The Lost Universe Anime Series and Its Production Issues

Cover of Lost Universe vol 5, "When the Darkness Ends"
Cover of Lost Universe vol 5, “When the Darkness Ends”

I’ve been on a reading binge of the Lost Universe novels by Hajime Kanzaka lately. This is the origin of my favorite anime series of all time. The story is fun, light hearted, but manages to take a powerfully dark and tragic turn in it. It’s very clearly in Kanzaka’s style, but it still is very shocking what is going on under the surface of this series. A close friend of mine has even outright said that one of the series protagonists, Canal Vorfeed, is probably one of the most tragic characters in anime, when you look at her existence and backstory.

And that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

But what I’m here for, at the moment, is to talk about the anime itself.

While I don’t have the details for it, the anime series itself was rife with weird issues, mainly in a combination of budget and production problems. This resulted in an infamously bad episode, even- called ‘Feasting on the Coconut Crab.’ This is the fourth episode of the series and has managed to garner a bit of a sad reputation with the series. When the series was released, the episode had actually been reanimated to fix most of the problems.

You can see part of the episode, running side by side with its broadcast version compared to the release version on VHS and LD afterwards:

Of course, once the series hits its halfway point, many of the production issues have faded, and it becomes relatively straight forward on it- which is sad, because this is where you find the meat of the story. A lot of setup had gone in through the first half, which begins to come into play into the story that had been boiling under the surface the whole time.

Sadly, when you look up the series on youtube, and try to find the opening, all you can find is the early production version of the opening, rather than the complete version. I’ve discovered that this is because youtube will scan and recognize the video as ‘episode one’ then issue an automatic copyright block on it, despite the length of the video.

As a result, I’m hosting the video here, where you can see it properly.

After writing about this, however. I’m starting to think I may start writing about what I’ve read in the novels as well. So that may be coming up later on anyway.

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