Space Patrol Luluco – Review
Space Patrol Luluco was awarded as a Runner-Up for Best of Spring 2016 in our Anime Awards.
Space Patrol Luluco:
Original Air Dates: April 1st, 2016 – June 24th, 2016
Synopsis: Luluco is just your normal junior-high student whose father happens to be a detective at the Space Patrol Police force– wait what!? Luluco lives in an alien immigration city, for aliens seeking to become a part of the Earth’s population. She lives alone with her father after her mother moved out and took all the furniture. After her father does a stupid and eats a space freezing capsule, Luluco is forced to rush him to the police office to make sure he doesn’t clock in late! In order to pay off the expensive procedure to return her frozen father to normal, Luluco is drafted into the Space Patrol force. But Luluco just wants a normal life!
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Space Patrol Luluco’s exceedingly quirky visuals sell the show as the hyper, straight to the point absurdity that it is. Luluco’s visual flare is unique to Trigger and while perhaps not for everyone, provides a healthy dose of personality sometimes missing from the slew of generic anime that often litter the seasonal landscape.
Linny: It’s hard to miss the Studio Trigger flair as the show is bursting with it’s trademark colourful and energetic animation style. It’s also a showcase for a lot of Studio Trigger’s other works as the story itself jumps between universes, each set in another Studio Trigger property. The viewer gets to see and sample the animation style and lore of each universe in bite sized stories so that could either be a nostalgia boost, an exciting shout out to those familiar with the work referenced, or it could confuse those completely unaware of these other creations. If you’re watching it as someone unfamiliar with the studio and its products, some episodes will be harder to enjoy as the art style can vary and many of the jokes won’t hit as hard or fly over your head if you aren’t already aware of what it’s referencing.
Tom: That late series visual style change, as they jump between other Trigger properties, can be a bit jarring, and sends Luluco hurling dangerously toward self-referential meta territory where true appreciation for the series might only be possible for outright die hard fans of the studio. Saving it from that fate is the short run time of eight minutes an episode, keeping the meta humor brief, abrupt, and moving on after a handful of episodes. The other thing the art style does successfully (most of the time anyway) is hide Luluco’s low production budget. Thanks to the quirky animation and style Luluco’s meager budget is often unnoticeable, allowing the viewer to enjoy the series even if the animation need remain rudimentary. It’s not flawless, however, and there are several places as Luluco progresses where that lack of funds becomes painfully obvious. It’s unfortunate, but these moments are fleeting and it remains impressive how well Luluco manages to hide its lack of funds otherwise. If anything it still looks better than just about every other short-form anime this season.
Linny: Luluco herself really helps to sell the show. Her desire for normalcy and the ensuing complete and repeated failure to achieve normalcy makes for an amusing story and also a heartwarming tale at the same time. Watching her struggle not only with the insane issues of having a frozen solid and disassembled father, a forced recruitment into the Space Patrol, but also with the more ‘normal’ heartaches of teenage love is sure to make the viewers warm to her.
Tom: Luluco is, for the most part, the series’ straight man, the character we identify with and who voices our shock and surprise at the ever growing absurdity of the situation. Impressively, the series has an arc for her despite its status as a short-form anime. It’s one that actually builds off subtle elements peppered throughout the series making for an emotional and exceedingly fun finale. Her love interest, Nova-kun, is a bit bland, but it’s all by design and the reasoning at the center makes for one of the series’ cooler and more ingenious reveals. Other characters like Chief Over Justice, his assistant, etc. play much smaller roles, generally used to provide additional humor or much needed exposition particularly as events develop as crazier and crazier.
Linny: As we’ve been mentioning, the show is a lot of over the top imagery and characters so literally every aspect of it is all out weird or crazy. Every single character is a special kind of unique, crazy or both. For those who like comedies to be balls to the walls insane, Luluco is sure to delight.
Tom: Luluco story is ultimately simple, and its introductory episode makes it easy to jump into. The show moves quickly with the humor, helping to soften the insanity of the plot as things gradually spiral out of control. The vast majority of the humor is outright silly, if not absurd, especially as the series dives into exceedingly meta territory. For anyone who prefers humor a bit more clever the series has a few broad, overarching strokes that are quite ingenious as I mentioned above, but the moment to moment humor is squarely grounded in the ridiculous. It’s bound to turn away fans who are less enamored with the more zany anime style that seems to have taken a backseat in recent years.
Linny: That said, Luluco manages to be impressive by providing observational and deep humour despite its ridiculous premise and characters. Despite all the zany and self referential humour, Luluco has a central story that derives humour and meaning from real life. It’s still extremely fast paced and all over the place thanks to constant world jumping which could prove even more daunting for viewers who are completely unfamiliar with Studio Trigger or their properties.
Tom: Space Patrol Luluco is a wholly original work by Trigger that puts many other short-form anime to shame. With the thirteen-episode series concluded there’s no word yet on whether Luluco will ever return, but if you’re dying for more time with these characters do check out the companion manga for it on Crunchyroll, providing an extra dose of humor set between each of the episodes. Space Patrol Luluco wasn’t my favorite anime this season, but it made me more interested in zany, off the wall anime that I normally don’t enjoy. It’s been one of the few Trigger anime I’ve really taken to and I think their style and type of humor works splendidly within the 8 minute format. I recommended Luluco to anyone looking for a brief dose of insanity.
Linny: For those worried about not enjoying Luluco because of all the in-studio jokes and references, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you haven’t watched any other Trigger animation, Luluco has enough original humour that it can be enjoyed all on its own. If you’re looking for a quick and crazy comedy, Luluco is definitely one of the best short form shows of recent and that short run time makes for a less demanding but still enjoyable marathon. Oh, and because it seemed to cause confusion for some people while airing, Luluco has an inside joke where it’s broken up into several seasons but all the episodes actually simply make up one complete season. So do not panic if you suddenly see a END OF SEASON ONE/TWO/THREE, as long as you have 13 episodes lined up, you have all of what’s been released of Space Patrol Luluco.
Space Patrol Luluco is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.