Project A-Ko

July 11, 2004 on 7:06 pm | In Project A-Ko | Comments Off on Project A-Ko

Project A-ko is home of perhaps the most annoying character in anime history; a character so annoying that one can never decide whether to laugh or cringe at her actions and therefore end up doing both. A character so beguiling that two wars are fought to lay claim to her.
Featuring an eighties American pop soundtrack and every joke that had ever been invented up to that point in history, it’s definitely a memorable film.

A-ko and C-ko move to a new school in Graviton city. There they meet B-ko, who instantly falls in love with C-Ko and tries at all costs to extricate A-Ko from their lives. B-ko’s arsenal of robots, however, is no match for A-ko’s superhuman strength … and all the while they’re being monitored by aliens!
Project A-ko is clearly a collection of everything under the sun, and proud of it. Despite the mash together, it’s actually a surprisingly coherent film.

The characters are simple: A-ko is just a girl who wants to get to school on time; C-ko is her best friend who can’t cook, is really loud and cries a lot; B-ko is the rich girl who builds robots because she wants to wrest C-ko from A-ko’s evil clutches; Mysterious Character “D” is a mysterious character who never learns his lesson. Still, the pattern works. It’s substantial without being anything at the same time, making for a mighty confusing event.
Each day, A-ko and C-ko come to school, and B-ko is waiting at the gate for them with a new machine to take out her vengeance. Then the aliens come to Earth and all of the Earth’s forces are deployed for one big climactic battle!

Project A-ko is considered the ultimate in parody anime. While this isn’t as much of a misnomer as Martian Successor Nadesico, one of the most sleighted titles of modern times, it still robs the film of part of it spark to call it that. There’s no doubt that there are elements of parody riddled throughout, but to call the entire thing a “parody” suggests that it alone doesn’t have a leg to stand on. It’s by no means a strong story, but it’s a well told one that was lovingly crafted. Parody suggests too much in the way of cynicism, and correct usage of the term should be enforced. With an iron fist. Loving homage is more like it, but Project A-ko is too much like everything else to be like anything else. It’s the concentration of vitality that makes it such a delight to watch.

Moriyama Yuji, the man who seems to be responsible for almost all of Central Park Media’s catalogue, wrote directed and designed the characters. They’re all very attractive with their eighties hair styles and, at least in C-ko’s case, never closing mouths. The men went to the Fist of the North Star school of grooming, although after a while you might question whether the film actually has any men in it. It messes with your mind that way. Anyway, it’s always very well animated and designed, in a way that you don’t really see any more with the seeming death of mechanical otaku writers and directors. They’re probably still around, but now they care more about the environment.

Project A-ko is another “spirit of the eighties” anime; this is compounded by the music, which was actually outsourced to America. As a result, the soundtrack is a haven of sci-fi music that only the eighties could yield and glorious, wonderful eighties motivational love songs! A mixture of industrial sounds and pop make the film more memorable than it already is, with its scarily masculine men and penchant for destruction.

Project A-ko makes a lot more sense than it sounds like it does. It’s very simple, and by that token it’s too complex to write about. The layers of parody encompass a lot of anime that most of the modern generation of fans could never hope to see, but it’s funny enough by itself. Just so long as C-Ko’s scream doesn’t destroy your brain before you can finish it.

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