Last weekend I learnt that the Lucky Star OVA had been released, to which my reaction was something along the lines of “Oh my God oh my God oh my God! *faints*” Lucky Star is one of my favourite anime series, a slice-of-life school girl comedy – a popular genre in anime – so I was quite excited to find out about this. The series is basically about a group of female high school friends and their everyday adventures and interactions. Like most anime, it was based on a manga (i.e. a comic book), and the series has spawned a handfull of games, light novels, and CDs, firmly establishing itself as a franchise.
One can’t talk about Lucky Star without using the word otaku, a Japanese term used to refer to someone who has any obsessive interest but now commonly used to refer to enthusiasts of anime, manga and/or video games in particular. In short, a geek. What sets the series apart from others is its many references to- jokes about- and parodies of various anime, manga and video games. In short, its otaku content.
Most of the otaku content comes from one of the series’ main characters, the blue haired Konata, who’s an otaku herself, but the other characters also contribute to a lesser extent – later in the series an aspiring manga artist is introduced, and other cast members occasionally mention that they enjoy some specific manga, video or game and thereafter engage in a conversation in regards to it.
I’m not a hardcore otaku myself so a lot of the references and jokes present in Lucky Star goes over my head, but most collectors and hobby enthusiasts can perhaps see some of themselves in Konata regardless of their content specific familiarity; for example, her habit to not buy the manga that’s on the top of a stack as most people have touched that copy, or to buy extra copies of manga or other collectibles to have a separate copy you’ll never use and which will stay in mint condition, or generally using way too much energy and effort in regards to one’s hobby as opposed to something more productive such as doing school work.
When I first made my way through the first episode of the series, I almost stopped watching less than halfway through; it started off with the characters talking about the appropriate way to eat a certain Japanese snack for somewhere between five and ten minutes, which I found awfully tedious. Fortunately I kept watching, and I quickly grew to love this endearing series. You don’t have to be an otaku to enjoy this show, but it very much helps if you have at least some familiarity with the world of games, anime and manga. But if you don’t find this, this or this amusing, this series might not be for you.
Another thing that has helped this series become popular is its visual style with bright neon colours, and the opening sequence of the series. The dance has become a popular stage show at anime and manga conventions.
As for the OVA I initially mentioned, a 40-minute special episode, I was disappointed. It was nice seeing the cast again, sure, and everything looked as lush and colourful as ever (maybe more than ever!), but the episode basically consisted of a handful of shorter segments which were completely independent from one another. A couple of chuckles and awwws to be had (such as the first segment where the girls try interacting with a dog), but content wise it wasn’t as good as any of the proper episodes. If you already love the series, it’s worth a watch, if only to see some of your favourite characters again.
Then again, you could always just get a poster. Then you could get to see them on a daily basis.
In relation to the OVA it seemed appropriate to feature a song from the series slash franchise this week. They’ve released a number of CDs in relation to the series, some of which are so-called character CDs, each of which features (mostly) two original songs sung by a particular character, songs which should reflect the character in question in some way (or so I’m guessing; the lyrics are in Japanese, after all). This isn’t an unusual practise when it comes to anime as there exists such character CDs for several other series. But one particular thing I like about the character CDs from Lucky Star is the occasional use of certain retro video game sounds.
This is the first track from the character CD of Patricia Martin. From what I recall, she was a foreign exchange student from the USA who’s stated mission it is to absorb as much culture as she can and bring it back to her home country – and by culture, she means otaku stuff. She enjoys cosplaying, which is the act of dressing up as and to some extent trying to act like a character from a video game or anime or manga, and she even works at a cosplaying cafÃ© together with the show’s main otaku, Konata. Judging by the title, this song has something to do with this hobby.
Sometimes we just need some light and catchy music to shake our respective tushes to, yes? I was briefly tempted to instead go for the amazing 15-minute Lucky Star dance mega mix, mixing together several songs from all the CDs that have been released bearing the series’ name. But I figured a smaller dose would be better.