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Friday, December 18, 2009

The Disapperance of Haruhi Suzumiya Trailer

Yesterday, a teaser-trailer for The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was released and after watching it, I am officially beyond excited. This is going to be the greatest movie of the year and possibly one of the greatest of all time. So I decided to actually blog about something that’s only one minute in length.

The trailer starts off innocuously enough. It’s winter and Kyon is heading home from school with the persistently annoying yet lovable goof, Taniguchi.



However, upon arriving at school the following morning, there’s something missing…Haruhi to be exact. I love Kyon’s subtly-pensive expression.



Cut to the SOS-dan’s clubroom, which is back to being the literature clubroom for the introduction of Yuki Nagato. Gotta say, I pretty much died out of elation here seeing Disappearance-Yuki animated for the first time. Irresistibly cute and woobie-ified. Now here's something that's totally worth going to jail for (two separate references in one).


Next up, Kyon meets Mikuru who looks completely perplexed as if she doesn’t even recognize him. And then, Kyon comes face-to-face with an old friend, someone who he thought he’d never see again. It’s the person who’s taken up residence in the seat behind him.


That’s right, our favorite insane-yandere rogue humanoid interface Ryoko Asakura is back, baby.

Cut to a shot of Kyon breathlessly racing alongside a speeding train and then to a picturesque, heartfelt confrontation between him and Yuki.


After another innocuous shot of Kyon, we get glimpses of him interacting with Future-Mikuru and pre-Disappearance Koizumi, complete with irreverent sketchings of Kuchiki-clan quality.




So yes, things are quite confusing although admittedly really intriguing so far but we haven’t really seen too much to get excited abo…


HOLY S**T! Kyon with a gun? Kyon looking like he’s in some serious danger? Well, okay, you finally got my attention, trailer. What else have you go…



*Meep*

Okay, I have to admit, I’m really surprised that they threw in the deranged Yuki-shot for a mere teaser-trailer but I guess that it’s just all the more frighteningly mind-boggling without context and does a fantastic job of proving just how hardcore this arc is going to be. And indeed, even though I have read Disappearance, seeing that shot of Yuki really did shock the hell out of me.


And then we get a wonderful shot of Haruhi’s ponytail before ending with...


The grand-daddy of rhetorical questions.

Fantastic teaser-trailer. It really got me pumped to the point of nearly passing out from hyperventilation about this movie. I am literally foaming at the mouth with anticipation after seeing this.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 in Review

Honorable Mentions

Spice and Wolf II
Spice and Wolf II is nothing more than the continuation of merchant Lawrence Kraft vi Britannia’s journey with the wise wolf Horo chock-full of economic babble and romantic banter. The series suffers from being more of the same, although I can’t fault it for that seeing as Spice and Wolf was a unique, majestic gem of a series and my personal pick for best of 2008. However, this time around it seems that spark of excitement is missing as the interplay between Lawrence and Holo just isn't as compelling as it used to be.

Although I still very much appreciate the series for what it is in addition to fully admitting that I am a staunch proponent of Horo-ism (she’s still my favorite anime character), I do feel that Spice and Wolf has lost its luster and may be starting to run out of steam. That’s not to say I didn’t wholeheartedly enjoy myself for the second go-round. Basically, if the original Spice and Wolf was your thing, this will be a satisfying second serving, if insubstantial.

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

The polar opposite of the description for Spice and Wolf. I thought ZNY took magnificent leaps forward in quality and entertainment for its second run. The series still delivered its surprisingly delicate and emotional handling of the supernatural detective sub-genre, but this time around also brought it’s A-game by fleshing out the characters in more detail.


I’m still put off by its deliberately slow-pacing, but most people won’t have a problem staying transfixed by the imaginative and sometimes ominous wonders being dished out. ZNY shows the inherent appeal of being able to find solace and tranquility in a picturesque quasi-fantasy setting.


Runners-Up


Eden of the East

Ah yes, Eden of the East, the title that singlehandedly breathed life into the Spring 2009 and had everybody up in a tizzy with its authentic and ominous take on a mystery thriller. Part of the appeal lied in its foreboding mystique and the other part came from its unusually high concentration of energy for a sinister conspiracy yarn.


For the uninitiated, here’s the skinny. There are these people who were granted special cell phones that would carry out essentially any command with a budget restriction of 10 billion yen. They are tasked with “helping the world,” but how they choose to go about fulfilling that task, ignoring it entirely, or spending their money is up to them. Naturally, some strive to eradicate their competition, while others are content with dripfeeding their economic assets to the world through charity or construction of public projects. And of course, some are more, let’s say creative, in their approach. The story starts when our hero, a happy-go-lucky film-buff named Akira, happens to find himself in possession of one of these devices.


There’s no doubt that Akira stole the show with a wildly carefree and sanguine approach to handling his appropriation of a cell phone that can essentially do anything the user wills. The series makes a reference to the legendary Taxi Driver early on and Akira is definitely anime’s answer to Travis Bickle. Brash, defiant, and everything chaotic neutral, Akira was irresistibly charming and engaging.

The biggest problem with Eden of the East is that for the gigantic strides it takes forward during its first half, it loses all of its steam and struggles to reach one sorry excuse for an ending. It’s like sprinting full-speed down the track for 200 meters only to pull a muscle and being reduced to languid limping before crashing into a stack of hurdles, falling face-first into the pavement, and savagely clawing your way past the finish line. Scratch that actually, it's more like the producers just said, “Subtlety be damned; let’s just scrounge up a flimsy, equivocating whiz-bang ending that lacks any credibility or finesse whatsoever because people like MISSILES and EXPLOSIONS!


Eden of the East was by no means bad and definitely stood out as the highlight of the Spring season, but to label it a “must-see” would be a bit too much. “Worth checking out” might be more appropriate. I fell in love with its boundless vivacity and engrossing complexity, but at the same time I can’t help but lament its squandered potential.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
The nation of Japan is due for an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 in the next 30 years due to its geographical location on the planet. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is Exactly What It Says on The Tin; that is, what exactly would be the result of an 8.0 earthquake hitting the economic center of the country.

TM8 is centered around two children, Mirai and Yuuki, who have angrily stormed out on their own after a dispute with their parents. Mirai gets so frustrated that she wishes for "the world to break" and unshockingly, disaster strikes. As the ground ruptures beneath their very feet and shards of shrapnel and glass rain down from the sky, Mirai and Yuuki must not only survive the initial fallout, but the subsequent harrowing journey to reunite with their family on the other side of Japan.


TM8 is another perfect example of squandered potential. The concept is wholly refreshing as it paves the way for a very Fireflies-esque tale of realistic and relevant disaster. Studio Bones did not skimp on the art as there is plenty of sensationally rendered scenery to gawk at as debris is flying everywhere and buildings are toppling over left, right, and center.

However, the problem with the series lies in its sloppy execution. After two completely engrossing opening episodes, the story just sort of meanders around and never capitalizes on the unfortunate trauma that a faithful interpretation of a disaster story could potentially entail. In fact, over the course of 11 episodes, there are two or three that could be almost be classified as filler, if not for the passable levels of character development contained within.

Not to give anything away, but a set of events about halfway through TM8 serve as a wonderful metaphor for how the series was perfectly positioned to deliver the game-winning goal but somehow managed to cock it up. There’s a glimpse of truly spectacular brilliance in a superlative mind-screw sequence; however, the series fails to follow through and lapses into obscurity.


Ultimately, TM8 does succeed in painting a sympathetic portrayal of two siblings making their way through a ruined modern-day city in search of salvation. The tragic angle is a bit contrived, but the emotional impact is satisfyingly pronounced and poignant. If only the pacing could be tightened up a bit more and the characters a bit more fleshed out, then we could have had a true masterpiece on our hands.

Pure Win

Bakemonogatari
Let’s cut to the chase. Bakemonogatari is hands-down the best series of 2009. It's as simple as that. Nothing even comes close and this is possibly the first landslide victory I’ve experienced in many years.

Bakemonogatari’s most outstanding achievement is its unrivaled uniqueness. It’s such a breath of fresh air in a stagnated industry that it might as well be awarded best series of 2009 on originality alone. And much to its credit, that’s not even the bulk what the series has got to offer.


The premise of Bakemonogatari is so warped and twisted that it’s wickedly delicious. Koyomi Araragi, a former vampire, meets Hitagi Senjougahara one day and discovers that she has been cursed by a supernatural affliction. Initially portrayed as a dangerously standoff-ish sociopath, Senjougahara opens herself up to Koyomi after he manages to cure her of her ailment. The two go steady soon after and Koyomi finds himself the unwitting detective of gruesome occult mysteries that plague the various high school girls he encounters from then on.

Yes the art is everything we’ve come to expect from the drug-addled minds of the art directors over at SHAFT. Put simply, everything is rendered in beautiful, surreal detail while the overall style retains SHAFT’s infamous iconoclastic, hallucinatory and schizophrenic slant.

However, Bakemonogatari truly shines due to its unparalleled dialogue. This series sports the best and most captivating dialogue since Spice and Wolf and in many ways dwarfs even the likes of S+W due to the fact that its conversations flourish in non-sequitur frivolity as opposed to being stymied by fake economic tirades. Senjougahara’s verbal sparring matches with Koyomi are an absolute riot. It’s far too amusing to see how every excoriating line she says leaves him rattled, distraught, or utterly dejected. The vitriolic flirting and rapidly escalating sexual tension between the two radically different people who were nevertheless undeniably made for one another is what makes Bakemonogatari so fascinating. Well aside from Senjougahara fascination of course.


Bakemonogatari walks away with the grand prize. Unquestionably. We need to see more series’ like this in the coming year so the industry can finally triumph over the sempiternal season of moe.

What? You didn't expect me to not end with a picture of her, did you?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cogito Ergo Proxy

Yay, back at home for Thanksgiving Break. I really haven’t been too busy lately, but I also haven’t done much either.

Ergo Proxy happened this week. Sigh. It's an incredibly difficult task to describe exactly what's up with Proxy. At first glance, it's a darker, grittier, and bleaker version of Lain, complete with a dystopian derelict of a city compounded with incessant "what is reality?" musings. However, after a fairly innocuous start, Proxy quickly spirals into flat-out depravity by laying on the surrealism so thick and in such a protracted manner that the whole shebang morphs into a twisted incomprehensible jumble of nonsense.


One of Proxy's motifs is the concept of one's "identity," and how our true "selves" are shaped by our raison d'etre's. Thus, it is extremely ironic that the characters themselves don't really develop at all throughout the entire series. Sure there's some psychological development, but all the characters feel rather shallow and seem all too content with lackadaisically meandering around. They prefer to wander aimlessly rather than looking inwards to foster genuine growth or looking forward to embark on a journey of discovery and there's always this feeling that story progression is repeatedly being ground to a complete halt. Doubly tragic is the fact that the show spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on characters' inner dialogue, which wouldn't be so unbearable if it didn't come across as tedious and meaningless drivel. Perhaps a more fitting name for the series would be Ergo Prolix-y (har har).


The biggest problem with Proxy is that it's literally choking on its own hamfisted pretentiousness. It makes severe sacrifices to shove its existentialist philosophies into your face instead of disseminating them in a discreet and subtle manner, which, as proven by the likes of Evangelion often fails miserably. Proxy is no exception. At best, it sparks faint intellectual rumination. At worst, it's borderline obnoxious. And believe me, it leans towards the latter far more often than not. As for the sacrifices, let's just say that the plot literally plummets down a bottomless abyss, never to be seen again, about halfway through the series. There's at least some semblance of a story early on, but by the end, Proxy is struggling to inch by on disjointed stand-alone episodes and a contrived conspiracy yarn held together by wet tissue paper.


Proxy is just one of those series’ that it gets done in by its own lofty aspirations. The first episode is a gorgeously engrossing opener with vast potential that quickly gets whittled away by more and more staggering lapses in relevance, plot coherence, characterization, and pacing. In fact, the only reason I stuck through with it for so long is because I have a soft spot for dark dystopian backdrops such as 1984 and feel that Proxy did a great job with its alluring mix of gothic and cyberpunk. If not for the setting and scenery, I'd have dumped it around that childishly gimmicky gameshow episode. Hey, at least the music is a blast. That opening is pure genius.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Planetes

Let’s face it, the concept of life in outer space doesn’t lend itself too easily to being depicted as mundane. Being set in a vast void full of intrigue, wonder, and infinite possibilities far away from the confines of humble civilization, life in space is generally seen as extravagant and exotic escapism. If there happens to be dissent leading to large scale conflicts, there’s always pitched spacefleet showdowns and intergalactic massacre to fall back on to keep things howlingly melodramatic. And if that doesn’t work, just play off the mystery angle and crank up the paranoia of being trapped in a distressingly dark and enigmatic vacuum of emptiness, à la 2001. After all, everything is better…in SPACE.


Having said that, however, is there any particular reason that a story set in outer space can’t focus on the more unsophisticated and unidealistic side of life? Enter Planetes, released in 2005, produced by studio Sunrise and directed by none other than Gorō Taniguchi, best known for his work on the recent commercially successful colossus known as Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. A far cry from the likes of Geass, however, Planetes is a tragically overlooked sci-fi marvel that paints an unflinchingly convincing picture of what life in space would be like for one of the most under-appreciated professions known to mankind: garbage collectors.

This totally works and I am not even kidding.

You see, in space, even the tiniest unfettered scrap of detritus could have devastating effects if allowed to breach Earth’s atmosphere; therefore, a diligent clean-up crew dedicated to monitoring and scooping up the monstrous clutter is needed in order to avert such a disaster. As on planet Earth, it’s a monotonous and brutally thankless, yet indispensable job.

So, how exactly does one take the concept of “garbage men…in SPACE” and make it work? Simple. Craft a well-written narrative with a strict adherence to technical and logistical realism, magnificently fine attention-to-detail, and a remarkably sympathetic cast of characters, then let the breathtaking backdrop of outer space work its magic.


Ai and Hachi

While the weight bears down crushingly hard on the cast of characters, there’s fortunately a fine, if unspectacular line-up to be had. Much of the focus is on the perpetually grouchy and disgruntled Hachi Hoshino and how he contemptibly views chirpy, naïve, and eager fresh recruit Ai Tanabe as a neverending nuisance. While their disparaging banter is nothing original, it nevertheless is enough to imbue the story with likable, lighthearted charm and can make for some authentic, though still easy-going, romantic drama from time to time.

Planetes admittedly does occasionally wander off into farcical territory when it comes to life and living conditions in space, but it still manages an incredible job of staying true to the laws of physics. There’s no noise in space, for example, and the series puts heavy emphasis on delineating the oft-trivialized rigorous training processes required to even survive, let alone function in an occupation, aboard a space station.

Courtesy of i09

Additionally, the plot also doesn’t feel forced or far-fetched, proving once again that Planetes likes to stay well within the bounds of realism. It’s your typical “spotlight on one or two characters per week” deal as the focus bounces between their strained relationships and how to deal with the crisis at hand, be it recovering errant pieces of debris that happen to possess MacGuffin levels of plot significance, putting a stop to a hostile kidnapping, jeopardizing the entire garbage collecting outfit by attempting to teach the higher-ups a lesson in morals and etiquette, and even quelling a political uprising.

None of these scenarios seem particularly fresh or new, but against the mystical backdrop of space, the series makes us look at every tense sequence from a new perspective. There’s no need to flaunt flashy firefights when a humble little hostage situation or spate of heated political unrest is all it takes to remind us how the wonder, thrill, and danger of everyday occurrences is drastically magnified in the vacuum of space. We often take for granted just how exciting simply existing in space can be and Planetes clearly goes out of its way to restore the inherent sense of wonder that has long since been worn away by decades of bombastic space shootouts.



Whereas most shows are content with the trickle of new ideas from the dried-up and depleted husk of the sci-fi genre, Planetes manages to breathe just a little bit of life back into the deteriorating carcass with a slice-of-life spin like no other. While it’s not deep or particularly pretty to look at, Planetes will undoubtedly still tickle the fancy of anyone even remotely interested in sci-fi. I’d go as far as to say that even bitter cynics may have their faith in sci-fi renewed after a viewing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inaugural post and Lucky Star musings

Let me preface this by saying I know this is a belated issue which is behind by several years and that I just wanted to vent a bit on the stupidity of people who bash Lucky Star. Not that I feel such an argument is no longer pertinent. I mention Eva, and heck, Eva raging and ranting over misconstrued perceptions is still going on to this day (although to be honest, Eva hatred is a bit more justified).

And the world cheered.

For some reason, Lucky Star seems to have one of the largest divergent bases in recent history. Although the show’s been well-received overall, just walk into any anime forum, mention Lucky Star and watch as flame wars erupt almost instantaneously. While such a scenario is not unusual in and of itself, heated Lucky Star debates are distinct in that you will find that there are just as many supporters as haters. The general opinion of the vocal populace is literally split right down the middle. It’s like Evangelion all over again.

I’m fairly certain I don’t need to go into great detail about why Lucky Star enthusiasts are entitled to their opinion. There’s plenty to like about the show; I mean it was produced with the intention of catering to otaku, a goal that it accomplishes almost too well. Apart from the flagrant otaku-bait, there are certainly more than a handful of genuinely funny jokes sprinkled throughout the series. And there’s just something about the whole premise of a laid-back show built around inane, random, yet surprisingly well-written conversations that’s rather charming. It’s not the best show, but it’s far from the worst, and has more than its fair share of redeeming qualities to make up for its pervasive flaws.

No, I want to explore the source from which all the Lucky Star hate-o-rade flows so readily.

Lucky Star RAGE boils down to a clear and honest misunderstanding stemming from unreasonable, although understandable preconceptions. What do I mean by this? The main problem with Lucky Star is that it lends itself to be compared to other slice-of-life comedies far too easily. Comparisons are inevitable and are at times necessary, but with Lucky Star, drawing comparisons is a tragic mistake.

The vast majority of the hate directed at Lucky Star is hate that would have otherwise never existed had it not been for an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Simply put, people walked into Lucky Star fully expecting one thing and got something completely different. Now why was that the case?

It’s because Lucky Star was initially perceived by everyone as more comedy than slice-of-life. Viewers expected to be incapacitated by bouts of uncontrollable laughter from start to finish and then balked when the first few episodes contained nothing but airy quasi-existential conversations about chocolate cornets. If you were one of those people, don’t feel ashamed because you were definitely not alone. But that doesn’t change the fact that you, like everyone else, completely missed the point.

Slice-of-life comedies have more variety than one may think. In fact, they can be spread across an entire spectrum of plain old slice-of-life and comedy that happens to be centered around slice-of-life, as illustrated by the following magnificent chart from the Cruel Angel Theses from over a year ago:


Incidentally, my argument was fueled by a post from the aforementioned blog on the same subject. It was a good read.

People walked into Lucky Star with the expectation that it would fall towards the right side of the spectrum instead of coming in completely unopinionated. It’s perfectly fine to pick up a series and then find out that it’s not exactly what you expected. The problem arises when you fervently rush to the internet or out to your friends to unrepentantly moan and bitch about how it wasn’t exactly what you expected.

Complaining about Lucky Star being “too boring and unfunny” is like complaining how there’s not enough action in a shoujo romance series. If you’re not into shoujo, you will generally not be watching shoujo titles and consequently not be participating in the community centered around shoujo series’s. And if the same logic were applied to Lucky Star, the people who didn’t want to see laid-back, sedative slice-of-life series packed with irreverent discussions would not have picked it up from the start and then cried like entitled idiots, thereby drastically reducing the scads of frenzied, bleeding-heart Lucky Star bashers and their detrimental effect on the community.

Hate originating from erroneous and arbitrary pigeonholing is entirely unwarranted. Hell, pigeonholing in general is often futile and pointless, but when it’s used to base entire opinions and arguments off of, it’s just downright retarded. And I’ll be damned if I let Lucky Star hate-dom off the hook just because the “Lucky Star is boring” side of the argument is so prevalent.

Lucky Star is not boring. The problem is you. Your attention span is too short for Lucky Star and you shouldn’t be watching it in the first place if that’s the case. And also, please shut up about it. Do not bemoan the fact that a mainstream show was not entirely suited to your likes, unless you’re willing to look at it somewhat critically and objectively.

I’m pretty sure that Kyoto Animation is at least partially to blame for the pre-emptive pigeonholing (although, I reiterate: such an act is generally ineffectual and impractical) due to the misleading high-octane opening sequence and a concept eerily similar to AzuDai. Although that second point is less meaningful seeing as Lucky Star has more in common with Hidamari Sketch, which for some bizarre reason never got the whole “It’s not funny, therefore it sucks” treatment, at least not to the degree that Lucky Star did. People seemed to get Sketch right from the get-go, whereas no one saw Lucky Star for what it was.

A sketchy crew.

Once again, if you’re really going to rail on Lucky Star, please at least attempt to dissect it in a somewhat mature fashion and don’t put personal taste at the forefront of your argument. Lord knows there’s a laundry list of flaws that the series ripe for the picking and to be used as ammunition against its multitude of strengths. In the end, I just want less of:

Lucky Star sucks because it’s a bunch of random school girls talking about random stuff. It’s too slow, too boring, and not funny.


It’s getting tiresome.



Now, how exactly do I feel about Lucky Star, personally? In a nutshell, I genuinely enjoyed myself more than I care to admit and I find the show very entertaining overall.

First off, there’s Konata, a character that I can immediately relate to, which makes watching her in action a picturesque joy.

Simply irresistible.

Konata is perpetually lazy and has a habit of prioritizing her hobbies of reading manga, watching anime, and playing video games. Hey, that reminds me of someone! As someone who has been an avid fan of World of Warcraft for many years, I am also on equal footing with Konata’s love for wasting hours of precious time in MMORPGs. And of course, all of these seemingly-overwhelming distracters don’t stop either of us from sliding by in our asinine academic endeavors. Konata’s unequivocally endearing eccentricity is without a doubt the main draw of the series, at least for me.

Much to the credit of the show, however, Konata’s abundantly prevailing presence does not go unchallenged. Rounding the cast are the studious and short-tempered Kagami, who fits the new definition of tsundere to a tee, the lovably clumsy Tsukasa, whose innocent ineptitude is often hilariously charming, and the ditzy Miyuki, who embodies the concept of moe perfectly. In particular, the banter between Konata and Kagami is unfailingly priceless, especially any time Kagami reacts in a scathing and snarky fashion, purely out of disgust or disbelief, to something Konata has said or done. And boy does this happen with merciless frequency, much to the chagrin of Kagami and to the amusement of the audience.

Of course, the other feature that absolutely cannot go unmentioned is the side-splittingly hilarious Lucky Channel, which airs during the last two or three minutes of each episode. While the humor in Lucky Star is often hit-or-miss, the Lucky Channel segments are the parts of the show which remain consistently funny. The interplay between the clueless and pitiable Minoru Shiraishi and the cynical, jaded, and highly abusive Akira Kogami is a riot. Half of the fun comes from watching Akira flit between her bubbly, cutesy demeanor, and one of intensely dour morbidity with astonishing ease, while the other half is derived from watching her tear into her poor co-host as he struggles to survive under the strain of her constant abusive tendencies.

Is it bad that this is the best part of Lucky Star? Hell no!

Apart from Lucky Channel, whether the rest of Lucky Star is fantastic, mildly amusing, average, or a complete waste of time is primarily left up to personal taste, which, as mentioned during the Lucky Star hate-dom rant, is an obnoxious and unfortunate reality. The incessant pop culture, otaku-centric references will come across as either cute and clever or mind-numbingly grating due to their often obscure nature. While the show manages to be surprisingly colorful, cheerful, and upbeat, the pacing is rather sluggish and the lack of an actual plot may cause some to dismiss the series as mindless nonsense. On the other hand, however, these arguments really don’t carry significant weight seeing as a lessened emphasis on plot and frequent idling are staples of the slice-of-life genre.

While Lucky Star may fall short on story, it manages to rise to the occasion with some shockingly emotional and unexpectedly heartwarming scenes of character development. I am mainly referring to the tearful scene focused on Konata’s mother towards the end of the series, but additional bits and pieces of character development are sprinkled throughout as the series nears its conclusion. It’s worth remembering that if you’re looking for deep character introspection and growth in spades, you shouldn’t be looking for it in a sedative slice-of-life series that is primarily concerned with pandering to hardcore otaku through pop-culture references. The sheer incongruity of one or two genuinely heartfelt moments is more than enough to push Lucky Star above and beyond, especially considering how the rest of the series is laden with wacky, lighthearted, and irreverent silliness.

The state you mind you should be in for a viewing of Lucky Star.

Lucky Star is rife with infectious charm, awash with addictively quirky characters, and overflowing with casual conversations on the trials and tribulations of life. Sure the series isn’t thought-provoking or stimulating but Lucky Star was never meant to inspire or engage. It’s something you watch when you want to kick back and immerse yourself in the whimsical day-to-day lives of four high-school girls with a sugary otaku-slant. Heck, you might even get a laugh or two out of it for all your efforts.