There’s few things I like more than a smart show. By that I don’t mean a show with no jokes and no humor; even Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex had the Tachikomas for comic relief (and the Major’s love life for fanservice). A show that assumes its audience can think for itself, can follow along without being led by the hand, and can draw its own conclusions is worth sticking with through the end. To wit: Darker Than Black. I have the shrinkwrap off and the disc in the player within minutes of each volume hitting my doorstep.
Most shows break the plotting down into single-episode doses. DtB is a touch unusual in that every plot piece is broken across pairs of episodes, each billed as “Part One” and “Part Two”. The show’s writers and directors take their time with what goes on; they don’t try to wrap everything up right smack at the end of each episode, and are willing to let things spill over into future installments or leave them unresolved.Read more
Explaining the appeal of Lucky Star to the uninitiated is enough to drive lesser men to drink. Suckers like me, writing reviews of this sort of thing, have to assume people will natively understand terms like moe and otaku (odds are they do, thank goodness) and get on with the explaining about the explaining. After four volumes, the best parallel I can come up with is either to Azumanga Daioh or, god help us, Seinfeld. It’s not about anything except its quirky roster of characters and the fluffy pop-culture vortex they all fly around in — but that’s exactly its appeal.
It does make any attempt at a plot synopsis nearly worthless, though. “This is the episode where the four girls sit around and talk about a bunch of stuff” could describe every episode in the whole series, and after watching a whole disc’s worth of Lucky Star the samey-ness of the whole thing does get to you. It’s best in small doses, leavened with something as unlike it as possible — say, Detroit Metal City — and appreciated for exactly what it is, not what it might turn into. It doesn’t aim to be about anything more than, say, the way Konata becomes the obsessive object of high-pressure sales tactics at the local comics-and-anime-goods store (all depicted in this hilariously wigged-out animation style).Read more