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Lucky Star, Vol 5
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 chuckle. 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. This fifth installment is a perfect example of the many reasons why.
Considering this great little comedy series is almost over, if you're joining us for this review I'm going to assume you at least know something about it. Therefore I will dispense with the recap of what the show is about and what the past volumes were like. I mean, this is volume five after all. If you don't know what's up by now there's little point in finding out what happens with this installment.
The first episode on this volume starts out with a real winner of a theme. It's Konata's birthday and she's finally legal. Basically what that means is she can now buy adult video games legally. If you're the least bit familiar with Konata's character I'm sure you already figured that part out. At any rate her parents want to throw her a party, but those plans are dashed when her co-workers at the café hold a little shindig of their own. Another part of this first episode sees Kagami going to the grocery store, but is distracted and ultimately doesn't accomplish what she set out to do. From there the episode sees her picking up the pieces of her mistake and attempting to make things right. This section of the episode was amusing in and of itself, but didn't come anywhere near topping the Konata birthday plotline.
The second episode didn't quite reach the levels that the first one did, but the focus of the series allows for more of the school's girls some time in the spotlight. The original main cast of four expands somewhat and characters that weren't fully established get some nice time here. There are some charming moments including one bit where a bunch of them are hanging out and catch another in an embarrassing moment. This pales in comparison to the remaining episodes which are heavily referential to other anime and the otaku lifestyle in general. I feel like Lucky Star is at its best when this particular focus is utilized, but it happens far too infrequent in my opinion. The show is still funny regardless. I just feel like the material pops a tad more.
The fifth installment of Lucky Star is a hit and if you've watched the show to this point you'll be pleased to know that the laughs just keep on coming. The development of the roster is appreciated and Konata in particular has some awesome moments here. It's kind of funny, but after the rocky start this series thankfully has become the hit it was reported to be. The sense of humor is definitely a little different, though that's a good thing really. Check it out if you're looking for a hilarious show with endearing characters and memorable gags.
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 its 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 presentation 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 fifth 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.
Thankfully Lucky Star has outlasted its growing pains and has become a rather enjoyable comedy series. Cute characters, daily life themes, and how everything is perceived comes together to make an endearing program that may almost be too cute for its own good sometimes. Some parts of this show may not be as bright as others, but there's a lot to love and this volume in particular has some great episodes. Check it out. Especially if you've enjoyed shows such as Azumanga Daioh or animes that are self-referential.