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Space Patrol Luluco

Entry updated 30 August 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2016). Trigger. Directed and written by Hiroyuki Imaishi. Voice cast includes Junya Enoki, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Yōko Honna, Mao Ichimichi, Tetsu Inada, Mitsuo Iwata and Mayumi Shintani. Thirteen eight-minute episodes. Colour.

Middle-schooler Luluco (Ichimichi) is proud to call herself normal in an abnormal City, that city being Ogikubo, bought from Japan by Aliens and now inhabited by both extraterrestrials and humans. However, her life changes when her father, Keiji (Iwata), is frozen: his employer, the Space Patrol (see Crime and Punishment), coerces Luluco into monitoring her school for criminal activity. She is teamed with AΩ Nova (Enoki), a handsome airhead, on whom she quickly develops a crush. They learn an alien named "save the world" is distributing a Black Hole app at the school; she is revealed to be Midori (Shintani), a bratty three-eyed school friend who promptly insists she has seen the error of her ways and asks to join the Space Patrol. To Luluco's surprise, the Patrol's eccentric General Manager Over Justice (Inada) accepts her offer.

The team is instructed to deal with a meteorite falling towards the city, despite Luluco's doubts: "there must be people more qualified to blow up a meteorite than three middle-school students?" As it is destroyed, Luluco's mother, Lalaco Godspeed (Honna), "the most feared pirate in the galaxy", appears and grabs both her husband and Ogikubo, which is put up for space auction. Fortunately Luluco has managed to retain most of her father's brain, which the Space Patrol is able to awaken (see Brain in a Box). They pursue Lalaco through a Stargate, visiting several planets in their search – these are usually connected to other Trigger productions, including Kill La Kill and, implausibly, Little Witch Academia. They track the city down to the Space Patrol HQ: on arrival they are congratulated on their success by the Patrol's Galaxy Commander in Chief (Hiyama).

However, all is not as it seems (this is only episode nine, after all): the Commander is one the evil Blackholians, shoplifters whose insatiable greed has turned them into Black Holes. Nova is revealed to be his accomplice and a Nothingling, who are empty amoral shells. Luluco dies from the shock. This proves only temporary however and, returning to life, she determinedly declares her love; Nova, startled, reciprocates: he is empty no more – but the villain maliciously puts a black hole in his brain and he disappears into it, dragging the blackholian in with him. Unexpectedly, this turns Luluco into Trigger-chan (the Trigger studio's mascot), who can patrol the Dimensions, enabling her to search for Nova.

Though Luluco's father and mother might be said to represent the opposing pulls of orthodoxy and nonconformity on an individual, this is not a series that takes itself seriously; it does not expect the viewer to do so either. Though unlikely to turn up on anyone's list of finest Anime, the show is an amusing and eccentric experience. [SP]


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