Lucky Star Manga, Volume 4 has what I consider to be the first glimpse of anything Yuri-like so far in the series. And it comes, not at all surprisingly, in the form of one of the resident otaku making it up in her head. I respect that. ^_^
It’s well established that the Lucky Star franchise is a series of self-referential gags and in-jokes for the folks who read Comtiq, CompAce, Mobile Newtype and who stroll the aisles of Gamers in Akihabara. This series is very much an “us and them” series, with “us” being Konata, her father, her teacher and Hiyori. Everyone else is there to provide straight lines, fantasy fodder and someone to whom we can ‘splain our rituals and behaviors. (You know about ‘splaining, right? It’s short for mansplaining but I see it in every “us/them” group and women are as likely to do it in their areas as men are. It’s that thing, when you say something like, “Oh I just bought a computer with a OCZ SATA SSD drive” and some 20-year old guy says something like, “well, you know, you have to be careful about the kind of computer you choose. Get a Mac, it’s safe from viruses.” And you think – or if you’re me, you say – “come closer, I need to slap you.” ^_^)
Konata ‘splains stuff to everyone who stands still for it in Volume 4. Why “we” buy multiples of certain books. Why “we” wait on line for rare items or signatures, why “we” do any of the things “we” do.
But, to be honest, I have long ago tired of Konata. In the same way that I cannot have a long, fruitful conversation with people I know who are obsessive about one thing, because they have no real interests outside that one thing, Konata is kind of boring. Kagami barely shows up in the manga at all, although when she does, the author helpfully reminds you *again* that she is tsundere, despite that fact that we have never really seen her dere-dere about anything. But we’re good little fans – the author says so, and it fits our delusions.
As I said, I am long past watching them at all. They are one-trick ponies and we’ve seen the trick already. So, in Volume 4, we take our perspective and wander off with it to another otaku-eye view. Hiyori, our resident doujinshi artist provides most of the fodder for this volume. The cover is a nice visual nutshell of the Yuri in Hiyori’s (and Konata’s, apparently,) head. And she even has the decency to wonder how much of it she’s making up. But, being good little fans, now that the author has seeded the idea, I have no doubt that most readers see Yutaka and Minami as a couple. (Hiyori pairs just about everyone up, another highly realistic fan behavior.)
Now that the translation is in the eminently able hands of Bill Flanagan, the humor – where it actually exists – is less difficult to grasp. I still take issue with the editing of the book; it’s clearly phoned in and seems even more so, now that the translation is so good. Mr. Editor – please do your job. Thanks. Love, The readers.
In all honestly, I wish the series had started with Volume 4. By pushing Konata and Kagami back and bring up everyone else all at once, the cast seems much more lively and the gags much less moribund.
If I were to wish this series upon someone, I’d definitely start with this volume.
Art – It is what it is
Story – In small chunks, gag comics can be fun
Characters – I far prefer Hiyori’s delusions to Konata’s
Yuri – Same as above
Service – 10, but not in a salacious manner. It’s just a book for “us” and only “us.”
Overall – 7
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