Why I think Space Patrol Luluco could be the best show of 2016

Earlier I published a full review on Space Patrol Luluco that you can read here. In that review I said:

“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”

As I expected, this comment turned a few heads given that it is a very bold claim and seeing as we’re only halfway through the year. Personally, I feel that I didn’t effectively explain why I have this opinion so I’m going to try and enlighten you on my thought process behind this. Expect a much less restrictive structured approach as my reviews, this is more of an open discussion.

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You can view the new and updated version of this article at our new domain by clicking here.

Oh yeah I should say now that this will contain major spoilers for Space Patrol Luluco and I will probably reference small plot devices of other Trigger shows to help back up my points. You have been warned.

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Incredibly detailed and consistent animation

Probably the most focused topic of my review, the animation quality is one of the main reasons this show gets so much praise. The shorter format of the show enables the staff to go wild with their animation and ensure that a high level of detail goes into every shot. Focuses of a shot like an explosion or a Judgement Gun Morphing have so many frames to their animation which really makes the scene look alive and give emphasis to the focus. Where personally I feel that some other Trigger works fail *cough cough kiznaiver* is by having a dull plot in which the animation can’t carry the weaker elements. By having a clear streamlined focus on detailed visuals in a shorter time-frame, the studio is able to execute an incredibly high standard of visual conveyance throughout the entirety of the show.

It’s an anniversary show, shared universes and references

I don’t want to dwell on this too much as that where my previous piece fell flat. The intention of this show is to ultimately mesh together as many of the established Trigger characters together in references. While some complain that this is a cheap way of getting fans to like the show, I disagree. Viewers don’t require any prior knowledge of the studio to enjoy the presence of these characters given that they are fun eccentric and provide more to the episodic plot than just appearing for the sake of it.

  • Sucy Manbavaran feeds poisonous mushrooms to Luluco which generates the conflict for the episode
  • The threads of Kill la Kill provide a fun antagonist while giving time for Luluco and Nova to spend time alone together
  • The plot of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s AnimatorExpo Short [18+] is practically recreated with Luluco in it providing everything for episode nine
  • Inferno Cop gives hope to Luluco which aids her in escaping hell so that she can fight for her love and confess to Nova

So to say that the references are just there for Trigger to boast about their success isn’t a fair assessment.

A beautiful, overlooked and underrated story

At its core, Space Patrol Luluco is a coming of age story, following the highs and lows of first love. It’s a story of finding deeper reasons for love other than good looks and a charming demeanour. Covering topics of wanting to fit in and being normal wasn’t enough for this show as the writers completely honed in on the love aspect. Luluco feels a constant internal conflict of trying to be the perfect girl for Nova and trying to decipher his true feelings behind the calm and disinterested attitude he gives off. Observing the plot through Luluco’s eyes and thoughts gives a personal insight into everything she feels and creates a bond between the viewer and the protagonist. I don’t know about you but when Luluco and Nova kissed in episode eight only to be followed with Nova wiping his mouth with his sleeve, it was crushing to see. As a viewer you hear Luluco’s excited voice tone develop as she realises she just had her first kiss which finally seems like the turning point for their love story. Only to be met with silence as she looks up and sees him wiping away that first kiss, it’s heartbreaking. The connection between protagonist and viewer is so incredibly strong in this show and is an often forgotten about or ignored concept of the show.

kiznaiver and pantynstocking....png
I forgot to mention the Kiznaiver reference as the scar on Nova’s back. Another possible reference is to Panty and Stocking with the shoulder blades leaning to the fallen angels?

Wild ride from start to finish

The dreaded pacing switch prominent in other shows doesn’t make an appearance here as the show displays a roller coaster of a ride making sure the viewer is strapped in the whole time. The show takes on the form of four mini seasons conveying different messages in each one, portraying a more easygoing and carefree atmosphere in early seasons until getting serious in the final season. It in this final season that I realised how strong a show this is, bringing together everything Luluco and Nova have done on their journeys in an epic conclusion. I’m a stickler for endings and I’m often left disappointed or irritated by a show when their ending is lazy or predictable. Never before have I felt a mixture of emotions when finishing a show before: I was upset that it was over, proud of the main characters, excited for the future of the cast and content with the story’s conclusion. It’s the first show where I am happy whether they continue with another season one day or leave the plot as it is. While I would be more than happy to watch more of these characters I’ve come to love, the conclusion wrapped everything up while leaving some open ended questions for  fans to ponder. I guess you could say, I don’t mind either way.

cute group photo

This piece was brought to you by Corkin.
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