This weekend we’re starting a series of reviews of the Project A-Ko series of films and OVAs, starting with the first one. You may have seen this one before on the Sci-Fi channel – as this used to be in moderate circulation on their Saturday Anime block, back when they showed anime on Saturday movies.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Emi Shinohara as Biko “B-Ko” Daitokuji
Michie Tomizawa as Shiko “C-Ko” Kotobuki
Miki Itou as Eiko “A-Ko” Magami
Asami Mukaidono as Miss Ayumi
Daisuke Gouri as Mari (angry voice)
Megumi Hayashibara as Ume
Sayuri Ikemoto as Mari (female voice)
Shuuichi Ikeda as Captain Napolipolita
Tesshô Genda as Spy-D
Yoshino Takamori as Ine
Youko Ogai as Asa

Directed by Katsuhiko Nishijima
Animated by Almost-But-Not-Quite-Everybody.

Premise

A-Ko Magami, a normal high-school student (except she has super-strength, super speed and can resist a lot of punishment) is starting out at a new all-girls high school with her childhood friend C-Ko Kotobuki. However, she soon finds herself in a bitter-rivalry with another student, B-Ko (heir to the fortune of a business tycoon and a gadgeteer), over the heart of C-Ko. Things lead to a massive, heated, epic brawl worthy of the pages of Action Comics. Then the aliens show up…

High Point

Really, the fight between A-Ko and B-Ko in her powersuit might be the best example of what a fight between Superman (okay, more like Wonder Woman – A-Ko can’t fly) and Lex Luthor (in power suit) would look like in an anime. It helps that making a cameo appearance as A-Ko’s parents are Clark Kent and Diana Prince. Frankly, the whole last half of the film, from the moment B-Ko unveils her powered armor to the end of the movie is spectacular.

The massive number of shout-outs to other anime in here, from Mobile Suit Gundam to Fist of the North Star to Space Pirate Captain Harlock can lead to some chuckles if you catch the references. But…

Low Point

…if you don’t catch the references, they’ll seem out of place, or at least just lame.

Nudity and Violence

Outside of one brief topless shot of A-Ko early on, there’s no nudity to speak of. There are a few panty shots, but nothing as major as, say, Agent Aika. Blood is also minimal.

The Scores

Originality: It’s fairly original, all things considered. It does get docked a point for being an adaptation though – but only one, considering it’s a sex free (and practically nudity free) adaptation of a concept that was originally meant to be a hentai anime. 5 out of 6

Animation: The animation quality is not fantastic, but it’s still pretty good. 4 out of 6

Story: All things considered, the story doesn’t cover the bottom of my shoes. It’s just an excuse for the action sequences. 2 out of 6

Voice Acting: The voice acting is solid, with some notable big name VA’s on there, such as Megumi Hayashibara and Tesshô Genda (the Japanese voice of Optimus Prime). 4 out of 6

Emotional Response: Frankly, there wasn’t much of one, outside of “This is awesome”. 3 out of 6

Production: Overall it’s a well put-together anime, though some of the sound effects are fairly stock.
3 out of 6

Overall: Overall it’s a pretty good film. The plot isn’t anything to write home about, but the humor and action scenes make up for it. 4 out of 6

In total, Project A-Ko receives a 25 out of 42.