There exists the Cosmos Warriors, a team tasked with the duty of protecting freedom, justice, and peace of the universe. When the Master of the Cosmos Warriors was killed onboard a traveling spaceship and the rest of the passengers were kidnapped by the sinister Green People, Captain Leo soon uncovers a malicious plan that would put the fate of the people of Earth on the balance.
If it wasn't for IMDb, we wouldn't know very much about this tile. The version we have access to is there-release of the 1983 re-release by Joseph Lai's Adda Audio Visual Ltd. The original opening credits aren't present. Instead, a series of still images that are completely unrelated to the rest of the movi lists the people that worked on the dub. For example, IMDb lists Yeong-man Heo as the original creator while the credits cite Rick Ashley as being the creator/scriptwriter. (No. Not Rick Astley. Otherwise, these jokes would write themselves.) Therefore the rest of the credits, especially the list of animators, should be
dismissed as unreliable.
The other mystery behind the version we have access to is the distributor Dunellen, New Jersey-based Digiview Entertainment. (Dudes. The website is on Tripod of all places... Sheeesh.) Specializing in $1 bargain-bin titles found at Wal-Mart and Dollar General stores, this company brought B-movies, blaxploitation flicks, animation ranging from this to a horribly sliced-up (and probably bootlegged) version of Kimba The White Lion, and obscure public domain titles to the general public for a decade before reportedly switching over to budget-priced content that the unwary might actually think was interesting. Such as, for example, the 1991 Ron Marchini vehicle known as Karate Cop.
I did say they might think it was interesting, not that they actually would.
Why did I spend this much time typing about the background companies? To avoid typing about the title itself. Unlike normal for these posts, I won't be putting in Streamable links or GIFVs to illustrate the points. This is partly because this would be difficult to manage without subtitles to give them some kind of context. Yet it is also partly because I'd end up having to just copy the entire movie, and that would take too much effort.
First, let me bring up the positives.
Now that those are out of the way...
Actually, I kid. The art was fairly decent for something from 1979. It wasn't up to the standards of various A-List studios, but it was far from the most egregious example I've ever run across. Yes, the main character is basically a carbon-copy of Char and the robot/real boy looked like a cross between Boy Atom and Pinocchio, so the character design isn't exactly an Oscar-winning performance. (Then again, Suicide Squad... No, I'm not going to go there. That way chaos lies.) For the era, however, I'm willing to give the art a pass for being at least closer to competent than any other part of this production.
Everything else is a clear and overriding negative.
The music was mostly a non-factor, though the main theme was so ear-grating that I would rather listen to Yoko Ono on cocaine than one more rendition of whatever the hell that was. Sound effects seemed like they were ripped bodily out of various Hollywood titles or made by a tone-deaf Foley artist. The animation varied between bland and uninspired, with not even a single moment of competence for the era. The character design was either atrocious or a blatant ripoff. The backgrounds made absolutely no sense whatsoever, with characters going from hovering in space one minute and walking on a planet the next.
Yet for as bad as those were, the plot was even worse.
In the future, a cruel queen captures and enslaves humans in order to restore a world ruined by nuclear disaster only to be thwarted by Captain Leo and the Cosmos Warriors. Just the brief outline seems bad enough, but the execution was far far worse. Space centaurs hurling spears that can bring down a flying spaceship. Space wizards that can break windows of a spaceship without letting all the air out. Fight scenes consisting of characters bouncing around a room and saying "This person is strong." Ill-thought gladiator battles that would make the Gorn versus Kirk bout look like it belonged at Wrestlemania. A climactic battle fought at the edge of a lava lake that somehow made its way into the bowels of a space station. And finally, the lava lake aforementioned self-destructing. And those were the high points. The scene-by-scene drudgery was even worse and not worth even mentioning in passing.
And yet... That still wasn't the worst part of this movie. That dishonor goes to the horrible overdubbing. Poorly edited, horribly cast, inanely written, and with dialogue that makes Trump's Twitter feed look reasonable, I would not be hesitant to call this the worst dub I have ever encountered. It is skull-smashingly horrid in all aspects, and capped off by whoever it was that played Captain Leo sounding like John Lennon on Quaaludes. If I have to listen to one more Liverpudlian accent with a deadpan performance, I better be unconscious for the duration lest it bring out flashbacks from this movie.
Between a script that sounded like it was written by someone fired by Ed Wood for incompetence and a plot that had less logic than a film project made by a group of 3rd-year boys, this is the epitome of dreck. Whether or not Captain of Cosmos is the worst title I have ever seen is still a matter of debate, but it is definitely somewhere close to the podium. It certainly takes the crown of Worst Animated Movie I Have Ever Seen away from the religious propaganda vehicle known as UFO Gakuen no Himitsu.
Apparently Anime was way better in the old days and there weren’t any bad titles… Well this one really helps to disprove this statement if you are willing to count Korean Animation as Anime. This “masterpiece” really belongs to those titles that are better left forgotten unless you enjoy laughing at bad shows.
I wonder how this could even be released. The MC looks like a copy of Char Aznable from Gundam. Same helmet with mask and the quite unique uniform design is practically identic. But looks are clearly not everything and to no surprise this copy can’t nearly live up to the original. Some
of the other members of the cast look pretty much like other characters on Gundam. Probably another coincidence…
The remaining characters aren’t any better… A useless women by the side of the hero, some civilians you are supposed to feel sorry for, some kind of wise space-Gandalf, some childish robot with issues that he isn’t human and the enemies: some green alien centaurs with and evil queen.
It’s a strange world this Anime is taking place. Somehow all humans have no problems breathing and surviving in the vacuum of space without proper equipment. I have no troubles accepting it for the aliens but it’s simply ridiculous to see a human break the window of a spaceship to shoot at the enemy outside…
I still wonder how they are even able to travel from one planet to the other when a spaceship can’t even outrun an arrow (!) shot by a centaur. The ships must probably travel at 20 miles an hour trough space to even be able to see the aliens “blocking” the path in the middle of space.
And as you can expect after watching a few minutes the story isn’t getting any better. At least the art and animation was acceptable for a title from 1979.
This title simply is ridiculously bad. So much that it’s even a bit funny to watch…
Summary: Excellent soundtrack and dub. The theme song was memorable. YA! One of the best I've seen in ages in my anime dump. Truly a marvelous Korean clone of some classic franchises. I give it a 5/7
Story: Some kind of story maybe. Who knows. I can't remember anything.
Art: Excellent. I recognized some titular characters from other series like Char!
Sound: Truly the best part of the whole show. The theme song was a memorable piece of work. How could the creators come up with such a masterpiece? I will never know. I will now scream "Ya!" every time I think about this awesome show.
Character: Something about green centaurs, queens, Char, Char's counterattack, and pinocchio.
Story: Johnny Destiny: Space Ninja is a thrilling, timeless tale of deep space adventure, tension-filled hostage negotiations, and global climate change. Thrill as Evil Queen and her army of space centaurs that disappear halfway through the movie try and take over the galaxy I think. Can our brave heroes of Guy Who Does Lots Of Flips, Girl Who Does Lots Of Flips, and The Worst Child overcome them?
Art: The best artists these Korean bootleggers could afford clearly worked overtime to create a consistent, immersive world. It's filled with people who look exactly the same, shots that definitely
aren't just shots from 10 seconds earlier flipped around, and the best editing since the Halle Berry Catwoman movie.
Sound: The soundtrack, courtesy of The Director's Cousin With A Keytar, does an outstanding job of whisking you away into the world. You'll barely even notice that they keep using the same slide-whistle-esque sound effect over and over again.
Character: The cast is filled with lovable, memorable characters, none of which are named Johnny Destiny or are Space Ninjas. Nevertheless, such classic personalities as Boy Who May Or May Not Be A Robot, Space Frankenstein, and Buzzsaw Hands will live forever in our hearts.
Enjoyment: The full dub is available on YouTube for free. Watch it and be amazed.
Overall: Johnny Destiny: Space Ninja is the best space opera, perhaps even the best anime, ever made by human hands.