Category Archives: Lucky Star

Otakon 2007 Youtube Select

Ugh, sort of busy lately. But since I was doing this on my own time, I figured I can share with you some choice videos from Otakon this year if you haven’t had the time to look them up yourself.

Mamiko Noto

Tomokazu Seki

Kyoani Dance Mania! (I imagine this is a fraction of what AX got)

4chan is Madness

The Steve & Vic Show




Feel free to add more~

Jokes On A Curve

Hypothesis: the jokes in Lucky Star are curved.

curved, not straight (or sideways)

Okay, no one is fooling anyone by saying that Lucky Star is a popular show on the air right now. But given its panel-comic format with a dash of slice-of-life, why do people like to look for reasons beyond the show itself to explain its popularity? I’m not sure, but is that a sign of the lackluster nature of this skirt-wriggling mess?

I guess that’s how it started. Lucky Star’s shotgun approach to entertainment may be the real cause of it all. The show aims to please a large segment of viewers in two ways, even when it’s in the guise of otaku entertainment.

First, it gives us a wide variety of things to talk about. No matter if you’re a chat-brain otaku or someone more sensible, you can find something to admire within its confines. Well, as much as a slice-of-life high-school comedy could. It is sort of like a second-rate but popular webcomic, but much more intelligent in its planning.

Second, it presents its jokes on a curve. What do I mean by this? Let’s say there’s 20 minutes per episode of Lucky Star. For about 10 minutes of the show, spread across the episode, we have fairly standard situational comedy jokes where the girls explain a simple, everyday things, and we get our lukewarm punchlines. For about 6-7 minutes each episode, LS presents jokes that refers to culture more, such as the Christmas Cake one, or the one about moe. Those are probably not as accessible to people as the ones talking about which side of a choco coronet is the head, although you might find the latter less funny. For about 3-4 minutes we get the more otaku-like jokes, like ones talking about events or Action Hero Animate or what have you.

The point here is even if Lucky Star is a very otaku-minded show most people can enjoy the bulk of it. There are about an equal number of jokes for both the initiated and the initiated’s friend. It may take a real 2ch goon to get all of it, but it doesn’t take a 2ch goon to laugh at it and enjoy it.

(Yeah, Lucky Star’s power to pander to the lowest common denominator wins. The OP has preordained this.)

Perhaps a second question worth exploring is: just how much of anime a typical viewer understands? It’s not exactly rocket science. And it seems to not matter.

Minoru Shiraishi Makes Me Proud

…to be a fanboy.

Because, after all, that’s how we get our grooves on. There’s no reason to adhere some preconceived notion of protocol and trivia. Granted it can be tiresome and bad for our bottom lines, spending our time and attention on trivia and coining words and phrases on the border of meme and fad, walking that preciptious edge a step away from the bottomless abyss of intarweb lunacy.

“Rise up,” Shiraishi said. And I think we will respond.

It’s no surprise that Shiraishi talks about this so-called “tsundere.” Lucky Star pays attention to that sort of thing, and within the bounds of its suspended reality we have at least one. No surprise there, Kagami?

But a rousing speech from this semi-important gag character is the least you’d expect. Albeit it is still a bit of a genre trope… a celebration of geek independence. We speak our own language, breath our own culture, and produce our own information products.

Don’t let the elitist know-it-all get you down! Rise up, cling to your own sense of justice, but also reason grounded in common-sense! Talk about tsundere!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Am Still Watching Lucky Star Despite Not Having Finished Hidamari Sketch

She has three things

Ok, so it’s more than 3 things.

10. Loli Otaku Girl and the moe factor.

9. Humor.

8. You can download it real fast-like.

7. A Kyoani anime.

6. Pop-culture references that are not rebranded!

5. Hear songs from other anime.

4. It’s what people are talking about, you want to stay in the loop.

3. Serafuku FTW (the OP).

2. I need fansubs for Hidamari damn it!

1. Lucky Channel.

Random Musing on Intellectual Property, Franchising, Aya Hirano’s Non-Stick Pantry, and the Un-Mainstream

This rant is brought to you by my drive to find the reason why some people care about Lucky Star the extent that they do.

One thing that keeps me glued to my computer & fansubbing is that every 4 months we get a wave of entirely new shows, new concepts, new set of characters, new setting, and a chance for the various studios and production companies to slug it out for our attention (and eventually our money). From a money & business perspective, this is shooting yourselves in the foot. Free market & competition aside, it makes a lot more sense to just find one winning formula, milk it as long as possible and run with what you’ve got as far as you can. That’s what Shounen Jump does (and how they’re losing subscribers is just natural), and generally what franchise management focuses on. This doesn’t mean you keep a show on the air or manga in publication as long as you possibly can, but the longer you do it the more economical it becomes, in a lot of ways.

And that’s true for a lot of the media we consume in the US. It’s only with the influx of new sources of revenues (like home video sales, network television) that we’ll see more divergent shows catered for a new market, and as a result a more diverse set of shows.

Don’t get me wrong I’m making no comment on the quality of shows that are short or long; in other words, it applies to every show out there. Also, there’s a sense of emotional and time investment with the typical shounen jump formula. Once you become intimately familiar with a series, you now have an emotional stake in the story, and you will come to like it forgive it more. You will also become easier to amuse by the said show.

But on the flip side, there are always things that defy these explainations. Lucky Star is probably something that sort of does. While once you crack its crazy-sugary candy shell laced with loli, the content is really not at all different than the relatively-sane competitor Hidamari Sketch, strength of the Kyoani Brand coasting on the good will of its success with Suzumiya Haruhi, Kanon and Air go a long way to explain (at least, one of several possibilities) the situation we have right now.

Oh wait, I’m suppose to explain how it defies that? I guess that’s the question I have that I can’t answer. Perhaps this is all just me trying to grapple with a psychological complex. Like how people who invest in mutual funds should have invested in, say, index funds instead. Or how the only subber for Hidamari Sketch is 2/3 of the way through the half-season series but there are almost as many releases of Lucky Star episodes one and two combined. Or is it just an omen that only one or two group will finish off this average slice-of-life 4-komi comedy fluff show, once people realize Lucky Star is, lack of a better word, average?

But I don’t think average is really the right word. It does have Aya Hirano (so what?). It is a show by Kyoto Animation (okay, that’s a bit more relevant…). It’s got a darn catchy opening sequence with an equally odd (but grows on you…like fungus) song to go with it. It’s got no taint of TEROGE so the lolitastic character designs don’t get its way (but somehow it bothered people in Manabi Straight? WTH?). Some of us who are more “LOL otaku” laughs at the fanboy jokes and enjoy Konata’s mythical incarnation (she’s a sphinx–aside from being a permanent loli x otaku), but the otaku jokes and references are the stupid-funny kind of references (and lame; real otaku do it PPD way). I guess that’s why people get those jokes.

Perhaps that’s the rub. Lucky Star (and to some extent, most of the other Kyoani works) is like teflon. While it’s unclear as to how the mechanism works and the reasons why, our expectation when we think about, watch, or discuss a Kyoani work is different than how we would talk about someone else. I don’t believe this myself, but when you watch Lucky Star the negative expectations just don’t stick. The very good production quality coupled with a very solid execution helps to give you that near-perfect first impression, especially if you walk into the show without prior expectations.