Lucky Star Soundtrack

February 26, 2010

Surprisingly for an anime which focuses its jokes and gags on the characters and their dialogues, Lucky Star has thrown up quite a few catchy background music (BGM). I guess in order not to make the dialogue and speeches sound like a ‘deafening silence’, those tunes are necessary but that is beside the main point.
There are tons of CD albums for this series. I do not know if it holds the record of having the most albums for a single series but heck, too many of them. Not to say they are still releasing the albums but having to know that there are 12 soundtrack albums, it was enough to make my heart skip a little beat. And those albums do not include character albums, drama CDs and anime soundtracks (vocal themes from the anime). This blog of mine will just be focusing on the BGM from the soundtrack albums, since those tunes are the ones which interest me.
The music on the albums are the brainchild and composed by Satoru Kousaki whose other memorable works include music from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. One thing about the albums is that they are not released at the same time. Why, it took around a year for those 12 albums to be released! I guess it’s a marketing strategy to keep you fans and listeners wait. As they say, things come to those who wait. Something like that. And if you do, it is quite the worth. Each of the albums on average has around 15 tracks (with the first album having the least – 11 songs – and the final album the most – 18 songs). In addition, each album is divided into 2 sections. The first half contains BGM from the anime while the second half is called Radio Bangumi "Lucky Channel". If you have watch the series, then you will know that this section is where brat Akira and her co-host Minoru rant about whatever they have to. Since my Japanese isn’t that good (sadly after all these years), I don’t really fully understand what they are saying so I usually skip this part. Unless you find Akira’s high-pitch squealing voice moe, then go ahead and listen to all of their ‘talk show’. Listed below are my favourite BGM in alphabetical order:
1) Drive Dayo, Lucky Star
2) Fun Fun Fun Dayo, Lucky Star
3) Fun Fun Guitar Dayo, Lucky Star
4) Jikai Yokoku Dayo, Lucky Star
5) Karoyaka Dayo, Lucky Star
6) Ran Ran Ran Dayo, Lucky Star
7) Skip Skip Dayo, Lucky Star
8) Tanoshiku Genki No Yoi Kyoku Wo Akatsuki Sensei Ga Tsukuri Mashita
Hmm… It isn’t much if you consider the total of 160 tracks from the 12 albums and approximately half of them are BGM, it’s just like 10% only. But it’s not the quantity that matters. Besides, this does not mean that the other tracks suck. A big majority of them have that fun feel to them so it makes listening to them easy even if you’re not a fan of this kind of music. If I had to choose which one of the songs in my list is my favourite, then it has to be Karoyaka Dayo, Lucky Star. Just like its name suggests, it is a light and casual piece (on an unrelated not, probably how the term karaoke came about). Even if it is not heavy, the smooth play of the three-piece instruments (drums, bass and piano taking the lead), makes it quite a catchy piece and in my opinion suitable for daily life or filler scenes.
Ran Ran Ran Dayo somehow reminds me of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album. Maybe it’s because of the trumpet and the way the piano and electric guitar are played in the background. This song is also easy on the ears though it spots a little moderate beat. Fun Fun Fun Dayo, Lucky Star is a piano solo (with a little xylophone as accompaniment) and one of the few prominent pieces usually played during the anime. Of course Fun Fun Guitar Dayo, Lucky Star is the guitar version of that piece. I tried to play it on my guitar but in order to sound nice and ‘appropriate’, you’ll need 2 guitars. One as the lead and the other as the lower bass. Drive Dayo, Lucky Star is another relaxing tune and just like its name suggests, a nice song to play when you’re going for a slow Sunday drive. Starts off with the piano in the lead before the flute taking over.
Another piece which brings back memories of Sgt Pepper album is Jikai Yokoku Dayo, Lucky Star. Yeah, it has to be the fanfare of the trumpets. This song lasts around 30 seconds and is used during the next episode preview of the series. I know the track Tanoshiku Genki No Yoi Kyoku Wo Akatsuki Sensei Ga Tsukuri Mashita may be mouthful and long winded but this doesn’t make the song less attractive. This is one of the songs which make you get up and do a little shuffle with your feet. You can’t help that the upbeat and lively play of the trumpets and the bass gives out that joyful sensation. Sometimes I feel that the way they blow the trumpet makes the song sound a little Mexican, if you know what I mean. Another track usually played often in the series is Skip Skip Dayo, Lucky Star. Yeah, makes you want to do a little skip too. I’m not sure what kind of organ or keyboard they use as the accompaniment at the beginning or if that lead instrument which follows after is wind based. Need to get my ears checked.
Since it’s impossible to blog on every other BGM, I’ll just briefly mention some notable ones (at least to me). Unchiku Dayo, Lucky Star is a piano and xylophone duet and it sounds weird if you ask me and if I remember well, it is one of those themes used during the show while the characters have their dialogue. Tatatakatta Dayo, Lucky Star sounds like a military theme due to its military-like drum beats but is ‘soften’ due to the cute way of that… Sheesh, I can’t recognize what horn instrument that is being played. Yukai Da Ne, Lucky Star is another military-like theme but as usual the other instruments like the short and sharp echo-y piano, make it sound fun and cute. Taiikusai Desu Yo sounds like a march and carnival parade song with all the hyped up fanfare. Gyaaaaaaaa (that’s right, that’s the name of this track) has got to be one of the shortest tracks ever, lasting around 15 seconds. Just like its name is, it gives you a feel that something wicked is going to suddenly befall or happen soon. Yeah, those sharp and short strings can sometimes creep you out. Haisha Wo Nerae! Akatsuki Funbatta is a short track lasting 9 seconds and in my opinion sounds fitting for all those TV news broadcast jingles. Same case with Ginga Shiraishi (like the jingle for an important news announcement). Kagami No Hatsukoi is a violin-driven piece and sounds like a slow song of falling in love. Sawayaka Na Yuujou is another slow and easy track though I find it a little repetitious in the song later. Another slow piece is Heiwa Da Na, Lucky Star, a combo of acoustic guitar in the background (which I find repetitious) and sporadic piano as the lead. 1 Nen Sei Wa Fresh Da Na‘s piano background is the same as Fun Fun Fun Dayo, Lucky Star but the lead piano has a different lively and skipping-like tune. Is that the sound of scratching the washing board they use towards the end of the song I hear?
Nangoku Kaze Desu Ga, Nani Ka sounds like a slow tropical version of Fun Fun Fun Dayo, Lucky Star while Atarashii Kaze has a little bossonova feel. Or is it a little cha-cha? Marsh & Mallow sounds like a lively 60’s rock ‘n’ roll beat mixing with several fanfares and Geeyan De Catch Da Ne, Lucky Star sounds like those comedy moments from the olden days because of the solo keyboards (does it have computerized sound effects?). Bubbu Bubbu Budane, Lucky Star is another weird song partly due to its choice of music instruments. Some wind instrument and xylophones makes it sound a little monotonous and one of those tracks mainly used during the show. Bakudan Kun Land is overall comical with a little samba feel. For instance, remember those comical chase scenes or blunders in cartoons? Yeah, that’s what this song is most suited for. Bunkasai Wa Junbi Ga Ichiban Tanoshii though has that light tropical feel, gets repetitious after a while in the beginning but midway the flutes take the lead. Hiiragi 4 Shimai is a slow heart warming piece utilizing slow strings and acoustic guitar to give that touching feel. Setsunaki Jikan is also another heart warming piano solo just like Kagami Kyun which has bell chimes complimenting the piano. Gravity is a hard rock techno dance mix with vocals. Feels kinda odd to have such a song in the album but I guess variety is the spice of life.
If you know how Enya’s genre of music, then you should be able to identify with Kore De Enya, Akatsuki No Kunou. Ah, those trademark those slow voices and strings, all too familiar. Kaidan No Kyoufu has a scary and creepy feel because of the soft eerie strings in the background and be warned that there will be a sudden loud pounding of the piano towards the end. GYAH!!! Saigo No Kotae De Yoi Desuka is also eerie if you consider the kettle drum taking up most of the song right till the end. Also, if you have watched the highly acclaimed American series, 24, you will identify the resemblance in the track 24 Jikan. Yeah, those intimidating countdown moments making this short piece filled with high tension and anxiety. Some of the tracks are parody named after certain series and purposely spelled a little different. Remember that theme of the retro American series, A-team? Full Metal Panique sounds like a short parody of it. Then there’s Bun Guster (reverse of Gun Buster) which sounds like a grand intergalactic herald or send off, Filna Fantasy (reverse of Final Fantasy) which sounds like a slow dramatic piece for RPG games with great dramatic storylines, Mariya Sama Ga Miteru Kamo Shirenai (parody of Maria-sama Ga Miteru) which features a flute as its lead in this overall slow and enchanting-like piece. The typical upbeatness heroicness of Erga Mui feels like a theme befitting for sentai-like shows. Imagine the Lucky Star characters as cosmic enforcers.
Of course there are themes which are character specific like the monotonous Konata No Theme, Fuutsu Version which has that lazy feel and fits the character well. There are a few other versions such as Chuukintou Version which I think uses the flute that snake charmers use. It starts off with the flute solo before the conga beats come in. India Version sounds a little funny because there are voices at certain points going "Aiyaa". Yutaka No Theme and Minami No Theme features a light and easy piano play while Patty No Theme has a mischievous and cheeky pop beat to it. Kanata No Theme has one of the longest duration lasting close to 5 minutes. Features a slow mix of orchestra strings, piano and horns. Hiyori No Mousou sounds very much like an Indian tune because it employs the sitar. Lucky Channel No Theme needs no introduction for those who have watched the series. This funky piece serves as the opening fanfare for the segment in the anime. Then there is the handphone ringtone of Konata which is the ending theme of that Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu called Hare Hare Yukai (Konata No Chaku Mero). Pachelbel No Cannon (Tsukasa No Chaku Mero) is Tsukasa’s handphone ringtone and if you know Bach’s kind of music, you have an idea.
Then there are a few short tracks lasting around half a minute named Girlge (probably for some girl game simulation, I think) with a second title to differentiate them like Isshoni Kaerou (a slow song which feels suitable like walking home together), Lunch Tabeyo (another slow lullaby-like piece using chimes and guitar in the background), Shukudai Yannasai (a comical clown-like tune like to get your homework done or else), Asa No Fuukei (fitting when you wake up to view the morning scenery), Suki Ni Shite Ii Yo (a slow-moderate dramatic-like piece) and Betsu Ni Anta To No Shinpai Nanka Shitenaidakara Ne (a funky beat with funky electric guitar?). Also several few tracks named Sentimental Shuugaku Ryoko with a second title for differentiation such as Chotto Hayai (a faster version using flutes and later trumpets), Chotto Osoi (the slow-moderate paced version) and Narappoi (an oriental string instrument solo version). Beer No CM Ppoi Kyoku Wo Tsukuttemita though is short, is divided into 2 parts. It starts out with a slow and easy jazz then it turns into a more upbeat pop feel to it.
So there you have it, some of the variety of songs in the Lucky Star anime series. Some are aptly named and some, well, let’s just say the title is being creative. I’m not sure if all of them were played during the show (possibly not) but due to its short duration of a big majority of them (around a minute and a half), it does make listening to them easier since many of its basic tune are catchy. Unless you are into songs which lasts 5 minutes or over 10 minutes, that is. And if you can’t get enough of them, you could always replay them again. As mentioned there are many more other albums. Like the opening and various ending themes of the series if you like, have several versions and remixes. I don’t know. I never liked the opening theme Motteke! Sailor Fuku. Not only the songs that the girls sang during their karaoke session are on the album, there is a separate album for which that Minoru guys does his belting. As for the character image albums, there are 13 albums, each focusing on a particular girl in the series. Okay, maybe some album feature a few girls but if you like to get to know the character better, that’s what such albums are made for. However there is only 1 drama CD which is based on the anime series using a different seiyuu cast than the anime. Even the videogame of the series has its own albums. Five of them to be exact.
For me, I am now experiencing a little Lucky Star overload. Hearing too much of BGMs in one sitting can be a little straining for the body, whether they are my favourite ones or other tracks for ‘recalling’ purposes. Though it’s been some time that I have watched the series but listening to these catchy tunes sure brings back lots of memories (although I can’t remember much). Yeah, who could forget Konata’s quote from Shuffle, "A flat chest is a status symbol". Then looking at her own she continues "I guess I’m okay then". Oh Konata… I guess I’ll be okay listening to these music as well.

Lucky Star

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