Reviews: Lucky Star
Lucky Star: The Anime About Nothing
Lucky Star is an odd show. The characters are simple, one-dimensional sterotypes. The jokes are simple and often get their fuel from ordinary, everyday occourances that everyone can relate to. There are no romances, there's no character development, there is nothing that even resembles a plot. This truly is a show about nothing. Yet for some reason, all of these things are what make me like Lucky Star. The characters may be flat, but they fulfill their purpose. The jokes are simple and are often filled with references from Haruhi Suzimya, Pokémon, and other anime and video games, yet they tickle my funny bone. The art is beautiful, which is par for the course for Kyoto. But there's another thing about this show that makes me like it: it's relaxing. Whenever I watch this show, I feel all of the day's troubles just melt away. Of course, this doesn't mean the show is perfect. A lot of the jokes are rinse-and-repeat, Lucky Channel, the end of show sketch, went downhill quickly, and what with all of the extremely flat characters, the show can get quite boring sometimes. But none of those things made me want to stop watching. I recommend Lucky Star. If you don't like Slice of Life anime, then you will absolutely hate this show. But if you want, a simple, relaxing Anime experience and are a fan of Slice Of Life, then Lucky Star is your Anime.
Your Milage WILL Vary
Let me preface this by saying that Lucky Star is one of the more polarizing series. Your opinion will vary and people love it or hate it for exactly the same reasons. I promise you you will love this show...or hate it. There is no third option. Lucky Star, as the main page will tell you, is a Slice Of Life filtered through an Otaku lens (think Azumanga Daioh with more throwaway references to Anime and Manga). It can almost be said that this is an exaggeration of typical slice of life personalities. But that's it; if you're looking for a deep and introspective investigation into the human experience, watch another show. If you like Geeky bonuses and light, carefree conversation then Lucky Star may be for you. This is mostly a character driven show and most of the fun is watching these characters grow over their last two years in high school. The show slowly reveals more an more about these characters from Kagami's relationship with her older sisters, Konata's mother or Tsukasa's feelings of inferiority towards her sister (OVA). On another note, the show gets a serious shot in the arm with the introduction of Yutaka, Minami, Patty, Hiyori, Misao and Ayano. The side characters are funny and lovable and serve to take the spotlight away from the main four girls long enough so they keep their freshness. The important thing is to watch enough of it to get a solid grasp on it. If you get turned off by the whole chocolate coronet conversation (which I'm convinced only served to weed out the diehard fans) skip it and watch the rest of the episode. One or two episodes should be enough to get a good idea whether or not the show is for you. If you don't like it, turn it off and move on. If you find that this show is worth trying out, I promise you that you will not be disappointed.
My two pence [i'm british].
This show is an example of middle ground. I like the show and i can definitely relate to konata [WHY IS SHE THERE] but the theme song is just pure WHAAAAAAAAAAAA[explosion] and i can not wrap my head around the plotlessness. And the cinderella part of the OVA is pure awesome. Now all we need is an american parody. AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE YOUTUBE POOPS I LUVVEM!! So half of 5 to this show. Because middle ground. This show is also like an eternal soul watching mirror to me because many characters have one of my personality traits.
Love It Or Hate It
In my humble opinion, if you don't love Lucky Star, you hate it. There's pretty much NO middle ground. This is probably because it's basically Seinfeld if the characters were actually likable and the weirdness was turned Up To Eleven. Personally, I love it. The characters are fun, the jokes are good, the weirdness is pretty much why it works, and Slice Of Life happens to be my favorite genre, so that probably helps too.
This is bad
Lucky Star is a bad series that is neither interesting nor funny. I'm basing this review on the first 10 episodes, because I wasn't masochistic enough to go any further. If you want to criticise me for not watching the entire thing, I counter that a show should not take more than five episodes to get into. Lucky Star is a Slice Of Life show focusing on four girls who look like this◊. Since I have trouble remembering their names, I'm going to refer to them as Mary Sue, Scaredy Twin, Scary Twin, and Moe-chan. If you've seen it, you'll know who I'm talking about. Those who haven't may find this slightly easier to follow. Mary Sue is the tiny, flat-chested blue-haired girl. She lives with a disturbingly perverted father who lusts after little girls. Despite being a lazy idiot who only cares about anime, manga, and MMORPGs, she manages to excel at school due to all-night cramming sessions. In other words, she's exactly what the Target Audience want to be, and is also a cute girl. Scaredy Twin is timid and constantly frets. Scary twin is frustrated by the others. Moe-chan does a lot of moe stuff. The biggest flaw is that the girls utterly lack personalities or even sterotypes. All they are is a collection of moments designed to appeal to the kind of losers that Welcome To The NHK skewered. One of the 'jokes' the writers like to use is to have Scary Twin get annoyed at Mary Sue for not taking anything seriously. However, this never leads anywhere, and Mary Sue always manages to come out on top despite being a ridiculous jerkass, as if to say "Hey, geeks! You don't have to improve yourself! Buy our fetishistic merchandise!" Another attempt at humour comes from pop culture references. However, instead of trying to be funny, Lucky Star thinks it's enough to say "Hey, look! My keychain is Keroro from Sgt Frog". Literally. To be fair, the "Lucky Channel" segments at the end of each episode are actually fairly amusing. However, they were already done on The Simpsons. Just replace Akira with Krusty and Minoru with Sideshow Mel, and you have the Krusty show. Instead of this tripe, try Family Guy, Azumanga Daioh, Goodbye, Mr. Despair, or hitting yourself in the head.
Hit Or Miss
When the series does hit the right note, it becomes an instant classic, practically meme status. When it isn't doing that, it absolutely fails. The characters have very simple personalities, so when the characters get into one of there infamous "funny because it's true" conversations, it can get really exasperating because we know EXACTLY how they're going to react. Konata will relate something in real life to a anime/manga/VN or Tsukasa will fret over something ditzy she does, and Kagami will be OH-SO-EXASPERATED over everything they do. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. However, when the series bothers to try and venture away from its dull formulas, it actually does succeed. When the doujin artist of the group accidentally trips and does a barrel roll (while somehow managing to change the show's art style), all to preserve her drawing hand, it's HILARIOUS. Not because we can relate, but because her passion for her somewhat perverted hobby is both amusing and endearing. When the series makes its forays into the absurd is when it's at its comedic best. This is exactly why even critics of the series will admit that the Anime Tenchou and the Lucky Channel moments are at least a little funny, because there's some effort being put in. In fact, the audience's positive reactions to the absurd humor are probably why the Nichijou anime exists. On a technical level, the series is smooth and well animated with very little off model shots and the opening scene is way too fun and energetic for a series with such a relaxed pace. If you dislike anime where the characters are bug eyed and colorful, you should probably stay far away from this series. That said, the style is pretty cute if you like your characters to be rounded, short and squishy looking. Overall, Lucky Star is NOT for everyone. If you're a hardcore Otaku, you'll probably enjoy the series in a Seinfeld sort of way and buy the series (and all it's related merchandise). If you're new to anime or a casual viewer, you'll watch this show and wonder "What's the point?" and find it slow or boring. If you're someone who loves anime but isn't into the otaku lifestyle and prefer more fast-paced humor, you should probably just You Tube a few of the show's best moments.
One of my favorite series
Two girls sitting at a table, discussing the shape of a chocolate cornet. Nearly a minute later, a third girl joins them to provide insight, and further recommends eating styles for afore mentioned pastry. Thus begins Lucky Star. A beginning so slow that it throws even the most jaded otaku off, and in hindsight, was absolutely genius. This is the style of lucky star- a kind of forwardness that is totally unafraid of chasing away viewers. Plot - 8/10 The plot of Lucky Star is best related to a documentary. A documentary about Moeblobs. You watch the girls go about their day to day lives, with nothing particularly world changing happening. Yet, this simple plot line leads to some of the most hilarious moments in anime, and manages to be more gripping then many of the best action series. Each episode undergoes huge changes in pace, in one episode going from a careful explanation of adult visual novels to a slow complaint about homework to the ridiculously fast paced "Lucky Channel" section within 10 minutes. Yet this shift in pace is a major appeal of the series, and has to be seen to be understood. Humor - 9/10 Humor in anime has, in my view, stagnated. While Accidental Pervert moments and unwarranted Megaton Punches can certainly be hilarious, after a while you want something a little more subtile. Lucky star provides this, using everything from hidden irony to blatant misunderstandings for laughs. Each episode contained at least one hilarious moment for me, and without doubt, the funniest exchange I have ever heard in an anime was in the OVA. Art - 9/10 Describing art in a series this iconic seems futile, but I will say that this series is very moe. If you like that, you will love this series. If you don't, then best steer clear. Overall I think it is safe to say that this series is one of the few black or white issues out there. You will either love it, or hate it. And that is fine. For too long have series been trying to appeal to everyone, and thus end up only being ok. This series is very strongly in my top 5, and will remain. Watch the first 5 episodes, give it a chance. If you don't like it, drop it. 9/10
For the Tropers Who Think Neon Genesis Evangelion Needs More Tropes
Kyoto Animation is considered one of the best animation studios out there, drawing realistic slice-of-life animations (K-On, Haruhi) that could very well be scenery porn. Then, when you realized they animated Lucky Star, a huge mindfuck explodes, collapsing the universe into a tiny small dot. Lucky Star has always been the odd one out for me. Its otaku-filled humor, wtf art style, and the strange opening music are the trademarks of Lucky Star. The best way to describe Lucky Star is through one character and one character only. Enter Konata, otaku by every form of definition. She steals the limelight of the show and pretty much drives the way Lucky Star is presented. Her anime references to simple questions is the main humor Lucky Star uses. Random Fist of the North Star, Initial D, and of course Haruhi references are abundant in the series. Otakus who can appreciate these references will orgasm with excitement while the average watcher might get some and laugh a bit or leave frustrated. There are some characters that stand out from the anime referenced humor: Konata's father is your ordinary father with an unconditional love for girls is funny, Akira Kogami's yandere personality is a great laugh, Shiraishi's sufferings and amazing karaoke will give a smile. I always thought they should appear more because of their eccentric quirks. The main characters excluding Konata does have the plain slice-of-life character tropes but compared to the supporting characters, they are weaker. A paradox! Whether this is the anime for you depends on your preference on anime. If you like your anime based on a blonde kid dressed in an orange suit and calls himself a ninja, then by no means talk to me. If you're an otaku who likes adding tropes to anime and still think Neon Genesis Evangelion and Haruhi needs more tropes to be added, then I will recommend this anime without a doubt. For those thinking of renting this series as your first anime, prepare to roll your eyes. This is not to say the anime is bad. I enjoyed it but you will need to understand some Japanese references. I also found it to be weaker than Azumanga Daioh and Welcome to the NHK because they played more bizarrely with the tropes. Still, this is an anime people need to watch to understand the otaku culture. Go ahead and stream the first four/five episodes. If you like them, then buy it.
The Jokes are Just the Start
A friend showed me the first episode of Lucky Star, and I was laughing at all the little jokes and puns that I had to be told that their opening conversation on how to eat various foods had already lasted 6 minutes. I didn't even notice. After watching the entire series and the OVA, I have to say that this show has minimal continuity, stock characters, more otaku references than you can spot on your first time through, and Seinfeldian conversations. And that's just fine. This anime had me laughing out loud many times due to the sometimes predictable, sometimes hilariously surprising punchlines and jokes, the reference and deconstruction of many a trope, and the shout-outs. But despite being a light-hearted slice of life show that comes close to deconstructing itself, there are also many heartwarming scenes and moments. The second season adds 6 more characters, and from there the hijinks really pick up. There is more material to play jokes on, more people there to display and contrast the characters' personalities and relationships, and more funnies in general. It not only prevented the series from becoming stale, but also added a lot more energy to it. The series also plays with whatever it can get its hands on, be it the references, the art style, or even the background music, which frequently stops abruptly or dies away slowly depending on the joke in progress. I sometimes re-watch moments just for the music. Due to the rather intimate look we get into the characters' lives, they grew on me, aided by those moments when the jokes took a back seat and their relationships were played up to create a nice balance. One of the sweeter ones includes Tsukasa's and Kagami's relationship. It's a show where I could relate to the characters and their experiences, and the every-day things one tends to go through in life. This all culminates in a very touching and almost bittersweet finale. To recap, yes, the show is built around non-sequiturs, but not on utter randomness. The jokes come from friendly teasing, shout-outs, and seeing the world through the eyes of an otaku. (Or perhaps a troper as well?) It's funny not because the humor is way out there, but picked up from things that happen every day. All in all, a good look at a group of average high-school girls living their daily lives, with all the fun and jokes that arise from life itself.
This is not bad.
While this series may be a little hard to get into, it is by no means bad. Admittedly, it has a very distinctive style of humor, which some viewers may have a hard time getting into, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you demand that your shows have an stick to an explicit narrative, then this show is probably not for you. If you detest all things moe, then this show is also probably not for you. However, if you are just looking for a relaxing way to spend half an hour, and don't mind watching various aspects of Nerd culture affectionately toyed with, then this show is for you. Additionally, This Troper has seen all of the shows that the previous review recommends over this series (Family Guy, Azumanga Daioh and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), and while he admitted that they are enjoyable, nearly all of them suffer from the same shortcomings as Lucky Star. So if you hated those series, you probably won't like this one. But if you can forgive a show a little randomness, then maybe you should give Lucky Star a try. Either way, try to steer clear of the Fan Haters.
Take the bad, take the good, take a deep breath, and take a dive into Moe Moe Seinfeld.
In the first episode, two cute girls sit down to lunch and begin discussing a chocolate cornet. A third girl joins them and their conversation becomes a heated discussion about various types of food. As Konata, the blue-topped otaku, explains the awkward moments of staring at the last piece of steak on a serving plate, we smile and stop to think: "Hey, that happened to me!" Much of the show's humor is derived from real experiences and throwing in a myriad of colorful characters. Every time I could relate to these girls, I smiled to myself. The four main characters all have their own opinions, dreams, and behavior, taking conversations into all sorts of directions. Shout-outs bring in more fans, but they flow TERRIBLY with the show. The shout-outs are nothing more than "Hey, there's Haruhi on TV. How silly." Most shout-outs appear to be blatant product-placement for other Kyoto Animation shows. As the show goes on, Seinfeld-esque conversations lessen as the characters begin to DO more and talk less, creating more genuinely funny moments, but it still keeps the same Slice-of-Life charm. More characters introduced later react and contribute to each event in their own special way reflective of their mannerisms. Seinfeld-like discussions are often a hit-or-miss. There are times when you will laugh and reminisce along with the characters, and there are the times when you will be screaming at your screen in frustration, waiting for their boring dialogue to be over. The three-minute ending segment, called "Lucky Channel", appears to be a polar opposite of Lucky Star. Its fast-paced humor, Straight Man and Funny Guy routine, progressive storyline, and tasteful satire of live-action ending segments of TV shows makes it worth waiting for. These characters each take matters in their own special ways, but each character is no different from other anime stereotypes that you encounter time and time again. As for the art, the style is very distinctive, although some designs are a bit generic. Lucky Star's cute characters will draw you in immediately, while the distinctive humor will take patience to get used to, but it is a show worth watching.