Posted by psgels on 11 February 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Well, so Inspired by Cobra The Animation, I decided to check out the original Cobra series for some good old-fashioned entertainment. Within that, I found myself slightly disappointed, though. In the end, I like Osamu Dezaku best when he takes himself seriously.

But Cobra himself is still interesting to watch, if only for how over the top this series takes his superpowers. This franchise remains one of shallowness: Cobra never really develops and really only remains interesting because of his personality and how he continues to kick ass even with every odd stacked against him. The people he meets are all pretty shallow, and mostly stay forgettable. But at light entertainment, it’ll keep you interested with its action.

Seriously, this is 1982. For a TV-series, the graphics are very well drawn and animated. There is hardly any distorted frame, and the animation cuts no corners whatsoever. I believe that this series, the founding of Ghibli and Macross (which aired around the same time) started the revolution in anime that lead to significantly improved graphics throughout the eighties.

To illustrate my problems with this series however, I think it’s best to compare it to Cobra the Animation. While similar, there are some essential differences that made me actually enjoy the remake more than the original Cobra series, and it has to do with the focus of these series. They’re both both adventure series: the kind that you watch for their simplicity and unpretentiousness. However, the focus of 1982 Cobra lies on killing bad guys. The focus on Cobra 2010 lies on on exploring: meeting interesting places and people. Sure, Cobra 1982 has some creative settings, and Cobra 2010 also kills a bunch of bad guys, but these take a bit of a backseat to the real focus.

The thing is: 31 episodes of Cobra killing waves and waves of bad guys, often ending in him facing some sort of boss, gets old. With the exception of Crystal Boy, all of the bad guys just look like each other, especially the minor ones. The series does try to bring in some variation here and there, but it’s nowhere near enough to really catch my attention.

The thing with series that feature a godly main character who can never be beaten is that you really need to keep it entertaining to make up for their lack of flaws. The key is often creativity: take One Outs for example: a lot of fun to watch despite its complete lack of depth. And then there also is the Cobra of 2010, which despite its low production values isn’t afraid to insert the craziest ideas that prevent it from being boring. The 1982 Cobra however plays it too safe: there just wasn’t enough creativity in it for my tastes and for every nice idea it had three repeated and recycled ones.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Solid direction, but too safe and repetitive.
Characters: 6/10 – Shallow, to say the least. Especially women and bad guys are just paper bags but Cobra has his charms.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very detailed animation, decent but unimpressive soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Granted, the backstory of the universe that this show is set in does have its set of surprises.

9 Responses

  1. Avatar Jesse says:


    Haven’t seen this one yet, but how would this be in compairison to, say…Outlaw Star? Both the 1982 and the 2009. Or any of the series for that matter.

    Is it worth watching is kinda the question I am wondering. If the grade is that low on characters and storytelling, then you have to wonder if it would be worth the 15 hours to watch the series…. I am thinking no if it can’t really make the grade when pitted up against Outlaw Star. And before anyone says it- no it is not an unfair compairson. My opinion is, after reading the wiki, that the two are similar in content and impact.

  2. Avatar Jesse says:

    Actually, that was a crappy move on my part to gain readership. Sorry for advertising on your board.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Don’t worry, I edited that one out. ;)

    As for the comparison to Outlaw Star: I unfortunately can’t say anything about it because I haven’t seen it yet.

    Personally, I consider Cobra 2010 good enough for a light watch, due to its creativity and short length, while Cobra 1982 is one of those series that’s only interesting if you’re really bored and have absolutely no idea what to do.

  4. Avatar Jesse says:

    Wha? You haven’t seen Outlaw Star?

    Actually, it would be a really great time for you to watch it then if you are just finishing with Cobra. It is kinda like a Cowboy Bebop Lite if you will, and would be a good sort of transitional anime. It is 26 episiodes, so it isn’t much shorter than Cobra ’82, but it is a good series with pretty great animation, a decient story line, and classic characters.

    And thank you for the edit out.

  5. Avatar Jesse says:

    And I just saw that you haven’t seen Oh! My Goddess. You rated True Tears pretty high, so you would probably love Oh! My Goddess.

    And if you want to torture yourself, watch Rumbling Hearts. THAT will screw up your day. It is so good but god almighty it’s depressing.

  6. Avatar sengoku says:

    Just a precision, cobra ’82 adapts the 8 first volumes of manga version while Cobra 2010 adapting some stories of the following volumes where Buichi Terasawa (mangaka of Cobra) goes further in creativity. For information, most stories of Cobra 2010 were first published in 1982 and 1983 in the weekly shonen jump. Otherwise, psgels you still have to see the movie Cobra (1982) by Dezaki which was released before the serie of 82. And I advise you also to see Cobra Time Drive Ova (it’s better than the 4 ova’s Cobra the psychogun) that tells us the past of Cobra and Lady.

  7. Avatar loempiavreter says:

    Cobra is typical pulp series, correction an space opera pulp series. It’s my favorite series of all time, because it’s not pretentious but honest entertaiment. In pulp stories it’s often so that the main character is just superhuman and can face anything, it’s what you expect.

    All bad guys look a like? I don’t agree that, part of the Cobra fun is the wacky members of the pirate guild he faces. From elephant man to a pirate who has a pair of andoird humans with shoulder cannons on a dogleash, walking vegetable who has both powers of his alien origins as well as technology enchanced shield barrier.

    The only thing I regret about this animation version is that in the end they didn’t show that Salamander was actually Adolf Hitler and that wasn’t the true ending to the series since later in the series in the last arc you will see that the other leaders of the Pirate Guild are also nazi generals.

  8. Avatar Cobra says:

    Wow, this is really one of the shittiest reviews I read on this site, and I read a lot of shitty reviews here.

  9. Avatar Violence Jack says:

    Recently watched the series, and don’t agree with this review at all.

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