Lucky Star – 16
For those who have brought up the excessive use of Haruhi materials in Lucky Star – remember, KyoAni is always listening. As if a slap to the face for the naysayers and a divine gift for the fanboys (and girls… all four of them), episode 16 presents us with quite possibly the most blatant, the most complete, and definitely the most memorable of all Haruhi references. Read on if you dare… (or just look at those screenshots right above)
Konata kicks things off by showing off her new cell phone – its got one of those swiveling screens, which prominently displays her Haruhi wallpaper and has “Koi no Mikuru Densetsu” as her ringtone. Fast work – her priorities are indeed straight! Thing is, songs as ringtones rarely work out all that well, considering you pick up the call within a few seconds…
The next few minutes involve some random chatter about Miyuki and her mom, including a few flashbacks to little Miyuki – cute! Mom did quite a fine job raising Miyuki, but at times she can be a little lazy too. The conversation then shifts to talk about being a single child versus having siblings… after Miyuki shares her side of the story, we switch over to the Hiiragi family, where Tsukasa is yapping away about something Konata did, while everybody else is eating all the meat in the sukiyaki -_-
Back to some more Miyuki tidbits, where we find out her incredible concentration makes her neglect some of the most basic of things… such as opening the door before walking in a room, or remembering to get her drink from the microwave. Konata then asks her when she started wearing glasses – turns out it was some time during elementary school, when her mom used to read to her before going to sleep… but Miyuki would keep staying up reading under the flashlight after her mom fell asleep.
I’d say that’s the reason I started wearing glasses too, but I’m not a walking moe like Miyuki so it lacks any sort of impact.
Well, ok – that was interesting to talk about and cute and all, but let’s get to the real meat of this episode. It’s Konata’s one year anniversary working at the cosplay café – Kagami jokes that she’s going to go visit, but Konata happily invites her.
(Has it been a whole year already? I’m guessing their graduation will be one of the last episodes then.)
Wasting no time, it’s time to go see Konata in action. As per Konata’s instructions, the 3 girls are to go to the manga store first and pick up some Lelou*** and Code Ge*ss materials. On the way, Tsukasa gets cornered by some otaku asking for photos – too bad street-savvy Kagami is there to bail her out.
Aaaand they finally find the café. At the door, they’re greeted by none other than Konata, sporting a full blown pre-haircut Haruhi costume, with the line “okaerinasai mase, goshujin-sama!” (welcome home, master) Ohhh boy, it begins. After sitting down, Kagami notices some suspicious characters at another table… it’s some dude that looks just like Kyon and a waitress that looks just like Yuki… and sound just like them too… and say the exact things (Yuki busts out the line from the video game episode).
Haruh…er… Konata comes back to take their order, except this time Hirano Aya is doing her aggressive Haruhi voice and telling them to hurry up and decide. “I have no interesting in ordinary menus!” “Danchou’s orders – wait right here!” Oh Aya, you make me feel all fuzzy inside.
Konata comes out once again and tells them to check out her stage performance. Yeap, you knew this was coming… it’s Hare Hare Yukai the Lucky Star cosplay version. Konata has those dance steps DOWN! Miyuki and Tsukasa cheer her on, while Kagami remains as disgusted and horrified as always, especially seeing that the other customers (Kyon included) have gotten up to do the dance themselves…
The first twenty times I watched this scene I was totally into it, but after that I started sympathizing with Kagami… yea, it would be pretty goosebump-inducing to be in that room. Whew.
Afterwards, Konata introduces the Mikuru-cosplayer, a transfer freshman from their school named Patricia Martin. Her voice is damn cute! The following conversation goes something like this:
Miyuki: Can I order a cup of tea please?
Patty: Hot, yes?
Tsukasa: I want a melon soda please!
Kagami: Hey, what’s this “omakase” juice on the menu here?
Patty: That’s classified information!
Whoo… that had me on the floor for a while.
The rest of the episode included a sighting from Yutaka and her friend after the physical exam (she didn’t get any taller), another episode of Legendary Girl A usurping anime tenchou’s (and this time also generic Kyon store clerk), a scene from the girls’ home ec class, a study session between Kagami and her two classmates, and some failed English translation attempts by the two Hiiragi onee-sans.
Lucky Channel 16: Yes indeed, it’s time for the Kogami Akira live event! …Which turns out to be a sign on the wall of a karaoke box. Ah, nothing short of my expectations. Needless to say, Akira isn’t too happy, but she takes what she can get and sings anyways. It’s one of those forlorn enka songs, and she looks absolutely hilarious with all her facial expressions.
ED: 「三十路岬」 (Misoji Misaki) by 今野宏美 (Konno Hiromi)
Akira’s seiyuu continues to sing the same song, and it sounds pretty legit for most of the way… until she starts grinding her voice like a pissed off bipolar idol. lol.
Man oh man, where do I begin. Remember how I said before that Lucky Star seemed to be alternating between episodes where they just talk, and episodes where something happens? It seems like that’s been redone in a condensed form, where half the episode has talking parts and the other half involves the girls going somewhere or doing something.
That’s all fine and dandy, but how do we address the recent explosion of Haruhi references in Lucky Star? I’ve always held my ground on the point that Lucky Star is able to tackle several different sources of humor – one of them being reference-based, and juggle them around masterfully. It’s just that the majority of the referential humor is easy to pick up on relative to the other humor (you know, where you actually have to watch the episode to get it), thereby giving Lucky Star detractors the false impression that all the humor is as a result of Keroro, Haruhi, or Da Capo. Recent Haruhi references have tipped the scales a bit, but let’s not forget, the concert scene of episode 15 was less than a minute, and the cosplay café deal in this episode wasn’t even three minutes. The rest of the episode? Honest to goodness Lucky Star exclusive fun.
Quite simply, these references give the doubters something to point the finger at, because it is the easiest source of humor to identify. Remember the early criticism before the Haruhi explosion? “It’s not funny.” Well, it was never intended to be the slapstick humor you would find in the likes of Seto no Hanayome or Moetan, but rather a sheer amusement and sense of fun when you hang out with friends that are completely on the same page as you. We see this in Lucky Star every time a new character is introduced – there’s no need for an adjustment period, they jump right in and feel completely natural. It’s the kind of humor that takes time to get used to, but also the kind one doesn’t just laugh at and forgets – but cherishes as the weeks go on.
If there’s anything people should be saying about the references, it’s how well done they are – from the Initial D bit to the Haruhi performances, or even that little nyoro~n bit, KyoAni has shown the lengths they are willing to go to please their audience – a large population of them being the otaku population who titillate at every mention of some extra-curricular material.
After all, what’s the point of a comedy? To entertain its audience by making them laugh, or maybe just put a smile on their face. One thing Lucky Star excels at in particular is its ability to take everyday situations and overanalyze them to the point that we say “I’ve never really paid attention to it, but it’s SO TRUE!” It possesses an innate ability to make me appreciate these moments in my own life – which is a much deeper, more profound, and more purposeful sort of humor than anything I’ve really seen in anime.
I’m totally in love with Lucky Star.