KyoAni’s obsession with summer beach episodes is well-chronicled and definitely well-received – it’s time for Lucky Star to step up to the plate! Here we go!!
As we all know, the first part of any trip involves the process of actually getting there. Like Azumanga before it, this typically involves a crazed schoolteacher with too much horsepower and a tendency to stomp on pedals real hard… y’know, especially after the driver claims to be a safe driver and have a license and all that. Heh. In this case we’ve got Yui-neesan at the wheel of what looks like an Impreza hatchback complete with blurred license plates. Her safe and steady driving gets her passed by a banana-colored RX-7 with stock exhaust – no way she’s sitting back and letting this one slide! Cue strangely reminiscent synth music and CG cars! If you thought the School Rumble Initial D parody was funny, this one is gonna blow you away…
Elsewhere, Kuroi-sensei exploits another common driver stereotype and has completely gotten lost somewhere in the backwoods.
So they finally make it after an all-day drive and settle in to their inn. The next morning, they suit up and get ready to go to the beach!
Kagami: Rocking the Chung-Li bun hairstyle complete with hanging ribbons, wearing a red one-piece with white trim and a suspicious looking white “x” right smack on her chest, as if drawing attention to something that’s not quite there…
Tsukasa: Wearing one of those full-length two pieces with miniskirt bottom, it’s a clean design with pink stripes and brown trim, accented by the small elastic bow in the front to fasten the bottom.
Miyuki: The only girl with the natural prowess to don a two-piece, and she does it with no reservation – odd, given her conservative personality. An off-white color is highlighted by Carolina blue stripes – bringing it all together with a cream yellow hooded jacket and a twin-tailed hairstyle. Moe!
Konata: If you were a 17 year old female otaku with a loli body, what would you wear to the beach? lol, you guessed it – school mizugi! Complete with green inflatable ring – unfortunately there isn’t a yellow keroro star on it or somethin.
After some lounging around in which the two adults sit around talking about being single and the three girls (minus Miyuki – she seems to be getting less and less screen time these days eh) talk about getting hit on, they head over to the seaside bar for some lunch. Konata gets some curry rice while the Chinese-lookin Kagami orders ramen (which is conveniently served in a oriental-style bowl); Tsukasa chows on some fried chicken (the way she holds it reminds me of her holding that telephone in the previous ep…kawaiiiiiii), Miyuki has yakisoba, and Yui and Kuroi-sensei have huge bottles of beer to go with their otherwise insignificant meals.
So after a long day at the beach, it’s time to head back. But first, they have to wash off all that salty air that’s been blowing in their significantly better-animated hair all day. Bath time!!!
Fashion Check #2:
Kagami: Hair long enough to cover her back
Tsukasa: Hair short enough to show everything !!!! On the backside, at least -_-
Miyuki: Her high-body shampoo sure does its job well
Konata: Tremendously long hair covers her entire diminutive stature, her “shampoo crown” superseded only by her ahoge, which peeks out triumphantly as if proclaiming victory over stereotyping
Miyuki does some more intellectual reasoning, except this time I’m not really paying attention – she looks much better without the glasses on, and I can’t stop imaging what it looks like under the picture frame, something only the other three girls are privy to.
On the other side of the bath, Yui and Kuroi-sensei keep up their awkward dynamic. I don’t think Kuroi-sensei realizes that Yui is married? It’ll be nice to see the look on her face when she finds out that her partner in singleness isn’t single at all!
Konata continues the bath fun by planting a strategically placed bar of soap right where Miyuki is likely to step after getting up from her shower spot. Do we get to watch the dazzling slow-motion display of anti-gravity moeism? Will the sexual tension finally be released with a luminous exhibition? oh well, we get some Tsukasa action instead.
Afterwards, Konata riles them up with a scary story right before bedtime. Needless to say, there’s plenty of quivering girls and blue faces!
The next morning, Tsukasa stands out by the beach enjoying the sea breeze and the sound of the waves. The sparkling water flashes a brilliant azure, almost like diamonds scattered in a meadow of sapphires. “I’ll miss this view,” she sentiments as she brushes off the sand from a pale white shell and holds it up to her ear, as she is inundated with the calm of the ocean. Hmm, which end of a choco-cornet do I bite into first? She looks into the shell once again as if to say goodbye, allowing the enormous isopod to emerge from within and crawl with all fifty of its legs suspiciously close to her fingers. O SHI-
Back home, the Hiiragi family does a little housekeeping as their oneesan dumps a bunch of old clothes in Kagami’s room. Konata pays them a visit and drinks some more of their tea.
The episode closes with a scene in Miyuki’s home – it’s her mom! That slow waving pink haired chick in the OP! Maybe that “bouncy” cheerleader will be in the next ep…
Lucky Channel: Akira ups the ante once again and decides to go Machiavelli on her assistant by roughing him up early and striking fear into his fragile heart. This week, they are introducing Konata, and end up just talking about the state of otaku. Somewhere along the way, Akira flips off the camera and does some more faces.
ED Song: “Valentine Kiss” by Sayuri Kokusho. It’s an old 80s idol song, sung by Tsukasa and Konata – they totally blow it out the park. Amazing!
If this is any indication of the work of the new director, I’m completely sold. While this episode still felt at home with the previous eps, it just seemed to have that extra oomph in its step that pushes it over the top. Whether it was the significantly improved animation quality, faster pacing of the jokes and the overall episode, or maybe just the fact that it was the beach episode, this is easily the best episode of Lucky Star yet, and in my opinion one of the best episodes of any anime this season. I really like the addition of the Yui x Kuroi-sensei dynamic as well, as it seems to inject a different edge of personality and addictive intentional awkwardness. The Initial D parody was flat out hilarious to the last detail, further adding to KyoAni’s unchallenged reputation of “if you’re gonna do something, do it right!”
Please oh please keep up this momentum!