Anime Spotlight: Lost Universe

Lost Universe is based off a series of light science fiction novels created by Hajime Kanzaka. The 26-episode television anime series was produced by E.G. Films and was directed by Takashi Watanabe. The series aired on Japanese television from April 3-September 25, 1998. ADV Films originally held the North American distribution license for Lost Universe. As of this writing, the North American license is held by Nozomi Entertainment.

Lost Universe is set in the future, where the Nightmare Syndicate is trying to take over the universe any way that they can. At their disposal are Lost Ships, spaceships that use psi-energy as their weapons. The main protagonist of the series is Kane Blueriver, who is a “trouble contractor.” He has a Lost Ship called the Swordbreaker, which was handed down to him by his grandmother. Kane is accompanied by Canal Vorfied, a green-haired human-like hologram that controls the Swordbreaker.

In the first episode, the pair encounters Millennium “Millie” Feria Noctrune, a young woman who is trying to become the greatest detective in the world. Unfortunately, Kane ends up thwarting that goal, and Millie finds herself being arrested with the bad guys. Once Millie is released, she finds Kane and Canal and insists to travel with them, because they owe her for what happened. While Millie may blow up the kitchen whenever she prepares a meal, she also has valuable knowledge about arms use. The series follows the adventures the trio has as they keep having run-ins with the Nightmare Syndicate.

Lost Universe starts out as a comedy series, but somewhere along the way, it changes into a more dramatic series. Unfortunately, the transition between comedy and drama really wasn’t handled well, and that helps to make the series feel a little disconcerting and sloppy.

Another problem I had with the series has to do with changes to the characters and plot that come out of nowhere, with nothing to hint that these changes were ever a possibility. The worst of these had to do with the character of Nail Claymore and the plot that he ends up being involved in. By the time I finished watching the series, I still couldn’t figure out Nail’s motivations for his storyline. My husband described the series to me by saying that the plot was like a wall without anything supporting it; as the series progressed, the story just fell apart.

The animation in Lost Universe also deteriorates as the series progresses. While the early episodes have some decent animation, the last couple of episodes look rather rushed and sloppy.

I had originally seen the first episode of Lost Universe that was included on a DVD that came with the February 2008 issue of Otaku USA magazine. After seeing that first episode, my husband and I thought the series showed a lot of promise. When Right Stuf had a sale on the DVD box set, we were excited to buy it so we could finally see the whole series. By the time we finished watching the set, we were both very disappointed in how it turned out.

Unfortunately, Lost Universe ends up being an anime series that I can’t in good conscience recommend to anyone. If you’re interested in watching anime with science fiction themes, there are other titles that I would recommend over Lost Universe.

Anime Soundtrack Review: The Best of Lost Universe [from TV]

The Best of Lost Universe [from TV] is a soundtrack CD released for the Lost Universe television anime series. When you see the artwork on the front cover, it looks more like fan art than it does an actual image from the series. The quality of the art almost makes it look like a bootleg item, but it’s obvious by looking at the credits on the back that this is an official CD soundtrack release.

The Best of Lost Universe [from TV]
Publisher: AnimeTrax
Release Date: May 28, 2002

The liner notes for the soundtrack include the credits for the songs, as well as English translations for the lyrics. Unfortunately, the lyrics aren’t printed in the order that the sons appear on the CD, so you have to search through the liner notes to find where the right lyrics are for the song that you’re listening to.

There also seems to be no real rhyme or reason as to how the songs are sequenced on the CD. In some cases, the remix for a song will appear on the disc before the original version. For other songs, you get a remixed version on the CD, but the original version doesn’t appear anywhere on the release.

The CD opens with the song that appears in the closing credits, and is followed by the song for the show’s opening sequence. There are actually two different versions of “Again” (the closing song for Lost Universe), and each version has a different vocalist. I’ve watched the entirety of the Lost Universe anime series, and from what I could tell, none of the other songs actually appeared anywhere in the show.

Famous anime seiyuu Megumi Hayashibara provides vocals on “~infinity~” (the opening theme song for Lost Universe), “Extrication,” and “Going Beyond Time.” Kenji Soeda provides the vocals for “Again [PAROME Version]” (the closing song for Lost Universe), and Soichiro Hoshi provides the vocals for “Again [Once More Mix].” Other vocalists on the disc include Masami Suzuki, Hikaru Midorikawa, Mifuyu Hiragi, and Michiko Neya.

Sonically, the album sounds more electronic and techno than one would expect from an anime soundtrack; this is due in large part to the remixes that appear on the disc. Personally, I thought this was a pretty good soundtrack, but I’m a little biased because I enjoy electronic music. However, this is a soundtrack that I can only truly recommend to fans of the Lost Universe anime or to fans of Megumi Hayashibara.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of The Best of Lost Universe [from TV] that my husband and I purchased.

Anime DVD Review: Lost Universe DVD Box Set

The Lost Universe DVD box set released by Right Stuf! includes five DVDs packaged in thinpak boxes, and the set includes all 26 episodes of the series. The first disc includes six episodes and special features, while the remaining four discs include five episodes and special features. The episodes are available with English audio and Japanese audio with English subtitles; unfortunately, there are some issues with the subtitles regarding spelling and other typos. One spelling error I saw show up at least two or three times is misspelling Kane Blueriver’s name as Kain Blueriver.

Lost Universe DVD Box Set
English Publisher: Right Stuf
Format: DVD
Release Date: December 4, 2007

Lost Universe is set in the future, where the Nightmare Syndicate is trying to take over the universe any way that they can. At their disposal are Lost Ships, spaceships that use psi-energy as their weapons. The main protagonist of the series is Kane Blueriver, who is a “trouble contractor”; he has a Lost Ship called the Swordbreaker, which was handed down to him by his grandmother. Kane is accompanied by Canal Vorfied, a green-haired human-like hologram that controls the Swordbreaker.

In the first episode, the pair encounters Millennium “Millie” Feria Noctrune, a young woman who is trying to become the greatest detective in the world. Unfortunately, Kane ends up thwarting that goal, and Millie finds herself being arrested with the bad guys. Once Millie is released, she finds Kane and Canal and insists to travel with them, because they owe her for what happened. While Millie may blow up the kitchen every time she prepares a meal, she also has valuable knowledge about arms use. The series follows the adventures the trio has as they keep having run-ins with the Nightmare Syndicate.

Lost Universe starts out as a comedy series, but somewhere along the way, it changes into a more dramatic series. Unfortunately, the transition between comedy and drama really wasn’t handled well, and that helps to make the series feel a little disconcerting and sloppy.

Another problem I had with the series has to do with changes to the characters and plot that come out of nowhere, with nothing to hint that these changes were ever a possibility. The worst of these had to do with the character of Nail Claymore and the plot that he ends up being involved in. By the time I finished watching the series, I still couldn’t figure out Nail’s motivations for his storyline. My husband described the series to me by saying that the plot was like a wall without anything supporting it; as the series progressed, the story just fell apart.

The animation in Lost Universe also deteriorates as the series progresses. While the early episodes have some decent animation, the last couple of episodes look rather rushed and sloppy.

I had originally seen the first episode of Lost Universe that was included on a DVD that came with the February 2008 issue of Otaku USA magazine. After seeing that first episode, my husband and I thought the series showed a lot of promise. When Right Stuf! had a sale on the DVD box set, we were excited to buy it so we could finally see the whole series. By the time we finished watching this set, we were both very disappointed in how it turned out.

When it comes to the special features included in this set, each disc contains character bios; the first four discs contain three character bios, while the last disc only has two. Each bio contains a write-up and a picture of the character.

Discs two and five have a special feature labeled as “Translation Notes.” The feature on disc two would have been more accurately described as trivia, and it includes a couple of things of note from the ninth episode of the series. The “Translation Notes” on disc five talks about the connections between Lost Universe and Slayers (since they were created by the same people). Sadly, I was better able to understand Lost Universe after reading this, since some of the details mentioned in this write-up were either only mentioned in passing or not mentioned at all in the anime series.

Each of the discs also contain two trailers for properties that Right Stuf! was promoting at the time this DVD box set was released.

Personally, I can only truly recommend this DVD box set for anime viewers who are fans of Lost Universe that don’t already have the series in their home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Lost Universe DVD box set that my husband and I purchased.