I’ve mentioned before that I watch anime with my sister nightly. We watch a bunch of series that are current (currently Soul Eater, Index, Clannad, Shikabanehime: Aka) but on nights that we have nothing new, we go through a series that we’ve already seen. This has allowed me to rewatch a few series that I wanted to see so I could write series reviews. So to lead off this group of series reviews is last year’s Lucky Star.
Final Series Score: 12/12
Pros: Lucky Channel, Minoru Shiraishi, the four main characters and the later ensemble cast are likeable in their own ways and display great chemistry together, the barebones animation style enhanced the slice-of-life vibe while maintaining KyoAni’s standard top quality animation
Cons: very slow start, roughly a quarter of the jokes require knowledge of anime to be funny
Awards given to this show by this blog
- #2 Anime Series of 2007
- Best Seiyuu of 2007 for Aya Hirano’s work as Konata
- Runner-up for Best OP of 2007 for “Take It! Sailor Uniform” by Aya Hirano, Emiri Katou, Kaori Fukuhara, and Aya Endo
- Favorite Character Type of 2007 for the character of Patty Martin, the North American Exchange Student
Lucky Star, based off a 4 panel comic, follows the everyday life of four high school girls, Konata, Miyuki, and the twins Tsuskasa and Kagami. They are fairly normal girls living fairly normal lives with their normal troubles. For example, we might see the procrastinator Konata needing to copy Kagami’s homework, the clumsy Tsukasa leaving her cellphone in her pocket and it going through the wash, or the intelligent Miyuki having to conquer her fear of dentists to get a cavity filled. Separately, at the end of the show there is always a short segment called Lucky Channel where an idol and her assistant, Minoru, discuss the show, it’s characters, and just about anything else.
Thoughts and impressions
After hitting grand slams with their series Melancholy of Haruhi and Kanon, the hype for their next series, Lucky Star, was immense. It seemed that this series was predestined to be another great series but then the first episode aired. Among it’s different skits it featured the four main characters talking for 6 minutes about how to eat a choco coronet. It wasn’t particularly funny nor was the rest of the show with only the only bright spots being the opening and Lucky Channel. If I had a blog at the time, I wouldn’t have reviewed it positively but I would have expressed hope that it would improve in the future. Almost no one that I read online liked it with the people disliking it showing varying degrees of hate and vitriol.
My opinion of the show improved only slightly over the next couple of weeks as more episodes aired. By the fourth episode, I was starting to think this show was going to be a dud when word came that KyoAni had sacked the director, stating that he was not ready to be a director yet. They gave the series to the guy that directed their Full Metal Panic series starting with episode 5.
I’m not sure how much influence the new director had on episode 5 since he only had a week to change it but when I watched episode 5 I laughed at it’s comedy a few times and generally enjoyed it. Each episode now seemed to improve by leaps-and-bounds over the last. By episode 8, it finally seemed like the show was reaching it’s potential and was worthy of being a KyoAni show. I think the director change helped the show a lot as well as having the characters grow on you and understanding what the show was and what it wasn’t (it wasn’t another Azumanga Daioh, for example).
You might be asking yourself at this point, “If the beginning sucked so much, why’d it get a perfect score?” That’s a good question, I’d reply; truthfully, if I reviewed this show after a single watching then it would have been given a lower score. However, this is my second watching of the series and when I watched the beginning again I found that it was now much funnier. The 6 minute discussion about how to eat a choco coronet was hilarious the second time around and it actually was a good introduction to our four main characters. So since the rest of the show remained as good, if not better, the second time around then it gets a perfect score from me.
I’ve read many reviews of this show, both from bloggers and by the professionals, and it seems the professionals tend to assert that being an otaku is required to like this show because the humor requires extensive knowledge of anime. This isn’t true. The majority of the humor has nothing to do with otaku in-jokes and of the minority that takes knowledge of anime, many reference other KyoAni works like Haruhi or other well-known anime. For example, in one scene, Konata’s three friends visit her at her workplace – a Cosplay Cafe. Konata is a waitress,dressed as Haruhi, and acts in the persona of Haruhi. The scene would probably only be slightly funny without recognizing the Haruhi reference but, really, how many anime fans don’t know about Haruhi yet? There is also asecond joke embedded in this scene and involves the fact that the same woman who is voicing Konata, Aya Hirano, was Haruhi’s voice as well. This joke might be considered an otaku joke but the first is definitely not and makes the scene funny enough that getting the secondary joke unnecessary.
The final point I wanted to mention about this show was that it took it ending to make me realize how much I had come to enjoy the show. I found myself intensely missing my weekly fix of Lucky Star and hoping that KyoAni would do another season soon. I was surprised by this because not even Haruhi, KyoAni’s best work, left me deeply wanting more.
So if your looking for a great character-driven slice-of-life comedy that continues to surprise the viewer throughout the show then give this show a shot but be forewarned that it might take several episodes before you realize how great the show is.
- 24 episodes, 1 OVA
- genre:Slice-of-life, comedy
- animation studio: Kyoto Animation
- director: Yutaka Yamamoto (episode 1-4),Yasuhiro Takemoto(episode 5-24, OVA)
- OP: “Take It! Sailor Uniform” by Aya Hirano, Emiri Katou, Kaori Fukuhara, and Aya Endo
- ED: every episode was different
- Seiyuus of note: Aya Hirano, Emiri Katou, Kaori Fukuhara, Aya Endo, Minoru, Minoru Shiraishi