Lucky Star:Kyoto Animation Releases the Loli’s

We all scream for ice cream!!

I continue my blog series on Kyoto Animation with one of 2007’s most popular anime Lucky Star.  It is a slice of life anime that follows the lives of four girls.  The main character is named Konata Izumi, a high school girl who is a gifted athlete, but only wants to spend her time watching anime, reading manga, or playing video games and MMORPG’s.  She attends school with her three friends Kagami Hiiragi, Tsukasa Hiiragi, and Miyuki Takara.  Like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya it has a cult following.  Often I wonder which show has the biggest following because the fandom for both shows is just ridiculous.

The animation in Lucky Star is top notch, while the art style and direction seems to be more on a cartoony design it does not cause the animation to falter at all.  Yes, these girls are in high school even though they look like they should be eight years old.  This is the power of the loli’s, I don’t know if this is one of the reasons why this show was so popular. The show is considered a slice of life comedy, and there will definitely be laughs along the way.

Thumbs up from Konata? 1000 points!

The story in Lucky Star is non-existant, but it’s supposed to be that way.  Each episode can be watched seperately without seeing the others, now obviously when they make references back to other episodes every now and then you won’t get it, but if you watched this series out of order you wouldn’t be completely in the dark for every episode.  While to some this may seem like a real negative point, I see it as a positive, because it’s a light entertaining show with no huge complex storyline it makes the show much easier and entertaining to watch.


Haruhi in a commercial in Lucky Star

Lucky Star wasn’t called the anime for the otaku for no reason.  It makes TONS of references back to other anime from making slight jokes, to openly talking about it.  Some shows that get reference points in Lucky Star that I can remember off the top of my head are: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon, Gundam Wing, Strawberry Panic!, Shuffle!, Initial D, Maria-sama Ga Miteru, and ToHeart to name a few.   Not to mention all of the background references to other shows for instance since Konata is an otaku she has the typical otaku merchandise in her room such as manga that has the actual covers of the manga they are portraying, figurines of other popular anime character, to having a Bonta-kun stuffed animal in her room. (Bonta-kun is the mascot character from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, another show by Kyoto Animation.)  The appearance of many references to other shows is a great input not only does it give it a “sense” of realism having an anime world with so many other references to anime in it, but it makes it fun for the viewers to see all the references and name as many as they can.

I say

I say "Dance, Dance!!"

This show is either a hit or miss with people and for many people it’s going to land into the miss category before the OP even finishes playing.  Picture this a teenage to young adult guy or girl is already a little sketchy on watching this show after they have seen a few screenshots because to many the whole super loli character designs will turn them off from the show immediately.  If they get past the loli characters and decide to give it a shot they hear the OP which for many will already set their mind and they will hate it no matter what, or not even finish the song and turn it off.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind the OP at all but for anyone who sees the show they can definitely see someone not liking the OP and that ruining the entire show for them.

Loli's in maid costumes?

Loli's in maid costumes? Otakus rejoice!!

The show is good for easy watching.  I highly recommend it to anyone who watches anime regularly, if you are just a casual watcher you’ll probably miss out on a lot of references to other shows, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the show.  If you are looking for a show that has a storyline then you’ll want to pass.  If you can pull yourself past the whole extreme loli and you know what kind of show you are getting into you will probably like it.  This wraps up my post on Lucky Star tomorrow I will write about the latest show from Kyoto Animation here’s a hint.

More moe looking girls

More moe looking girls....

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya:”Aliens, Time Travelers, and Espers Read This Post!”

I’m continuing my blog series on Kyoto Animation tonight with one of the most popular anime series as of recent history, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.  The amount of sheer fandom that this show has achieved is somewhat staggering as well as puzzling.  You would think that a show of some random girl running around looking for aliens while dragging a group of other students with her would make for a mediocre show at best.  However, I guess the people in charge of the show really shocked world and decided to show us that a high school themed show about a guy and girl can seem fresh and funny.

I have tried to figure out how this show grabbed the hearts of so many anime fans to the point of rabid loyalty, but it is beyond me.  Don’t get me wrong this show is good I really enjoyed it and I still watch it even now, however, you won’t see me running around with a Haruhi t-shirt on, have a large amount of Yuki figurines, or even better a Mikuru pillowcase on my bed.  However, the latter type of fandom is the type of fandom that this show has generated.  Now I’m not saying that if you have the above mentioned items your strange or that typical “otaku” guy or girl although the Mikuru pillowcase could raise some eye brows but whatever.

Kyon's famous reaction to Haruhi's ideas

Kyon's famous reaction to Haruhi's ideas

The show features very good animation and the character designs to many people seem somewhat ordinary.  I believe they are nice and get the job done, but it’s not how the characters look but how they interact with one another and the environment around them.  The monologues that happen inside Kyon’s head are actually very suitable for the show as he tells what he thinks in his head about the events around him.  For some reason it really adds to the comedy of the show.  Kyon is the guinea pig of Haruhi, she likes him so he’s always caught up in her ideas.  Although he never leaves so he must not mind it too much.  He helps keep Haruhi in check while at the same time enjoying the costumes that Haruhi throws on Mikuru.  Haruhi is very over the top about everything as she runs around like a little dictator demanding things of her servants.  However, her blunt attitude can be very annoying to fans, but I didn’t really mind.  I thought it was much better than the one dimensional harem girl characters that many people guys seem to love.

Mikuru says "Classified Information"

Mikuru says "Classified Information."

Mikuru is as Haruhi puts it the “decoration” of the show. She is the source of every element of fan service the show manages to create minus a few bunny girl costume appearances by Haruhi that I’m sure had several Otaku reaching for tissues to stop the nosebleed.  Yuki is the silent type with glasses (see knocking out two archetypes there) while she doesn’t say much, she is interesting with her ability to cast incantations on objects as well as her very serious, and deadly combat abilities.  Koizumi is the character who really is the “follower” of Haruhi, kind of like a butler who just smiles as he watches his master have fun but can be serious if pushed. (like the destruction of the earth)

The show is about a girl named Haruhi, who is apparently God that can create and destroy universes at a mere thought, however she doesn’t realize this.  She’s looking for aliens, time travelers, and espers, but doesn’t realize that Yuki, Mikuru, and Koizumi are those three beings who are keeping an eye on Haruhi to help ensure that she doesn’t destroy the earth.  Kyon really just was in the right place at the right time and he gets caught up in everything.  Haruhi was displeased with all the clubs so he gave her the idea to create her own club.  So she creates a club to search for aliens and what not that turns into the ever popular SOS Brigade.  Besides one incident that happens with her almost destroying the earth without realizing it, that is really the entire story of the series.  Sound exciting?  I didn’t think so.

Nosebleeds begin now

Nosebleeds begin now

The show is made up of fourteen episodes with really only six contributing to the main storyline.  Seven of the other episodes are filler pretty much.  They are very entertaining and offer many good laughs, but do nothing to advance the story.  The last one is the movie that the SOS brigade shoots in the series, it is completely useless and offer nothing to the viewer except maybe a few laughs.  Now in regard to the episodes they were not aired in chronological order.  Not a huge deal really but it does have its flaws no matter which way you watch the show.

If you watch it in broadcast order (out of order) the first episode is the movie Haruhi makes during the series.  This takes up the entire episode and the viewer doesn’t even see Haruhi really except for at the end where she stands up and smiles after watching the movie.  It really throws viewers for a loop.  In fact I almost didn’t even continue watching because it was just so ridiculous and I was slightly confused.  Also if you watch out of order the characters will make many reference to things that have already happened chronologically, but the episode airs later on so you don’t really know what they’re talking about.

If you watch chronologically you fix all the problems of not knowing what is going on and you will understand all the references to other episodes.  However, the sixth episode chronologically (14th episode in broadcast order) will seem like the end.  Not a big problem but after episode six the remaining episodes are all filler and will not advance the story at all.  I recommend watching it both ways but I would watch broadcast order first.  Then whenever you watch it chronologically it’s interesting to pick up on all the references you didn’t understand before.


Haruhi from her performance in Episode 12

My thoughts on the show lean toward calling it a very good show.  The amount of animation going on in the background as well as the coloring and filters that appear really make the animation shine.  The character’s personalities make the show interesting and entertaining.  While the story is non-existent for more than half the series the events that happen really do show some good comedy.  Episode 12 the cultural festival, done by Haruhi (Aya Hirano) was good and offered a nice mix up to the show to actually hear half of a song and one verse of another. (I have the full versions of both of these songs on my i-pod God Knows and Lost My Music)  Really and truly this show is plain fun and funny.  Now I just pick an episode and watch and I am still entertained by what happens.

In closing thoughts if you have somehow managed to NOT watch The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya you really should find it and watch it.  It is one of my favorites, it’s a light mainly fast paced comedy that is just plain easy to enjoy.  The flaw that half of the episodes actually move the main storyline is somewhat overlooked by having funny fillers for the most part, but I really hope in the second season they focus more storyline than extras.  I wouldn’t mind them broadcasting episodes in chronological order either.  However, those are slight flaws and will hardly destroy your enjoyment of the show.  This wraps up my blog post on Haruhi tomorrow I will write about the “sad girls in the snow” show.  If you can’t figure it out here’s a hint:

What could it be?