In a world of spaceships, Galactic Guardians and Lost Technology, Millie Nocturne is a woman with one goal- to become number one in the universe at everything she tries. In the midst of her adventures, however, she runs into two other talented people; psi-blade wielding swordsman and mercenary Kane Blueriver, and Canal, the AI of his ship, the Swordbreaker. Between them, Kane, Millie and Canal make a surprisingly good- if hot-headed- team, but will the three of them be enough to take on the might of the criminal organisation known only as Nightmare?
Those of us who enjoyed the old school charm of Slayers will know that tongue-in-cheek comedy, fantasy and a distinctive main character go a long way towards making something entertaining, but could a similar combination work in a sci-fi setting? Fortunately, although Lost Universe couldn’t quite match up to its better known and appreciated sister series, it still proved to be a solid experience.
Like Slayers, Lost Universe offers a mix of one-off light-hearted episodes and an increasingly important main arc that pits our leads against Nightmare and the power of the Lost Ships. If you can imagine a cross between Outlaw Star and Slayers, then you’ll know exactly what to expect; although to be honest it’s hit-and-miss throughout, with some amusing instalments (such as one in which a crystal rearranges the inside of the Swordbreaker, making the toilet impossible to find) and others that are just a slightly tiresome retread of jokes we’ve seen many times before. Think of it as the junk food of anime- tasty from time to time, but not recommended for living on.
When it comes to characters, Lost Universe’s line-up isn’t as appealing as Lina Inverse and her allies; instead, we have Millie, who is a little hot-headed and a surprisingly competent marksman and chef (even if she does blow up the kitchen in the process); Kane, the earnest swordsman with a pure heart and destined power and Canal, the strong-willed AI (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara). Naturally, there’s plenty of banter, rivalry and a strong hint of a love triangle, whilst supporting characters such as the cool Lieutenant Rail of the Galactic Guardians and his klutzy assistant Nina ensure that all the staple character types are present. You won’t find anything original or groundbreaking, but they’re a decent enough group overall.
At around a decade old, it isn’t surprising that Lost Universe is starting to look a bit rough around the edges animation-wise; the basic character designs are pleasant enough (if representative of their era), but it certainly can’t stand up to the latest and greatest in the visuals department. Similarly, background music does its job, but doesn’t stand out otherwise.
It may not be anything special, or even as memorable as its sister series Slayers, but when it comes to light entertainment in a sci-fi setting, Lost Universe fits the bill nicely. Consider it the latest in a long line of ‘easy watching’ titles recommended here at Azure Flame.