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Project A-Ko was a 1986 screwball/ sci-fi comedy anime film made in mind to parody popular anime genres of its era such as school comedies, mecha titles, and space operas. The film focuses on high school student A-Ko Magami attempting to go through her everyday routines as a student with her close friend C-Ko Kotobuki, while possessing superhuman physical capabilities and evading the wealthy B-Ko Daitokuji who has romantic affections for C-Ko. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious alien ship seemingly observing the actions of A-Ko and C-Ko.|
I’ve heard a good deal about Project A-Ko being a gateway drug of sorts for anime fans who lived through the late 1980s to early 1990s when this and the later four installments of the A-Ko franchise got releases in Japan and America. How receptive you may be to Project A-Ko’s humor will come down to how well you appreciate its manic comedy and picking up on the nods and references to popular anime titles and storytelling cliches of the film’s era, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. One amusing fact I was not aware of with A-Ko until I researched it was that it was originally going to be animated as part of the Cream Lemon hentai OVA series before the decision was made to make it a mainstream anime film.
Far as my reception to Project A-Ko went, I was largely entertained with it. I did enjoy the anime’s showings of A-Ko’s ridiculous physical abilities causing destruction to her surroundings and her later skirmishes with B-Ko and her goons. There is a rather funny and sly cameo appearance revealing who A-Ko’s parents are at the end of the film, so keep a look out for that. Fair warning to those who hate it, the film does come with a decent amount of fan service with a good deal of upskirt shots with a number of female characters, some onscreen nudity, and skimpy attire worn at points.
The film had some misses with its humor for me. I wasn’t a fan of C-Ko’s character, as she came off quite obnoxious with playing the character type of the lead character’s energetic and childish childhood friend. I did also get more creeped out than amused with the anime featuring a couple heavily muscular girls who look more like guys with how they are designed, most notably one of B-Ko’s flunkies meant to be an obvious nod to Fist of the North Star’s Kenshiro.
While I did enjoy Project A-Ko for the most part thanks to its manic humor and parodies of popular anime genres of its era, I think a good deal of this came down to me appreciating the manic approach of its humor and having dabbled into enough older anime titles to know what the film was making nods to. Those not fans of the manic humor approach to the film or haven’t dabbled enough into older anime from the early to mid 1980s may not get as immersed into it, so mileage may vary with fan reception to it.
Last updated Saturday, May 30 2020. Created Wednesday, July 12 2017.
Project A-Ko, ah what memories. It was like one of my first Ecchi series.|
Now that I realize this was supposed to be a major YURI Hentai, I finally can understand the true nature of A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko. This is a very funny anime and though the Drawing is very 80's it still is a good watch. If you like Excel Saga you will probably like this.
Last updated Sunday, October 31 2004. Created Sunday, October 31 2004.
When I started watching this, I immediately remembered that I'd already seen it in Japan in 1989 (though I didn't understand a word of it and really didn't pay that close attention). I recall my best friend and roommate at the time telling me this was a parody of various titles and the seifuku-wearing heroine girls. I want to say that A-Ko's and C-Ko's seifuku's meant something, but I can't be sure. There's even a nod to Superman and Wonder Woman toward the end of the movie. As to the names, Stetch is almost right. "Ko" does mean "child", but apparently it is reserved for girls, thus the characters are "A-Girl", "B-Girl", and "C-Girl".
Parodies aside, as a story, it isn't bad. I was a tad bored at the begining, but there are some laughs to be had as A-Ko and B-Ko constantly battle. There are hints of shoujo-ai with B-Ko claiming that C-Ko is her first and only love, but it doesn't go to CCS depths. There is a little nudity in the begining and there is fanservice so be warned about that.
The art and animation styles are dated. However, for its time, Project A-Ko was well done. As such I have reflected this in my scoring. What I'm wondering is if the American music was in the original Japanese movie. Also, U.S. Manga SUCKED when it came to doing the subs on this DVD. The timing of the subs was just awful! It was clearly just slapped together to be put on a DVD with little time or effort put into it. That was very irritating.Bottom line: One of the classic anime titles and one which I'm glad to have seen again after so many years. However, there's nothing about this that makes me want to watch it a 3rd time.
Last updated Wednesday, January 12 2005. Created Monday, May 03 2004.
I was under the impression that Project A-Ko was a series, and this was a shortened version converted into a movie--my mistake. I was surprised at how nice the artwork seemed in the initial scene, set in outer space. Overall I found the first half of the movie to be moderately amusing--things got a bit repetitive at times. I probably wasn't "getting" all sorts of Japanese cultural references. But towards the end, when an alien spaceship appears, things really got wacky, and I was laughing a lot more. After it was over I realised that though I had enjoyed myself, I still didn't know the answers to practically any of the mysteries--what was the significance of the meteor that landed 16 years ago? Where did A-Ko get her superhuman powers? (having done some website research, it appears that her parents, who appear briefly at the movie's end, are superheroes from another series! I didn't recognize them, and was sure A-Ko was the real person the aliens were looking for, but they had mistaken C-Ko for her). Why do A-Ko, B-Ko, and C-Ko have such similar names? (turns out their "names" mean nothing more than "Kid A, Kid B and Kid C"). Maybe the answers would have been obvious if I were more familiar with 80's anime. No big deal, anyway--Project A-Ko was harmless fun that didn't really need to make a lot of sense.|
P.S: I rewatched Project A-Ko much more recently and, having benefitted from several years' worth of additional anime experience, it made a good deal more sense. This one is best suited to those who are both interested in "old" anime and fairly familiar with anime in general.
My favorite line:
A-Ko: "You've got my friend! Tell your men to bring her up here quick-smart!"
Alien Captain: "What men?!"
Last updated Monday, March 10 2008. Created Tuesday, September 02 2003.
Project A-Ko is intended, for all intents and purposes, as a parody of anime up to its time. Fans of old school anime will enjoy the nods to everything from Space Battleship Yamato to Robotech to Those Obnoxious Aliens.|
The animation and character designs are unfortunately quite dated, and don't really stand up well in my opinion to current standards. Admittedly impressive for its time period, A-Ko has, sadly, not aged well. The characters all have that Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2) look to them, and the animation tends to be choppy in places and very nice in others, resulting in an uneven feel. There is, however, very little stock footage. The backgrounds are good to very good.
Content wise, A-Ko is quite funny. Even if one is a newbie and doesn't catch all the pokes at previous animes (hell, I'm the Vice President of my anime society, and I didn't even catch them all...!) one can still enjoy the more broad humor, such as Agent D's continuing misfortune, and the alien captain's raging alcoholism. A-Ko's constant confrontations with B-Ko tend to become tedious and repetitive, as does C-Ko's constant "cute" stupidity but alas, the writers apparently disagreed. However, overall the gags work and the end result is very funny.
Overall, I give Project A-Ko a rent because while it was good enough to pay to see it, it wasn't quite good enough to own. Funny, entertaining and decent-looking animation, A-Ko a pleasant time passer, though not exactly brain-food.
Last updated Friday, November 09 2001. Created Friday, November 09 2001.
|A "Project A-Ko" website.|
|Media Factory's Official Project A-Ko Site||http://www.mediafactory.co.jp/anime/a-ko/|
|An official A-Ko site, in Japanese.|