Hating for the wrong reasons: I hate Project A-Ko

Partly out of curiosity due to how influential it supposedly is to Mechafetish’s anime consumption (most of the shows I’ve watched over the last 3 years were suggested to me by that guy), and partly due to my academic compulsion to consume everything suspiciously important (anything made in the 80s is suspiciously important) I watched Project A-Ko last weekend.

Let me get this out of the way: This movie is awesome. It will probably entertain you. It’s very funny. The production values are stunningly high and the animation can be gorgeous.

Now that I’ve made that plain, I can proceed in telling you how much I hate this anime.

I feel should expound on the elements that I did find amazing. And I will. The core of my hatred is not based on how bad the show is, but how much I wish many of the anime that I like were made with this much effort and funding and quality of execution. I feel like Project A-ko is disposable entertainment and I wanted it to be more. It’s made too well. It’s elements are too good.

While it’s throwaway nature is not it’s fault, and should not detract from the fun anyone will likely have in watching this title, I have this irrational wish for it to be not as good as it actually is. It puts a lot of shows I like to shame – shows that I have deep-seated feelings for, or shows that I want to like but found some elements lacking that Project A-Ko has in spades.

The images above don’t even begin to represent how good the anime looks live. I just put them there to give you a sense of the movie.

For example, the A-Ko v. Mecha scenes are superior to anything that can be seen in the 1st 5 episodes of Casshern Sins right now. It maybe unfair from a budget standpoint (one is a movie, the other a tv series), but there is over 20 years separating the two and I wish Casshern’s fights while stylized to look dirty in its fashion could look much better with this kind of detail.

Another example: the battles over Graviton city involving fighter craft and powered-humanoids have the kind of awesomeness comparable to Macross: Do You Remember Love. To me it looks better than those in Char’s Counterattack and the remastered Zeta Gundam movies. To me this just feels wrong. Gundam should be better than this.

The capital ship of Capt. CHARLOCK is a combination of the Arcadia, Yamato, and God knows what else. But the thing about how Project A-Ko sends up a homage, is how they do it BETTER than the original. That capital ship and its invasion into the Earth’s atmosphere is breathtaking.

The girl-on-girl fight scenes between A-Ko and the Akigayama 23 is superior in both choreography, animation epicness (and tasteful fanservice) than anything in Ikkitousen or perhaps even in the Dragon Ball Z movies. It is TRULY EPIC. I couldn’t believe I was watching anything from 1986. I realize that this fight leads to a battle full of win and mayhem that lasts until the rest of the movie. It’s got to be pushing 20 minutes of action without pause and without fail.

I’m sure there is a massive FAIL in my logic. I feel that I shouldn’t be making a post like this at all. After all, what am I trying to accomplish? I don’t care whether you end up liking this or not. This is not a review. But why can’t I just take this approach:

I’ve found a gem of an anime title from the ’80s with production values that just has to be seen to be believed. You will laugh! You will delightedly groan at the hilarious intentional stupidity. You will be given a treat of epic battles involving high tech craft, capital ships, and mecha. You will be in a yuri fanservice fest. MOAR PANTSU THAN 7 SEASONS OF RANMA 1/2 (just wait for it). It’ll be very difficult to dislike this anime. EPIC LULZ FOR ALL.

But I didn’t. And I hate this anime. Double FAIL for me because I actually watched it again before I finished writing this. It’s more awesome the second time around.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis, fanboy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Hating for the wrong reasons: I hate Project A-Ko

  1. Aizen says:

    I hate Project A-ko just because of the way they look. I’ve seen it before and moer or less it bored me. I was hoping for some Yuri moments, but none of that happened either 😐 Only pantsu flashes.

  2. the 80s. EVERYTHING was high-budget. Back then, there weren’ 30 fucking anime per season, everything was over 36 episodes, and movies were serious business animation wise, however I have yet to see 1 80s feature with a serious plot. Once the economy bubble burst high budget anime just started fading away and it was just time that made complex plots become mainstream. If A-Ko pissed you off, stay the fuck away from most 80s movies. Outlanders, Crusher Joe… stupid movies with ungodly high budgets. It’ll make you hurt inside.

  3. asher_langley says:

    I learned something from A-ko, and it’s gaining a greater appreciation of plot-oriented titles, even if the character design is not to my liking or despite the absence of Grade A animation. A-ko may have excelled in everthing except maybe for plot development, but give me something less awesome in visuals but pretty much have a direction going on for the series then I’d take that anytime.

  4. ghostlightning says:

    @ Aizen

    I think the fanservice actually went higher in the OVA series that followed. The whole plot is yuri, but it just wasn’t the gratuitous ecchi kind.

    @ Digitalboy

    Yes, I’m so glad you understand. I was afraid no one would get how I’m feeling. Thanks for putting a historical and economic reference. The 80s were the boom years in Japan when the real estate value of Tokyo was worth that of entire United States at some point. While some of them put their money in Van Goghs, there were those who put theirs in Project A-Ko. I am hurting inside.

    @ asher_langley

    When we watched A-Ko last Sunday, I had actually watched it with Mechafetish the day before. The second viewing tells me that plot direction is not the problem itself, but rather the premise that is just so stupid. The 2 conflicts: the rivalry of A-Ko v. B-ko, as well as the aliens v. Earth is just about possession of a stupid stupid stupid loli.

    I can enjoy tongue-in-cheek, but goodness. This is too much for me.

  5. choujin1 says:

    It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen this one. That was probably back when SciFi channel used to air anime marathons. Someday I might actually buy it. I have the others on DVD. I just haven’t found this one for the right price yet. :/

  6. schneider says:

    Hmm, I need to watch this.

    And I think I’m gonna enjoy it.

  7. omisyth says:

    An interesting way to hate an anime series. Maybe I should watch this movie so that anything that comes after it seems worse in comparison, thereby ruining my love of anime forever.

    On second thought…

  8. ghostlightning says:

    @ choujin & schneider

    If you can watch this in a vacuum, you WILL enjoy this.

    @ omisyth

    I’m almost there… so don’t watch this. If you’re going to watch something old, watch Do You Remember Love. It’s an apology for the crappy animation of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, though never a substitute for it.

  9. don’t be stupid. Watch Akira. It’s brilliant and has the best animation quality ever, and is even older than A-ko. Now that’s something to have faith in.

  10. ghostlightning says:

    @ digitalboy

    Yep, how stupid of me! I always thought Akira was made in the early 90s (when I saw it first). Akira owns.

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  12. Cuchlann says:

    Oh wow, Project A-Ko. I watched this years ago, when I was like thirteen or something. Sci-Fi Channel aired it on Saturday mornings in America. I remember liking it. I think I have a copy around here somewhere…

  13. bluemist says:

    My childhoooooood. I watched this as a kid (below 10 I think), before I was an anime fan, and maybe only cared about the explosions (and the pantsu). And in English dub too.

    How innocent was I…

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  19. Foo Bar says:

    Spend half a minute looking up the production team and you shouldn’t be surprised at all. Everyone on it defines the mecha genre (writers/character designers/animators/etc for Evangelion, Macross, Tenchi, Gundam), and a lot of these guys were leftovers from Urusei Yatsura’s Beautiful Dreamer’s production team. More importantly, A-ko itself is a massive self-referencing homage to Daicon III/IV’s opening animation and these are the guys who went on to start Gainax among other things.

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