what i was (not) forced to watch this week #20: project a-ko

It’s kind of hard to review Project A-Ko. I’m not sure what to say about how hell the show has held up over time, although I do have the advantage of not needing to worry about removing my rose-colored glasses, as I never did watch this show back in the day when it was more commonly described as “Japanimation”.


It’s a 25 year old parody anime, so for that reason a ton of jokes are simply going to fly over a contemporary audience’s head. Now, these aren’t necessarily obscure references. They’re often parodies of something like say, Captain Harlock. There’s nothing obscure about Captain Harlock, but it’s a show that’s going to be older than almost any anime fan that would watch it. It would be the equivalent of a joke about say, The Trouble With Tribbles or something. We’re not talking about Shaft writing a 2ch meme that only lasted for a week on a chalkboard.

The reason that this gets really awkward is because Project A-Ko is almost entirely a series of jokes and vignettes without really any overarching plot. If you’re not going to be able to get the vast majority of the jokes, it’s hard to really get anything out of the show. There’s some general broad humor in the show with sight gags or weird crossdressing aliens, but most of it fell flat for me.

I think a comparison with Bubblegum Crisis is apt. That’s another show (albeit one of my favorites) that you could say has not “aged well” over the last 25 years. There’s a big difference though in how the two shows have aired. With Bubblegum Crisis, you often want to chuckle at how 80’s it is, whether it’s because of the hair, the music, the triumphalism, and/or the techno-orientalism. But even though it’s “soooooooo 80’s”, the awkwardness is more of the awkwardness that was the 80’s, rather than a product of the anime itself. With Project A-Ko, it too is “soooooooo 80’s”, but you need to bring in the knowledge yourself of what that entails, rather than the anime providing it for you. Without enough of that knowledge coming in, it’s hard to enjoy.

In conclusion, oh gawd shut up C-Ko.

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Every once and a while, I'll write something about those Japanese porno Pokemans cartoons that are STRAIGHT FROM JAPAN but AREN'T KIDS' STUFF. Just not today.

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4 comments on “what i was (not) forced to watch this week #20: project a-ko
  1. Hinano says:

    in other news, I never watched this show.

  2. One of the things I liked was that at a certain point A-ko and B-ko were fighting in the middle of the town, throwing tanks at each other, and were so consumed by their battle that they didn’t even notice that they were in the middle of a war zone. Neither of them ever stopped and thought, “Hey, why are there tanks here?”

    Thing is, the way the show built up to that point, it was completely believeable that they should be so consumed with their battle with each other that nothing else mattered.

    The sequels are reported to be utter crap, but I really liked the first movie.

  3. jpmeyer says:

    I did watch all 5 Project A-Ko titles here, and the quality varied a lot. The 2nd one was pretty bad, while the 4th one was decent. Vs. focused a lot less on jokes and more on having some kind of story.

  4. animemiz says:

    Personally I found C-Ko to be such a pain, but when I was watching this years ago…there was two parts I definitely enjoyed, one was the episode when the guy turns out to really like C-Ko, for that I really loved the music at that part.. and yes the one when A-Ko, B-Ko and C-Ko are classmates, and fighting to rescue C-Ko in the end was pretty hysterical.

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