Posted by psgels on 18 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Ah, Lucky Star. You’ve been one of the most popular series of the past Spring-season, along with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Throughout 24 episodes, you’ve shown us the antics of a bunch of random schoolgirls and an in-series TV-show called Lucky Channel. The potential is there, but there has to be a problem with a series when only the first and the last episode turn out satisfying. And the first episode was helped by the surprise and freshness, and the last episode probably also got helped by the relief that the boredom would finally be over.

The start is indeed good, though. It features a classic scene in which characters keep talking about food for 10 minutes and manage to make it funny. I was about to declare this series the first success of Kyoto Animation. But then a rather jarring problem rises: as the series progressing, I kept feeling more and more that I’ve seen the scenes used before. Seriously, Lucky Star just keeps reusing its dialogues and scenes, turning it more repetitive with every episode. One major plus of the series is its realistic dialogue, it’s just how real girls would be talking, but if they keep talking in the same way about the same things, the result can only become boring.

Thankfully, after the second half a new wave of previously unmentioned characters gets introduced to add some variety to the show, but even they can’t save this series and soon they themselves turn dull quite soon. It’s also beyond me why it took one of the main characters (Kagami) sixteen episodes to mention that she’s got two sisters.

The characters would have been perfectly fine if there was any character-development, but there just isn’t any. You can just as well watch the episodes in any random order, since the characters never develop anyway. They’re just the same at the end as they were at the beginning. A notable exception is the Lucky Channel, though. For the first three quarters of the series, it’s even more boring than the regular characters, but then the characters start to change with actually satisfying results. I’d just wish that KyoAni would have bothered to end their story, but the way it ends just leaves a bad taste your mouth.

And I haven’t even talked about the most jarring flaw of Lucky Star of all: the countless Haruhi-references. Seriously, you’d be lucky to run into an episode that doesn’t have any of them. One of the main characters (Konata) is a female Otaku, so you can expect lots of merchandizing, but nearly all of these merchandizes are about other KyoAni-shows. Only once in a while you’ll spot a reference to an anime that they didn’t make, and if you’re lucky it won’t be milked out like a dead cow (I’m talking to you, Legendary Girl A). I’ve got nothing against references to other shows. Heck, Ooedo Rocket is currently doing an excellent job with its Full-Metal-Alchemist references, but in Lucky Star it reaches the point of shameless propaganda.

In terms of production-values, you don’t have to expect much as well. The soundtrack consists out of a few decent tunes that become stale after a few times listening, and the character-designs are more meant to attract the moe-loving crowd than to be realistic (would you believe these girls are seventeen and eighteen?!). They’re decently animated, though, but I’m in no way inclined to declare Kyoani as the “animation gods” after watching it.

Overall, the reason you want to watch this are the cultural references. They’re the only thing not messed up in this anime, and are quite realistic and interesting to watch. But seriously, Azumanga Daioh does the same job, and while it wasn’t perfect either, it did remember to develop its characters. If you want to watch an otaku, then Tetsuko no Tabi is a better choice, and if you want high-school antics, Shinbo’s shows of Pani Poni Dash and Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei are way more satisfying.

16 Responses

  1. Avatar Archer says:

    being one of the three blogs i often visit i already knew that this will be the kind of review lucky star will get here,i noticed that you don’t really like popular series(there are many that u mentioned)and you tend to prefer overlooked series trying to make them look better even if sometimes they are just weak(or great anime trying to find them weak points)
    about this anime it is certainly above average,and btw the first episode was weak after a few episodes this show gets better,if they use references to haruhi why does it bother u since it fits perfectly,there is nothing to talk about plot since it does not have one this is meant to be a light anime aimed for a certain audience,the music is not my favorite but the quality of the animation was great and it remained so over the episodes,the anime is kind of different from other in it’s genre but this is what the producers had in mind and it seems like most of the people enjoyed it and that is the most import thing about a animem we don’t always need serious anime with a big plot and mind bowing twists we also need anime like this that makes us smile and not hate any of the characters and this anime is pure enjoyment(even if it has some slow boring moments)

    btw i doubt you like GTO or Genshiken right?

  2. Avatar anne says:

    Well, I agree with your review of the show. It was nothing new and pretty grating on the nerves after the first few episodes. I know the show isn’t aimed at me, but I also know there are shows in the same genre who do things better then Lucky Star does. Nobody would be going crazy over Lucky Star if it didn’t have the seiyuu it did and wasn’t made by a fanboy favorite animation company. Decent show yes, but above average and worth the praise it gets by some? No. Fine for what it is, but let’s not make it something it’s not.

  3. Avatar Karry says:

    Uh, yeah, right, Lucky Star is mediocre and some obscure crap like Ooedo is a masterpiece. Right. That can only happen in the most warped of minds.

  4. Avatar Necromancer says:

    “Lucky Star is mediocre and some obscure crap like Ooedo is a masterpiece”

    Ooedo is and like most Madhouse produced anime (excluding a few) are all masterpieces. I started watching LS yesterday and it’s nothing special

  5. Avatar Archer says:

    i agree with “Fine for what it is, but let’s not make it something it’s not.” but if this anime get a 60,a 60 then what about other anime of the year who where much more boring and not interesting at all ,we must admit that this anime desrves more than a 60 at least for many people for example i would give it somewhere between 75 -80 but this is psgels opinion and i respect even if i like reviews that don’t give an overall grade they are more impartial

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    I mostly agree with your review except that I think there were more flaws than that but its repetitive character might be the core issue especially as they kept repeating even the worst stuff like Lucky Channel and the oh-so-creative EDs.

    I always disliked giving numerical rating though because this tends to get pointless pretty fast. Apparently if people like something they feel like it’s a 9/10 and to guard against nay-sayers they make it a 10/10. Even if they know it has many flaws or if they know they have virtually no experience to make any such judgements. Or people will just argue about the numbers “if this is a only 6 then what is xyz? and if this is a 10 then what is abc?” Sorry that’s not arguing that’s bullshitting and time wasting. Even worse are those who give high rating to stuff that wasn’t even there just because they liked the show like animation and sound for a gag show that consists mostly of stills. Oh and some people now even want inflation? So because everything else was crap in a season, the slightly better one becomes a clear 10? What utter nonsense. The effect is that good shows and crap is ranked so closely together due to all the unexperienced, uneducated, uninformed fanatics that any such rankings are pretty much useless. The people who really dislike a show will just go away and few of them will give it the deserved rating, so what’s left are some fanatics.

    Just look at this list:
    http://www.animenfo.com/statistic/top.php?l=anime

    Now there definitely is a lot good stuff in there but there are also too many shows of recent years which got way too much hype. I think it simply shows that there’s a high flux of people watching anime for the
    first time getting carried away because they’ve seen nothing like it before. That’s good and okay but just don’t get so carried away to think you could tell what’s great and what’s mediocre. At the very least, put it into words and argue. Calling a show “Teh Best EVAR” after watching a single show out of a genre is hardly credible or a useful comment. Of course nowadays, the web and especially blogs add to this, so there’s far more noise than EVAR before whereas good old shows are virtually unknown or ignored.

    Furthermore, in my book “average” or “mediocre” is clear 5/10 in my book whereas many people apparently consider everything below 7 as pure crap and they are so narrow-minded and mathematically challenged that they can only accept 9/10 or 10/10. In other words, talking in numbers is fairly pointless unless you’re a computer or something.

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Allow me to defend my rating-system. First of all, my own definition of “average” is 6/10, which is basically fit for Lucky Star. I’ve seen a lot of better shows, but there are also a lot of shows worse than this one. I’d always choose Lucky Star above, say, Moetan.

    The numbers I use are by no means hard numbers, but they’re enough to give an indication when compared to other shows (the result can be seen here).

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about how ratings can be horribly abused by noobs, but then again, what isn’t these days? I’m just using this blog to present my own rating-system, not really influenced by anyone else.

  8. Avatar Sagacious C says:

    It just goes to show the author still has good taste, and isn’t taken awry by whatever the general public finds popular these days. As a KyoAni fan, even I’ll admit that this latest product was unremarkably mediocre.

    The parodies on other anime and otaku culture were either hit or miss. Sometimes they brought a grin to my face, other times just a blank stare. Lucky Channel, it’s only saving grace early on, quickly got stale as the same jokes were constantly recycled. It’s a series that should’ve ended 12 episodes sooner.

    There’s nothing more to Lucky Star than its random bits and parodies, making it along the same lines as fluff/simple entertainment…and a ‘so-so’ one at that. 60/100 isn’t a bad score. It implies mediocrity, which I fully agree with.

  9. Avatar Son Gohan says:

    The characters would have been perfectly fine if there was any character-development, but there just isn’t any.

    The characters never change because the source material is a 4koma comedy strip created to fill some pages on Comptiq Magazine. You shouldn’t expect character growth from such a source.
    The Peanuts never changed, but people don’t criticize Schultz for that.

    And I haven’t even talked about the most jarring flaw of Lucky Star of all: the countless Haruhi-references.

    They referenced Haruhi and other Kadokawa properties because they can. I’d rather watch an Haruhi infomercial than hear a bunch of beeped out references like in Hayate no Gotoku. (L*S also had to beep out Gundam)

  10. Avatar ryvrdrgn14 says:

    I’ve been reading the entries here enough to know that Lucky Star wouldn’t get a very high rating and it’s quite understandable. I know that most of my friends don’t like to watch it or find it uninteresting.

    For me though it was relaxing to just watch random slice-of-life comedy scenes and the times I got a really good laugh were worth the wait between slow scenes.

    I would have to say that I liked Lucky Star more than Azumanga and Hayate. Azumanga was a little too mind-numbing and Hayate (the anime) has a semblance of a plot at the start and end, but loses it badly in-between which kind of dashed my expectations. Perhaps it’s my sense of humor, but I got the most good laughs out of Lucky Star than the other two shows.

    Since I like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I do appreciate the references made towards the show.

    As for character development, however slight it may be, it was there. At the start they were just a bunch of friends and throughout the show you do see how they care for each other and it caps out nicely in the end when they all wanted to do something together for their final school festival.

    You can say the good stuff came in small doses, but because of that I got to appreciate it even more when it did come around. ^_^

  11. Avatar Pakxenon says:

    I gave it a point above your score yet I praised it more than you did. Numbers mean nothing, but the reasons behind them do.

    But I’ll say, what a perfect review for you blog. I couldn’t agree better, though I enjoyed it more than you did. I also enjoy Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which I can’t wait for it to… finish.

  12. Avatar se7enfan says:

    This is one of those shows you either hate it or love it…there is no middle ground. Loved It!

  13. Avatar DuhMightyBeanz says:

    Lucky Star…My introduction to anime…Ah…Well I personally found this to be extremely refreshing from all that violence/action/romantic anime that’s pretty much abundant around already.The randomness of the show is what kept me watching it.Not so like Gintama which is like an even more retarded version of this.But there’s a key point missing.There’s hardly any climaxes in Lucky Star where else Gintama provides climaxes in the arcs where the characters are(Surprised)serious about something.Lucky Star is like what a responder put it…Love it or hate it.There’s no middle ground.This is absolutely true as the same for Gintama.

    Personally I found this series rather intriguing and the 60/100 score a bit unfair.I would have rated it about 70 or at least 68.

  14. Avatar DuhMightyBeanz says:

    Lucky Star…My introduction to anime…Ah…Well I personally found this to be extremely refreshing from all that violence/action/romantic anime that’s pretty much abundant around already.The randomness of the show is what kept me watching it.Not so like Gintama which is like an even more retarded version of this.But there’s a key point missing.There’s hardly any climaxes in Lucky Star where else Gintama provides climaxes in the arcs where the characters are(Surprised)serious about something.Lucky Star is like what a responder put it…Love it or hate it.There’s no middle ground.This is absolutely true as the same for Gintama.

    Personally I found this series rather intriguing and the 60/100 score a bit unfair.I would have rated it about 70 or at least 68.

  15. Avatar Me says:

    I think you have to be a nerd or at least understanding of nerd culture to appreciate lucky star. I think it’s cute and funny.

  16. Avatar Eddy says:

    I’ll have to disagree with you.
    The whole point of Lucky Star was to just be a fun little anime with no particular plot. It just goes through the lives of a few teenage girls going through high school, based more on comedy rather than character progression.
    And the only reason the Haruhi references were overused was to show how much of an otaku Konata is… but I guess like se7enfan said, you either love it or you hate it~

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