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

Lucky Star OVA

May 22, 2009

I didn’t really expect there would be an OVA episode for Lucky Star. Even so, I thought there would be second season or a spin-off so when this OVA came out at the end of last year 2008, it was a little surprised to me. Nevertheless, it is still good to watch this series since I did enjoy the TV series although this gag anime was heavily laden with otaku and cultural references and half of the time it didn’t make sense to me since I’m not a very hardcore otaku.
However, this OVA is only 1 episode long but unlike conventional animes, the running time is slightly longer as it lasts approximately 42 minutes. You could say that this is one massive but short OVA. Just like in the TV series, the OVA will be divided into several skits and you can expect the same wackiness and comedy if you have seen the TV series. So here we go…
It’s a dog’s life
The opening skit starts with soft-spoken Minami waking up her pet dog Cherry. She’s telling her to be a good dog since her pals are coming to visit her home today. Some of the view angles in this skit are through the eyes of Cherry. So it’s like a first person (or dog, rather) view through things. Miyuki is first to arrive and has brought some cookies for Cherry. As Cherry approaches her, it’s like she starts ‘fondling’ between Miyuki’s legs. No, that dog isn’t a pervert. Miyuki gives Cherry a piece of cookie, in which she takes it and buries it out in the lawn. While doing so, Tsukasa and Kagami passes by and notices how dirty Cherry’s face is. But Tsukasa realizes she has misplaced her handphone so the twins have to go back looking for it. Kagami then notes how she wish she was as peaceful as Cherry.
As Cherry is napping in the house, noisy Patricia is all excited and goes play with her. She starts pressing her paws but soon gets disappointed how hard it is and not like what she had hoped to be as she read in manga, soft and nice. Because Cherry isn’t giving any reaction, Patricia starts teasing it ‘stupid dog’ among other name callings. Minami then tells her no matter how she shouts, Cherry won’t wake up till its time. After Patricia continues with her teasing, to Minami’s surprise, Cherry opened her eyes. Next is Yutaka. She comes up to Cherry and held both her paws in her hands and starts singing a song for cute Cherry. Tamura passes by and wonders what she is doing, which startled Yutaka a little. When Yutaka left to the toilet, Tamura wonders if Cherry recognizes her. Tamura gets a little surprise when Cherry reacts a little. Tamura gets close to her for a handshake but Cherry just stared at her. When she took out a piece of cookie, Cherry glomps on her a little but luckily smart Cherry sits when Tamura tells her to. Tamura then tells her to shake hands and Cherry starts hitting Tamura with her paws in a frenzy! Tamura then gives her the cookie in which Cherry picks it up and spits it out soon after. Yeah, even Tamura can’t understand her.
During dinner time, Minami notices how Cherry is sleeping and not touching her food. Even after Minami takes a bath and gets ready for bed, Cherry is still napping. So she comes to pet and her and wishes for her to get better since everyone is worried. Minami notices her face all dirty again and thinks she’s been burying food again but doesn’t mind so long as she gets well. After Minami leaves, Cherry then closes her eyes. It’s a really touching episode and it makes you wonder if there is anything wrong with her. Though we won’t get to know for the remainder of this OVA but keep your fingers crossed.
As we know Konata and Kuroi are fans of the online RPG game but this time they are joined by Kagami and Tsukasa too. Note that their avatars in the RPG game are a chibi version of them. Also, the visuals are a combination of CG (the online gameplay scene) and 2D animation (faces of the characters in frames when they speak). Kuroi wonders why the twins had decided to join them playing this game when Konata says this game’s anime was scripted by a novelist who has a certain fan. Kagami is obviously embarrassed about it but anyway welcome to their world! So the usual monster slaying and job seeking missions like what most MMORPG veterans would know.
While Konata and Kuroi are talking about the online gaming, Konata notices Tsukasa’s grimacing face and tells her to press ‘enter’. With that, Tsukasa can now finally chat. And we were wondering why she didn’t say anything all this time. Yeah, she’s still a klutz. The gang continue to chat on RPG topics like having friends in a party and levelling up. After another successful round of slaying monsters, the gang wonders why Tsukasa’s magic won’t get stronger since she’s a magician. When Konata asks her what she’d do with her points, Tsukasa seems lost… She thinks spells will be given automatically when one levels up. Looks like she’s not cut out for this kind of game. Later, the gang did a weird and lame decisive victory pose. Then something on online game promotional items but since I’m not into RPG, I can’t really elaborate nor understand what they mean. Finally Kagami and Tsukasa say how their family is going to a hotspring during the Golden Week holidays and won’t be online for a while. Likewise Konata will be spending some time with Yutaka. Just when the Golden Week ends, we see Kuroi beating and slaying monsters with ease and the girls are astounded that she has levelled up so much! I guess she has nowhere to go but to play her online game. Is this what people with no love life do? ;p
Kagami is left alone all by herself at home when her mom, Tsukasa and her other sisters decide to go out shopping. After they have left, Konata comes in a witch outfit (like the one you see in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu worn by Nagato) and of course Kagami is surprised to see that self-proclaimed magician. Uh huh. Konata thinks Kagami was hurt by her mom and sisters and wants to go to the dance but Kagami replies that she never said anything like that.
If you know how the Cinderella story works, this is the wacky Lucky Star version of it. Konata says that is what Kagami is, Cinderella who needs to attend the dance in a horse carriage. Konata then uses her magic wand to change the altar to a weird looking cart. You call that a horse carriage? Well, don’t be picky says Konata. Kagami refuses to get on because she doesn’t want to go to any dance. Disappointed Kagami leaves but that isn’t the end of her troubles. Kagami felt the house shake and thinks it’s an earthquake. As she rushes outside, she gets the shock of her life when she sees her whole house on wheels and moving! Yeah, if Kagami won’t leave the house, then I guess Konata will just have to go there directly. Kagami has no choice but to oblige.
So as the duo trot along in their lame cart, Konata decides to use her magic to dress up Kagami. Of course it screws up and we see her in several cosplay outfits from a maid one to a shrine priestess and finally some sophisticated space outfit (I think). Pissed off Kagami wants her to switch her back but it seems the star on her wand has fallen off so looks like she’s stuck in that outfit. They finally arrive at the ‘dance’ which turns out to be some wrestling match and currently Kuroi, a contender, has just won her semi-final match. Then we find out that this is some contest whereby the winner will get to be Misao’s bride (can’t believe she’s the prince). Misao is so happy to know that Kagami has come for her but Kagami isn’t enthusiastic about this. Kagami thinks of going home because she can change back before 12 o’clock. Konata thinks she has been seen through…
As the duo ride back on their cart, Kagami realized that her house has been left in the middle of the road and wants Konata to put it back. I don’t know if she could trust her magic now since Konata glued back the star to her wand but it’s hanging precariously. Just then everything poofs back to normal and Konata says that time is up. Kagami is a little panic about her house but laid back Konata just tell her to leave it like that. Plus, Konata can’t use her magic anymore because she’s just a human bestowed with magic and will lose her powers once it’s 12 o’clock. Then she remembers an incantation to reset anything and Kagami is all ears. Since Konata can’t cast the spell, it has to be Kagami and the latter would do anything. She whispers something embarrassing and tells her she has to shout it out loud. Though reluctant, Kagami has no choice so she blurts out, "I want us to join our bodies…". Kagami then wakes up from her sleep and to her horror and embarrassment realized Tsukasa has heard what she said. Yeah, you can see how ‘shocked’ Tsukasa’s ‘robot’ facial expression is so she gets up and leave while saying how she has something to email to Konata. Embarrassed Kagami tries to dismiss everything… So was it all a dream? Well, it beats having her losing her glass slipper and the prince mounting a search for her, right?
Volleyball folly
Clumsy Tsukasa is having a hard time playing volleyball and because of so her self-confidence is low. Misao, who is on her team, tells her that she needs to buck up because this is the day that they will defeat her older sister, who is on the other team with Miyuki and Ayano. With that, the duo are fired up to play and it seems to work a little. Konata (on Tsukasa’s team) uses her Super Mega Special Mega Awesome Chocolate-dipped Shining Flaming Glowing Incredible Serve to send the ball nearly touching the ceiling. I wonder if she made that up from some manga or anime. But Miyuki manages to receive it well. Konata then decides to unleash some Jet Stream Attack and gets into formation but even so Misao doesn’t know what the heck is that.
The match continues and it is a closely fought one. As both teams are tied and Kagami starts the next game with her serve. The ball is heading Tsukasa’s way and since she couldn’t do anything about it, the ball slams directly into her face. Ouch. She starts to cry and thinks how impossible it is to receive that ball. I know it’s heartbreaking to see Tsukasa shed tears but sometimes I can’t help feel she’s too f&^$%* moe too! Misao gives her some words of encouragement and Tsukasa decides to try again. Kagami’s team is only a point away from winning when Tsukasa’s team mate nicely sets up the ball for Tsukasa to smash back and finish it. As Tsukasa runs and leaps, getting ready to smash back, we see how cool and confident she is like as though she’s going to make it this time but all that fizzled out when she missed the ball and slams directly into the net. Ouch. Though Tsukasa’s team lost, she isn’t disheartened and even though she thinks she can’t beat Kagami now, but one day for sure she will.
"The Heavens have abandoned us!". Konata must have been reading too many manga or watching too many anime to say that as she drops on her back yelling that line amidst the forest. Where is she? It seems that she, Kagami, Tsukasa and Miyuki are lost while taking a short cut to a camp on their school’s hiking contest. Well, not really a short cut. Konata felt like walking a trail which leads to climbing a mountain. They can’t call for help too since their handphones has no signal and coverage. In addition, Konata left her compass back on the bus. Now they’re really lost.
As they continue hiking, the sky is darkening when Kagami’s stomach starts to growl. Luckily Konata has some biscuits but has only 3 packs of them. So they start rationing and dividing among themselves. But how can you equally split 3 for 4? Miyuki demonstrates her intelligence by splitting each biscuit into 2 so that there will be 6 portions. Each of them will get a portion and the remaining 2 balance will be split equally into half so that there will be 4 smaller pieces.
Nightfall and the quartet are still lost. Tsukasa then looks up at the sky and manages to identify which direction they are in. Though she isn’t quite knowledgeable on astronomy, she knows a little about it since she was born on Tanabata Day and the certain stars which shines brightly on that day. But Miyuki points out that even if they know which direction to go, they still can’t find their way back to camp. So Konata takes another opportunity to shout, "The Heavens have abandoned us!".
They continue trekking and I think Konata is starting to lose it when she starts impersonating some ghost story thingy with her flashlight. Yeah, that is even enough to scare the wits out of Tsukasa (touching her with a stick?). Not once, but twice! Konata says how ghost stories are necessary during camp when Miyuki mentions about chatting on love too. The gang goes blank and Miyuki wonders if she has said anything wrong. Konata continues to fool around with her ghost stories impersonation when her handphone starts ringing. It’s Kuroi on the other end and she sounds very upset for being missing. Once they arrive at camp, Kuroi gives them a good lecture and they regret their actions. But she can’t stay mad at them as she treats them to a delicious curry rice meal at the campfire underneath the open night sky. Miyuki is seen relating this tough ordeal to her mom but when she says how she sounded like having fun while talking about it, Miyuki too smiles and agree.
Pet shop of horrors
Note how the visual and atmosphere or this skit resembles a little like you see in horror movies. Konata is pestering Kagami to come with her, Miyuki and Tsukasa to a newly opened pet shop. As the gang browse through the pets behind the glasses, the store owner comes by and say "I am Zero. I have returned". I’m not sure what is the meaning of this but I guess it has something to do with the parody of the Code Geass series. He then show the girls Pekopon’s most famous frog. OMG! It’s Keroro and Tamama! As they stare at the frogs while they continue to resonate their trademark "Kero Kero" and "Tama Tama" lines, the see the frogs start to slowly change into some horror-like appearance.
The next thing Konata knows when she opened her eyes is that she is now a chibi version and a black-spotted pond frog. Not only that, the other girls too have turned into chibi frog versions. As they are happily frolicking in the aquarium water, Konata wonders what has happened to them. Did the Keron invaders turned them like this? Then I don’t know what it means too, as we see the pet shop owner saying "Wawawa forgotten items". I guess we’ll never know the mystery to this…
I still ain’t buying what you’re selling
We are brought back to the MMORPG world and visual again. But hey, do you still remember that passionate loudmouth otaku merchandise store keeper, Meito? Yeah, he’s back here. As Meito is trudging in the online world, he spots the Legendary Girl A (Konata, for those who can’t remember). He gets hyped up and definitely thinks is going to get her to buy some stuff from him this time. So he lists down all the powerful items he has in his collection. Powerful items that even a legendary girl like her cannot resist buying. However as time passes through night and day, she’s still standing there with her back facing him and no particular reaction whatsoever. Meito gets disheartened that his plan has failed again and screams before his avatar falling face flat to the ground. Yeah, she’s probably ‘sleeping’. Poor guy. Maybe it’s time he looked for another set of customers.
Lucky Channel
One thing different about this episode ender of Lucky Channel is that it is being shot in real live action outside on a rooftop! That’s right. You can see the real characters who voiced that spoilt brat Akira (who is Hiromi Konno) and Minoru Shiraishi in person. It seems, they try to make Hiromi Konno look as close as the anime version of Akira with that white sailor uniform and long oversized sleeves. Minoru here appears in some perm hairstyle in addition to his white suit with black stripes while making his usual dramatic entrance and comical performances. Also this version of Lucky Channel is longer than its usual one as it lasts a good 10 minutes. So you can expect the usual ranting from the duo and as usual I didn’t really pay attention to their bickering because whatever they’re talking, it sure seems funny. Uh huh, expect Akira to act all spoilt and childish like she usually would. Uh huh. She still thinks highly of herself that she’s some sort of super idol. But in the end, Minoru has his face sprayed with water for around 40 seconds! Yeah, he’s nearly all wet. What a way to make an exit to end it all…
Ah well, and I suppose with this OVA there won’t be any more Lucky Star, huh? But good thing too that I manage to catch it because watching OVAs after some time finishing the TV series do bring back nostalgic memories of the show. Even for those who have never watched the Lucky Star TV series, I guess one can just hop in and watch this without being confused because like all the skits, they are mostly independent and random from each other. But of course, it’s best to still watch the TV series if you truly want to enjoy this one.
There are still some otaku references here and I managed to spot a few. Some pretty obvious (like Keroro Gunsou) and some not so (like the costume Konata finally changed Kagami into was Hatsune Miku, a famous subculture moe character, as I later found out). So did you spot any? But since this OVA is quite short, not every character from the TV series appeared here. For instance, Konata’s dad, Soujirou, and her zany cousin, Yui. It would’ve been even wilder if Yui has a part in this OVA. Sigh… But I guess most of the skits here concentrate on the main 4.
I also noticed that the drawing and animation is of a little higher quality in the sense that there is some shading here and there. But fans can still identify with the simple trademark drawing of this series. Even if Lucky Star is over, I’m sure there are many more otaku and cultural parody animes out there. You just need to keep your eyes peeled and notice the similarities of real life itself which has been embodied into anime and manga. And while I still continue to watch more anime, hopefully my ‘otaku knowledge’ in this area would also grow. Hey, that isn’t such a bad thing, right?
Lucky Star

Lucky Star

March 15, 2008

Here’s another anime which brings me back to the good old days when I was watching Azumanga Daioh. Not to say that this series is very similar to it, but I had that feeling when I started watching Lucky Star. There are 2 main reasons why this series has that Azumanga Daioh nostalgic feeling. Firstly, this is a gag anime. Which means, most of the jokes here are like of a stand-up comedy. So don’t expect to see lots of action-like comedies such as anvils falling on the character’s head. Secondly, there isn’t any real plot besides seeing how the girls going about with their lives during their high school years.
Only difference with Lucky Star is that there’s a touch of anime otaku-ness and there are quite a number of anime references and parodies because of the main protagonist who is an anime otaku geek herself. Though I don’t really consider myself a devoted anime otaku (in comparison to those really obsessed day and night, my case seems real puny and insignificant), but I thought it would be nice to see how an anime otaku goes about in his/her youthful days. Not to mention how that person thinks and does things, it must be heavily influenced with them. It’s kinda interesting, though.
So if you’re the kind that do not favour like gag animes like this, I’m sure you’ll find it hard to sit through the entire 24 episodes in this series even though it’s comedy with slice of life. I must admit that there are times when I caught myself yawning. Partly it’s because I watched this show way past midnight which contributes to the lack of oxygen in my brain. Haha. Good thing it has no more than 2 dozen episodes. I wonder if I can last that long thing. Thank goodness I managed to finish watching it.
Let me introduce to the main anime otaku protagonist of the show first. She is Konata Izumi and you might mistake her for an elementary school kid because of her short stature. But don’t judge a book by this cover because this girl is an anime, manga and game otaku freak (though stature has nothing to with it). The ironic thing about this girl is that, she is quite athletic and intelligent, but she doesn’t do well in exams (read: bad grades) and doesn’t join any school clubs. She can really spend hours staring at the google box playing games and watching countless anime videos but can’t really sit through a minute nor focus on homework. She’ll get dizzy and such. Is that what being an otaku all about? Stereotypic, isn’t it? Anyway, Konata is voiced by the up and coming multi-talented Aya Hirano. Who is she? Fans of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu should recognize her as that weird Suzumiya SOS Brigade leader character in that series. At first I couldn’t recognize her because Aya Hirano does an amazing job making Konata sound like a lazy, laid-back, lethargic kid. Well done. Besides, during the series, you’ll see several references between Konata and Suzumiya and it makes you go "Isn’t that just ironic…".
Of course it wouldn’t be fun if the focus was just totally on Konata alone. Also in her circle of friends (not anime otakus too, mind you) and always hanging out with her during their tenure at Ryou High School are twins Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi, and Miyuki Takara. Let me go briefly over them. Now, I guess that most of the funny punch lines and rebuffing jokes comes from Kagami. That’s because Konata loves teasing Kagami with her anime references, which pisses off Kagami at times. Among the quartet, I find her to be the most ‘rational and normal’ one. Unlike Konata, Kagami is more studious and has better grades, though Kagami herself loves playing video games albeit a different genre from Konata’s. So how can 2 so contrasting characters be so good friends? Well, opposites do attract. Besides, it be boring if everyone is the same nice girl, right? Hmm… Maybe Kagami in a way enjoys all those teasing statements. Kagami is voiced by Emiri Katou, who is a newbie since her resume on anime voice acting isn’t that ‘long’.
At first, I thought Tsukasa is Kagami’s little sister because she keeps calling the latter ‘onee-san’ (big sister). When I found out that Tsukasa is a twin of Kagami, then it occurred to me that maybe Kagami is the elder one between the twins. You know, 1 of the twins came out earlier than the other. I mean, you can’t have both twins coming out at the same time during birth, right? Tsukasa’s a little klutz and scatterbrained. Plus, she’s also not very good in her studies, blur case, not well organized, forgetful, all second only to Konata. Heck, it’s like she’s taken after Konata or is her disciple or what. It’s a good thing she has Kagami to look out and remind her. Also, Tsukasa’s voice actress, Kaori Fukuhara is a newbie and her resume is much shorter.
Finally, Miyuki is your typical pretty, smart, soft-spoken, well-mannered bespectacled girl from a rich family. Not to mention that ‘excellent proportions’ for a girl her age ;P. I find that of all the quartet members, she’s the one who makes the least frequent appearance when the gang gets together. I guess it’s better and funnier if it’s Konata-Kagami, huh? Miyuki may seem perfect but she too does have flaws of her own like she hates going to a dentist and has really poor eyesight. Uh huh. She can’t see anything without her glasses on. Aya Endo voices Miyuki and though she isn’t a newbie like the other 2, I looked up and didn’t find much anime characters I know (also she didn’t voice that many characters) and the only ones I recognize is Imari of Inukami and Kasumi of Oku-sama Wa Joshi Kousei.
Then there are other characters too. Such as their homeroom teacher, Nanako Kuroi, who isn’t just Konata’s teacher, but an online game player like Konata as well. How is it like having the same person as your teacher and a game companion. I’m sure Konata gets some timely reminders whenever she logs on to her online game late at night when she should be sleeping or studying. Then there’s Yui Narumi, who is Konata’s elder cousin and a married policewoman. Now, having said that, don’t think that she’s a strict person. She’s a total opposite. Why, Yui is a wild, crazy and carefree character and at times it makes you think that is this lady fit to be a cop. Definitely not. So don’t try and get booked by her. It’ll be hell on earth. Yeah, the way she drives is totally out of this world scary and likes to get drunk! Are you still thinking she’s fit to be an officer? Maybe she likes Konata a lot since she frequents her house (yeah, like barging in and doing her trademark ‘I’m here’ wave). I like one episode part whereby Konata asks Yui to help her do her homework but the next day Konata has to redo her work again because everything was wrong. Konata then tells Yui about this but Yui makes her ‘escape’ by saying that if she does her homework, she’ll end up redoing it again. Then there’s Soujiro Izumi, Konata’s widower dad, who is an author who works at home. You may guess that Konata gets all the otaku influence from this guy. Yeah, he’s one too. But you won’t get to see how far. Is this the way to raise your daughter? While most parents wouldn’t agree on raising one’s child like that, but I can see that Konata and Soujiro’s love is genuine. Just that, they show their love differently from the rest. Soujiro is always trying his best to try and help Konata with stuffs, but usually Konata ignores him. Poor guy.
Before I go on, I’d like to mention 1 thing, which is the opening theme song, Motteke! Seirafuku (Take It! Sailor Uniform). When I first heard this song, I was kinda quite amused by it. That’s because the it’s sung by the main quartet and it sounds very rap-like. Not to mention the animation is quite wild, crazy and cute with the characters (and even unknown ones) doing some weird cheerleading dance. However, when I heard this song the 2nd time, it started to send shivers down my spine. I don’t know why but each time I watch the episode, I’ll definitely fast forward and skip this part as I somehow can’t stand the song anymore. Yeah! Yeah! My Darling Darling Please! Oh please! I can’t get that tune out of my head. Argh! Are they trying to do something like Suzumiya’s Hare Hare Yukai’s dance? Even so, I think I still prefer Hare Hare Yukai.
What I can say after watching the entire series is that most of the ‘plot’ sees the characters discussing and talking over things which happens daily in our lives. It’s like have you ever wondered why so and so always happen in such a way. I mean, it makes you go "Yeah, I kinda noticed that too" but because it seems so petty we don’t really take the initiative to question it further. For instance, when you take a train, some have the tendency to fall asleep and miss the stop they’re supposed to get off. And why is it when people always say "Give me 5 more minutes…" when they need time to do something or finish whatever they’re doing and not 10 minutes or 30 minutes or God forbid, 1 hour! Or whenever you have an idea or inspiration, you tend to procrastinate to pen it down the next time, only to forget what is it when you’re going to pen it down. Or what about the time when you’re totally sleepy the whole day but when it comes to the proper sleep at night time, you’re wide awake. So you see, it’s quite interesting to note this little petty things in life and it’s kinda amusing to know it too when they brought the topic up. Of course, with Konata around, you’ll be expecting some anime otaku references and Kagami’s rebuttal statements. If only real life was like in the animes.
So the skits of each episode can last for several minutes long or even a few seconds short. And they don’t have to be related to each other either. Thus at times if you’re not really paying attention, that particular skit may come and go so fast that you’ll wonder what just happened. And sometimes a particular topic may be ‘split’ as an unrelated one will be shown in between them before it continues after it. I’m not sure if I got that sentence and meaning right. In each episode, there’ll be lots of trivia and references to actual animes like Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu, Keroro Gunso, Full Metal Panic, Yugioh, Shuffle, Gundam, Initial D and Fullmetal Alchemist. OMG! There’s 1 part they did a Da Capo parody! Ah, that show does bring back some memories. Some of them are copyrighted so much so you’ll wonder if the producers did it on purpose when they use a censor beep while the characters make some references to them. Beep! Anyway, since it’ll be impossible for me to blog the entire episode with excruciating details, I’ll just blog on the more memorable ones.
Like in episode 2, we see Tsukasa’s procrastinating ways of how she puts off doing her homework during a long stretch of school break. Yup, though she and Kagami has been playing together ever since the start of the holidays, Kagami has been waking up quite early in the morning to do her homework and other stuffs while we see Tsukasa sleeping in her bed. It’s way past noon, girl. And she deserves to feel that I-haven’t-started-doing-anything-yet guilty feeling when she realizes it too late. So even if they’re twins, it doesn’t mean that they’ll share the same good ol’ values. Also in this episode, we see Konata getting a part time job as a waitress in an otaku cafe to fund her anime otaku habits. Yeah, even Kagami is in disbelief that this geek really has a part time job. See, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Or in episode 6 where by the quartet along with Kuroi are taken to the beach side by Yui but that cop woman got lost (crazy Initial D parody here!). Though they eventually manage to arrive, because Yui got so drunk, they had to spend another night there. Also, we see that Kuroi, who herself is single, thinks Yui is a single woman just like her. By the way, we’ll never get to see Yui’s husband as Yui always mentions that he’s working away. Poor Yui, probably she’s lonely. Is that the reason she’s wild? Nah. Also, the quartet baths at a public bath house and I don’t know why Konata is so interested in Miyuki’s assets. Anyway, Konata misses a chance of a lifetime to see a successful prank she played on Miyuki. Also, as we know of Miyuki’s fear of going to a dentist, her mom, quips how she’ll bring 1 home to see her then. Hehe.
Then in episode 7, Konata’s interest seems to be on Maria-sama Ga Miteru now, so much so she tries to act like one. Rosa En Bouton… Petite Souer… Not! Doesn’t fit her! So weird lah! Also, Tsukasa gets a new handphone, but because of her clumsiness, she breaks it. Oh the heartbreak. We see why in episode 8, Miyuki’s assets are really her assets. Uh huh. In a tight race, nail biting finish, Miyuki wins the relay race with her bosoms… And I’m sure Soujiro isn’t just there to take pictures of his daughter at the school festival… If you ever here Tsukasa play a recorder, just be sure to leave the room because her ‘melody’ will definitely fill the air so much so we’ll have to leave to make room for it ;P. Kagami is a better recorder player then. Remember that even if all those delicious sweet dessert and cakes looks tempting and appetizing and you have that I-can-finish-it-all attitude, wastage is a bad thing. Konata, Kagami and Tsukasa find out the hard way in episode 9 when they took too many of them but now have to eat their words as they’re stuffed to the max and have plenty more to go. Now they have to pay. The extra price and the suffering of stomach discomfort. Haha.
Tsukasa gets a new handphone in episode 10 but she can’t contain her delight and spams Kagami with lots of SMS. Also, the twins visits Konata’s house and are surprised to see how Konata’s late mom, Kanata, looks so much like her. She does look so much like her! Why, I even thought that was Konata at first. Another embarrassing moment for Kagami when Konata decides to give her a nickname but it doesn’t work. So when Kagami suggests Konata to call her Kagami-sama and Konata does, it does annoy Kagami as she tells Konata just to call her the usual normal way.
Episode 12 must be one of my favourites because frequent visitor Konata brings along second timer Kagami and first timer Tsukasa to a Comiket convention. I wonder why Kagami wants to tag along since she doesn’t like all the hoo-haa and geeks there. Yeah, it seems Konata has them brought along as part of her plans to buy some anime stuffs. Wow. Konata’s addressing and giving orders like as though this is a war-like situation! What to do when this happens, where to go at what time. Uh huh. Even Kagami mentions how if she’d just put all this amazing passion and energy into her studies. But I suppose it’s what Konata love as she’s like a general and is giving such convincing military-like commands. Of course, naive and ‘weak’ Tsukasa gets dragged around the crowd. Ah, the casualties of war. But the gang manages to make it back out alive. I’m sure all this must be just a breeze to Konata. I kinda noticed that Tsukasa has been scarred by this event and in future episodes, if there is any references made to the Comiket, Tsukasa will go into ‘fear and traumatic’ mode. Poor girl.
Then in episode 13, it’s Valentine’s Day and I really thought that there’s some boy whom Kagami really likes as she gives him her homemade chocolates. But it all turned out to be Konata’s wild what if imagination, pissing Kagami off. Haha. They really had me there. By the way, I kinda noticed that there was a guy giving another guy his chocolates! What the?! Gay love?! But in the end, the quartet shared the chocolates among themselves as they got no guys to give to. Tsk tsk tsk. I wonder why aren’t any guys trying to hit on these gorgeous ladies. I mean, if it’s otaku freak Konata, I’d understand. But pretty Kagami or even busty Miyuki? Come on guys. Don’t tell me there are other better 2-D girls out there. Um… I think there are. Hehe, excuse me.
Episode 14 introduces a heap of new characters. Including those unknown character which I have mentioned during the opening credits. So that’s who they are. Firstly, Yui’s little sister Yutaka is going to live with Konata since she’s going to start her new term at Ryou High School. Though she is innocent and naive, she’s quite positive and cheerful. Your typical cute moe girl. I think it runs in the family. The short stature thing. Yeah, Yutaka looks like another elementary school kid. I suppose Soujiro is glad to have her because that guy always wanted more daughters in his family. An unexpected chance meeting with her would-be classmate, Minami Iwasaki, would make them seem to be best pals forever. It’s a small world after all. Minami is Miyuki’s neighbour, and that very quiet, soft-spoken girl is always concerned about her ‘assets’. Uh huh. Let me just tell you straight, she has a flat chest. And whenever there’s some references to boobs or things like that, Minami will heave a sigh of disappointment and pap her… Okay that’s enough. Other than that, she doesn’t portray much emotion.
Then there’s the foreigner student, Patricia Martin, from USA. She loves manga and anime and I suppose that’s where she learned her Japanese culture from. I don’t think anime and mangas can be generalized as the entire Japanese culture. Besides, if Patricia gets into an argument (especially with Kagami in the last episode), she’ll conveniently say how that line contains too much Japanese words she doesn’t understand. Patricia also works part time in an otaku cafe alongside Konata. Birds of the same feather flock together. Then there’s the manga enthusiast Hiyori Tamura, who’d go to great lengths to protect her ‘manga hand’. Yeah, she views it as an asset to her future manga career. Besides, because Tamura always notices how close Yutaka and Minami are, coupled in with her doujinshi interests in yaoi and yuri, at times, she’ll imagine and fantasize some yuri scenes between the 2. Control, control. She must really like it a lot. Patricia and Tamura are classmates to Yutaka and Minami but since Kagami got separated (meaning, she was placed in a different class. There was an episode which suggests that she loves hanging out with the gang and chose a subject to be with them even though it was a subject she isn’t interested in) from her usual gang during her 3rd year, she has a couple of buddies of her own like the passive but caring Ayano Minegishi and her childhood friend Misao Kusakabe, whose voice sounds sly with an accent. As opposed to Ayano, Misao is more lazy and simple-minded. Another Konata in the making?
Kagami has been tricked by the April Fool’s joke in episode 15 when Konata tells her that she actually finished her homework in episode 15. Yeah, one bad deed deserves another when Kuroi plays 1 on Konata too. In episode 16, Kagami, Tsukasa and Miyuki are being invited by Konata to her cosplay cafe workplace. It’s a chance of a lifetime to see what kind of job Konata does. However, along the way, some geek guys took non-stop photos of Tsukasa because she resembled some cute anime character. Hehehe. When the gang arrives, they’re being served by waitresses from the Suzumiya anime with Konata getting dressed as Suzumiya herself. Uh huh. Expect lots of lines from that anime. What’s the recipe to make this drink? I’m sorry, that’s classified information. Haha. It’s that time traveller Mikuru’s classic line. Yeah, even that waitress who played Nagato even asked that Kyon-like customer for permission to go make his drink. But the most amusing thing here is that Konata and the other waitresses got up on stage and started doing the Hare Hare Yukai dance! Even all the guy customers got up and do that jiggle. I nearly did one too (by the way, I sucked). Kagami, welcome to the world of Suzumiya. No, the world of anime otaku!
Episode 17 sees how Yutaka, Soujiro and Yui trying to set up a birthday bash for Konata (Hmm… the countdown scene looks like the one from the American series, 24), only for Konata to tell them at the end that her co-workers are throwing 1 for her and that she can’t make it. Oh all the hard work… Also, there’s a long stretch whereby it’s on Kagami, Tsukasa and their other sisters. One of their elder sisters is mad that Kagami forgot to buy some stuff home for dinner since their parents are away. However, it’s actually Tsukasa’s fault due to her forgetfulness. Since her sister insisted that she should cook, Kagami isn’t too happy and she along with Tsukasa went out to get the stuffs. A little tension there. In the end, their parents came home to say that their whatever meeting is next week. But their relationship is back to normal when big sis compliments Kagami for knowing how to pick the right ingredients.
We find out the reason behind Miyuki’s bad eyesight in episode 18. When she was young, she and her mom used to read books in the dark or bad lighting. So kids, remember to not only read books but watch animes on tv at a safe distance and with good lighting. Sounds familiar? Then in episode 19, the gang prefers to ask Miyuki about their homework problems rather than referring to Kuroi herself. Is that an insult or what. Also, Kuroi overslept and missed her whole free Sunday. Yeah, by the time she wakes up, it’s back to work on black Monday. Also, innocent Yutaka spots Tamura’s sketchbook filled with yuri sketches of her and Minami. Tamura has a hard time trying to explain what it’s all about. I don’t think Yutaka understood everything in the end.
Soujiro gets the shock of his life in episode 20 when Konata jokingly says that she’ll get a boyfriend and make many memories with him. Freaking out! Also, Yui catches Konata playing games or reading manga instead of studying. but it so happens that Konata is taking a break and unfortunately each time Yui comes in, she’ll see her in such state. Yui quips that Konata must be taking a really long break… Then a school trip to Kyoto in episode 21 whereby a hapless Tsukasa gets licked by deers while feeding them. Feeling dirty and violated? Anyway, who’s that damn guy laughing like an idiot in the bus when it’s not supposed to be a laughing matter. Then this is another part where they got me. Kagami received a letter from a guy asking to meet her somewhere. When Kagami finally does, some guy comes up to her and tells her something. No, not a confession. He’s asking her for some souvenir Kagami bought earlier on. Uh huh. Because this guy has got some male ego like he doesn’t want his buddies to find out that he’s a fan of whatever collectible or else it’ll be all too embarrassing, he wants to get that souvenir from Kagami instead. And I really thought there was a guy who finally noticed Kagami. Haih… Oh he heartbreak. Don’t worry Kagami. You don’t need jerks like him.
Episode 22 is a little heartwarming because Kanata returns in a ghost form to see how Konata and Soujiro are getting along. Yeah, we now know that Konata got her short stature from her. Also lots of anime and otaku lines so why did a girl like Kanata settled for a guy like Soujiro. Simple. Because Kanata’s the only woman he’s ever loved (even if at a point he’ll settle Kanata as some game gal). Though Kanata is a little worried how Soujiro brings up Kanata (yeah, Soujiro asking Konata how to reach some H-scene that he’s having trouble getting to! What games are you letting your daughter play?), eventually Kanata can rest in peace knowing that everything’s going to be okay. Okay, maybe a little dysfunctional (not as bad as The Simpsons). When Soujiro and Konata decides to take a family pic together, Kanata decides to join in but to the duo’s horror, they saw a ghostly figure in the pic…
Yutaka and Konata gets sick in episode 23 and Konata is using this excuse to play her games. Even Kuroi mentions how she’d prefer Konata to lie and say she was up studying all night rather than watching late night animes when Konata’s anime has been rescheduled. At least that girl’s being honest. Another poor thing about Kuroi is that after typing a long blog, she decides to publish it but the internet page cannot be displayed. As she clicks the ‘back’ button, the page has expired and cannot be displayed. Oh poor girl. She goes and get some early sleep. I hope it doesn’t happen to me too, especially when I’m typing this blog (touch wood).
If you’re wondering about that wild opening song, then the final episode 24 sees how Patricia gathers the girls to do a cheerleading for their school cultural festival opening. Uh huh. So that’s where all the moves come from, though there are some additional moves and it lasts a little longer. Patricia manages to bribe Konata into doing it with a ticket to Aya Hirano event. Ironically, I’m thinking that Aya Hirano is herself, so couldn’t she just she herself anytime? Hahaha. I’m just joking and making no sense. See, a little nice words and PR could even make Kagami join the squad. I still can’t stand the song but the choreograph was quite good. With lots of hard work and practice, they manage to do just fine. But the girls are stiff and frozen just before the opening performance. A funny ring tone from the student announcer eases their tension as the curtain rises. End of show.
Well, I don’t think that’s all the series has. I was just blogging on the main part of the series which involves the main cast. At times during the show, there’s an interesting character called Meito Anisawa (voiced by Tomokazu Seki who did Kyou of Fruits Basket and Chiaki of Nodame Cantabile). I have this feeling this guy is supposed to be ripped off from some anime. Even the drawing of this character is slightly different from the rest as it’s a bit sketchy. Anyway, Meito is quite the loudmouth and passionate guy. He runs some sort of an otaku merchandise store and he along with his other motley staff crew considers Konata to be the most valuable customer. Thus dubbing her as the Legendary Girl A. Whenever Konata enters his store, all staff will be on alert and they’ll start making plans or spy on what Konata is browsing at. Of course in the end with all that hoo-haa, Konata doesn’t buy a single thing and leaves, making Meito and his gang all disappointed that their efforts are unnoticed and wasted. My favourite one was when it seems Konata has already decided to buy a merchandise and takes it to the counter. Everyone is so happy that finally the legendary girl has bought something from their store. The cashier tells Konata the price of it and as Konata reaches into her pocket to take out her money 1 by 1 (with the other staff looking on in suspense), she finds that she is 3 Yen short! Thus Konata decides not to buy it and leaves. WARGH! So frustrating. Yet so close yet so far. Keep trying you guys. It goes to show that sales is only done after the customer has really bought it.
Besides that, at the end of each episode, there’ll be a segment called Lucky Channel, hosted by a pair of student navigators, namely Akira Kogami and her assistant Minoru Shirashi. Now, this Minoru guy is an actual person himself. Meaning that he uses his real name in the anime and if you notice, he is in Konata’s class and does make cameo appearance here and there (is Sebastian his real name or what?). But the most amusing one is Akira herself. With her trademark greeting "Oha-Lucky" and squeaky genki voice to greet viewers, at first everyone may think how cute and lovely this girl is. However, you’ll notice the sudden change in her voice and personality during the show into a rough, rude, crude and violent girl. Yeah, I don’t really pay attention to whatever they’re hosting about because all I’m every interested in the Lucky Channel is how Akira abuses Minoru verbally or physically like showing him her bad finger or even throwing things at him! Uh huh. Akira may look all goody-goody at first but you’ll soon see her true demonic colours as she gets pissed off with the slightest thing Minoru says (which could even upset her!). So Minoru has a really hard time trying to be nice and has to be patient. After all that blabbing, they’ll say time is up and sign off with their trademark "Bye-bee" line. Hiromi Konno who voices Akira did a pretty amazing job with her hot cold hot cold character.
Sometimes you just want to strangle Akira but you can’t because she’s so damn hilarious in both modes. Though it’s like that in most episodes, there’s 1 whereby it starts off with Akira already in that sullen mood! She’s as unpredictable as the weather. Then a time when she’s supposed to make her singing debut, the first time she was down with a flu! Yeah, too bad, for once she had to shut up. Hehe, When she gets well, then it was in a karaoke box instead! Like a spoilt brat, Akira considers herself to be some popular idol doing some low-down cheap stuff in Lucky Channel. She hates those who are being popular to her. And when this Minoru assistant is seemingly getting more and more popular, she threatens and plans to get rid of him. She manages to send him to retrieve some water from the mountains and since then, Lucky Channel has got a new handsome host, Daisuke Ono. Another real life person. This is the guy who voiced Enju in Rozen Maiden and Koizumi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Of course Minoru comes back all dirty and messed up but Akira is unappreciative of his efforts so much so Minoru goes berserk and goes on a rampage! The whole studio is destroyed! Yeah, an episode without Lucky Channel with just some producers whispering something. Then some gang leader-like lady forces them to reconcile and make good for the last episode. Though the duo reluctantly does and in the final episode, Minoru doesn’t seem to fear Akira anymore. Uh huh, Akira makes a very very short appearance during the Ryou High School’s cultural festival opening ceremony (must be Minoru’s way of getting back at her as he shuts her out so quickly) and it’s Minoru’s ringtone which eases the girl’s doing that cheerleading performance tension.
I guess that pretty sums up this entire enjoyable series and as a gag anime, I’d say the voice acting is quite nicely done. I kinda notice that many of the minor characters are being voiced by the same person. They are Fumihiko Tachiki (Zaraki in Bleach) and Kujira (Orochimaru in Naruto, Obaba in Nagasarete Airantou). It’s like the producer is trying to save cost or what as you’ll see their ‘insignificant’ roles as students, announcers and passerby. Since Kujira’s voice sounds like an old woman (not meant to insult her), when she voices a student, it sounded so out of place. Yeah, it’s really obvious.
One thing unique about this anime is that there is no fixed ending theme. For the 1st half of the series, the ending themes are the main quartet trying to sing some anime karaoke songs behind a closed karaoke room. Of course some of them sounds horrible but it’s better than me anytime. The second half of the series sees a real-life action Minoru singing his solo songs. It’s kinda funny and weird as there are no background or accompaniment music. Just his voice alone. And sometimes the producers had the cheek to ask you to turn off the speakers during his performance. Also, Minoru will be seen doing some silly things but I suppose you’ll want to focus more on the splendid background scenery rather on his whatever antics, in which the producers also have the cheek to put some funny animation on him like stars covering his face while singing. And at times, there’ll be several pretty ladies to accompany him as he sings, but you’ll notice how they’re laughing at it all. Even so, Minoru is really 1 heck of a performer. Uh huh. I remember there was one time after he finished singing, he jumped down the cliff! The words on the screen prompted did he really do it? But soon we see him climbing back up and we hear disgruntled voices of disappointment in the background. Haha.
Speaking of music, at first I really didn’t notice the background music and even so, I’d think that they’re just to make it so that the dialogue won’t sound ‘defeaningly silent’. As the series progresses, I kinda notice more and more background music, some of them quite catchy. However, I also noticed that some of the music have the British pop group, The Beatles, influence. Yup, one of them almost sounded and reminded me of their piece, Strawberry Fields. Though it didn’t sound exactly, the next episode preview’s music sounded like it came from Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Also, another piece sounded like the Fab Four’s A Day In Life, only much livelier. Besides that, there are tons and variety of background music ranging from lively and upbeat to one that sounded like a Hawaiian theme to even one which has that Enya feel! Then there’s 1 solo piece which sounds lethargic, which is Konata’s Theme and that song really fits her. Then there’s a song titled "Gyaaaaaaaaa" which really amuses me because of it’s name. Though it’s only 10 seconds long, it sounds like the kind of music in which an aftermath of some bad thing has happened. Funny.
Unlike other animes which releases their soundtrack with over 40 background music, I think the producers are pretty smart as they gradually and partially release the anime’s soundtrack as the series progresses. It’s like making hardcore fans waiting each time as each album contains only about 10 songs. Even so, the first half are background music and the balance are some sort of Radio Bangumi, meaning some blabbings from Akira and Minoru. I won’t be surprised if the producers release more albums even after the show has ended since I kinda noticed that there are some background music not featured in the albums yet but heard it in the anime. But that’s just the background music. Why, there are even more albums in the series that you could ever imagined. There’s 1 album on the girl’s ending theme karaoke session, to character image or drama CDs, and even a soundtrack on the game of the series. A game? Yeah, I guess it’s so popular (or kiasu) that Lucky Star even has a game made. It’s 3 in 1. Manga, anime and game. All in 1 package for you hardcore otaku fans.
Though the anime is quite colourful, the drawing and art seems a little simple, so it may be a turn off to bishie fans. But for a gag anime lacking action sequences, I think it’s pretty reasonable and okay. Hmm… I wonder what is that cute sleeping cat in the mid-intermission and the intermission just before Lucky Channel all about. Maybe something to do with Azumanga Daioh? Dunno. Just speculating. The episode titles are short and sweet but due to the nature of each episode, I can’t see how the title is related to the skits in a particular episode. Meaning that it doesn’t do me much good when I’m trying to recall what happened in a particular episode. But my favourite episode title is the final one entitled "TBA". Haha. During the next episode preview, Kagami’s narrating it and even quips that the producers even haven’t named it yet.
I read that there is a debate between who is better, Konata or Suzumiya. Well in my personal opinion, I would say it’s Suzumiya because that weirdo is God! Everything centres around her! Besides, I felt in a way that Konata is taken after Suzumiya. Meaning that, it’s not the looks that I’m talking about but rather Konata herself is a fan of it in the anime.
I’m sure in life, there are lots of things which happened like that in this anime, even without all the anime references. Life itself is indeed ironic and don’t you think that animes are taken after life itself? Though I don’t want to be like Konata but I sure do enjoy anime in my own way. As anime is a growing global phenomenon, it’s hard to isolate it from every day life. At least from my point of view. That depends if anime is really popular in a country or not. Long live anime!
Lucky Star