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Lucky Star OVA, Early Look/Review
By Marc | July 27th, 2009

Lucky Star returns for one last… well not sure I’d call Lucky Star an adventure… but Lucky Star is back for one more go round (that works).
A few months after the series has ended we get about another episode and a half.  With a bit of time having passed, is Lucky Star still the bright shining star we remember?
The packaging for the Lucky Star OVA is very basic.  It’s a plain white case, made out of stiffer than normal plastic.  The hub holds the disk well and requires a bit more than a normal push to get the disk in and out, but not hard enough that I see any disk breaking issues.  The cover insert’s front is based on the Japanese DVD cover for the OVA.  The back has a decent description of all the little pieces of the OVA inside a big star, with lots of little stars filled with pictures from the OVA.  A very nice cover that screams Lucky Star very well.
The menu surprised me a bit, I was expected something similar to the TV show menus.  Menu is precise, you know what you are highlighting all the time, and does it’s job well.  After lots of music and animation in the TV shows menus, it’s a bit disappointing to get a static screen without even a bit of music playing.  The chapter menu I consider a negative for this disk though.  While the OVA is only about 42 minutes long, it has quite a few small little components, but we only get four chapters” Opening, Part A, Part B, Lucky Channel- Ending.  Having a chapter for each little component would have been a nice addition, as they are the chapters appear at 0:00, 1:30, 20:02, and 35:04, a bit to far apart for my liking, but possibly nitpicking.  A decent menu, that sort of falls flat in comparison to the menus all the TV DVDs got.
The OVA itself is fantastic.  You get a bunch of little pieces, so even if one isn’t to your liking, they move past it relatively quickly.  We start off with a quick little intro, which is basically just showing all the girls getting up, starting their day.  This goes by rather quickly, and works more to just spend a few seconds on each girl, remind you what they look like.  It’s a rather smart way to start off, even if it doesn’t necessarily have much entertainment value, you are spending the time sorta getting everyone straight in your head again.  This leads into our second little part, which is basically a day in the life of Cherry, Minami’s dog.  This is sort of an extension of reintroducing everyone to us in their interactions (or non-interactions) with Cherry, and a few character moments that Cherry notices as he’s going about his day of lounging around like a lump (won’t surprise anyone to know Tsukasa has yet another phone based problem).  Lot of laughs and smiles from me as everyone interacted with Cherry.
After six minutes of lounging with Cherry, it’s time for some MMO action.  Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa, and Ms.  Kuroi are playing an MMO that’s being cross promoted with an anime.  This segment is interesting because we see it as if it were actually the game screen, so it has 3-d videogame graphics, and all the little menus appear onscreen.  We also get to see how the characters use their menus as it moves our viewpoint from person to person, it’s actually quite creative.  This short definitely wasn’t my favorite, if only because the way the subtitles are done yank your eyes all over the place, making it very hard to actually pay attention and let anything sink in.  Everything the characters say are subtitled, but there’s a text box at the bottom, showing us they are typing all this, and the voices are for our benefit.  The problem is, they subtitle the text box also, so everything is subtitled onscreen twice, with different colored fonts.  It’s a good short, but not nearly as enjoyable as I found most of them.  This one runs about five minutes.
The next short is Lucky Star’s very… very odd, take on Cinderella.  I’m not even sure where to start on this one, other than to say it’s very amusing, and basically ignores the story of Cinderella completely to tell a very fun little tale of Kagami being forced to cosplay by Konata.  I can’t say much about this one, because I don’t want to spoil it (this one is actually plot based… well sorta, as much linear plot as Lucky Star gets anyways.)  This one has a word left out of the subtitles at one point, the same as a promotional clip uploaded awhile back by Bandai.  To finish this part on a more positive note, this short ends with a fun little audio riff that will no doubt familiar to many American television viewers.  This is one of the longer shorts, clocking in around seven minutes.
It’s time for action sports volleyball!  This short is a volleyball game between the various show characters, based around Tsukasa wanting to do her best and trying to beat her sister at something.  Lots of amusing character moments in this (I laughed quite hard when Konata calls for an attack from…  well I won’t spoil it, but old school mech fans will at the very least, have a knowing smile on their face.)  The volleyball game comes down to, as the tradition in fiction demands, one final hit.  Lucky Star fans will also enjoy the cameo by Minoru as the judge.  At only five minutes, this one packs in quite a bit, and actually seems action packed compared to much of Lucky Star.
Another longer short is the girls wandering around lost in the forest while at camp.  This one is almost purely moments of interaction between the four primary girls (Although they seem to be walking on an unnaturally well worn path the whole time… so one wonders how they actually got lost.)  The character moments work very well, a personal favorite be Konata combining Miyuki’s name with the word Wiki based on her great knowledge.  Entertaining, but not quite as much for me to say about it, since they are sort of just wandering around talking.  This one runs a good seven minutes and stops the joke right around when they should have, any longer and it would have likely started getting old.
I’m not even gonna try explaining the quicky two minute segment that comes up next to much.  It’s very very strange, even for Lucky Star at it’s strangest.  I’ll just say there is a cameo from a few familiar frogs and leave it at that as far as any attempt to explain the ‘plot’ of this one.  The closest I can figure, is this one may be some odd experiment to sorta point out that Lucky Star isn’t as strange or surreal as some people might describe it, because if we were gonna do strange or surreal, this would be it, and with all the odd video and audio choices in this one, the laugh is definitely on someone (likely the audience.)  This one is funny, but not because it’s the humor we expect from Lucky Star, it’s funny because, you almost wanna look down at whatever you are drinking or eating to make sure it’s actually what you think it is.
And back to MMO land for one more minute before the finale.  This one involved Tencho, once again, trying to sell items to Konata, much as he tries to constantly thru the TV shwo, only this time, he’s online in the MMO with her.  When I decided I was gonna review each segment separately, I decided to not have a screencap to show each segment in the body of the review itself, so the review wasn’t overly cluttered (as I tend to be screencap heavy anyways.)  For this one, I felt I had to put up a screencap where I also made sure the subtitles were visible because….  ‘points up’  that’s just crazy.
And here we come to the end of our journey with a seven minute Lucky Channel… but this isn’t Lucky Channel as we know it.  It’s Lucky Channel in live action.  But, it’s not quite Lucky Channel as we knew it in writing either.  Lucky Channel in animation was often based on interaction gags between Akira and Minoru baed on Akira’s crazy personality.  This Lucky Channel is a bit more on physical gags and wordplay.  It’s entertaining, but not in the same ‘fall over laughing’ way that the animated Lucky Channel was.  I almost want to say it’s a bit more… cerebral?  Not quite sure how to explain this Lucky Channel all that well.  The ‘characters’ aren’t quite the characters we expect them to be.  Akira comes across as a much nicer person than she does in the anime (and comes across much more as a baby or little kid than the Akira we know from the anime), while Minoru comes across as loud and wild (I’m referring to the live action actors only in character in case anyone was curious.)  The only time I really got that ‘this is Lucky Channel’ feeling, was near the end when Minoru took off his wig, and we get Lucky Channels signature ending.
The video quality on the disk is very good, great even, with one exception.  Lucky Channel looks and feels like it was done very cheaply (which it likely was).  While I’m relatively sure that ‘feel’ of cheapness was meant, it still distracts after the great video quality all the animation has.  Normally I just take random caps, and remove any I feel aren’t accurate to how a disk looks while watching it (generally just remove ones with interlacing that you wouldn’t notice watching on a TV).  Lucky Channel I actually went back and took screenshots a second time, and still didn’t come back with anything decent, so I left them as is for people to judge on their own.  Video quality of the animation is fantastic.  Lucky Channel, just decent.
The audio quality is nearly as good as the video.  Unlike the TV show, the Lucky Channel OVA has no dub.  I won’t say much on the matter besides, I really enjoyed the Lucky Star dub, and the lack of a dub for the OVA was a bit annoying, simply because I quite enjoyed the Lucky Star dub, and would have liked to hear the cast again.  The Japanese audio track we get is quite good, and is only ever hurt by some subtitle issues.  The first, as seen in the screencap above, is that a static screen, that was completely in English was subtitled (and technically done worse in the subtitles if you count capitalization.)  There was also a word missing at least once in the Cinderella segment, as I mentioned above.  I mentioned the subtitles in the MMO segments already, so I’ll move on from those.  The last issue is, the OVA ends on a screen of static text (characters are still talking at the time), and while the characters dialogue is translated, the final screen isn’t.  I have no idea what the screen said, nor what it was.  I’ll touch on Lucky Channel’s audio here very quickly.  It’s filmed outside, and very often you hear environmental noise such as… the crew, a helicopter (that Akira yells at), and I think a train. The audio presentation of Lucky Star is great, but hurt by some subtitling issues.
Edit- I forgot to mention, there seems to be a second subtitle track on the DVD, but as far as I can tell, the second subtitle track is completely empty, so it doesn’t cause much trouble other than being there. Also, when going to get a screencap of the final screen to show someone, it came to my attention that the cardboard sign held up at the beginning of the Lucky Channel segment isn’t subtitled either. Thanks for jlazar of the AoD/Mania boards for pointing it out (by accident… I think?)
lstarova-cap034The only extra is the Lucky Channel segment without the credit scroll that runs over about half of the segment.  Nice to get it without the credits scrolling, rather light on extras, but for a direct to video presentation, I’m not sure what else we would have gotten (I know there was some behind the scenes footage of an audio drama, but since we aren’t getting that, it isn’t really relevant to our release.)
If you are a Lucky Star fan, this disk is an absolute must have.  Dub fans will be disappointed the dub cast wasn’t brought back for one last round, but not much you can do.  It’s a fun OVA filled with fun segments that Lucky Star fans will enjoy and appreciate.  If you don’t like Lucky Star, the OVA will make no attempt to convince you, and it shouldn’t, it’s for fans.  If you are new to Lucky Star, I’d recommend you start with the TV show first, but it’s up to you.  The biggest flaw with the OVA is that quite frankly, it makes me want more Lucky Star and reminds me just how much the show entertained me.  42 more minutes of Lucky Star is 42 more minutes I can sit back, laugh and enjoy.  I’m sure other Lucky Star fans will feel exactly the same.
Show: A (Lucky Star is still great fun.  The strength of the material absolutely overcomes any minor flaws.)
Packaging: B+ (Perfect Cover.  Case holds the disk well.)
Video Quality: A- (Great video quality.  Lucky Channel has some problems and kept this from getting an A.  Many people may end up not noticing the issues just watching normally.)
Audio Quality: B+ (Crisp audio.  Wouldn’t say perfect, but comes very close.  While a dub would have been appreciated, the grade is based on what’s on the disk, with no deduction for lack of a dub.)
Extras: C- (We get Lucky Star without credits.  It’s a lengthy extra as far as many anime extras go, but it is included as part of the episode anyways.)
Overall (not an average): A (A great disk for Lucky Star fans.  The Lucky Star OVA is fun.  The content itself earns the disk an overall A, even if it is short on content, it is exactly what it advertises, which is a bit more of a show I love.)
Gallery under ad. All caps are lossless PNGs taken in VLC, feel free to request more. (Caps are sized 853×480 so as to display properly on computer monitors, as encoded the disks are 720×480, but having the caps be 853×480 emulates how they are meant to appear).



Lucky Star – © Kagami Yoshimizu / Lucky Paradise

Categories: Anime Review, Reviews