This week we return to my favourite anime director, Hiroyuki Imaishi. He has made some of the most best anime series around in my view, including my personal favourite anime of all, Gurren Lagann (No. 50).
His most recent series though, Space Patrol Luluco, which started in April, appears to reference many of his other shows. The use of short, 8-minute long episodes harks back to his adult comedy series Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (No. 19), and it appears to feature elements taken from Imaishi’s last big project Kill la Kill (No. 80).
Space Patrol Luluco is a sci-fi comedy. It takes place in a place called Ogikubo, a location somewhere on Earth which serves as a frontier zone for visiting alien immigrants who wish to reside in Earth. Although the place is extraordinary, our heroine wants nothing to do with such bizarreness. 13-year-old schoolgirl Luluco has one wish: to live a perfectly ordinary life. She lives with her father Keiji, who works for the Space Patrol, a law-enforcement agency whose job is to arrest aliens breaking the law.
However, an accident results in Keiji freezing his entire body. Luluco takes her father to work, but his boss, the skeletal Over Justice, says that Luluco must take over Keiji’s work until he returns to normal. Luluco’s work now sees her doing things that are, to her horror, not normal. This includes a siren flashing from her head whenever a crime is committed, and undergoing a process called “Judgment Gun Morphing”, which sees her turn into a large gun in order to attack criminals.
During her work, two of her fellow students join the Space Patrol, both of whom are aliens. One is handsome transfer student Alpha Omega Nova (spelt AΩ Nova), who Luluco slowly begins to fall in love with. The other is Midori, who at first is arrested for selling an illegal phone app, but who gets out of it by agreeing to work for the Space Patrol. Luluco now tries to manage a normal life while dealing with not-so-normal people, one of whom happens to her own mother Lalaco, aka “God Speed”, an infamous space pirate.
Although this anime hasn’t been around very long (six episodes at the time of writing, all eight minutes in length), there is still plenty of things to like about. There is the rather surreal comedy, rather cartoonish at times, which again goes back to Imaishi’s fondness for western animation as evidenced in Panty and Stocking. There are also what look like references to other series he has made. For example, Lalaco’s mother wears a long pirate coat, the inside of which appears to be made out of long red strands of fibre. These appear to be references to the “Life Fibres”, which form a key part of the plot in Kill la Kill, a series set in a school with a fascistic policy on school uniforms. Over Justice also wears long, pointed sunglasses, similar to those sported by Kamina in Gurren Lagann. It thus seems that Space Patrol Luluco is Imaishi’s way of paying respect to his earlier work.
It is hard to say in what direction the series will go, seeing as how not much as being broadcast even though it has been on for over a month now, but it is definitely a show keeping an eye on: not least because it contains small doses of the work that makes Hiroyuki Imaishi such a talented director.
Space Patrol Luluco is being streamed on Crunchyroll.