Cosmos Pink Shock

The first time I saw Project A-Ko almost 25 years ago, I laughed and laughed. I'd never seen a parody that included all my favorite anime (and many I didn't even know existed). It was amusing while still having a plot. Today, Project A-Ko is a bit of a curiosity, as are many comedies nearly thirty years after their inception. Of all genres, besides those laden with special effects, comedy seems to hold up the least. Humor gets faster. And if your comedy is ripped from the headlines, it most likely won't even make sense thirty years hence. Nevertheless, I still can watch Project A-Ko fondly. I still like the shows it skewers. I can still appreciate the joke.

Cosmos Pink Shock is much the same, albeit considerably lesser than its notable brethren. Apparently created for a now-defunct magazine, Cosmos Pink Shock is a roughly half-hour OVA loaded with lots of references to mid-80s anime. Whether you'll like it or not almost solely depends on whether or not you have any interest in the anime of yesteryear getting a gentle skewering. For me, it was dumb fun that made me laugh, even though there were some creaky bits.

Micchi, a seventeen-year-old with a pink shock of hair who pilots the spaceship "Pink Shock" around the universe, is in big trouble. After her flight interfered with the result of a baseball game -- one that would have ended a several-hundred-year losing streak -- the team is after her. The interplanetary cops are after her. Moody bishonen captains who hate women are after her. What's a girl looking for her abducted boyfriend to do? Thankfully, Pink Shock is perhaps the fastest ship the galaxy has ever seen, so it takes a lot to catch up with Micchi, but she's in a world of hurt if they get a hold of her...

I can't really tell you if Cosmos Pink Shock had decent animation for the time or not. Anime News Network notes that it's one of the only OVAs never to have had an LD release, and the version available online is definitely from someone's failing VHS tape. HD, this is not. In a way, the blurriness was kind of a throwback for me. Meanwhile, for cute character designs, you can't go wrong here. While they are prototypical for the era, they fit the bill for a light bit of fluff.

So what's good? The laugh factor is on high for '80s fans who know the big names from that era. I appreciated the nods to Macross and Gundam. The first half moves quickly. The characters, from the sullen Captain Gatsby to Micchi, are amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There are plenty of great lines. All the elements are here to shut down your brain and laugh a little if you're willing.

What's not so good? Micchi is a sexist stereotype, the "dumb gal" who has no particular skills or talent, just a fast ship. (Of course, all the male characters are idiots, so it's not as if they fare much better.) The show slows down too much when we get Micchi's backstory about her lost love. The ending is contrived. And while it's not the kind of show to require a conclusion, there is none; there isn't much of a plot, but the core of it is unresolved. If you're determined not to like it, you can find plenty of legitimate reasons not to.

It's hard to determine how to rate a show like this. I'd watch it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do it. Because it is so like the A-Ko series, I'd put it this's not nearly as good as the first installment, but it's equal to or better than the sequels and leagues ahead of the monstrosity that was A-Ko Vs. And if you have no interest in A-Ko or, worse, hated it, don't even bother. While it's no rip-off, it's a similar silly parody of the same era. But you know what? I smiled a lot, got a little nostalgic, and was pleasantly surprised that something nearly lost to the ages turned out to be pretty darn good.

Cosmos Pink Shock -- mild violence -- B+