Lost Universe (ロスト・ユニバース Rosuto Yunibāsu?) is a series of science fiction light novels, running from 1992 to 2000, by Japanese author Hajime Kanzaka. It was later adapted into an anime that ran throughout the summer of 1998 on TV Tokyo during the time slot that the anime depiction of Kanzaka's previous work, Slayers, ran, spanning a total of 26 episodes.
In Slayers, it was mentioned that the main characters of that series live on a world that is one of the four created by the mother of all creation, called The Lord of Nightmares or simply LoN. This world was known as the Red World. Lost Universe, however, takes place in a different world, known as the Black World. Whereas the demi-gods of the various worlds such as Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo and Dark Star Dugradigdo had physical presence in that world, they appear in the Black World as "Lost Ships", intelligent space ships of unknown origin that have powerful or somewhat divine powers with more advanced technology than any other device in the universe. Their rarity and superiority has sparked suggestions that they have been made by an advanced ancient alien civilization or by coming from the beginning of the universe itself. Being a central part to the plot the "Lost Ships" are intelligent beings with different loyalties and even their own agenda. Kane Blueriver, a "trouble contractor," inherits a "Lost Ship" from his grandmother and from there, he and his sidekick Milly, together with Canal, the ship's computer, journey to find a source of the evil that threatens the universe.
When the first novel of Lost Universe was released in 1992, it enjoyed moderate success due in no part to Kanzaka, who already had negotiations in the works for the Slayers anime.
Lost Universe only lasted 26 episodes, and was plagued with numerous production problems. Most notably, large amounts of the raw work for the first few episodes was destroyed in a studio fire and had to be quickly replaced leading to fairly sketchy quality for those episodes. It also ran in during the Southeast Asian financial crisis of '98 which severely limited budgets for anime series across all studios. A Lost Universe movie was rumored in 1998, but was cancelled in favor of more Slayers movies.
The 4th episode Yashigani Hofuru (ヤシガニ屠る), lit. feasting on Coconut crab, which aired on April 24, 1998, was initially worked on by a South Korean animation company, San Ho Studio. They only had basic manuals of the characters. The result was so dismal in quality that it was later reworked for the LaserDisc releases. The San Ho depiction of that episode is no longer considered canon.
- Official site
- Enoki Films' Lost Universe website
- Plasma Blast! (Spanish website)
- Yashigani Special (in Japanese) -  A nearly complete scene by scene detailing of everything wrong about the episode
- Lost Universe (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- List of Lost Universe Characters (English page)