I have often talked about underrated retro anime. Older movies and classic OVA series, only remembered by a few hundred people judging by their AniList and MAL entries. There are many hidden gems tucked away in the vast catalogue of old-school anime, of which Space Family Carlvinson is one of the best examples yet.
Releasing in 1998, Space Family Carlvinson is a sci-fi comedy series produced by Doga Kobo. It follows a band of space-traveling performers who, on their way to their latest show, crash into a spaceship belonging to some Humans. The other ship crash-lands on the planet Nikka, leaving the little baby Corona as the sole survivor. Without any knowledge of or way to contact other humans, the troupe decides that the best course of action is to adopt Corona and pretend to be her family.
The story is super wholesome and funny. Everybody does their best to give Corona as normal an upbringing as possible, but their only source of information are the snippets of data they managed to scavenge from the crashed ship. It’s all wild interpretations of what life on Earth must be like. Corona herself is such a lovable little kid and her family of bizarre aliens has a lot of fun characters in it as well. I was especially fond of Corona’s “father”, a reckless, unpredictable super robot who pulls out all the stops whenever he gets in a competitive mood or worries about Corona’s safety.
Visually, the movie is simply splendid. Space Family Carlvinson is a colorful, imaginative film; nicely animated and full of creatively-designed characters and locales. Just like how it’s easy to fall in love with Corona and her family, so too did I find myself drawn to the beautifully-realized world they inhabit.
If anything, my one complaint towards the movie would be that it’s too short. The slice-of-life experience of watching Corona grow up is so entertaining, and her alien friends so diverse, that I feel there was room for way more story. Something akin to Heidi, Girl of The Alps, but in space. The short story format that many of Yoshitoo Asari‘s works abide by is nice for trying out little concepts, but it would have been nice to see him (or Doga Kobo) commit to exploring this setting more.
With its fun comedy and peak adorableness, Space Family Carlvinson is a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend. Especially fans of retro sci-fi anime or “found family”-type stories owe it to themselves to watch it.