lucky ☆ star 1

A poor man’s Azumanga.


Four koma to anime translations are always tricky and usually doesn’t work well. I think it’s because of the sparse material… or how something meant to capture an attention span for 10 seconds has to be stretched to fill 24 minutes… orr maybe how the single dimension nature of most four koma characters don’t translate well into real anime characters… after all, if you only have four panels to introduce characters and tell a joke, you don’t exactly have a lot of wiggle room, character development, or fanservice. Even popular American comics are riddled with failures upon cartoonization: Dilbert? Boondocks?

For me, every four koma to anime translation will be judged by Azumanga, which managed to somehow capture the magic of the manga and bottle it up for 24 minute consumption. It didn’t really add to the characters, but the pacing was absurdly right on and there were always enough cookies to keep the viewer interested and laughing. Kaorin? Yukari’s driving skillz? Osaka?!? That’s my measuring stick… and Lucky Star just doesn’t measure up.

The problem is very simple. Four komas are supposed to be funny. How many times did I laugh or even chuckle during episode one of Lucky Star? Once, and that was only during Akira’s awesome speech at the very end. I went back and reread the first volume of the manga, and I chuckled a lot more. That’s a problem. The “slam dunk” gags weren’t slam dunks, instead bouncing off of the rim and ending back at midcourt. The “Guile” parody would have been funnier, except I’m not a big fan of jokes that perpetuate the Americans are all evil stereotype (thank you Code Geass!) and that 80s video games turned inside jokes are really Pani Poni Dash‘s and Negima!?‘s wheelhouse.


The first ten minutes devoted to how to eat various food items… well… that was a bit much. It wasn’t like there were gutbustin’ jokes tossed in. Just very vanilla and pointless dialogue about eating. Um. Okay. I kept expecting a sinister gag, but I never got it. If Kanon went a bit too fast, Lucky Star started out way too slow and not mainstream enough. I was checking my wall clock before the first eyecatch… and I don’t recall the last time I ever looked at the clock during a Kyoto series: never for Kanon, Haruhi, TSR, Fumoffu, or Air.

Another problem is that everyone treats Lucky Star like Brett Farve. Sorry to break it to you, but Farve sucks now. He’s more likely to toss four interceptions than four touchdowns on any given Sunday. But everyone still treats him like a demigod because of his Super Bowl MVP, and how he “embodies” Green Bay. Lucky Star is getting the same treatment, and I know popular opinion is against me. But the truth is simple: Lucky Star may look like a Kyoto show, but it doesn’t have the same extra oomph and special sauce that Haruhi and Fumoffu enjoyed. Great animation doesn’t make a great show (see Proxy, Ergo). Great pedigree doesn’t make a great show (see +, Blood). It takes something extra, that proverbial special sauce (Mikuru-run’s epic legend of love or Crazy Bat Shit Loco Policewoman), and I just don’t see it early on with Lucky Star, which is disappointing since Kyoto always brought the heat with the first pitch. I wanted that special sauce. I wanted that extra oomph. Maybe I hold Kyoto to a higher standard, but is there anything wrong with expecting a highly anticipated anime at a higher set of standards?


Hopefully, Lucky Star will pick up… there’s a lot of potential with Konata (especially in the four komas where almost every other strip was about either her addiction to h-games, lesbianism, or Mai Otome) and with Aya Hirano plus Konata’s perchance for karaoke, we can’t rule out the Rule of 12. It’s also early, and thin slicing is not an exact science… but I was expecting something good at the very least and received something that I consider passable. Okay, it’s cute. Okay, the animation’s fantastic. But nothing really sets it apart and lets me know something special is happening. Still, I don’t see Lucky Star being anything other than a poor man’s Azumanga with fancier computer-aided animation.

Shooting Stars


Is it just me, or does every Kyoto Animation series feature a top tier female runner? Kaname? Nayuki? Konata?!?


They should have held up a magazine with Mikuru on the cover when they were talking about Miyuki’s moe qualities. That would have been the right thing to do. Miyuki actually reminds me more of Belldandy for some reason… maybe the similar considerate but clueless nature.


I felt like I just polished off a grande latte after seeing the OP, Motteke! Sailor Fuku. Thing is dripping in caffeine.


I love using mayo as salad dressing… on eggs… not so much. For poached eggs, I actually prefer a little BBQ sauce. Or ranch dressing. Everything goes with ranch dressing.


For the people who will leave the obligatory “Wait, it’s not like Nagasarete is gutbustin’ funny either!” comment, I’ll just say that I have much lower expectations for any series done by the Otome wa Boku team than I do for the Haruhi/Fumoffu team.

51 Responses to “lucky ☆ star 1”

  1. About what I expected from them. I’ve never found any Kyoto Animation series to be anything above “meh” for me. I’ve seen the episode and the Otaku jokes were funny, but the rest wasn’t all that great. I still will never be able to figure out why Kyoto Animation is held in such high esteem. To me they have two things going for them and that’s Moe antics and a large animation budget. Really though, non of these make a good series and since their scripting is usually barely average WHEN borrowing from other material, they fall into the just above average category overall for me.

    Yet I know this for certain, if Kyoto Animation within the next couple episodes can deliver something in brief, that everybody can latch onto be it some sort of meme Konota presents to the audience, or something cute that Miyuki does, and never do anything interesting for the rest of the series, it will have made it an instant classic. No other studio is afforded this luxury and they have to struggle for every single ounce of praise they can get. It’s true and its frankly one of the most annoying aspects of Kyoto Animation fanboys I can think of.

  2. those screenshots sure look cute, though

  3. I dunno, This was what I needed after I finished Azumanga, I never got a second season of that so I was given this and so far i’m loving it. Maybe I just have a different sense of humor but I was laughing at a lot of stuff consistently throughout the episode. I kinda hope the lucky channel thing isn’t going to keep going on cause that overly ecstatic/overly depressed chick was kinda ruining the mood for me.

  4. Nagasarete IS gutbustin’ funny!

  5. lucky star manga sure is not a mainstream manga by any means. heck, it’s not even funny by most standard. i’ve read 3 issue, the plot lines get old by the second half of the first, and they just keep reusing them, but the moe keeps me coming back for more ; ; (i just fall over everytime Minami makes an appearance)

    considering the material, KyoAni is doing a good job in my opinion. i’m a believer of treat each anime by its own. so if KyoAni is to be blamed for anything, it would be for chose to anime Lucky Star while there are so much more avaliable(SHnY2, Clannad, and where is my Merry White Chrstmas??!)

    but consider a few things, 1: before this season, KyoAni never worked consecutive seasons before; 2: kanon was their first multi-season animation ever(according to key/kyoani, it’s more of a guinea pig for Clannad).
    So they prob would not feel comfortable take on any big project at the moment, and chose to do this low cost, low risk kind of thing instead of just sit at home for half year(i’d imagine production cost for lucky star per ep would be a fraction of that of SHnY/Kanon) the hype is on due to it’s a kyoani production, however it is meant to be a smallball player, expecting it to put out ortiz swing would not be fair

  6. >>> Really though, non of these make a good series and since their scripting is usually barely average WHEN borrowing from other material

    this part got me confused, since NONE of the kyoani work is original, well, cept Munto, but that was free distribution that wasn’t meant to be anything serious
    Air, Kanon are both from Key’s visual novel, Fumoffu, TSR are both from FMP light novel series, SHnY is from novel also, lucky star is from manga
    heck, very few animation are original

    but compare KyoAni’s Kanon and Toei’s, i think it’s clear which is superior

    like i said above, i always treat each anime by its own, and my top 10 all time fav goes something like
    last exile(there is an original animation for ya), Air, GITS(all count as 1), FMP(all 3 count as 1), Wolf’s Rain, SHnY, Saikano, Futakoi Alt, Gundam X, Onegai Teacher/Twins
    KyoAni took 3 with 4 anime, while only produced 6 so far, so they must have done something right, i would give major credit to original works on Air/Kanon/TSR, but i think SHnY/Fumoffu really shows KyoAni’s ability

  7. one most post ~.~
    (OMG i hate not be able to sleep when i desperately need to)

    there sure wasn’t much hype about KyoAni before SHnY, yes, they’ve done Air and FMP, but its their work that get appreciated rather than their company logo, kyoani was just another production house is not gonzo or sunrise, with little distinguish with BONES, SHAFT, or any other production team (Toei, on the other hand, is much more widely known)
    and SHnY surely didn’t have much hype, the light novel was highly rated, but popularity was very limited, how many people here beside me read the novel before the anime? i’d think less than a handful

    so it kinda bewilders me how did “KyoAni” hype start. i mean i can understand people hyped about a particular serie, like me about FMP, and SHnY, but how exactly do you hype a production house?

  8. Jason posted:
    “Even popular American comics are riddled with failures upon cartoonization: Dilbert? Boondocks?”

    Those might not be the best two examples for the point you’re trying to get across…

  9. about the “Americans are all evil stereotype”…
    You might just be a little bit oversensitive: This guy wasn’t evil, he just asked for directions… but Konata beat him up anyway ;-) making her the evil one.

  10. konata gives her ice cream blowjobs. should make for a great .gif

    anyway, gurren lagann ftw.

  11. When i was watching this. I feel like watching Kyo no Go no Ni

  12. I liked it.

    Sure, it might not be SHnY, or it might not be FMP, but I like it.

    Ichigo Mashimaro cute. A tad less than Azumanga. Hirano Aya. KyoAni. I’m good with that.

  13. For some reason i really cant bring myself to like the anime adaptation of Nagasarete. The male lead annoys me to no end.

  14. Hmm, whatever the content, I’m addicted to the op, I keep watching it ;_; That song is completely stuck in my head!

    >> No other studio is afforded this luxury and they have to struggle for every single ounce of praise they can get.

    Do you not think then, that KyoAni has done something different from all those other studios to be in the position that people would hold them in such esteem?

    There may be people who already regard this as the best show of the season by dint of its creator, and continue believing it throughout, but I think it will take more than that to make it the “instant classic” you talk of.

    And despite being early days, and the wildfire of avatars flying around at the moment, I don’t think it will manage it.

  15. I think it really comes down to what you like or don’t like.

    “Everything goes with ranch dressing.”
    (Are you crazy? That stuff is nasty!!!!)

    See, I have a different opinion on that. I actually enjoyed the show a great deal. I do admit they went a little long on the discussion of food but I laughed a few times as well.

    I do agree that so far it’s not on level with Azumanga Daioh but not much else is. It may not become a great show but why not just enjoy it for what it is.

    Granted, if you don’t enjoy it – that’s cool too. There’s plenty to watch and something is bound to suit your taste.

  16. Azumanga took some time to get started, too. If all the episodes had been paced like the first few, I may not have made it through, despite all the charm.

    I think Lucky Star will go through the same progression.

  17. i liked Azumanga, but somehow i don’t place it so high above the ladder, possibly Chiyo’s fly hair and that weird cat was a bit too much for me ^^;

  18. Poor man’s Azumanga? How about animé otaku’s Seinfeld? It’s a show about nothing…

  19. Man, I reread my post, and I can’t believe that I mixed all the sports references like that. Disgraceful. This is what happens when you tune into Sportscenter hoping to catch a clip of Monroe’s game winning grand slam but instead get treated to a 15 minute feature about Daisuke. Anyway…

    >> Poor man’s Azumanga? How about animé otaku’s Seinfeld? It’s a show about nothing…

    That title already goes to Pani Poni Dash. I could also argue that a lot of anime is already about nothing and does a better job of it than Lucky Star… YKK?

    >> Azumanga took some time to get started, too.

    The first episode of Azumanga featured the hilarious bit of the girls giving Osaka her nickname as well as Yukari sensei’s awesome introduction… to the wrong class. I don’t think three years from now I’ll remember anything about Lucky Star 1.

    >> Those might not be the best two examples for the point you’re trying to get across…

    Perfect examples. Dilbert flopped badly. Boondocks flopped badly. Adult Swim even posted one of their blurbs on Sunday saying, “You’ve got problems? We’ve got problems… ratings: Boondocks 370,000. Blood+ 250,000.”

  20. Japanese mayo is really good. Completely different from the crap in a jar we get here… And it does taste pretty good with most stuff, like how ketchup kinda does.

  21. Ranch is so good… ^_^ () I’m definitely with you. Aside from the potential funniness of Konata, nothing much for Lucky Star. But I’ll watch it like I’m a crack addict.. ^^ ()

  22. Man, this was a great post. Very useful, too.

    Over the last three of four years I have gradually became obsessed with searching for something that would be as good as Azumanga. At first it was nothing serious, but as I went from series to series, my desperation grew proportionally. I’ll spare everyone the complete list of rejects with thick description of their failings relatively to Azumanga here, but rest assured I keep it all in a very organized database. Of course, there’s Haibane Renmei, which I accept to be as good as Azumanga, but it’s not a show I love as much, only recognize. Now, the above brings the bad news for Lucky Star.

    But wait, there’s hope. I’ve just finished Manabi Straight yesterday, and it seems to be worthy to join Azumanga at the very top. It is not a 4-koma adaptation, but I’m talking about the general goodness here. And… Not covered at AoMM, so I don’t need to compete with Jason’s excellence when blogging the hell out of it. Mwua hah hah.

  23. I felt the same way after 10 minutes… why did they spend so much time speaking of how to eat food. I enjoyed Azumanga Daioh a lot, but something is missing here with Lucky star

  24. Er, to be honest, the entire time during that 10 minute bit about how to eat food, I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading one of Jasons off-topic rants ¬_¬.

    >>Hmm, whatever the content, I’m addicted to the op, I keep watching it ;_; That song is completely stuck in my head!

    I hear you, I just DLed some free video editing stuff just so I could cut the Op out and listen to it over and over…and watch their dance. Kyo Ani does the best dance scenes. They should do a musical…*shudder* on second thought, scratch that idea. o0;

  25. >>A poor man’s Azumanga

    Wow, just wow.

    That is an impossibly high standard. I don’t think Azumanga is going to be topped in its category for a long time, if ever. Its like comparing Mark Cuban to Bill Gates. Just because someone/thing is better/richer than you doesn’t automatically mean that you fail at life/anime production. So far it’s certainly no Azumanga, but what else is?

    So far I’ve found it to be rather amusing and it looks to have the potential to be out-and-out hilarious. Unless everyone ends up discussing how to eat random foods for the next 2 episodes I don’t see any reason for everyone to be so pessimistic about it.

    >>Kyo Ani does the best dance scenes. They should do a musical…*shudder* on second thought, scratch that idea. o0;

    I’ve got an idea…

    KyoAni Presents:

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

  26. the problem is everyone expect this series to be funny for some reason, but that’s NOT the point of this anime, not by a long shot
    the point appear to be random otaku goofiness that make fun of otakus, but even that is a lie, only an excuse to show various moe mode in various moe shots
    if you don’t enjoy the moe, then this serie is not for you, cus the storyline blows, and it will continue to blow til ep 24 if kyoani stays anything remotely close to original manga

  27. What Ragz says is true not only does it focus on the goofiness, and as azumanga did it kinda makes you relate to a certain characters’ personality, laugh at things you might do that this anime portrays about random everyday things.

  28. I enjoyed the first ep, just like how i couldn´t get into nayuki during canon, i can´t see why people don´t like it.

    sure it spent 10 min talking about food, but i kept watching. i´ve turned off plenty of series after 3 min because of a lame first impression.

    and as always, it´ll morph into a different series after a few eps, all series do.

    Wouldn´t it be awesome if kyo ani was pulling a second haruhi on us, and it turns out the whole rest of the series is like the lucky channel part?

  29. >> Wouldn´t it be awesome if kyo ani was pulling a second haruhi on us, and it turns out the whole rest of the series is like the lucky channel part?

    KyoAni have been faithful to its source until now. So the probability of Lucky Star turning into a second Haruhi is very unlikely. But I want to see Lucky Star take off in its own without the Haruhi groove glued into it, just from its own merits.

    I want to see Nanako Kuroi, the teacher, and Patricia Martin, the transfer student from USA who learnt Japanese from watching anime and reading manga. Patricia sounds awesome on the paper, like Chipp in Guilty Gear and Sodom in Street Fighter.

  30. I actually came into this series expecting to dislike it. The descriptions I’d heard didn’t seem that interesting and only the fact that I figured my favorite anime blog would be covering it made me download that first episode.

    In the end, though, I was hooked right away. I was chuckling constantly through the second half of the food discussion, and I ended up enjoying the rest of the episode almost as much. So far I wouldn’t say Lucky Star has the warmth of Azumanga Daioh, but I found this episode about as funny as Azumanga’s average.

  31. I think that Lucky Star will be an acquired taste for most. It’ll take more than one episode to hook you, but if you really don’t like it, you can just move on.

    The OP rivals Hare Hare Yukai, first part spent too much time on the food issues, it would have been fine for the first 5 minutes, I suppose). The rest of the episode was fine, and lucky channel was a bit unexpected. The Karaoke ED was also funny.

    I think the show needs to get into the Konata=otaku gags or Miyuki’s moe-ness more, since that’s probably one of the distinct features one can poke fun at in the show(like Tomo’s hyperactivity, or Chiyo’s age). The food bit was a bit too mundane and didn’t really show much about the characters.

  32. The only thing going for this show is the OP which I am addicted to now. The “jokes”, if you can even call them that, suck balls. Or maybe it’s just a Japanese thing… But I definitely don’t want to wait for another Haruhi for this.

  33. >Even popular American comics are riddled with failures upon cartoonization: Dilbert? Boondocks?

    Peanuts says hi.

    Oh, and did you miss Haruhi and company doing a cameo during the dance intro?


    >The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

    I’d watch it… Although I’m sure Gainax would’ve beaten them to it first (see FLCL, Gurenn-Lagann) or even Studio 4c (see Digital Juice, Amazing Nuts!). KeyAni is too busy working on the next Key eroge-to-anime adaption.

  34. Is it just me or did KyoAni drop a horrible sex joke in this episode? I mean, did anyone else think of something dirty when Konata did her ice cream eating lesson? There was something odd about that push and pull motion using her mouth…

  35. >> Oh, and did you miss Haruhi and company doing a cameo during the dance intro?

    I don’t thing they are Haruhi characters, there are a fair number of support characters in the comic, it is likely three of them.

    @ Kaiohshin

    You come to vent against KyoAni in this blog now?
    Stop stating your opinions as cold hard facts, every god damn companies of every medias have started from the bottom. KyoAni have as much rights to shine as the bigger names like JC Staff, Madhouse, Gainax and Sunrise. Every goddamn company have its legion of annoying retarded fanboys expecting the Second Coming from their every works.
    I speak as a former SNK fantard who wasted over ten years to make fun of Capcom and spit at them, so I sure know how it is.
    You have your opinion, fine, but it doesn’t give you the god given right to come as a self-righteous annoying know-it-all every single time someone post about Kyoto Animation or its works.

    PS; Did you so conveniently forget they did Full Metal Panic too? Did they have to make another mecha series to gain a better opinion from you?

  36. Bottom line is this episode blew really, really hard.

  37. >>Elbega
    >>I mean, did anyone else think of something dirty when Konata did her ice cream eating lesson? There was something odd about that push and pull motion using her mouth…

    I did. It was hawt. That’s also exactly how I eat ice cream cones. Double win!!

  38. I get the sense that this series is somewhat like FLCL for KyoAni – while not necessarily having the same budget, but as a way of letting loose. While the food discussion was a bit much, it reminded me of the opening scene of the Russian film Solaris, a long shot of traffic designed to make the people not really interested leave the theater. I’m gonna still give it a chance, but I think it’s too early to judge it based on one episode.

    BTW I thought the ending thing with Akira was hilarious. I hope they continue that.

  39. Akina = hopelessly bipolar. I love her.

  40. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, and this is to Sheba, but Kyoto Animation did NOT do Full Metal Panic. The FMP Series is a joint venture between many different companies, some recording studios, others talent agencies, and its under the banner of FMP Film Partners. All Kyoto Animation did was the principal animation and direction, the plot was written for them beforehand.

    And the reason I don’t think they belong in the same pantheon as other companies is because I don’t think they do. I also think amongst all those groups you mentioned that Kyoto Animation fans are the easiest to please out of anybody. As long as they do anything it will be often be automatically great to their fans. I also think no other company is worshipped at the altar to the same degree as this one. I don’t see anywhere near the degree of auto-win comments about Sunrise, Gainax or other companies series anywhere on the internet. In fact if you combined all the ridiculous praise either of those companies got it would probably only reach 50% of what Kyoto Animation has gotten in 3 series.

    Really I’m not a huge fan, more a casual one so it takes a bit of work from them each time they come around with something new. They do alright I think, but they focus far to much on pleasing a certain segment of Otaku for me to ever consider giving them as much credit as others. It would probably would take them doing another Mecha series to have me respect them, because I want to see if they can actually do it.

  41. >> It would probably would take them doing another Mecha series to have me respect them, because I want to see if they can actually do it.

    There you said it. Biased opinions are biaaaaaaaaaseeeeed!!!!

    Believe it or not, but I have come across Gainax fans that can get as ridiculous as KyoAni ones.

  42. I totally agreeeee!!!
    I didn’t laugh once, it’s so NOT funny!!
    The pacing is wrong, the characters are blah and the jokes ARE NOT funny

  43. It’s funny to me. The second episode is much better with it’s Suzumiya Haurih and Shuffle! goodness.

  44. >> KyoAni Presents:
    >> The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

    Good god, I would so watch this.

  45. Oh I forgot. Frank N. Furter will be played by Itsuki.

  46. The Opening theme has devoured my brain. Also, while it isn’t ‘hilarious’, it *is* funny, and I kind of like how it’s more…laid back than Azumanga and Pani Poni Dash. There’s such a thing as too much insanity.

  47. I think that not animating collar bones iz fail. And in general it’s difficult to see just how Kyoto Ani received their rep for animation quality.

  48. This anime series was really pritty disappointing i watch episode 1 and stopped there as did not like it very much at all.

    Didn’t make me larf at all and it all resolved around hare they eat there fiid in ep 1 wow hare great man what a let down this is i suggest you give this a miss.

    the music at beginning is ok but got to admit the vid that went with it had me gob smacked it was crazy. 6/10


    The picture is just average really the girls didn’t look like high schooner’s at all looked younger but it did give of a cute vibe to it thoe. 5/10

    There is no plot as far as I could tell at all its go school talk to friends and thats it. 1/10

    all in all ill give this anime a = 3/10.
    and thats me being nice at least for hare is at this time with episode 3 out.

  49. Wowness, i’ve been hearing a lot of mixed stuff on this series.
    Now i haven’t read the series, but the anime seems to be a bit funny. I mean come on it just started. Not to mention i’m not really a big fan of Azumanga.
    I normally like things most people dont…just like how i felt like i was the only person that liked High school girls.


    I’ll give this one a try.

  50. “A poor man’s Azumanga.”
    Oh, but how it… [sports references and analogies] …just as Kobe Bryant [sports, sports, sports] …that by the end [sports, sports] …much like the deer scene with [sports] …60 points.

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