“And we realized that a reckless, ignorant middle schooler’s foolish first love was the most worthless, trashy garbage in the universe . . . The first love of a stupid middle schooler is a boy who is nothing but his looks. This is the pinnacle of worthlessness!”
-Blackholeian, Space Patrol Luluco, Episode 10
After a few weeks spent bogged down by references to other Studio Trigger material, Space Patrol Luluco returned to form with more hilarious and poignant musings on female adolescence in its tenth and eleventh episodes, addressing the vapid yet passionate nature of a first crush. Worthless, trashy garbage — in the words of the series itself — first loves are something that have little meaning to anyone but their source, often based on superficial factors and well-advertised ideas of what love is supposed to be or look like.
What better time to look back on my own, ultimately meaningless, first love: Tyler [last name redacted because that actually is his real first name], my third grade classmate.
Tyler had all the trappings of a traditional first crush. He was my childhood friend — we grew up in the same neighborhood — was nice to me, and had blond, wavy hair like a Disney prince — not unlike Luluco‘s Alpha Omega Nova, an idealized representation of a first love recipient. Needless to say, the hair was a defining factor in my crush.
I’m generally terrified of confessing to people that I like, and was even less-inclined to do so as child. There were no thoughts of ruining our friendship, or any idea of what love actually was, just a simple desire to be with him, look at him, and fervent wish that he would like me back. Why? If you had asked third-grade me, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you beyond, “Because I like him.”
As an expression of my love for him, I drew Tyler’s campaign posters when he ran for student council. This tangentially led to my services as a student council campaign manager for the next two years of my elementary school career. Inevitably, one of my friends would run for student council, and I would be enlisted to draw them posters, buttons, and come up with a campaign slogan. However, Tyler’s campaign was special because I offered to be his campaign manager without waiting for him to ask first — a big step for dumb, third-grade me.
“Others don’t get to dictate what’s normal and what isn’t. It’s something we decide for ourselves. That’s why it’s the most important thing to us . . . If something is truly precious to you, it’ll never disappear, especially if it’s something intangible. “
-Inferno Cop to Luluco, Space Patrol Luluco, Episode 11
After dying due to the loss of her first love, it takes a pep talk from Inferno Cop in hell for Luluco to ultimately realize that her own first love isn’t something that can be shoplifted or taken from her by force. Like Ogikubo — which the Space Patrol members have spent the previous few episodes searching for — no one can tell Luluco how she should feel about something, her feelings are hers alone.
Luluco opens the series by saying that she wants a normal life, and often laments at how weird her everyday world becomes when she is made part of the Space Patrol — signalizing her budding adolescence. However, through experiencing the pain and ultimately meaningless value of her first love, Luluco comes to realize that worth and normalcy are things that she defines for herself.
As for Tyler and third-grade me, he moved away before I could confess my feelings. The end result was a fleeting, shitty first love based on looks that made me the campaign manager of friends’ successful student council runs for years to come.