A Review by Christopher Kinsey
Well one of the biggest titles on the anime scene of late is Lucky Star. And it's up to ol' Dean here to check the pulse of the anime community by checking this out. *Checks* Well I have to declare the patient dead. Why they've been salivating over... over... THIS? Gods, they even have a DS game called Lucky Star Moe Drill. I'd rather eat my own foot, twice, than play something like that!
Before I talk about Lucky Star, I think it's time we got educated on "Gag Manga" (Yonkoma, aka four panel). Much like American comics in the newspaper, they have about four panels that are pretty much a lead in to a joke. Sometimes there is a short storyline linking several strips together. Some like Crayon Shin Chan was pretty much used for laughs. Some poked satire at society, like Short Cuts. While others just got plain weird yet hilarious, like Heartbroken Angels.
Then one day we found Azumanga Daioh. The charming tale of five high school girls that kind of took place in real time. Four years passed, they graduated. It had a lot of little slice-of-life comedy spliced in with some weird dreams and quirky puns. OK, most yonkoma have quirky puns, but these ones just fit the story well instead of sticking out going "Look at meeee! I'm wiiiiity!". But Azumanga Daioh became the anime world's sweetheart. Lighthearted and kind, it was something calm in the sea of giant robots, ninja anime and the like.
And I think that's what they went for with Lucky Star. The packaging just screamed "We made Azumanga Daioh again! Only really influenced by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and moe/chibi-fied!". Eh, why not? Another Azumanga with a little more energy and an anime/video game nerd as a central character? I'll give it a shot. Let's turn it on.
The opening animation is pretty much what you’d expect. A cute and high energy dance routine with themes of the looking to the future, etc. We really should be expecting an up beat series of daily adventures, right? Well it’s all downhill from here…
We start off at a typical sports scene where we meet Tsukasa and Konata at the track. Konata fires around the track like she's shot out of the starting gun, but confides that she wouldn't ever join a club or team because it would cut into time to watch her favorite anime shows. Looks like this could be a good start to a character driven show like Azumanga Daioh.
Then we cut to lunch period. This scene feels like eight hours of discussing the "best" way to eat certain foods. This is a delight if you don't know how to eat. They puzzle over the mysteries of eating a cream filled cone pastry, explore the many ways of eating a cream puff, delve into the conundrum of that last bite on a popsicle, and debate on when it's proper to eat the strawberry on a slice of shortcake.
The show about nothing has truly arrived.
I'm telling you, there is nothing here to keep me watching! For god's sake, somebody do something wacky! At least Tomo's ADD spiced things up when people acted boring in Azumanga Daioh. This series just plays up the boring for no reason whatsoever. If I want to discuss which anime/comic book/television series is the best, I’ll go on the internet thanks very much. But this isn’t even catering to the nerds for the most part, it’s just being dull. When’s the last time you discussed how to eat food? Most people know how to eat food by the time they’re out of diapers.
While I wait for the never-ending lunch to end, I guess I'll critique the character design. If they're all juniors in high school... I think it's time to give up the half-chibi look. Before I began watching this show, I thought I could take all the "moe" references if it was entertaining, but it's not. All of the secondary characters never get any screen time, and that’s a pity because some variety could really spice this thing up at least a little bit. The teacher doesn’t have any personality of her own, and no I don’t care if she gets one later. You have to develop these things when they’re fresh!
Oh, wait, they're done talking about food, now they're talking about how useless men are because they're stuck playing dating sims all the time. OH WAIT! THAT'S JUST KONATA! LOL, SHE'S AN OTAKU LIKE THE VIEWER! LLOLOLOLOLOLL!!1!!!ONE! Is Konata supposed to make me relate to this series? If so it’s more pathetic than uplifting, that’s for sure. I suppose Japan might get out of it’s declining birth rate woes if the men dropped the Kleenex, turned off the computer, and went on actual dates. But if the women are doing it too then they’re truly screwed.
Oh boy, commercial! I wonder what sponsored this thing. Whichever huge conglomerate makes chocolate coronets in Japan, I suppose.
They then proceed to talk about how "moe" Miyuki is, why she wears glasses, where Tsukasa is, how the flu is different than a cold, how to visit a sick person, visiting a sick person, how much Kagami sleeps, why everyone's insecure about their school measurements....BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH! They proceed to do nothing for the rest of the anime, until Tsukasa returns to school.... and then they ask her how she eats a certain kind of food! I'm stuck in a mobeius strip of suck and fail!
They finish every episode with a little stub called "Lucky Channel". It's the fourth-wall breaking part where a character you don't see in the anime and a character that's background fodder in the anime talk directly to the viewer, asking for letters, complaining about the industry and not getting any lines, etc. Apparently this part is hilarious if you listened to the "Lucky Star" radio dramas.... But you know we live in the states, so you don't.
And every episode ends with the girls singing old anime songs at a karaoke room, badly. FUCK! And I’m not one to swear in these things, but FUCK! This is the blandest, most generic, wannabe, stupidest, pandering piece of horseshit I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. And what’s sad, what’s really sad, is that people are lapping this up like it’s the best thing to happen to anime since the invention of the giant robot. Why? Sure, perhaps we’re getting tired of the same old same old when it comes to anime, but why support something so utterly dull in it’s place? It’s not funny, it’s not entertaining, and it’s barely cute. We shouldn’t be harboring this kind of incompetence for any reason.