In the latest issue of our special Anime USA magazine, our contributors took some time to put together a feature on the ever-expanding world of anime shorts. Naturally we didn’t have enough room to cover all of them, and while Trigger got plenty of love with blurbs on Inferno Cop and Ninja Slayer From Animation, we didn’t get a chance to talk about Space Patrol Luluco. Well, we’re here to make up for that, because Luluco is very much worth talking about!
While Space Patrol Luluco is still short and completely insane, don’t expect the same minimalist, paper cutout madness found in Inferno Cop and Ninja Slayer (at least not until one very special episode). That’s because Luluco comes from director Hiroyuki Imaishi, who is as wild as ever after his run on Trigger’s Kill la Kill. Luluco isn’t quite as over the top as that, but it has some of the same spirit found in everything from Imaishi’s Dead Leaves to Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. It strikes a good balance of being ridiculous while still delivering a coherent story, and despite the short 6-7 minute runtime of each episode, its cast is surprisingly memorable.
Leading that cast, of course, is Luluco, played to perfection by M.A.O. She would love nothing more than to live a normal life, but that’s not really possible when you live in the human-alien co-mingling area known as Ogikubo and your dad is a member of the Space Patrol. When a dastardly trap turns her father into a living, busted ice cube, Luluco ends up having to take on his day job, reporting to chief Over Justice and meting out harsh punishment to evildoers throughout the galaxy.
It isn’t long before Luluco is introduced to Alpha Omega Nova, a new transfer who accompanies her on missions and sends her heart aflutter. Beyond the daily shenanigans of the Space Patrol itself, their connection really drives the narrative of Space Patrol Luluco, and becomes an essential component of the grand finale.
You can get to said finale in just a few hours, since Luluco is only 13 bite-sized episodes long. Well, technically it’s four seasons long, but that’s no big deal when each “season” is just three episodes. This structure works out nicely, though, with each season containing one plot nugget that usually wraps up neatly in a trio of chapters, making for an even easier means of digesting the series’ run. One of the seasons spends each episode exploring past Trigger productions, including Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, and even Sex and Violence with Machspeed.
Space Patrol Luluco basically is Studio Trigger. From her official Space Patrol transformation to the interconnected universe in which she operates, hers is as close to a mascot show as we’ve gotten from the relatively new studio. It’s so emblematic, in fact, that it makes Trigger seem like it’s celebrating 20 years instead of just five. It’s never too early to party with Trigger, however, and Imaishi’s latest creation is packed with lovingly crafted animation that is quick to remind us how much fun anime can be. As is the case with the other shorts we mentioned in our feature, there’s no reason not to give Space Patrol Luluco a shot.
Space Patrol Luluco is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
© TRIGGER, Hiroyuki Imaishi/SPACE PATROL LULUCO Production Committee.