When Utopia More discovers an ancient record that holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe, she becomes the target of the ruthless Gypsy Doc of the Pirate Guild. Utopia finds herself saved by the easy-going yet legendary space pirate, Cobra, whose custom made Psychogun makes him a force to be reckoned with. Together, the two of them attempt to stop Gypsy Doc (along with Cobra's revived arch-nemesis, Crystal Boy) and his efforts to steal the record and use its secrets to rule the universe.
The Psycho Gun OVA is the start of the more recent Space Cobra material beginning from 2008-2010 being followed by the OVA titled as Time Drive and the 13 episode anime series, Cobra The Animation. It has been over 2 decades since the last appearance of a Space Cobra anime and Psycho Gun delivers a great start to the return of Cobra.
To sum up the story, Cobra aids a woman named Utopia More who works as a professor. During her research, Utopia discovers the whereabouts of a weapon capable of creating galaxies. The Pirate Guild gets wind of her discovery and decide to use this
weapon for their own use of interstellar conquest.
I should mention that I'm uncertain whether this OVA follows any particular story line of the Cobra manga but it shouldn't be a bother to a fan of the series. The first scene opens with Cobra utilizing his signature Psycho Gun against 3 guild members and you can immediately tell of its cinematic style of storytelling. The first episode makes sure to deliver great emphasis on Cobra's character; a man who seeks adventure and is chivalrous towards women but isn't afraid to get his hands dirty when placed in self-defense. I feel the OVA also served as a debut for new viewers of the series as the first episode reestablishes most of Cobra's highlights such as his amazing cigar, that his beams can bend in any direction, his smooth personality and displaying the universe of space cobra which included aliens, cyborgs and the sex appeal of seeing semi-nude women. (There are a LOT of booty shots in this particular story).
Psycho Gun offers a touch to appeal to older fans but also welcomes a new audience to the franchise. One such example as catering to the old fan base are the actors as Cobra and Lady are still voiced by the original actors from the 1982 anime series being Nozawa Nachi and Sakakibara Yoshiko. While Crystal Boy/Crystal Bowie is also included in this OVA he is sadly not voiced by his original actor Kobayashi Kiyoshi who is most notably known for playing Jigen from Lupin the 3rd. Speaking of actors, is also interesting to know that the first actor for Cobra from the 1982 Movie actually performs the ending songs for each of the new Cobra material.
Much of the story works well to display multiple side to Cobra's character such as behavior as a ladies man or other times goofy when feeling comedic but still remains entertaining as he was in the 80's. The appeal of Cobra for new fans is his more James Bond approach in this OVA. Such examples are his charisma and the resourcefulness of using various tools which include his trademark cigar. Like the previous story arcs we seen before, this one focuses solely on Utopia and how she begins to fall for Cobra while attempting to free herself from anguish.
Much of the animation looks good especially in scenes featuring plant life and scenery during the night time such as episodes 2 and 3. Much of it is due to shading which makes certain scenes have subtle but stunning visuals. While it doesn't have the iconic angles from the anime director Osamu Dezaki, The Psycho Gun still looks remarkable. However, a con for this series is the usage of CGI which doesn't blend too well, especially with Crystal Boy. (The following series Time Drive & The Animation also feature heavy CGI usage). As for the soundtrack, there isn't much to say other than it feels very subtle in comparison to the jazzy upbeat tone of the 1982 anime. However, if you listen carefully you may hear certain tracks that sound similar to Star Wars music.
After giving this OVA a second viewing, I found myself appreciative of its story as gives this feeling of an epic return to an older series that could still be adapted in today's standards. Complaints are few which include the lack of a more villains but still offers plenty of creativity and new alien/technology lore that keeps the series fresh. My main disappointment is the final battle with Cobra & Crystal Boy as it came off anti-climatic while both the anime & movie made their battles much more exciting. There is also a lack of Lady in this feature and Cobra doesn't carry his Colt Python.
Lastly, I'm uncertain whether this OVA is original material as it seems to reference events of both the anime and the movie version of Space Adventure Cobra most notably on the three sisters who were killed by Crystal Boy. Cobra The Psycho Gun delivers as a return for a Cobra but certainly leaves any Cobra fan wanting more.
For non-fans, Cobra is pure retro-pulp-space opera, or more simply, Lupin III in space. If that sounds appealing, you'll likely love it. If you don't know what that means, you probably won't understand why the women don't wear pants...
The story is quite epic, gorgeous animation, and while the music is as classic as it was in the movie or even the tv series, its still good.
As far as character development, its there, there is a bit of growth, but franchises like this are about appreciating and reinforcing the status quo, which is where the majority of
the entertainment lies.
No matter what anyone says, this is Cobra, and that mean awesome.
There’s just so much about space that‘s utterly fascinating--the vast area, unexplored lands, new cultures, and the fact that no one can hear you scream. This can be especially troublesome if you have the genital fortitude to cross Cobra.
Cobra is the captain of a spaceship. He works as a thief-for-hire and is on the “Most Wanted” list. The character of Cobra is difficult to describe. It’s like if you mix Han Solo’s ability to charm women, James Bond’s gadgets and ingenuity, and a dash of Lupin III’s thieving skills. Stir it all together and replace one of his arms with a laser gun and you’ll
have a pretty good replica.
The plot isn’t anything new, but that’s to be expected when the source material is well over 20 year’s old. Cobra is on a mission to steal a jewel from a museum on Earth. As one would expect, the alarms go off when he grabs the jewel. Surprisingly enough, it has nothing to do with the heist. It’s actually because the museum is being invaded by the Pirate Guild.
Professor Utopia, a damsel working on an important study for the government, suddenly gets attacked by Gipsy Doc of the Pirate Guild. Being the chivalrous gentleman that he is, Cobra comes to the rescue. They end up escaping in a helicopter with the help of the Psycho-Gun, which is the name of the gun attached to Cobra’s arm. This is when you learn about the true power behind Cobra and his weird weapon. Since it has the ability to split its energy beam, it allows him to kill multiple enemies in one shot.
After escaping the museum, they realize that the Pirate Guild has learned the secret about Professor Utopia’s research. Let’s just say that fossils are a lot cooler than you originally thought.
There are a few negative things to say about this show. The animation quality is a bit below what you would expect from an OAV made with today’s technology. Also, there has been no news of an American release. This is unfortunate because Cobra is truly an experience to be had, but companies are too busy release crap like Strike Witches to give it the recognition it deserves.