Lucky Star Anime Guest Review by Sean G.

January 5th, 2008

Once again, I am pleased to present a guest review by Sean Gaffney, who bravely undertakes to watch and review stuff I simply can’t hack. The subject of today’s review is one of those series. The art put me so far off this, that even though I am as much the target audience as any other otaku, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it for more than mere seconds. So thank you again, Sean, for saving my brain. ^_^

This sort of anime has been a long time coming. There have been various anime over the years that tried to glory in being a fan. Otaku no Video comes to mind. Yet with otaku getting a bad name in Japan for years, it became harder to be a fan without needing to hide it or cover it up.

Thanks to the culture widening, as well as the success of Densha Otoko, it’s OK to be a completely obsessed geek in Japan again.

I mention this because it is the reason for Lucky Star‘s existence. The entire show, as well as its lead character Konata, is made up of references to other media. The show is so tied up in its own self-referencing that it can have Yuko Goto appear, as herself, in Episode 23 and not even call attention to it. (The characters call her ‘Goto-zo-sama’, which is the closest it gets to even identifying the gag of Mikuru’s seiyuu as a yanki.)

Lucky Star also became popular among the fansub culture over here, mostly because we now have the ability to look online and find that obscure 1970s song the girls karaoke in the end credits, and we all know by now what Comiket is like. (The show is aware of us as well, of course, via the character of Patty, herself a parody of Western fans).

Genshiken did this as well, of course, but I think Genshiken was trying to hold up a mirror to the more unpleasant aspects of the culture, while still supporting it. Lucky Star doesn’t bother. Geeks rule.

As for the show itself, it’s a schoolgirl anime with few male characters, a teacher with almost as many bad habits as her kids, a diminutive lead character, the characters tend to get into discussions of tiny minutiae, and it’s based on a 4-koma. You really can’t get away with not mentioning Azumanga Daioh at least a LITTLE bit. The humor has a different feel, though, with the aforementioned anime and game references pervading not just the details but the character’s personalities. Konata will actually treat much of her life as if she is gaming.

The pacing is variable, and probably the show’s weak point. I gave up on it after the first episode, which was frankly awful, and only starting watching again after much nagging. They replaced the director after 4 episodes, so I was apparently not the only one that thought this. The new director sped things up and re-paced it, so that it kept the odd cadences but didn’t make you want to switch it off. Even so, there are times where you desperately wish something would happen.

Oh yes, I should mention the Yuri. Konata’s cousin, Yutaka, is tiny, cute, and adorable. Their friend Minami is tall, ‘cool’, and emotionally stunted. They give off a big Takarazuka vibe (something not lost on the show, which puts them in costumes a la ‘Zuka for the Culture Festival). And they have a good friend, Hiyori, who draws ecchi doujinshi and cannot help but see them in Yuri situations. She’s ashamed of herself, but draws it anyway. It’s sort of Yuri-lite, played for laughs, but is cute, and given the lack of men on the show it wouldn’t be hard to extrapolate something between them when they get older.

Anyway, that’s all the Yuri we get in the show.

Hm? Konata and Kagami? 90% of all Lucky Star fanfics in English are about them? All the Japanese fanart pairs them together? Kagami is tsundere and therefore clearly hiding her love-love feelings?

That’s nice. But there’s none of that in the anime at all. Sometimes a friendship is just a friendship.

Ratings:

Art: 6. It’s loli-moe-Dengeki style, with Konata deliberately looking like an 11-year-old despite being 18. If that’s your thing, bump it up a couple of
numbers.
Story: 6. There really isn’t a story in half these episodes, but the half that do
have one have very amusing ones.
Characters: 8. If you aren’t watching this to play spot-the-reference, you’re watching for the characters. The four lead girls are balanced perfectly, and everyone has a nicely defined role. Plus Konata’s a heroine whose type we’ve rarely seen before (at least not as a lead).
Yuri: 5. It’s there if you want it. Except where it isn’t.
Service: 10. Actually, no, this needs a Spinal Tap dial twist. 11. Without otaku obsession, this show would not exist.

Overall: 7. I do enjoy the show a great deal, to be fair. I just know that I happen to like a lot of stuff that’s not particularly good or original, shamelessly. :) It got bumped up from a 6 because of Lucky Channel, the hysterical parody of voice actors and pressurized Japanese recording industries that ends each episode, with Akira and Minoru stealing every single scene they’re in. Effortlessly.

–SG

Erica here again. Sean, seriously, when you review things, they sound so much better than they actually are….

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27 Responses

  1. Lil Donkey says:

    ^ Following ee_loong’s point.

    The show began with Kagami and Konata as friends (in denial, courtesy to one certain person) and ended with them being best friends. JUST best friends. But yes, due to those two images ee_loong posted AND the Kagami character/image song ‘100% nai nai nai’ – some of us Yuri fans bite. ^^”

  2. Dop says:

    What, no mention of episode 7’s Marimite references?

  3. ArcaJ says:

    As a longtime reader of this blog, this will be my second ever comment post. And God help me, I’m commenting on Lucky Star -_-

    The best way I can sum up the Konata/Kagamin fandom is in this post I made in a forum. (WARNING The comments were written in a moment of passionate whimsy and are completely unedited)

    Just a tiny bit of subtext between Konata and Kagamin. Some rather strong subtext between Konata’s younger cousin and a girl in her class. Both of which reside in the fever dreams of Yuri fangirls.

    For the record, I think Konata and Kagamin remain such a desired pairing (even with such slim chances) because the sheer amount of AWESOME released if they were ever to get together would surely rend the space-time continuum asunder and cause the heavens to fall into the sea. (that sea would, of course, be created by legions of fangirls simultaneously turning into puddles of pink Yuri-flavored goo)

    I think that about covers it. ^_^

    I thank Sean for the Lucky Star review and I thank Erica for posting it.

    ::HUGS::

    Arca Jeth

  4. Danny says:

    I think that sea would mostly be comprised of LFB’s who insist there is something there, rather than the few girl Yuri fans.

    I, personally, never saw the subtext that everyone else…

  5. kaseydaqueen says:

    Like what arcaj said, its not just subtext hints that i’ve heard about. Looking at the moments between them more deeply, I can understand why there are people who think the Konata/Kagami idea is a high possibility. Especially from Kagami’s point of view. Like what lil_donkey said, its not just those two pics. There are some, uh, others that are highly suspicious. I’m not sure if it’s true but I’ve heard from some that the art is official. Plus, Kagami’s character song, 100% nai nai nai, is also highly suspicious. Which got some people from going “what” to the pair possibiity to “whoa”, lol. Even in anime where there is no trace of romance at all between the characters, fans have the tedency to pair off characters. Its a common habit. If you ignore all of the above (plus doujins), they are just best friends.

  6. I have to agree – I cannot imagine that there are many LFGs as compared with LFBs for this series.

  7. Chilipop says:

    In a nod to dop, Episode’s 7’s Marimite’s references had me rolling on the floor, actually.

    I actually love Lucky Star [in fact, I actually wrote a final essay for one of my courses about it- guilty as charged!], but I love it for the insane amount of references and slice-of-life humour, not for the supposed ‘Yuri’. I don’t think there is any real Yuri in it, just fan service. But-

    Of the two main fan pairings in the story, one of which is adoration, the other is more love/hate, I think there is a reason why LFB’s love to say that they’re together:

    Konata/Kagami- Konata is a hardcore otaku and totally unlike normal protagonists. In fact, she is probably more like the viewers that watch Lucky Star. People can’t help but root for her. Kagami herself is the stereotypical ‘tsundere’ type seen in anime, but her character is also very endearing. It’s probably just natural that fans would group the two main stars together. Their interactions are funny as hell.

    Minami/Yukata- Again, playing to stereotypes, one is the tall, ‘cool’ figurehead, and the other is the small, sweet, caring one. Again, they just fit together- the whole ‘I will protect you’ thing goes into exaggerated play here. Add a conniving mutual artist friend that always imagines them together, and you get hilarity.

    As I said, I don’t really see a spec of actual true Yuri in this series, just some silly girls talking about normal life, but I did try to analyze and figure out why some viewers would put the characters together, and which whom.

    And in any case, it’s just an anime- you see what you want to see.

    But damn, it’s sure a funny one to watch.

    Cheers :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    hmm refering to the possible girlxgirl…havent u all thought if this was all planned? same sex pairings are a HUGE fanbase-drawer to anime and make several fans watch anime that may have only straight heroes to just pair them up :/ I personally think this is quite a clever ploy into presenting characters obviously not in love but with appeal to the several fans who leap at the thought of such a pairing…the doujin artist is only a propeller in this respect XD with such pairings, the fanbase/fanfiction/fanart/publicityjust grows…and thats an image Lucky Star matches :D

  9. kaseydaqueen says:

    Like anonymous said, this could have been planned to get fans to pair up characters that are possibly straight. HOWEVER, the character songs SHOULD be true for the characters. Kagami’s character song 100% nai nai nai is implying that she does have some Yuri feelings for Konata. I think you should take a GOOD look at the series and analyse the situations more carefully. The subtext that I saw in the Konata/Kagami relationship didn’t have any sexual ring to it, for the most part, but help a lot.XD LOOK more carefully, Kagami could surprise you.XD However, chilipop is correct in there being no actual/true Yuri. There’s just a lot of speculate hints to Yuri.

  10. kaseydaqueen says:

    Look through the Lucky Star series very carefully. There is plenty of hints that suggest that Kagami REALLY is in LOVE with Konata. It’s very well hidden, so you have to pay close attention to find the YURI moments from Kagami to Konata. I really don’t want to sound rude or push you too hard but I think you need to do a new review for the this series as far as Yuri is concern. Kagami did show signs of Yuri for Konata in the series.

  11. kaseydaqueen – If you have to look *that* carefully for clues hidden that well, Occam’s razor says you’re reading too much into it.

  12. Sean Gaffney says:

    Lucky Star isn’t Yuri. It is, however, a secret tool of the Illuminati. I swear! There’s 23s everywhere in the series, if you only dig deep enough!

  13. kaseydaqueen says:

    Erica Friedman, reading too much into it? I beg to differ. I didn’t see anything Yuri-like in this anime originally, until a person online made a very interesting comment. That person too didn’t originally see anything Yuri-like in this anime either until that person took a closer look. Plus the character songs are supposed to be true for the characters right? So, what Kagami’s character song 100% Nai Nai Nai is implying is false then.

  14. kaseydaqueen says:

    I was a bit forceful, ok too forceful here, however, there is proof in the series to truth in Kagami’s character song 100% Nai Nai Nai. It is very lightly touched on which is why it got ignored. That is why I said it was well hidden. You are not going to notice if you are not paying much attention. However, I am not saying that you have to read too much into it to get the message. For example, in episode 5 when Konata made the statement, “It is not as entertaining when two girls do it.” Did anyone realize how Kagami reacted to that statement? She said, “Don’t say that.” and was feeling sad. Also note the sweat drop on her head as well. There are some others that I now noticed which I didn’t before but I’m going to leave it at that. I wanted to make jacksonman’s comment more obivious to people because I agree with this person. I really just wanted to say that because it is there. Now, I am done talking about this show.

  15. kaseydaqueen says:

    Ok, ok, ok, ok. I said I was done talking about this show with my last post. However, I’m very discourage over the fact that there have been no responses since, so I’m posting again. *sigh* I know Yuri is not the theme for this series, however it IS a subplot. *sigh* I just want to emphasize jacksonman’s comment is all. Yutaka/Minami is the clear shojo-ai focus BUT the Konata/Kagami idea also has that focus, from Kagami’s point of view. *sigh* There are two reasons why the dominant majority of fans didn’t see the shojo-ai in the Konami relationship. First: It was very quickly/not explicitly dealth with, so the hints will fly by you if you are not paying attention to everything that is going on in the episodes. *sigh* Here are some examples. In episode 3 when Konata, Kagami, and Tsukasa are the train heading to school right? Konata is fanning herself with her notepad to cool herself because it was humid in the train. At some point, she is fanning up her skirt right? Am I the only one who fell out my seat with this moment? NOT over what Konata is doning BUT over the fact that Kagami was WATCHING Konata fan up her skirt the entire time? Also Kagami looked turned on while watching Konata or something? The look on Kagami’s face while watching Konata baffled me. In episode 4, before the Lucky Channel segment, Kagami got the last line and boy was it BLATANT. Konata said, “That’s why I just don’t get girls.” Did anyone realize that Kagami said, “Last time I checked you were one as well.” in response? Also note the sweat drop on head as well when she said that. Huh? What the? Hold up, wait a minute, eh? Kagami CHECKED to see if Konata is really a girl? Don’t tell me that Kagami is implying that she actually saw Konata’s va……… and I can’t go that far. In episode 10, when the twins go to Konata’s house for a sleepover. In Konata’s room, at a point, Konata is holding a yellow pillow right? After Tsukasa text message Miyuki and gets a response, look at Kagami. AW, Kagami is feeling sad……. while holding KONATA’s pillow? In episode 7, when Miyuki said, “I don’t want to ruin their (Konata and Tsukasa) good intentions.” Am I the only one who thought that Kagami’s reaction to that statement was suspicious? As if Kagami took what Miyuki said the wrong way. *sigh* The second reason why the hints are getting ignored is over the fact that you have to PAUSE at parts in the episode because you are not going to notice the hints at all watching the moment at full speed. *sigh* Episode 7 is a great example of this reasoning. You are not going to noticed some of the hints at all without pausing to break the moments down. For example, when Konata was doing the Marimite routine and straightened Tsukasa’s ribbon right? Kagami looked away and said, “Gonna hurl” right? PAUSE keep pausing, Take a look at Kagami’s facial expression, she was feeling sad, as if she was upset over the fact that Tsukasa got Konata’s attention or something. Tsukasa then asked Konata why she was acting the way she did and Konata responded by saying that she has been hooked on the anime MARIMITE right? PAUSE keep pausing, check out how Kagami reacted to the mentioning of the YURI anime. Later on during lunch when Kagami, Tsukasa, and Konata approached Miyuki, Kagami is looking at Konata right? PAUSE keep pausing Kagami had a sad look on her face as she turned away from Konata before saying her next line. *sigh* Episode 11 has a GOOD hint that you are NOT going to noticed at all unless you PAUSE. Check out the facial expression on Kagami’s face in reaction to getting greeted by Konata just before saying her next line, “I didn’t get any studying done yesterday.” Later on in the episode, you see Konata getting checked on from head to toe with a rose background right? PAUSE keep pausing, given how quickly Kagami turned away from Konata as soon as the question mark appeared on her head to go along with the sweat drop and facial expression. Am I the only one who thinks that maybe Kagami’s EYES were rolling when Konata was getting checked on from top to bottom with the rose background? *sigh* Also, I noticed in some episodes that I took a look back on, Kagami at times tends to be only looking at Konata when with her friends. Episode 8 is a good example of this. When the main characters were talking about tests, Kagami was looking at Konata the entire time before she said her next line. *sigh* Also, on a number of occassions in the anime, Kagami would look at Konata with a sad/distraught facial expression when nothing is being done to her. *sigh* I could seriously go on with what I’ve found but I really exploded enough as it is this time. *sigh* You don’t have to change your review on the Yuri aspect of this show but I would feel a LOT better if you at least would consider an updated review on the Yuri aspect for this show……….. AT LEAST. *sigh* Its too bad that the hints weren’t more heavily made obvious, poor Kagami.

  16. kaseydaqueen says:

    lol, here I am posting again. I’m being this persistent for a reason. There is more Yuri in this series than you believe. I’m DEAD serious. Just look at Kagami through the series, just see what she is doing and you will see the hints. Trying PAUSING as well, there are some nice ones that you will only catch that way. I could talk some more about more hints but I’m tired of that and exploded with hints with the last post. I’m NOT some loser Yuri fan girl. I’m NOT into Yuri or same sex pairings. I just want some justice done for poor Kagami since too many people aren’t noticing, lol. I didn’t notice until I took a closer at her through the series. You can ignore me, I fine with that. BUT you are missing out on some NICE cleverly thrown in Yuri hints WITHOUT the need to READ too much into it. So that is your lose. I’m not trying to be mean just stating the truth.

  17. kaseydaqueen says:

    Yay, I’m posting again!!!!!XD lol I’m very serious though, you need to do some serious rewatching of this series, if you never thought that Kagami likes Konata from it because you would be WRONG!!!!!

    “All the Japanese fanart pairs them together? Kagami is tsundere and therefore clearly hiding her love-love feelings? That’s nice. But there’s none of that in the anime at all. Sometimes a friendship is just a friendship.”

    HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!XD How WRONG of a statement is that!!!!XD Since the dialogue is in Japenese, you would think that the verbal Yuri hints would be more obvious to the Japenese. Sure Konata and Kagami are literally just friends but that is NOT how Kagami feels. Some of the Yuri hints she gave towards Konata were so BLATANTLY Yuri obvious, its absolutely amazing how the fans keep missing the hints. I mean I gave plenty of hints and that episode 3 moment was SO YURI OBVIOUS!!!!!!XD No other reason makes sense at all for what Kagami did in reaction to Konata in the train scene. Then again the hints that I found usually lasts like 3-5 seconds, so that’s why the hints got SO badly overlooked by the fans. Here are some things to think about from what I noticed from Kagami. On a number of occassions throughout the series, she would cringe when either looking at Konata or hearing Konata’s voice. This was more noticeable to me from episodes 12 on. Also another odd thing that I noticed, Kagami had a number of intringingly sustained looks of happiness when looking at Konata or hearing her voice or thinking about Konata throughout the series. Also, you serious can call Kagami a Tsundere. I noticed quite a bit of dere dere Kagami to Konata moments. You NEED to see that episode 8 clip that I talked about earlier. That was a nice dere dere Kagami to Konata moment and my second favorite of the series. My favorite dere dere Kagami to Konata moment was by far the episode 15 moment………….. and you know what? I’m NOT referring to the Haruhi concert scene!!!!!!XD There was a MUCH BETTER moment that occurred later on in that episode, not telling when though, but I LOVE THAT MOMENT TO DEATH!!!!XD DERE DERE MODE full power on!!!!!!!XD Take a CAREFULLY look at Kagami, you’ll see the YURI, trust me.:)

  18. kasey, just want to let you know that that will be the last comment on this topic that I’ll approve by you. Your obsessive insanity was amusing for a while, but we (myself, the author of the review and other people who read Okazu) are all very bored now with your rants.

    I’m sure there’s a forum on AnimeSuki or ANN you can go blather at. Enjoy.

  19. Anonymous says:

    In that train scene, you’ll notice that when Konata starts fanning herself, there’s a shot of the guy who is sitting in front of her. He looks a bit uncomfortable with the situation, and Kagami is noticeing how awkward it all is and begins to say something. That’s what that scene is about.

    And 3 long comments in a row? Seriously? What the hell?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I hate to burst a bubble here, but kaseydaqueen is right about the Yuri in this series. Most everything this user has stated has been proven. I am very astute when it comes to noticing ‘eye candy’ in anime. Of all the moments mentioned in kaseydaqueen’s many posts I noticed them without even having to ‘pause and keep pausing’. Kagami has also been described as a Tsundere, a person with dual personalities, only outwardly showing the aggressive side.

    Take into consideration of these aspects: For starters, in episode 7, Konata literally crawls up Kagami’s spine, pets her on the head and tells her “there, there”. Kagami is so stricken with embarrassment that she doubles over, plus in this same episode, Konata cuddles up to Kagami when she asks to go to the bookstore with her, saying that it will ‘nurture their friendship’. Another example is that Konata is the only one of the girls who can make Kagami blush – and quite frequently, usually relating to a sexual innuendo of some kind (wanting to see her ‘stash of wierd stuff in the. I might also add that Kagami is the only one of the girls she actually gets physical with. This is not speculation, and not coincidence either.

  21. Anonymous says:

    the episode 7 thing where konata crawls up kagamis back might be a hint, but who really knows?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Umm… If someone crawled up your back in public wouldn’t you be embarrassed too??? And most of the other things that Konata said to make Kagami blush… Well… I’d blush too.

    I started thinking there was something between them, but then realized that it wasn’t till after other folks had mentioned it, and I was intentionally looking for things. After watching most of the episodes again tonight with that in mind I think I was making things appear different than they are. I see nothing more than a growing friendship there.

    As for the song… I also thought that had something in it… After reading the lyrics a couple more times something came to me… She could just mean: “You may act like an idiot at times, but I’ll always be your friend.” Pretty normal sentiment if you ask me… The other thing that came to me was that those translations may not be accurate either… A lot of the “hints” in those lyrics could come out differently depending on who translates them. Speaking of translation… The title of the song is 100% nai nai nai… Nai translates as a negative equivalent to “not”.

    As far as Kagami goes… I’ll simply cite episodes 13 and 21 and leave it at that.

    Konata??? She could go either way… Her personality is like a blunt object most of the time so it’s hard to tell what she is after… Besides more Manga.

  23. Okay, you can accept or deny it, but the fact remains that it’s there. There are PLENTY of hints to a Konata/Kagami relationship, and I’m pretty sure they’ve all been cited, except the concert scene. I’ll take that one.

    Notice how Konata started acting strange, even by Konata’s standards?

    Also, does the OVA count? If it does, ten there’s another citation – Kagami’s dream was coincidental? Who knows?

    Again, accept or deny all you want, it’s there whether you like it or not.

    Also, kaseydaqueen: Lucky Star is Shonen, not Shojo

  24. Anonymous says:

    i think the OVA countsthe kagami’s dream is a hint, i guess ‘cuz why is konata there,why she have to dream with her xD and when the dream ends xDD what she said wasnt what konata said,`cuz was a dream…so that’s a hint xD but i think is fanservice, i like konata/kagami but they are just best friends

  25. M.J.W 2010 says:

    I had to think about whether i liked Kagami and Konata as a pairing. I wondered why some people absolutly and some absalutly dispised it.

    I noticed Kagami and all the things you lot have pointed out and yeah i may as well admit it. Kagami has feelings for Konata. Im like Kgami in a way with the lonely part. Well i feel lonely at times. I feel bad that it’s only a one sided Yuri. If i saw Kagami and Konata actually say the words I love you to each other i would back the pair 100% per cent. I just don’t like how so many people twist and turn it with facts and evidence. I understand what Kaseydaqueen is saying about Kagami and you should rewrite your thing about Lucky Star.

  26. Kagami is definitely into Konata, but she’s also a Yaoi Fangirl.

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