Trigger is responsible for shows that have single handedly saved weaker seasons, slowly working up a respected name for themselves. Along with their hit Kiznaiver, Spring 2016 gave us another Trigger spectacular in the form of a completely normal schoolgirl. Or at least that’s what she likes to tell herself. Space Patrol Luluco is the 5th anniversary show for the studio and is an absolute treat for fans of the studio and newcomers alike.
Visual Direction – The Trigger Standard
I was going to put this with the other less than 20 shows but I believe it’s earned a full feature review. This show showcases the studio’s animation capabilities better in its eight minute episode length than most of the full length shows this aired this season. In the opening alone the fluidity of the animation is gorgeous and I can imagine those 30 seconds alone covered the feeds of every anime tumblr in existence. As you would expect, the standard is consistent throughout every episode and no episode leaves you feeling disappointed in the visual department. The character designs are noticeably simpler than you would see in other Trigger shows like Kill la Kill or Little Witch Academia – both of which are directly referenced by the way. Despite this, the characters are charming and they fit the world crafted around them, their Judgement Gun Morphing! transformations also prove that the simpler characters were a design choice rather than a limitation. “Simple” is most definitely not a way to describe this show, the antagonists of the show are intricately detailed and usually take up the whole frame giving the experienced animation staff plenty of room to experiment and really show off their talent. The whole premise of the show is that our main character is trying to be normal in a crazy unpredictable world so it makes sense that Luluco’s design seems regular compared to the intense over the top designs of the villains.
Fast paced and over the top action
Trigger is known for exaggeration, taking small concepts and blowing them up into huge end-of-the-world situations. Luluco is no different, starting off the first few episode with some lighthearted adventures with the gang until the latter half of the series where one mistake could be the end of Ogikubo. This show makes up for the severe lack of explosions in Kiznaiver especially in the final few episodes when things get really interesting. In the same way that I respect Teekyu for it’s efficient use of time to create comedy, I respect Luluco for the amount of character development and impressive action sequences. Every action sequence comes after a mirage of visual spectacles often focusing on the exaggeration of a single micro feature. In the episode where Luluco pretty much just loses her shit, a solid portion of the run-time is washed with a red filter showing her anger and disbelief of what happened in the episode prior. This makes the resulting fight sequence so much more brutal now that the audience has seen how enraged the protagonist is.
Wide variety of references and stylised animation to the respective shows
As I mentioned before, this show is a fifth anniversary project so as an audience we expected to see the return of some familiar settings. Boy did they deliver. Given that early episodes don’t really have a structured plot-line to follow, Luluco and the gang often just travelled to other recognisable places in the Trigger universe. For fans of Little Witch Acadamia, we get a direct guest appearance from Sucy Manbavaran who accidentally results in a premature death for Luluco. Well, kind of.
A more noticeable an in your face reference is when they travel to the life fibre planet seen in Kill La Kill. The plot of multiple KLK episodes is pretty much slotted in for this episode where this time our main cast solves the issue within a few minutes. This episode is so detailed as the antagonist attempts to explain the whole concept of the planet to the viewer. Of course where a serious show would pay attention, Luluco’s much more interested in what kind of person Nova-kun likes. The overall feel of the show is still prominent even when conflicted with a new style of visuals, that’s a sign of powerful and distinctive atmosphere of a show.
As a final reference, in one of the finale episodes there’s even an appearance from Inferno Cop which I personally didn’t expect to see. For those who haven’t heard of Trigger’s dark horse, Inferno Cop showcased an “adult swim” style of animation accompanied by wacky episodic plots focused on the life of a skeletal police officer. It’s definitely a show that you just have to watch for yourself to understand, without a doubt the studio’s most odd work.
Trigger outdo themselves once again and provide a beautiful story of love, ignorance and justice. Sewn together with a collection of explosions and gunshots, it’s a truly emotional ride from start to finish. Assisted by clever and witty writing, the characters feel relatable (some more than others) and the comedy works consistently. The amount that this show achieves in such a short time-span is impressive to say the least, given how fast you could complete this series it’s a must watch not only for Trigger fans but for everyone. Not to mention how flawless the studio’s animation team is. I don’t like to make claims before I’ve seen everything, but I truly believe that this show is Trigger’s best work and is a very strong contender for the best show of 2016. It only seems fitting to conclude this piece with a few frames of excellent animation.