Project A-Ko 4

September 19, 2004 on 1:30 pm | In Project A-Ko | Comments Off on Project A-Ko 4

This is undoubtedly the best Project A-Ko since the first. What they appear to have done is taken Project A-Ko and turned it into a drama. That’s right, a dramatic episode! Just what Moriyama was trying to do with his child is beyond me, but this entry works quite well – although, on closer examination, it might not actually make any sense.

Project A-ko 4 opens with a party of archaeologists digging in the ruins of Iraq (why Iraq is in ruins is anyone’s guess, as this anime was made some time prior to the Gulf War) and discovering a tablet that prophesies the coming of an alien race to reclaim their Goddess. Their symbol is the Star of David – which of course raises the question “Jewish aliens?”.
Coincidentally (or is it?!), Miss Ume – hard done by teacher of A-ko, B-ko and C-ko – wears a pendant around her neck that bears the very same Star of David (embellished with a heart in the middle). Further to this coincidence, an alien fleet is bearing down on Earth – their mother ship emblazoned with the Star of David!
These – of course, unrelated – events culminate in a story that involves Miss Ume’s wedding to A-ko and B-ko’s “true love”, Kei, and C-ko’s intense jealousy of all of A-ko’s fun.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to realise that in this case there isn’t a whole lot of Judaism going on – this is anime, after all, and sometimes a symbol is just a symbol.

Project A-ko 4 isn’t riotous, but it’s well done. The archaeological dig scenes are presented in a mysterious fashion, the marriage interview is downright awkward, and its revealed that all of these characters actually have hearts. C-ko, world renowned for having the most piercing voice and no sense of what’s happening around her, gets to show some depth. Her final scenes are actually, in some way, moving. A-ko and B-ko can actually cooperate when they see what is right, and really, everyone should be friends.
This also boasts the best animation out of the three followups.

So what Project A-ko boiled down to was the power of friendship. Nothing can match the original, but 4 was at least worth its while – with its unique atmosphere and interesting (and largely successful) attempts to lend depth to the characters. Moriyama was not attached to The Versus, so it still remains to be seen how that one went.

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