Lucky Star is a big in-joke for the otaku audience. Look Konata games, she gets moe, she talks about dating sims and anime and ero-games. She’s one of us!
To explain why this does not hit me in the same way it hits you, let me tell you a story. I was sitting at a Druid ritual, when a woman I know came over to me with an expression of love and acceptance and joy and asked me, “Isn’t this wonderful? Don’t you remember the moment when you first felt part of a group that truly accepted you?” I looked at her very seriously and said, “No, because I’ve never looked for acceptance from a group.” This conversation actually went on for some time, her trying to ask me the same question many different ways, and me giving her the same answer – I don’t look for acceptance from other people, so I’ve never needed to feel “part of a group.” As long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing, that’s fine. She walked away after a while, totally puzzled. *Everyone* wants to be part of a group, right?
I have never once in my life referred to non-fandom people (of any kind) as “mundane.” Sports fans don’t refer to non-sports fans as “thinkies,” or anything. Why would I refer to people not in my in-crowd as something silly that they are not? And what should I call you, my non-classical music listening readers? Or my non-archeology loving readers? No, I’m not really much into “us” and “them.”
I am proud to be an otaku, and perfectly happy in my otaku life, with my fujoshi wife. My non-otaku friends are in no way “mundane.” (Understatement of the decade. My non-otaku friends are far stranger than my otaku friends could ever hope to be.)
So I don’t need that thing that Lucky Star provides, that “look there’s a media character that represents us otaku!” If you read Okazu, you’ll know that my blog is largely given over to finding those moments for lesbian readers. The idea that there is a self-referential anime and manga for otaku is great – I just don’t need that particular affirmation of self.
I’m pretty certain that those of you who are deeply engaged with Lucky Star will see this as some kind of slam, but really, I think it’s fine, really! I have no objection to the series. I get what you’re seeing.
In fact, I liked Volume 3, because it explains why 4-koma aren’t all that funny AND why so many fans think Kagami is tsundere – because the creator said so, so even though she really isn’t, and now that it has been said, you shape your perceptions to see that. Exactly as Konata says. ^_^ What I especially like is that she said that straight to our faces. It’s so rare to see irony in manga.
So, while many of you are resonating to the “she’s one of us!” and all the in-jokes in the anime, the bit that resonates most strongly with me is the ironic (and slightly mean-spirited) meta-commentary by the creator about our otaku habits. I like when he talks about what a waste all our devotion is, and what a pointless thing us spending all that money is. I loved when he had Konata comment that getting the first volume of a manga shows loyalty – even if it’s riddled with errors. That actually made me laugh out loud. (It reminded me of something Dorothy L. Sayers has Lord Peter Wimsey say in Murder Must Advertise – that if you smile as you say incredibly mean things, people will think that you are joking.)
I would also like to blame William Flanagan for being a competent translator, as now he’s sucked the most fun I was having with the series away by replacing the challenging grammar of the previous translator with perfectly sensible English. Thanks, Bill. (-_-);
Yuri? Yes…um there’s two minor characters whose names completely escape me right now and who are always together. Perhaps they are a couple. And the girl who draws doujinshi…I’ve randomly decided that I think she’s gay. Other than that? I still think that Konata x Kagami is entirely in your head, so why shouldn’t I create other Yuri that isn’t there, too?
Art – 5 I can’t really respect the art. At some point you’d think it’d get better.
Story – 7 There isn’t one, really. But it is a 4-koma, so one has low expectations
Characters – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 10 Not in the salacious way this usually represents. This series was created precisely to appeal to the Fanboy in all of us and is in that way completely an expression of the meaning of otaku.
Overall – 7
I’m still not charmed, but I did laugh out loud several times at in-jokes. I also find the notes really interesting because despite the fact that the series is for the hardcore otaku, the notes were for “mundanes.”
Thanks ever so much to Okazu superhero Dan P. for allowing me this foray into this representative medium of an important part of my life. ^_^