Is comedy anime your thing? If so then I'm sure there are several shows in your collection which you'd consider to be a "go to" when you're looking for a good laugh. Many fan favorites top that list such as Azumanga Daioh and Excel Saga, but several other, lesser known shows are just as good. Take Lucky Star as one example.
This series, which came out in 2007, gained something of a following on both sides of the ocean. The manga by Kagami Yoshimizu was a hit, and the anime proved to be a madcap and endearing recreation of the publication. It's unfortunate that this 24 episode series started out on a sour note under the direction of someone who didn't quite manage to pull it together. Thankfully after the first volume the show reset itself and the rest has been one hilarious adventure after another. In case you have missed the show, or were turned off by the first volume, this is a series you should give a chance. Today we're looking at the final volume of this quirky little series, and thankfully it sends every thing off on a very appropriate note. The four episodes here are endearing, hilarious, and will reinstate why you love the show. Once again, since this is the review for a final volume, I'm going to assume you already know what's going on with the show.
This installment starts out with an episode called "Pandora's Box". While it may not be as chaotic as its name implies, the episode is actually pretty good. In this opening adventure the class goes on a trip to Kyoto and has some run-ins with wildlife. Another plotline from this part of the episode includes one of the characters getting a mysterious letter from a boy who is trying to get them to meet at night somewhere. It reads like a love letter of sorts, but as it turns out that's not really the case. There are other elements to this episode as well, including some fun bits with Konata and Minami.
The second episode is a little more fantastical as Konata's late mother, Kanata, takes the center stage. In this episode her spirit basically comes back to hang out with her daughter and there are a few amusing bits, such as Konata having her picture taken and her mother's shadow appears in the photo. Given the somewhat "down to earth" nature of the show and the general lack of elements such as spirits and the like, this episode felt a little out of place, but it was charming just the same. I suppose it was appropriate to have it at this point in the series because it gave a nice perspective on Konata's character that we hadn't received before.
In the final two episodes of the show a couple of the characters get sick and it's time for the cultural festival. There's no real buildup to the finale, but then again I suppose there didn't really need to be for this series. It's a slice of life show about a group of teenage girls, and that's exactly how it ends. What I did like about this installment, and some of the more recent ones, was the fact that most of the sub-cast gets brought forward a bit. We get to know the other girls in the class more and they really take center stage a few times during these episodes.
If you enjoyed the other installments of Lucky Star then you'll be pleased with this last one just fine enough. I will say that I would have enjoyed a more climactic close, rather than the one we received. Even so the end feels fitting for this show and you really get the sense that even in its final moments Lucky Star's characters will just have more random adventures in the future. This is definitely a series that doesn't have a lot of closure, but it's a charming show just the same and it's one that has an insatiable sense of humor. Check it out if you're looking for a laugh!
Lucky Star is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and the video quality is definitely a feather in this disc's cap. This show absolutely shines thanks to its fantastic design and presentation values. There is no grain, compression, aliasing, or cross-coloration anywhere in these episodes and the bright art style allows for a very vivid display. This is definitely a series that stands out on a quality television and though it's very minimalist there's plenty to appreciate.
Considering this isn't an action packed show with explosions, robots, and ninjas it doesn't need a boisterous audio presentation. With that fact in mind the 2.0 Dolby Digital presentations for both English and Japanese is decidedly appropriate for the material. While the lack of a sense of immersion is disappointing this show's dialogue driven content simply doesn't need it to be effective. The dubbing quality is decent all around as well though I personally felt that the Japanese track matched the content better.
The final installment of Lucky Star comes with liner notes, some more episodes from "The Adventures of Minoru Shiraishi", and Key Scene Galleries. None of these are very outstanding, but once again the Minoru Shiraishi feature proves to be the most unique. Then again, if you've been watching the show to date you already know that and were probably expecting this feature.
Lucky Star was a show that really grew on me as it moved forward. Each episode seemed to get better than the last and in the end its charm and character were enough to win me over. If you like slice-of-life shows and comedy, you'll definitely want to check this anime out. It's very Azumanga Daioh-like and yet at the same time it holds its own allure. Bandai did a fine job with its release and ultimately this show comes strongly recommended. It's quirky and funny enough to appeal to just about everyone.
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