Explaining the appeal of Lucky Star to the uninitiated isenough to drive lesser men to drink. Suckers like me, writing reviewsof this sort of thing, have to assume people will natively understandterms 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 thefluffy pop-culture vortex they all fly around in—but that’s exactly itsappeal.
It does make any attempt at a plot synopsis nearlyworthless, though. “This is the episode where the four girls sit aroundand talk about a bunch of stuff” could describe every episode in the whole series, and after watching a whole disc’s worth of Lucky Starthe samey-ness of the whole thing does get to you. It’s best in smalldoses, leavened with something as unlike it as possible—say, Detroit Metal City—andappreciated for exactly what it is, not what it might turn into. Itdoesn’t aim to be about anything more than, say, the way Konata becomesthe obsessive object of high-pressure sales tactics at the localcomics-and-anime-goods store (all depicted in this hilariouslywigged-out animation style).
If there is a plot this time around, it’s in the details.Very, very tiny details that come gradually to the surface in ones andtwos, as they have through the whole of Lucky Star. ConsiderYutaka, Konata’s younger cousin, who arrives at Konata’s house andinstantly becomes a source of terrible pressure for everyone’s favoritepop-culture addict / slacker / do-nothing. Suddenly Konata has toactually be a (gasp) role model for the cute young thing to look up to. Doesn’t help that Yutaka’s entirely unconscious
cutenessmoé tendencies make this exponentially more difficult. Or consider thedemure and polite Miyuki; at one point we get a sideways peek into herhomelife and discover that she does indeed get it all from her mother …just not remotely in the way we would expect.
It’s theperipheral stuff that makes up the meat of a show like this, and thatincludes the strange-and-getting-stranger “Lucky Channel” bonus segmentthat caps each episode. Not content with giving us theonly-cute-on-the-outside Akira Kogami gradually devolving into anticsonly a hair removed from Christian Bale’s on-set explosion, as of thisvolume the show rips that whole segment loose from its moorings andsends it into a karaoke booth. And as for the karaoke-booth segmentclosing credits … well, they’re now an enka music video. Some things have to be seen to be disbelieved
There are times when I’ve been tempted to call Lucky Star boring, and I know I would have plenty of people agreeing with me. Sure, chockablock it up against some other current winners—Darker Than Black, or maybe that other crazy animu with the name with all the Xs in it—and you might get squirmy waiting for, you know, something to actually happen.Or you might get unexpectedly caught up in the pastel-hairedextraordinary ordinariness of it all. Weirder things have happened.
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