Everybody is Told to Watch the Classics
There is a lot of anime. Some shows come into the spotlight and stay there while others fall to the wayside to the, “next big thing.” Of course, there is the opposite that happens with time where a show went unnoticed when it first came out but is now heralded as essential viewing for devoted Otaku. Today I’d like to talk about one show in particular, Lucky Star. We’ll explore its interesting past, the cultural marks it left, and try to answer the question: is this show still relevant?
Before I even talk about Lucky Star we have to take a minute to actually talk about a different show, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. First airing in April of 2006 with Kyoto Animation at the helm, Haruhi would make nothing short of a huge wave in Otaku culture. Most obvious would be its ending theme, “Hare Hare Yukai” which featured a choreographed dance number with a catchy tune.
This isn’t all that the show would set the stage for however. Being a fairly successful show, Haruhi would open the flood gates for Light Novel adaptations in the upcoming years. The success also led to additional installments in the series in 2009 with a second series and film in 2010. Even today the anime is held in fairly high regard and accredited to some movements in modern anime series.
So where does Lucky Star fit into all of this? Only a year later from the first season of Haruhi Kyoto Animation would try something fairly ambitious in the form of Lucky Star. While the show is filled with a TON of references and parody of other anime (unsurprising for a 4-koma adaptation), it banked heavily on the prior success of Haruhi as its main joke.
In both the sub and dub of Lucky Star the main character is voiced by the same voice actor that was used for the Haruhi series. A notable scene is where the lead, Konata, goes to see a Haruhi concert. Beyond jokes, Lucky Star also capitalized on Haruhi by having Konata be a weekly watcher of the show who would discuss the series on the equivalent of 4chan.
At the time, this was a brilliant move on the part of Kyoto Animation. However, today it presents some problems. While Lucky Star can certainly be viewed today without this knowledge or prior viewing of Haruhi, an important aspect of the show would be completely missed out on. Having a prerequisite show is a fairly big barrier to entry.
The barrier to entry to fully enjoy the show only gets worse. You see, even at the time Lucky Star originally aired, the show was filled with obscure jokes and gags. Some are still super obvious today, the Initial D gag is one that comes to mind, but many of them are nearly impossible to get without some sort of guide to the references. This is coming from somebody who watches a healthy amount of older anime.
Lucky Star was simply bathed in Otaku culture and references. It was obvious that the creators were passionate about a lot of anime. One clear example of this can be seen in the ending themes of the series where the girls would sing karaoke versions of other anime songs for the first half of the series. Later this segment would be replaced with these bizarre live action segments for the second half still featuring songs though.
Even when the show was airing Lucky Star was met with some pushback as the first few episodes were considered fairly uninteresting. Directed by the infamous Yutaka Yamamoto (seriously, look this guy up), the first four episodes of Lucky Star have a totally different vibe from the remaining 24. Even with a change of directors from episode 5 onward to Yasuhiro Takemoto, the show again switches gears about half way to feel fairly different by focusing on more of the peripheral cast.
Lastly, as if this show were not ambitious enough, there was also a completely animated and acted radio show segment that went where the next episode previews typically went. This segment had its own cast and gags being fairly unusual. I’ve never scene this ever before or since this show.
Given all of this the show definitely deserves to be recognized as fairly significant. While it did not make as big a splash as Haruhi, it did manage to make waves of its own. We use the show for gifs all the time, the opening for the series (and dance) is still fairly popular, and if anything, Lucky Star tried a ton of unique things that are simply refreshing regardless of how many anime you might have scene. Plus, the show is both funny and relaxing to watch, always a bonus!
This is where I wanted to know how other people felt towards the series. Still relevant today? Luckily I was chosen to host the weekly conversation over at The Anime Blogging Party, a Facebook group created by Arthifis (check out his Twitter too) where a bunch of us blogging folks hang out and chat about stuff. We host a weekly discussion lead by a different member each week. Being crafty I asked everybody what they thought about Lucky Star and if it was still relevant to the modern Otaku. Here’s what everybody said:
When Sirius Writes: Ooohoohohoh Lucky star!! This was the one of the animes I watched after I realize how much I love anime XD.
I miss this show! Gonna rewatch this one soon.
I used to think that this anime is a must watch. But now, eeeeerrrr…not much?? I guess. I can’t fully give my thoughts cuz I barely remember the anime, LOL. I do think that it depends on the person. For a casual anime fan, its not anymore a requirement to watch Lucky star. For an otaku, it depends on them if they want to watch or not XD
(though…if you are a KyoAni fan….ITS A FREAKIN’ MUST WATCH!)
Nathan/Jon (Me): Oh nice! A rewatch sounds really fun 🙂
Question: which end of a chocolate cornet do you eat first?
When Sirius Writes: oh booiiiii u have no idea how much I struggled that question after seeing it in the first episode. XD
At the bigger part…I guess.. XD
Nathan/Jon (Me): hehe XD
Probably same but depends on the day for me. To your edit:
I think that it still has its place as an important show in anime history at least. As someone who cares about that a lot, that is one big reason I’d recommend it. Otherwise it really depends because for a lot of people this is just going to be another cute girls show.
Sam (A Nerdy Perspective): love Lucky Star! I think it’s still an essential show. I love the characters and the humour of the show and I love how they just talk about and do mundane things but it’s still so entertaining! It’s such a fun and relaxing show for me to watch! Plus Konata is amazing
Nathan/Jon (Me): I think for history purposes the show is very relevant but it won’t change your mind on cute girl shows or anything. The references can be overwhelming for some too. Still, I think it is worth watching inn general and definitely relevant.
Sam (A Nerdy Perspective): yeah I agree with that! I think you either hate cute girl shows or you love them but I think it’s fun nonetheless. I see what you mean about the reference but yeah I definitely agree.
Nathan/Jon (Me): I think there are CGDCT shows that might be exceptions or pull you into the genre but this us nor one of ’em lol.
Thanks for adding to the discussion
Sam (A Nerdy Perspective): Yeah that’s a good point actually and yes Lucky Star isn’t one to do that!
No problem! I enjoy these discussions when I get chance to do them!
Arthifis: I never watched this one, but interested to see the comments since I’ve seen a lot of gifs and a lot mentions about this one!
Nathan/Jon (Me): It’s a gif factory XD
AJ (shoujo ramen): Like Haruhi Suzumiya, I feel like you won’t be able to appreciate Lucky Star as much, or perhaps, in the same way, as those who were already into anime when it first came out. I don’t mean that in an elitest way, I mean it’s still on my ‘list of recommendations for anime newbies once they’ve gotten tired of Bleach and Naruto’. Does every anime fan need to see it? Only really if they’re into that kind of thing, I guess.
Nathan/Jon (Me): Can’t really speak to the appreciation factor for when it came out. I didn’t know about it then. However, I greatly appreciated it when I did watch so…
So you’d recommend the show to relative newbies but generally not veteran viewers? That’s unusual I think, care to explain?
AJ (shoujo ramen): It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend it to veterans but, I’d only recommend it if I thought they’d be interested. Most experienced fans I know have lists of genres they’ll definitely watch, genres they’d rather avoid and, more rarely, genres they absolutely will not touch, even with a mile long stick.
Nathan/Jon (Me): Ah, I never understood the genre list thing. You lock yourself out of a lot of great content that way. It’s not that I don’t do this some, but a trusted recommendation would overrule that any day.
AJ (shoujo ramen): Same, it’s a shame some people do that, which is why I like to convince newbies to watch shows from genres they’re not too keen on, especially if I think they’ll like it.
My greatest achievment so far has been turning a hardcore “I don’t like romance” shounen fan into a shoujo lover just from making him watch the first episode of Snow White with Red Hair.
Nathan/Jon (Me): Nice, good on ya
CouchCrusin’: I’ve never seen Lucky Star. I may watch an episode or two out of curiosity.
Nathan/Jon (Me): The show switches directors after the first couple so if you don’t like it at the start try episode 5 or so. Some people really hate the first few.
That’s it for what everybody had to say over there. What do you think about Lucky Star and its place in the world for modern Otaku? Still something that should be watched or just another show that is past its prime? Let me know your full thoughts in the comments below. Most importantly though, which end of a chocolate cornet do you eat first?
Be sure to check out everybody who participated in the discussion and helped make this post possible!
When Sirius Writes:
Sam (A Nerdy Perspective):
AJ (shoujo ramen):
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