Spring 2016 Anime in Review: Space Patrol Luluco and Ushio and Tora

Space Patrol Luluco:

I’ve only started watching shorts last season, so I haven’t seen many of Triggers other shorts.  Just want everybody to know before I get started on this.  Anyway, from what I’ve seen of Triggers works, animation is not one of their strong suits.  Kill la Kill had a lot of cut and paste character movements and freeze frames mixed in with some solid bits.  From clips I’ve seen of Ninja Slayer and Inferno Cop, not much say there either.  Same for this show too, until the last few episodes.  I suppose that is not the main appeal of this show, but that is really something that stands out a lot.

Getting away from that part, there is some great fun to be had from watching this series.  In a lot of ways, this show feels a lot like FLCL.  You know, the coming of age story that is intermixed with a lot of insanity.  The difference is the main character’s viewpoints.  FLCL is about a boy coming of age.  Luluco is about a girl’s first love.  There are a lot of dimensional travel and space patrol things in between that, but that is the main feeling of Luluco.

So yeah, Luluco is a solid watch, but I definitely did not like the middle section of this series.  Blatant references to other Trigger and Gainax works do absolutely nothing but infuriate me.  Luluco is as it’s best when its own material to create its own story.  Maybe they didn’t have enough material to make a full show, but that really doesn’t make sense because it’s a short series.  Also, can I just mention Lalaco Godspeed.  I mean….damn.

Ushio and Tora:

I already posted about this earlier, but Ushio and Tora is probably my favorite series from this season.  It filled a good nostalgia hit with new material that I’ve never seen before.  Ushio and Tora is very 90’s and I’ve missed series with this  kind of feeling for a while.  That isn’t the only thing though.  While the story and the types of characters that are used in this show are in no way original, but everything is just executed so well that that doesn’t matter.  Let’s look at this more in-depth.

As per the usual shonen set up, Ushio is normal high schooler  who one day finds a sacred weapon to defeat the ultimate evil along with a soon to be tiger demon companion.  Not a completely original set up, but I’m sure it was when the manga was being published in the early nineties.  Still, as some people say, the devil in the details.  The weapon Ushio carries with him, The Beast Spear, is more special and has to go through some physically binding contracts to use it.  There is a lot more to this, but that would to spoilers.

Some more quick commentary, Ushio is just such a likeable character.  He is just overly pure and genuine in how he feels about everything.  Ushio goes through a lot of heavy things on his journey throughout the show.  When he finally breaks down, it feels real.  There is just genuine sincerity through Ushio and the show itself that just really works.

Lastly, I feel like I should talk about the pacing.  Ushio and Tora compresses a lot of material into thirty nine episodes, but I feel like it fits everything perfectly.   If this was a series started around the same time that the manga material came out, who knows how much filler and how slow paced the show would be.  I honestly love that about Ushio and Tora because it comes, it delivers its material spot on, and it leaves.  This is all cemented in the last scene of the anime where you feel the emotion that happened throughout the series in a one minute scene and then it ends.  No flash backs are necessary at all.  That’s why I love it so much.  If I had to say something, this show has to be in my list of top shonen series that I’ve ever seen.  If the manga gets officially distributed over here, I am definitely going to buy it.

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