I usually don’t enjoy mini-series, animated or otherwise (here, I mean stuff shorter than around ten minutes). Mini-series are good enough fun during their short runs, but they often lack the substance to be memorable. They just aren’t long enough to develop a story and, by the time you have met the characters, it is already time to say goodbye. Of the anime mini-series I have seen, I remember Aiura being a solid cute comedy, Oshiete! Galko-chan being a solid gross comedy, and Inferno Cop being a stupid meme. That’s about it. I can’t name any of the (non-title) characters. I can’t summarize their plots or ideas. I just vaguely remember that they exist.
Mini-series often seem more concerned with the creator’s self-promotion than the work for its own sake. By no means do I mean this in a negative way. Mini-series make a great capstone in an unproven artist’s early portfolio. For example, Cazzie David’s Youtube mini-series Eighty-Sixed seemed intent on establishing her acting and writing credentials beyond the fame-by-association with her father Larry David. Eighty-Sixed was certainly an enjoyable show, but it always seemed to anticipate future works by the creators rather than standing alone as its its own complete experience. In the anime world, Trigger’s Inferno Cop was a great marketing move: it created buzz around the new studio’s unique visual and comedy style ahead of its upcoming hit Kill-la-Kill. But, it also felt intentionally lazy, cutting any corner it could for comedic effect (though emphasis on intentional, it was pretty funny). The end result was worth a chuckle and not much more.
With that said, I am not sure what to think of Space Patrol Luluco (SPL for short). It takes the self-promotion aspect of mini-series to ludicrous levels, to the point that some episodes feel more like advertisements than homages. But it also has an unusually solid story and characters for a mini-series. Though Luluco, Midori and Nova are all basic parodies of anime archetypes, they fill their roles well with surprisingly memorable personalities (or in Nova’s case, a literal lack of one). At the same time, most of the rest of the cast are little more than references to Trigger’s other works, with many ripped from older shows like Inferno Cop itself. The space patrol setting only exists to allow the characters to traipse through the multiverse and into Trigger’s other shows. By design, SPL doesn’t have much of a plot as it constantly bounces around between gonzo comedy gags. However, what little plot it has in the first and third “seasons” are actually pretty cute and, sometimes, even a bit thoughtful.Continue reading “Space Patrol Luluco: Trigger makes marketing (mostly) memorable”