalita's ship.
  • Power Limiter: A-ko's bracers are revealed to be these in Cinderella Rhapsody.
  • Psychic Link: In The VS, A-ko and B-ko seem to have one, as A-ko knows something has happened to B-ko after Gail shoots an energy beam through B-ko's chest.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight:
    • A-ko delivers a quick rant—and an ensuing beatdown—after B-ko and her Mecha-Mooks keep A-ko from getting to school early for possibly the only time in her life.
    • C-ko calling Liza "granny" in The VS. C-ko wasn't trying to insult her, most likely Liza's over-sexualized appearance implies "older" to the childish C-ko.
  • Redshirt Army: The Graviton Defense Force counts, especially in the original film.
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Required Secondary Powers: The whole series plays with this trope. A-ko is shown several times to be hurt by fairly mundane things... before she kicks a giant robot without hurting her leg. The Rule of Funny fully applies here.
    • Project A-ko: She hits her thumb with a hammer with full cartoonish reactions, which are just as easily forgotten, and she trips on an ordinary piece of flawed sidewalk.
    • Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group: She tires out after failing to get a piece of the Alpha Cygnian ship back in place. The pool incident does not count as "mundane".
    • The VS: She gets a cartoonish injury from being bonked by B-ko's hammer.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: A-ko and C-ko have something like this—much to B-ko's chagrin.
  • Running Gag: A-ko constantly runs over D on the way to school.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Alpha Cygnans are all female—and that includes D and Captain Napolipolita, both of whom look, sound, and act male.
  • Sand Is Water: In The VS, A-ko and B-ko live on a desert planet.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The anticlimactic introduction of the Max 5000 counts.
  • She Is All Grown Up: The first film has a non-romantic version (and possibly an inversion, as it involves a childhood enemy rather than a Forgotten Childhood Friend): according to A-ko's flashback to their childhood, she and C-ko used to look more or less like chibi-versions of their present day forms. B-ko, on the other hand, was described—accurately—as having a "basin haircut, piggy eyes and dumpy legs" but grew up into easily the most beautiful of the three girls. (A-ko is an Amazonian Beauty and C-ko is The Cutie, but B-ko is more clasically gorgeous.) No wonder A-ko failed to recognise her at first.
  • Shout-Out: More than can easily be counted...
    • A-ko's parents are apparently Superman and Wonder Woman.
    • B-ko's father bears some resemblance to Tony Stark.
    • Captain Napolipolita is an obvious parody of Captain Harlock, in the same way that the bow of the Lepton mothership looks like the Arcadia. Alternately, Napolipolita is Leader Dessler dressed like Captain Okita, flying the Yamato.
    • D is a parody of Vampire Hunter D's title character both in name and looks.
    • The lead heroine from Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl briefly appears in the third movie.
    • The title itself is a reference to the Jackie Chan movie Project A.
    • The design of teacher Ms. Ayumi is a Shout Out/Homage to magical girl series Magical Angel Creamy Mami.
    • Mari, B-ko's underling, looks—and fights—like Kenshiro with pigtails.
    • The plot of the film is a rough re-hash of Super Dimension Fortress Macross
    • The weaponry in the film includes transforming mecha, a Wave-Motion Gun, and Macross Missiles.
    • Ghidorah is first referenced in Cinderella Rhapsody in one of the outfits A-ko tries, whereas the Three-Headed Dragon God in The VS is a much more obvious reference.
    • The movie that A-ko and C-ko watch, in which Colonel Sanders ominously walks out of the shadows, is a parody of the 1983 movie version of Genma Wars, known in the West as "Harmageddon".
  • Shown Their Work: Alpha Cygni, more commonly known as Deneb, is a real star. The estimated distance from Earth, with a 10% margin of error, is 1,550 light years.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun
  • Space Opera: The Vs. leans towards this, with its tale of a cult seeking to summon a dragon god that will wipe out all civilizations in order to cleanse the universe of sin, and the Space Police trying to stop them.
  • Space Police: The Space Patrol from The VS were presumably this. They were nearly wiped out by Xena and her followers; Maruten is the only one left.
  • Spoiled Brat: C-ko shows shades of this in The VS
  • Stockholm Syndrome: B-ko starts to fall for Gail in The VS with her initial reason for following him to keep an eye on C-ko, even though he's obviously a religious fanatic bent on destroying every universe (not to mention the fact that he killed her earlier in the story).
  • Subverted Trope: Played for Laughs. The climax of Final shows that all the supposedly ominous signs, apparently connected by the hexagram symbols, were just coincidences.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: A-ko's gold-amber eyes are a sign that she is not exactly a normal human.
  • Super Hero
  • Technicolor Eyes: Liza's eyes are silver, indicating she is not a regular human.
  • Theme Naming: The three main characters are named in a way that is indicative of extras instead of main characters.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: C-ko is the "child" (the innocent and childlike figure), A-ko is the "wife" (she is the protective big sister figure looking after C-ko), and B-ko is the "seductress" (she has a curvy figure with penchant for wearing a revealing power suit and has a certain obsession with C-ko).
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: A-ko (tomboy) and C-ko (girly girl); A-ko and B-ko (girly girl).
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: A-ko and C-ko wear these throughout the film; they switch over to the proper uniforms at the end of the film, then wear them regularly in the sequel OVAs, though A-ko does switch back to her Iconic Outfit for the climatic battle in Final, apparently just for the express purpose of irritating B-ko (which she does).
  • Transforming Mecha: One of B-ko's mechas is this—only B-ko failed to plan out how the cockpit would work in both forms.
  • Tron Lines: In the film, the elevator in the alien ship has these.
  • Unknown Rival: B-ko starts out as this to A-ko.
  • Villainous Breakdown: B-ko.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: A-ko suffers from these, and often. When she is particularly embarrassed, one of her bra straps will slip down her shoulder, often with some of the shirt accompanying it. She also often gets into situations that become an innocent Panty Shot, not that she takes it that way.
  • Wave-Motion Gun
  • Whip It Good: "Black Jacovini Shooting Star Lash!" It's swiftly kicked out of her hand by A-ko, though. She later uses a whip again when she and A-ko are bickering in The VS
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Gail from The VS fits this trope because of his callous disregard for the trillions that will die when he and Xena carry out their plan to create a universe by wiping out the current one with the Dragon God.
  • Witch Species: Gail and Xena in The VS count. Maybe C-ko, too.
  • Whole Costume Reference: B-ko's father dresses like Elvis when he pilots a mecha.
  • Wingding Eyes: In The VS, Maruten tries to convince A-ko to help him defeat Gail, Xena, and the Dragon God, but he is unable to sway her. When he finally mentions the reward, A-ko gets dollar and yen signs for pupils and says, quite deadpan, "It is my duty."
  • Would Hurt a Child: Liza in The VS does not hesitate to slap C-ko around when she insults Liza by calling her "Granny".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lots of people in the franchise—even unnamed civilians—have blue hair. As for named characters: Miss Ayumi has light blue hair, D has dark blue hair, B-Ko has bluish-silver hair, and Grash in The VS has dark blue Shonen Hair.


Video Example(s):


Project A-Ko 4: Final

A girl using a urinal in the background.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / FunnyBackgroundEvent

Media sources:

Main / FunnyBackgroundEvent