Lucky Star (Series)
Lucky Star (らき☆すた, Raki☆Suta) is a Japanese four-panel comic strip manga by Kagami Yoshimizu. The strip has been serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's Comptiq magazine since January 2004. Cameo strips were published in other magazines such as Shōnen Ace and others. Like many four-panel comic strips, it has no ongoing plot, and typically focuses on the daily lives of the characters.
In August 2005, a drama CD based on the series was released, and in December 2005, a Nintendo DS video game entitled Lucky Star Moe Drill, was released. A sequel, also playable on the DS, called Shin Lucky Star Moe Drill was released in May 2007, and a PlayStation 2 visual novel was released in January 2008. In September 2006, it was announced that Kyoto Animation would be animating an anime based on the series; it contains twenty-four episodes. The anime first aired on the Chiba TV Japanese television network between April 8, 2007 and September 16, 2007, though aired concurrently on other networks. A light novel was released in September 2007. The anime has been licensed in the USA by Kadokawa Pictures and distributed by Bandai Entertainment; the first and second of six DVDs were released in North America, respectively, on May 6 and July 1, 2008, with the third released on September 2.The fourth was released on November 18, 2008, and the fifth will be released on January 6, 2009. An original video animation episode was released on September 26, 2008 accompanied by a drama CD.
Lucky Star's story portrays the lives of several girls attending a Japanese high school named Ryōō with a very loose sense of humor. The setting is mainly based on the city of Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture. The main character is Konata Izumi, an athletic and intelligent girl who, despite these attributes, is not in a sports club and has to resort to all-nighter cramming for tests. Her laziness at school is due to her love for anime and video games and lack of interest in anything else. The serialization began with the four main characters in their first year of high school: Konata Izumi, Kagami Hiiragi, Tsukasa Hiiragi, and Miyuki Takara. As the story progresses, they move on to their second and third years. However, the anime starts the story with them beginning their second year. The storyline usually includes numerous references to popular past and present manga and anime series (Most notably The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), as well as Japanese TV shows (Such as Kamen Rider), and video games (Such as the Ace Attorney series).
Konata Izumi (泉 こなた, Izumi Konata) Voiced by: Ryō Hirohashi (drama CD), Aya Hirano (anime), Wendee Lee (English) The very representation of an otaku, Konata (or sometimes called 'Kona-chan') is the childish but good-natured leader of the Lucky Star girls. Usually a lazy girl who is 'occupied' with video or online games, manga, anime, or all of the above, Konata is actually capably intelligent and athletic, but does not join any school clubs because of her otaku interests. Konata works at a cosplay café with underclassman Patricia Martin due to her hobbies and often deals with Kagami pestering her for not working hard enough on her studies. She lives with her widowed father (an otaku who often buys adult games for himself and Konata), as well as her younger cousin Yutaka Kobayakawa, who goes to her school (although she is even shorter than Konata). She has a comedic friendship with Kagami, Tsukasa, and Miyuki, although at widely varying degrees.
Kagami Hiiragi (柊 かがみ, Hiiragi Kagami) Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu (drama CD), Emiri Kato (anime), Kari Wahlgren (English) Kagami is Tsukasa's older fraternal twin sister and is occasionally referred to as "Kagamin". In school, her grades are excellent because she studies very hard. She was even the class president in her first year. She is in a different class than Konata and Tsukasa, but she frequently comes to their class during lunch time to eat with them. Kagami is often shown wishing she could be in the same class as everyone else. Kagami chose the humanities course in her second year so that she could be with her friends, but she was separated into a different classroom; the same thing happened in her third year. Kagami is also a bit egotistical, and is somewhat weak in cooking. Kagami is a stereotypical tsukkomi character, however, she is prone to becoming shy and emotional at times, making her appear as a tsundere character as well. Much like Konata, Kagami likes video games, but plays a different genre than Konata; Kagami likes to play shoot 'em up games. She loves to read light novels, but she feels lonely because no one around her shares this interest.
Tsukasa Hiiragi (柊 つかさ, Hiiragi Tsukasa) Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (drama CD), Kaori Fukuhara (anime), Michelle Ruff (English) Tsukasa is the younger fraternal twin sister of Kagami and lives in a six-member family household with her parents. She is in the same class as Konata. While she is not good at studying or sports, she excels in cooking. She is portrayed as the stereotypical friendly, good-natured but clumsy person. She is often portrayed as an airhead who is unreliable and is always compared to her twin sister, who generally does better than her in most areas. It is often implied that Tsukasa is unable to follow the gist of complex conversations. Tsukasa will often ask her older sister for help on her homework, though it usually does not make much of a difference. She is also known for having her hair in the same style as Akari Kamigishi from To Heart, something hinted at frequently in the series.
Miyuki Takara (高良 みゆき, Takara Miyuki) Voiced by: Erina Nakayama (drama CD), Aya Endo (anime), Karen Strassman (English) Miyuki is a young lady from a wealthy family who is beautiful, smart, and well-mannered. She always uses extremely polite Japanese, even when talking with her closest friends. She was the class president for her grade level in her first year, at the same time that she became good friends with Kagami. Now Miyuki is in the same class as Konata and Tsukasa, and is nicknamed "Yuki-chan" by Tsukasa. Miyuki's classmates often rely on her for help with their studies, and she is often shown giving impromptu but highly-detailed, encyclopedic definitions or explanations on diverse and obscure matters. She is described as a stereotypically friendly meganekko, or glasses-wearing girl. She is scared of contacts, and of putting them in her eyes, thus why she wears glasses. Her vision is less than 20/200, though it had been good until elementary school, when she began reading books in the dark after her mother dozed off while reading to her in bed. She likes to read books, but does not read light novels. Miyuki loves to sleep, and she always goes to bed fairly early. She hates visits to the dentist, but frequently has to go to fix a loose crown or because of tooth decay. On the rare occasion that she plays video games, her personality changes. Due to her embodying such a large number of moe archetypes—as Konata said it—Miyuki is the frequent-victim of Konata's playful bouts of verbal sexual-harassment.
The four-panel comic strip manga version of Lucky Star started serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's magazine Comptiq on January 2004. The first bound volume of the manga was published on January 8, 2005, and as of 2011, eight volumes have been released. Besides Comptiq, the manga was also featured in other Kadokawa magazines including Shōnen Ace, Newtype, CompAce, Dragon Magazine, Mobile Newtype and Kadokawa Hotline for various lengths of time. The manga has been licensed by Bandai Entertainment for release in English in North America. Lucky Star also has a manga called Lucky Star Pocket Travelers which has the four main characters waking up one morning to discover they have shrunken to doll size.
Main Article: Lucky Star (Anime)
The Lucky Star anime, produced by Kyoto Animation, aired between April 8, 2007, and September 16, 2007, containing twenty-four episodes. A spinoff, titled Miyakawa-ke no kufuku has started broadcasting since April 29, 2013.
A video game, entitled Lucky Star Moe Drill, was released on December 1, 2005 on the Nintendo DS. A limited edition game with many extras was sold called the "DX Pack" along with the regular version. A sequel, with the title of Shin Lucky Star Moe Drill: Tabidachi was released on May 24, 2007.
The first game tests the player on various subjects and memorizations. The player's main objective is beating other characters in quizzes. There is also a "Drama Mode" where the game plays like a mini-adventure game as you make your way to Akihabara. Math quizzes and mini games (about five in all) pop up as you play along.
There are two different types of one-person games: "Hitasura Drill" and "Drama Mode". The player can also link the game with another person. When this occurs, the player can use the character that is built up in Drama Mode as a choosable character. Additionally, if the player wants to use a special battle skill against his or her opponent while in link mode, the player must shout out the name of the skill into the microphone. In Drama Mode, the player partners with one of the characters, and tries to increase her parameters and have her learn new battle skills. There are five different types of "drills". One of the quizzes called "Ondoku" requires the player to shout out the answer into the microphone. Several mascot characters of large anime and dōjin shops make cameo appearances.
Kadokawa Shoten produced a visual novel game for the PlayStation 2 entitled Lucky Star: Ryōō Gakuen Ōtōsai which was released in Japan on January 24, 2008. Kadokawa Shoten also released an Life simulation game for the PlayStation Portable titled Lucky Star: Net Idol Meister on December 24, 2009 exclusivly in Japan.
The Lucky Star drama CD, aptly entitled Drama CD Lucky Star, was released on August 24, 2005 by Frontier Works. The video game soundtrack entitled Lucky Star vocal mini album was released on December 22, 2005. The anime opening theme single Motteke! Sailor Fuku was released on May 23, 2007. An album containing the first twelve ending themes entitled Lucky Star Ending Theme Collection was released on July 11, 2007 by Lantis. A maxi single with the name Aimai Net Darling containing two songs sung by Hiromi Konno as Akira Kogami, and Minoru Shiraishi as himself in the anime version was released on July 25, 2007. A remix single of Motteke! Sailor Fuku was released on August 8, 2007 by Lantis. Two more albums were released on August 29, 2007: Misoji Misaki by Hiromi Konno as Akira Kogami, and Cosplay It! Oh My Honey, by Aya Hirano as Konata, and Nozomi Sasaki as Patricia. An album called Shiraishi Minoru no Otoko no Rarabai contains the ending themes sung by Minoru Shiraishi from episode thirteen onwards and was released on October 10, 2007.
Four character song CDs were released on September 5, 2007 sung by the voice actresses Aya Hirano as Konata, Emiri Katō as Kagami, Kaori Fukuhara as Tsukasa, and Aya Endo as Miyuki. Four more character CDs followed on September 26, 2007 sung by the voice actresses Shizuka Hasegawa as Yutaka, Minori Chihara as Minami, Kaori Shimizu as Hiyori, and Nozomi Sasaki as Patricia. Another two character CDs followed on October 24, 2007: one as a duet between the voice actresses Kaoru Mizuhara as Misao Kusakabe, and Mai Aizawa as Ayano Minegishi, and the other as a trio between Aya Hirano, Shizuka Hasegawa, and Minori Chihara as Konata, Yutaka, and Minami respectively. Another two character CDs, both duets, followed on November 21, 2007: the first between Hirokazu Hiramatsu as Sōjirō Izumi, and Sumi Shimamoto as Kanata Izumi, and the other with Saori Nishihara as Yui Narumi, and Konomi Maeda as Nanako Kuroi. A thirteenth character CD, again sung by Kaoru Mizuhara as Misao Kusakabe, was released on March 26, 2008.
An album entitled Lucky Star BGM & Radio Bangumi "Lucky Channel" no Digest o Shūroku Shita Special CD 1 was released with the first anime DVD on June 22, 2007. The album contained background music tracks featured in the anime, by Haruhi Suzumiya composer Satoru Kōsaki, along with original audio dramas featuring Hiromi Konno as Akira Kogami, and Minoru Shiraishi, as himself. Another similar album with more background music tracks and audio dramas was released with the second anime DVD on July 27. The third volume in this series was released with the third anime DVD on August 24. The fourth volume followed with the fourth DVD on September 28, the fifth volume was released on October 26 while the sixth and seventh volumes were released on November 27 and December 21, 2007 respectively.
There have been three light novels based on the series published by Kadokawa Shoten under their Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko label. The novels are written by Tōka Takei and feature illustrations by Lucky Star original author Kagami Yoshimizu.
- Lucky Star Murder Case らき☆すた らき☆すた殺人事件 Published on September 1, 2007
- Lucky Star: Lucky Star Online らき☆すた らき☆すたオンライン Published on March 1, 2008
- Lucky Star Super Dōwa Taisen らき☆すた スーパー童話大戦 Published on October 1, 2008.
Before Lucky Star was made into an anime, Kagami Yoshimizu, the author of the original manga, was interviewed by Newtype USA in the June 2005 issue where he stated, "I don't really think my production process is anything special." However, he has the opinion that "…my personality is very well suited to doing four-panel comic strips, and I really enjoy creating this one." As if to predict the future, Yoshimizu also was quoted to say, "…but one day, I wouldn't mind seeing these characters moving around on screen." In the same interview, Newtype USA reported that the first volume of the manga sold out so quickly that Kadokawa Shoten had to do a rush reprint.As of April 2008, the first five volumes of the Lucky Star manga have collectively sold over 1.8 million copies.
Lucky Star has become an immediate hit in Japan, receiving a broad following in the anime fandom. Explaining this phenomenon, the analyst John Oppliger of AnimeNation, for example, suggested that a major factor in the series' success is its similarity to an earlier work by Kyoto Animation—The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (the show itself makes numerous references to the same series). However, he also admitted that Lucky Star is quite different from its "predecessor" and that the second major factor is its "unique" composition that "panders to the tastes of otaku, but does so with good humor and sly wit", thus, making it "the ultimate in fan service", a "witty, self-indulgent, guilty pleasure"
The Special First Edition version of the first DVD volume was released on June 22, 2007 and contained the first two episodes to the anime. The first DVD sold quickly in Japan, and it has been reported that "Amazon Japan has already sold out its entire supply of the DVD." Furthermore, "the majority of the stores [in Akihabara] with special displays for Lucky Star have run out." Anime News Network has noted that the anime is "extremely otaku-centric".
The popularity of Lucky Star also brought many of its fans to the real life settings of the anime, beginning in April 2007. The August issue of the Newtype magazine ran a feature on the various locales which the anime is based on, including Konata's home in Satte, Saitama, Tsukasa and Kagami's home in Washimiya, Saitama, and the school in Kasukabe, Saitama. The magazine also included directions on how to reach these places from the otaku hotspot Akihabara, which resulted in massive "pilgrimages" to these areas.
The most widely reported consequence of this is in the Washinomiya Shrine of Washimiya, where the Hiiragi sisters work as miko in the anime. Various Japanese news media reported that the shrine became a place teeming with photographers trying to replicate scenes from the anime, cosplayers wandering around, and ema prayer plaques ridden with anime drawings and strange prayers like "Konata is my wife". The ema were mentioned in episode 21 of the anime.
The locals were initially divided on the situation, with some suggesting that it is good for the shrine to have so many worshippers, and some being concerned about the town's security. Despite the negative reaction by some of the locals, the Washinomiya Shrine hosted a Lucky Star event in December 2007, featuring special guests including the author Kagami Yoshimizu, and the voice actors Hiromi Konno, Emiri Katō, Kaori Fukuhara, and Minoru Shiraishi. The event attracted 3500 fans. Subsequently, the Hiiragi family have been registered as official residents of Washimiya because of the anime's wild popularity. Other fictional characters who share this honor in Saitama are Astro Boy of Niza and Crayon Shin-chan's family of Kasukabe. As of July 30, 2008, sales of Lucky Star food and goods brought the town of Washimiya 42 million yen (about US$390,000) in income, described by The Wall Street Journal as a source of relief to the local economy reeling from Japan's economic slump in the past decade.