A Tag-Team Review of “Lucky Star” – Blue Haired Wonders (Part II)

[Hey guys! Welcome to Part II of our “Lucky Star” review! If you haven’t had the opportunity to, I recommend you check out Part I before proceeding! Okay! Let’s get back into the Tag-Team Review…]

Animation and Music:

Cajun Samurai – Animation wise, Lucky Star is a very clean and well done show. Kadokawa Video did an excellent job with this one. I find it hilarious that all these girls are in their late teens, but they look half that age!

Andrain – That’s about right, people always think they’re in grade school and it doesn’t help the adults look like adults.

Cajun Samurai – Exactly. The Adults look like the teenagers in this one. But, I can’t take points from it because it looks really cool! Though…I and Kagami shared a reaction upon seeing Kona-Chan’s mom…

Andrain – They are quite similar aren’t they?

Cajun Samurai – Carbon copy, save for the Ahoge and the beauty mark. Poor Kanata-sama… Her last wish was that her daughter not be short like her or a raving otaku like her father.

Andrain – Well that failed… She’s as bad if not worse.

Cajun Samurai – I’ll say they’re pretty much one and the same…keep in mind, they SHARE Ero-Games.

Andrain – Yeah that’s… creepy…

Cajun Samurai – In any case, the animation wins out for me. With regards to music, we have “Motteke! Sailor Fuku!” or “Take it! Sailor Uniform”, for the opening song. For all you Haruhi Suzumiya fans out there, if you’re looking for a worthy successor to the “Hare Hare Youkai”…this is it!

Andrain – We don’t say that lightly, either. If you’ve not witnessed this yet go pull it up on YouTube right now. You’re gonna see the first thing that draws people to Lucky Star

Cajun Samurai – It’s energetic, happy, and makes NO sense whatsoever. My kind of opening. But…Something I just noticed, my friend… And forgive me…but when we FIRST see the girls in the Cheerleader uniforms, isn’t Miyuki given a little extra…BOUNCE upstairs?

Andrain – Yes she’s the big boobed one on top of being clumsy.

Cajun Samurai – Yeah, but I can’t help but wonder if the creators didn’t just take advantage of the situation… In any case…and be honest…have you tried the dance?

Andrain – No… I don’t dance.

Cajun Samurai – NEVER tried it…

Andrain – I seriously DO NOT Dance… that includes the Hare Hare Yukai.

Cajun Samurai – Uh-huh…okay. Right. Well, dear readers, I’m gonna confess that I have, on multiple occasions, done the dance, and now have it down near-flawlessly. It makes great exercise.

Andrain – It can’t be helped; you’re not the only one… just check YouTube again folks.

Cajun Samurai – Links shall be provided.  Now with regards to the ending songs…Lucky Star does not have a set ending song, which is perfect for a series like this. For several episodes, the girls are heard (yet not seen) singing several anime theme songs as Karaoke.

Andrain – They cover a wide range of classics I’d applaud anyone for actually knowing. Many go above my head.

Cajun Samurai – Speaking of going above one’s head…what was your thoughts on the Minoru-endings? That is, the endings toward the end of the series where Minoru Shirashi did some songs…

Andrain – The guy knows how to take crap and run with it.

Cajun Samurai – I have to admit, I was severely disturbed by several moments including him in a wedding dress, a Cheerleader uniform…with wig…and his own rendition of the opening.

Andrain – Yeah I just let the Japanese do their thing and not judge…

Cajun Samurai – Agreed. One other thing I wanted to mention–I love the incidental music. It does its job without getting in the way, and it matches each scene well. Especially the last couple of episodes…its touching at times, funny at times and always well placed.

Andrain – The Ambience the music provided always sounded like it was meant to be there and hard to notice which is the point, therefore, it was done exactly as one would have liked.

Cajun Samurai – Anything else you can think of that we missed?

Andrain – Not at the moment.

Cajun Samurai – Excellent. Well, for me, Lucky Star is perfectly animated, and has some good solid moments with music…save for those “Minoru” endings…that still creeps me out. Skip it like moldy cheese.

Cajun Samurai Score – 10/12.5
Andrain Score – 11/12.5

PERFORMANCES: 

Cajun Samurai – Okay, so with regards to our main character actors, we have Aya Hirano as Konata Izumi. Now before we get into it, you mentioned earlier that she was “fallen”. Would you mind elaborating a bit?

Andrain – Hirano-san… had urges… many urges.

Cajun Samurai – Of THAT nature?

Andrain – Yeah the agency didn’t like that much…

Cajun Samurai – I would imagine not. But…at the time when this show was coming out, she was a big deal playing a lot of notable roles including Misa Amane in “Death Note” and the title character of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”. In fact, there’s a scene when she shifts flawlessly between her Konata voice and her Haruhi voice.

Andrain – Yep it is gonna be a big loss, but stupid things happen. I’m sure the industry will live on.

Cajun Samurai – Agreed. But, with regards to her current performance here, I think she does a fantastic job.  As did her American counterpart, Wendee Lee. Seriously, she did a remarkable job. Of course, she’s been around the anime block herself, playing a lot of iconic characters in English.

Andrain – Mmm-hmm, Miss Lee did fantastic playing Konata and made it one of the reason LS was as good of a dub as it was.

Cajun Samurai – Agreed. Though, equal props must also be given to Kari Wahlgren for Kagami and Michelle Ruff as Tsukasa. They match well with their Japanese counterparts, Emiri Kato and Kaori Fukuhara respectively. Oh, and of course, Miyuki is very well voiced by Aya Endo and Karen Strassman in both Japanese and English respectively.

Andrain – It’s a damn good no matter how you look at it though I’m sure you have plenty of complaints about the resident American.

Cajun Samurai – Oh, brother do I… I would REALLY love to have a conversation with the person who cast Patricia Ja Lee as Patty…I mean, I already had a few issues with the character…but the icing on the cake is that you make her American voice so FREAKING high and annoying…She sounds horrible…

Andrain – Ha-ha… Yeah… I’ll agree on that one…

Cajun Samurai – Now, there’s one other character that I must dote on with regards to the English dub…and that’s Misao. Notice something interesting about her voice?

Andrain – Remember I deal mostly with original versions…

Cajun Samurai – Ah. But I’ll give you a clue…8th Child. Give?

Andrain – Yeah just go on…

Cajun Samurai – Laura Jill Miller voices the character…and does an outstanding job of it too! In fact, aside from the little…ahem…issue that I mentioned earlier…this is one of the best dubs to come from Bang! Zoom! Entertainment. Their attention to detail is impeccable…something I’ll discuss later.

Andrain –  I got no problem with the Japanese side of things.

Cajun Samurai Score – 11/12.5
Andrain Score – 12.5/12.5

Final Score Tally:

Story and Premise: 25/25
Characters: 23.5/25

Animation and Music: 21/25
Performances: 24/25
Final Grade: 93/100 = 93% – (A)

Availability – “Lucky Star” is currently available in many offline and online retail outlets. It was originally released as a six-volume set including an sub-only OVA, but has since been released in “Complete Collection” format with all the episodes and OVA included in a box-set. However, due to issues with Bandai, it’s uncertain just how long this series will remain available, so if you find it for a good price, it’s worth picking up!

Lagniappe (A Little Something Extra):

  • As a nod to the original Japanese, all the original voice cast who was a part of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” was also a part of the “Lucky Star” American adaptation and assumed the same roles that their Japanese counterparts did. For example, just as Aya Hirano took the roles of both Haruhi and Konata, so did Wendee Lee. This is eluded to several times in the series. There are several exceptions to this however.
  • In the episode twenty “Lucky Channel” segment, voice actor Daisuke Ono acts as an animated guest star opposite Akira Kogami [Voiced by Japanese Voice Actress Hiromi Konno]. In the initial dialogue, Akira says “So, I see you’re not a crow today”. Daisuke replies with “And you’re not a dog today.” This is a reference to “Air TV”, an earlier series where the two actors voiced a dog named Potato and a crow named Sora. However, this particular reference did not really work in the US, as the American actors who played Daisuke and Akira did not voice these roles…in fact, the series wasn’t even licensed by Bandai…it was licensed by Then-ADV and then RE-Licenced by Funimation Entertainment [As a bit of trivia, Sora the Crow was played by Vic Mignogna and Potato was played by Tiffany Grant]
  • The opening theme song, “Motteke! Sērāfuku! [Take It! Sailor Uniform!]” and all karaoke done for the end credits, was performed by Aya HiranoEmiri KatōKaori Fukuhara, and Aya Endō, the voice actresses for Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa and Miyuki respectively. Aya Hirano also did the opening and closing songs for “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”.
  • Konata makes many references to other anime produced by Kadokawa Video including “Kanon (2006)”, “Fullmetal Panic”, “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Keroro Gunsou”, and many others. Other shows, like “Cromartie High School”, “Pokemon”, and “Futari wa Precure” are eluded to, but not mentioned by name presumably due to copyright issues. There are also various items from different shows scattered around different episodes.
  • Both Johnny Yong Bosh [The voice of Daisuke Ono in the American dub] and Patricia Ja Lee [The voice of…she-who-must-not-be-named…] were actors in the hugely popular “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” series. This is referenced in the DVD extras for “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” in which both actors played a voice role.
  •  It is interesting to note that Konata is often associated with “ginger”. In one of the earlier episode endings, when the girls are singing karaoke, a butler [Minoru Shirashi] brings in a tray full of drinks. By process of elimination, Konata has the Ginger Ale. Later, when the girls are looking up their “Sushi” fortunes, Konata is listed as being the gari, or pickled ginger, which is essential for a Sushi meal.
  • Since “Lucky Star” premiered in Japan, thousands upon thousands of fans each year make mass-migrations to Washinomiya Shrine, Kagami and Tsukasa’s real-life home, which is seen in the opening credits of each episode. [Kagami can be seen strutting down the walkway in the opening credits]

Cajun Samurai Okay, well, let’s FINALLY wrap this one up. After you.

Andrain Gotta say I love Lucky Star. Anytime I see something I approve of! It’s a Good job! No matter if it’s in real life or not! Konata will be the one to cause me to reveal my power level one day. Other than that crazy producer the show is perfect. Ok. Lucky Channel does get on the nerves but whatever, the meat is perfect!

Cajun Samurai – To me, “Lucky Star” is a show that is greater than the sum of its parts. With a story that is relatable on any level, multi-dimensional characters, excellent animation and music, and a voice cast that fires on all cylinders…for the most part…”Lucky Star” is more than an “Azumanga Daioh Rip-off”. It’s a classic in its own rights.

Cajun Samurai – And so, my friend, we’ve finally done it!

Andrain – Took long enough… don’t lost it this time. And Next up I’m going to do a nice review of a new series in Japan called “Kill Me Baby!” Please look forward to it.

Cajun Samurai – Indeed we shall! And, provided that there are no computer glitches, or obscene legislature that threatens the very essence of the internet, or a major anime company goes under, I’m also going to be working on the next “Drew Threw it to You” award winner, and I’ll be writing up a review on a show that is out of this world; another Bandai Title.  I don’t think know which one I’m thinking of, Andrain…

Andrain – I knew it the moment you said “out of this world”…

Cajun Samurai – Ah! But it could be ANYTHING…”Outlaw Star”…”Blue Gender”…

Andrain – …Bandai

Cajun Samurai – Ah-ha! But Bandai did “Pilot Candidate” and “Outlaw Star”…

Andrain – …and how long have I known you?

Cajun Samurai –point made.

Andrain – Yes, yes… You’re reviewing a great Sci-Fi classic… It should be a good time.

Cajun Samurai – That it shall! So, please keep on the lookout when I review one of my favorite Space shows..

“Planetes”


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