As the series progresses, the Nightmare Syndicate comes to light; led by Albert von Stargazer, this organization is out to conquer the universe, and Kane and Canal seem to have a personal problem with them...can Millie and Kane unravel the mystery of the Lost Ships and the Syndicate before it's too late?
The series is very much a Kanzaka series; it's 60% humor and 40% serious. It pokes fun at the genre and has various shout outs throughout.
Lost Universe began as a series of Light Novels written by Kanzaka with illustrations by Shoko Yoshinaka, which was serialized in Dragon Magazine from 1992 to 1999 and compiled into five volumes. It later received an anime adaptation which aired in 1998 for 25 episodes. ADV Films licensed and dubbed the anime before they went out of business, and it was later rescued by Nozomi Entertainment along with several other titles. The light novels were never released overseas.
This series provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Several of these in this series.
- Kane is very proud of his awesome (in his own mind) cape, and is easily enraged by people calling it stupid-looking.
- Canal is very proud of how clean a ship she runs. Don't get her hallways dirty.
- Beyond the Impossible: Deconstructed. Because Vorfeed can ignore things like 'inertia' Millie figures out that's it's a Lost Ship. Because it can do things that are impossible for normal ships, it therefore can't be a normal ship.
- Big Bad: Albert von Stargazer, leader of the Nightmare syndicate and Millie's grandfather.
- Bittersweet Ending: The anime version ends with the death of Darkstar and the end of his Evil Plan. Millie is living peacefully while waiting for Kane and Canal to return. The final scene is her running to greet them but there is an implication that she's dreaming. Regardless, there's currently no one to stop the remaining evil Lost Ships, as is noted by Nina and Rail, who are on vacation together.
- Cassette Futurism: Despite taking place in THE FUTURE!!!, computers are stuck with original MAC-OS operating systems
- Clothing Damage: Kane shreds and/or loses his cape regularly; good thing he has a closet full of them...
- Cool Old Lady: Kane's grandmother was definitely this because all of his Trouble Shooter wisdom comes in the form of things she used to say all the time.
- Cool Starship: The Swordbreaker. Though there are a few other starships to be found here.
- Millie looks like she could be Amelia's Elseworld counterpart, and Kane is more or less a male version of Lina. Darkstar in human form is basically Gourry's evil twin. See his picture here. They're even voiced by the same voice actor!
- Two secondary characters, Rail Claymore and Nina Mercury, have a relationship and personality traits that parallel Zelgadis and Amelia's, and they even have the same voice actors in the anime (Hikaru Midorikawa and Masami Suzuki respectively).
- Genki Girl: Canal is a very energetic and expressive girl. She was more stoic pre-series, implying that the new personality is a result of living with Kane.
- Immortal Immaturity: Canal can be very child-like, despite the fact she's a centuries-old super-computer.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Millie plans to be the Best Shot In The Universe and she's well on her way there. She normally nails her target in space even if she has no targeting computer; if she is on the ground, she can take out targets with a pistol that are behind her while looking in a mirror while driving at high speed with her other hand. With a targeting computer online? She can wipe out entire fleets with nothing but a basic set of cannons and missiles.
- Inconsistent Spelling: According to Canal's personnel dossiers (shown during the eyecatch), Nina Mercury's name is spelled "Neena Marcury".
- Karma Houdini: Despite the demonstrated lack of competence and professional ethics in the medical students all that happens to them is that they voluntarily retake their last year of classes instead of the expulsion and/or criminal charges that should have resulted.
- Laser Blade: Kane's primary weapon is a sci-fi version of the Sword of Light.
- Lethal Chef: Played with. Millie is a very good chef but she blows up the kitchen every time she uses it and one time by literal application of Oven Logic. This is one of the reasons why Canal doesn't like her.
- Limited Wardrobe: Kane's closet is nothing but the exact same cloak.
- Lost Technology: The Lost Ships have super technology but no one knows how to make them anymore.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Albert von Stargazer is Millie's biological father, and she had no idea.
- Magic from Technology: The Ships have Energy Weapons that look a heck of a lot like magic. The commands used on Dark Star at the end that disrupts him is part of the Giga Slave...
- The Mole: Rail is a spy inside the galatic police to find a Lost Ship and destroy or control it so it doesn't hurt anyone.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Yami o Makumono (lit. He Who Spreads Darkness; "Dark Seeder" in the ADV Translation)
- Only Sane Man: Despite his goofy antics and fixation on wearing a cape (something that everybody mocks him for), Kane Blueriver is the most intelligent and mature out of the ship's crew.
- The Paralyzer: Millie often uses plastic rounds, which are played more like a less permanent Instant Death Bullet than a painful blow.
- Plot Allergy: In the manga, Milly is, for some reason, allergic to men, but she's not allergic to Kane. This is because they are second cousins.
- Schizo Tech: Canal, a Sentient Computer, has to do some calculations in the second episode, so she forms a holographic human body which then pulls out a holographic slide rule to do the math. As if that wasn't enough, she gets the math wrong. She calculates out a position to get ahead of another ship by five minutes and instead gets so close it appears before she can finish her sentence. She excuses herself by claiming that her math was off because Millie was too fat. note
- Shout-Out: In Episode 3, Kane name-drops Captain Harlock.Milly: You read way too many comic books!
- Spaceship Girl: Canal is the Cool Ship's AI and a solid hologram.
- To Be a Master: Millie wants to be the best in the universe - at everything.
- Walking Tech Bane: Nina destroys any computer she touches. Canal is rightly terrified of Nina coming on board.