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Crystal Boy Does the Nasty

October 18, 2010

I’ve been watching Space Adventure Cobra (I’m up to episode five at the moment.), the old school TV series iteration of the awesome Cobra franchise. While it has yet to have a moment as brilliantly ridiculous as the remake’s JET PIRANHAS, it has its own charm that makes it equally awesome.

It’s dirty.

It’s dirty the way so many 70s and early 80s science fiction movies and series tended to be– all back alley bars, run down, broken planets, and criminal elements abounding. It’s dirty the way the cantina scene in Star Wars was, the way Jabba’s palace was in Return of the Jedi, and the way Los Angeles was in Blade Runner. There’s no hint of the sanitized future seen in every non-DS9 Star Trek franchise or the sleek, sexy, and hip future styles of The Matrix. While Cobra’s a damn sexy series, its sexiness is in the grime and ugliness of its world.

The only aspects of Cobra’s world that we ever see (Up to this point.) are the seedy side of things. Cobra chills out at a casino where the bouncers take you down to the basement to kill you if you win too much money. After that he runs into slave traders, bounty hunters, and corrupt prison wardens– nary a hint of anything legal or moral is present in Cobra’s world save for the odd innocent caught in the crossfire. And even then, said innocent woman is the daughter of a famous space pirate, and she’s wanted by various members of the Pirate Guild so they can get the tattoo off of her back since it’s part of a may to get her dad’s treasure hoard.

It’s the sort of rough and tumble, sleazy, nasty future that I like see ing in sci-fi stories. It isn’t a dystopia, where we see some idealized future corrupted and twisted– the world is just plain harsh by nature. Always was and always will be. The best recent comparisons would be Cowboy Bebop and Firefly– they’re both worlds filled with crime and violence where the main characters are trying to make due more so than make right. I love this stuff.

I also love the primary antagonist: Crystal Boy.

The dude has that whole Terminator look, save for the fact that this anime came out a few years before Terminator, so you can’t call it a ripoff or anything. But he has that intimidating man-machine look to him, sort of like if Darth Vader slimmed down and got himself a glam rock album cover makeover or something. The dude even sports a hood and cloak, predating all of the lame wannabe Sith types with their “I wanna blend into the shadows and be all mysterious and sinister and blahblahblah” routine.

But what I love about this dude, outside of his aesthetics, is his “power.” The only thing that bothered me about the Cobra remake was the fact that none of the villains really felt like they were on Cobra’s level. He had that unkillable James Bond vibe to him, where he was utterly untouchable. Crystal Boy is, like, the very opposite of Cobra. Cobra has his unstoppable Psycho Gun that can shoot through anything. Crystal Boy’s cyborg body is made or some sort of polarized glass that makes him immune to lasers or any sort. As far as I can tell, his power is the one thing that can trump Cobra’s Psycho Gun.

Looks like we have someone that can go toe to toe with Cobra. That’s an awesome thing. Sure, Cobra’ll win in the end, but it’s good to see a character who seems like he can match up with this unstoppable superman-like hero.

Also: Going back to James Bond. The fourth episode of the series had an awesome moment that started to remind me of Diamonds are Forever. Cobra was trying to get some info out of a prison computer when he was confronted by two female cyborgs. One had light skin and the other had dark skin. It totally reminded me of Bond’s fight with Bambi and Thumper from the aforementioned movie. Then, as if Cobra was reading my mind, he busts out with a line that compares himself with James Bond.

Awesome.

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