Countless anime fanatics are familiar with Studio Trigger, the talented team of animators behind such hits as Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver, and Little Witch Academia. Alongside their various acclaimed long-form series they have also been partial to dabbling in pieces leaning further towards the practice of experimentation, from stand-alone shorts such as Sex and Violence with Machspeed, to short-form series such as Inferno Cop, and the subject of this review: Space Patrol Luluco. Released in 2016, Space Patrol Luluco features thirteen episodes clocking in at a little under eight minutes each, resulting in a total runtime that is akin to that of an average movie.
Our protagonist, Luluco, resides in an area populated with an eclectic range of both human and alien life, in what could be refereed to as an extraterrestrial melting pot. Her Father, Keiji, works as an officer for the Space Patrol, the somewhat dysfunctional (but unlike the American equivalent, non-racially biased) police force of Luluco’s world. One thing leads to another, and our teenage schoolgirl heroine finds herself as the Space Patrol’s newest recruit. The ensuing adventure brings Luluco and the Space Patrol to various planets, tasking them with an objective that is an equal parts insurmountable and bonkers.
Fueled by Studio Trigger’s signature comedic zaniness and electrically expressive animation, the simplistic plot of Space Patrol Luluco is held afloat upon a foundation of confident execution of its base ideas. Showcasing a plethora of references to Studio Trigger’s iconic back catalogue, passionate followers of the studio are blessed with a wealth of “Oh cool, I remember that series” moments. Studio Trigger also showcases yet again that they firmly understand the secrets to executing satisfying final episodes, as Space Patrol Luluco is concluded with an explosive confrontation against a daunting threat, bolstered by a cascade of colourful animation and a rip-roaring soundtrack.
Space Patrol Luluco’s only noteworthy negative point is that it leaves you wanting much, much more. Certain characters feel vastly underdeveloped, and some plot points would benefit from a far deeper level of exploration. This is unsurprisingly as a result of its vastly compressed runtime, and should Space Patrol Luluco have been granted the length of a typical long-form series, these criticisms would most likely cease to exist. Despite Space Patrol Luluco lacking depth in specific areas of its composition, the amount that it does accomplish in the short time it’s granted is impressive nevertheless.
It’s safe to say that this bitesized intergalactic escapade certainly earns its title of ‘short-form series’, and one would understandably be tempted to disregard such a brief foray amongst the stars as incapable of truly resonating with the viewer due to its condensed runtime. For this reason, Space Patrol Luluco surprises immensely, as it impressively utilises every single one of its fleeting minutes to bombard its viewer with joyously off-kilter charm and delight. Studio Trigger prove to be in their element, serving up a tasty helping of lightning fast pacing and zany characterisation. Space Patrol Luluco is a smart investment of time for anybody seeking a short but sweet science fiction romp (one that we have hopefully not seen the last of).
You can stream Space Patrol Luluco on Crunchyroll HERE.