Project A-Ko - Anime Review
A review of an insane anime that is not well known
When I was about thirteen years old, I started to move away from cartoons. The animated X-Men series was about the only thing I was watching at that point, and the occasional Simpsons, but even those weren’t that often anymore. I was more into the live action stuff, especially the cheesy science fiction.
That all changed one day when I was talking to my friend on the phone. I know, who talks on the phone, but this was back before everyone had a cell phone and were still using landlines. He was excited and said he has an anime for me to watch. That it was like a cartoon, but more awesome. I was skeptical and said I was kind of bored of animation.
He said, “no dude. This is different. It has nudity! And we can watch them because they aren’t for adults!”
I was still skeptical, but I said fine. He came over with it. The movie was called Project A-Ko. To this day I’m not sure why since the only part of it that has anything to do with the movie is that the main character’s name is A-Ko. I came to learn over the following years that it was pretty common for animes to have a title that doesn’t really have anything to do with the series or anime itself.
We plugged in the VHS- yes, this was still before DVD was cost effective- and let it play.
Starting off, the animation was beautiful. This was on the level of American classics, but it was like a forty-five-minute movie. This was in Japanese with subtitles, which was fine. I’m a slow reader but I was able to keep up with it.
After the opening scene, which seemed like a serious storyline, we jump to a scene with the main character getting ready for school. I was shocked to see that there was a brief scene of nudity. After this movie though, I realized it wasn’t that uncommon to see nudity in anime.
What happened after was absolutely chaotic and amazing, and made little to no sense, but I loved it. A-Ko is friends with this, rather annoying, girl named C-Ko. They’re attending this school for the first time, though it’s apparently not their first time in this city.
You are introduced to A-Ko’s powers, superspeed. Now, this isn’t like The Flash superspeed, this is closer to realism in a sense, though she is very destructive.
At school, we’re introduced to the antagonist named B-Ko. The weird thing is, these three are the only three with this type of name and there’s no explanation why. It’s just normal, except these three characters have a history which results in a daily fight to get into the school between A-Ko and B-Ko’s robotic creations.
The fights tend to be quick, but they are awesome. The fight eventually comes down to A-Ko and B-Ko, which they are fighting for C-Ko’s affection, or at least B-Ko is.
What I mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg of insanity. There’s no real in-depth story, and even when the insanity jumps a hundred times and more story is piled on, it’s a rather simple story. But I love it! To this day, it’s among my favorite animes.
It was released in Japan in 1986, and if you’re familiar with anime of that era, you can easily tell. The music is amazing, I still love it. The humor is very physical, while the dialogue feels normal, if a little weird. However, with everything going on, it feels like a normal part of the world. You do get some reactions by the background characters that witness what’s going on, but it almost feels like it’s exasperation rather than “how are there people in this world that can do that?”.
If you’re looking for a fun time, watching a beautifully animated movie, not on the level of Miyazaki, then I would suggest watching this movie. There are sequels that continue the story and explain more, but you don’t need to. Project A-Ko leaves you satisfied in the end even though there are several unanswered questions. The story was not the point of the movie.
This movie set me off on a journey to watch some of the best stories in existence. It opened the portal to a whole new world of unique characters, stories, and action. Anime, even some of the worst ones, are usually meticulously animated and usually for no reason. If this movie was made in the United States, it would’ve been extremely low budget and looked more like Scooby Doo, or at best, GI Joe.
Project A-Ko sent me on a journey that I never came back from. I don’t watch anime nearly as much as I used to, but I still greatly appreciate it for what it is. It’s vast and covers all genre of movies and literature. Everyone can find a story that they can love, whether it be action, romance, comedy, or thought-provoking science fiction, it has it all.
This movie is available on Amazon Prime for free, though it is dubbed, and the dubbed version isn’t as good in my opinion. The voice action just doesn’t fit, which to me, happens with almost all anime. There’s very few I actually like the English voices for. This is definitely not one of them, but this was before anime became a major worldwide industry. If you can find it in Japanese, I’d suggest it, but if English is all you can do, give it a shot. I think you may be amazed.
About the author
My primary genres are fantasy and sci-fi. I love coming up with new worlds and new things within that make it interesting. My stories tend to be more character driven as I find how the brain works fascinating.