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In-Depth Postulation of Esoteric Logic in Lucky Star Eps. 1+22, As Applied to Konata Izumi

15 September 2007

Many of us remember watching the first episode of Lucky Star and the sense of utter confusion that ensued after it was all said and done. I don’t think any of us were expecting to have to check our brains at the door from the start. Of course, the story went on in an atypical, sporadic, punchline fashion while the characters were expounded upon more and more in a most pleasing and somewhat predictable fashion. Azumanga Daioh anyone? Let’s not go there. Anyway, that roundabout conversation that episode one was introduced with of was quickly left by the wayside in light of many of us believing that this would not occur again in later episodes. As Lucky*Star draws to a close, I would like to take this time to look back and speculate upon this pivotal episode that may have been lost to those who would rather watch anime on a casual level, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Within the first ten seconds of the actual episode, we are already given a picture of this short, blue-haired, and otherwise flat-chested girl most of us already knew of as Konata Izumi. We immediately think we have her figured out and think “hey, she’s the athletic type.” As the next twenty seconds pass, we are slammed with the realization, how ever pleasant or irritating it might have been, that yes, Konata is athletic, but she also has full blown otaku surging through her cells.

We reach somewhere around thirty-five to forty seconds into the episode. Konata is now gripping a chocolate cornet between her petite hands, consuming it gradually with an intense focus (or lackadaisically, depending on how you perceive those emerald puppy-dog eyes) in what could only be described as “chibi.” Those who are acutely aware of their otaku status may have exclaimed something along the lines of, “OMG! Quit playing games with my heart!” Why? Because in a matter of about a minute, Konata has exhibited three popular female archetypes, a character technique I have never experienced before in my six years of anime viewing. That, in itself, should have been the key to accepting the fact that Konata is more than meets the eye, and should not be singularly branded.

Of course, such a well-orchestrated introduction of Konata would not be acknowledged, at least not yet. So, the Script Writer and the Episode Director (at the time) forged another diabolical, yet risky plan to throw viewers for a loop with what I like to call: The Cornet Conversation. I give it this name due to how the conversation is initiated and concluded. Konata poses a simple question to Tsukasa Hiiragi: Which end of a chocolate cornet do you start from?. This question begins at the top of the cornet (the smallest ring), and then, as more characters are integrated, progressively spirals down to the bottom while circumventing the entire orbit until it comes right back to Konata’s initial question. The entire conversation goes on for about six minutes straight.

During the Cornet Conversation, Konata, Tsukasa, and Miyuki Tamura show their knowledge about various foods and how to properly treat them before partaking. Konata even reprimands Tsukasa for flipping meat on the grill. Somehow I don’t believe many took to this well, which may have caused a loss of a few potential viewers just because they may have thought this may become a recurring pattern. However, I believe many did stick with Lucky*Star, which is why I posit the following considerations, given my deliberations above.

We are all eccentric, one way or another. Konata is no exception. The idea behind the seemingly pointless drawn-out conversation was to establish a foreshadowing truth that Konata is a person who is capable of taking the time to think deeply about certain topics without having to reference her visual culture obessions. The Cornet Conversation is the third and final saving grace to Konata’s character, representing that even an otaku can hold an ordinary conversation. I believe Konata would like to be understood as a person and as an otaku, but does not care whether she is or not. Regardless of the fact that it was about food, this intent is reinforced, as if the director and script writer are trying to give Konata a chance to be seen as more than simply a character branded with “OTAKU” on her forehead. For the rest of the episode onward, Konata never fails to toot her otaku horn loud and clear regardless of who catches her obscure, hardcore references or not, reserving her moments of “social acceptance” for no more than a few seconds here and there through her cooking and cleaning skills, [not] making a funny face that cracks up her friends, or attending a summer festival. She can be “socially acceptable”, or, at the very least, is not entirely incapable of putting aside her otaku nature.

And then there was episode 22. Ah, episode 22…which once again exposed her underlying sense of being just an ordinary girl just wanting to know more about her deceased mother. I will bet that everyone who saw this episode loved it. Some may have even loved it without being able to put their finger on the real reason why they did, aside from everything that unfolded on the surface. I will venture to guess that the real reason lies in the fact that for a period of time that just about matches the event I spoke about in episode 1, Konata switched archetypes for a little while. Though not any less otaku, she donned that sense of sincere teenage innocence and naivety that we have seen in foundational, classic female characters dating farther back than Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura) and Tsukino Usagi (Sailor Moon). In a period of weakness, as her likeminded father spoke ever so sincerely about his galge character of a wife, Kanata, Konata’s visual culture otaku ways were discarded and that space became something tender, precious, and priceless. Dare I say… as Konata, in a most composed manner, came to terms with knowing little to nothing about her mother, she, for those minutes, became the most moé character of the entire cast.

Konata Izumi is not simply a senior high school student who is a visual culture otaku. Konata sets a standard for otaku, especially as a female otaku. Even in the midst of playing an intense video game, or watching an addicting anime, or engrossed in a manga series, there is much more in life to open one’s eyes to and experience than just their singular fixation. If you are not otaku and are associated with one, perhaps you should see if there is something more within beyond simply the sweet, teeth-rotting moé character of their desires. I am otaku, and I can tell you that this much is true for me.

Thank you for reading.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kou permalink
    16 September 2007 2:39:42

    Haha! He finally fully admits his title on the world wide web!! Took you long enough you damn Otaku-in-denial XP I guess it took Lucky Star and NHK to make you realize you’re not so different XP nya!

    Either way, congrats on the opening of your latest blog. Feels refreshing? Looks it, like I said irl, I love the banner you worked on. Minor details and unspoken themes are still popping out at me every time I run a glance at it. Very good job. You even managed to blend all the images so well that this time I couldn’t tell for the life of me which wasn’t an original image or not X_x damn good job to fool my eye!! >.0

    But on to the article at hand, I’d first like to say that your writing certainly has improved, at least in reviewing Anime. You’ve got such a suave and catchy tone to your words that I only find in the most appealing of magazines. Granted my zine genre ranges from comic to science related, I still have an idea of how much you’ve improved. I’m glad that you’ve not only found a better way to express your feelings about something while not getting too personal but you’ve actually begun to show more feeling overall in the first place with whatever it is you’re reviewing or writing about…then again, this is Lucky Star, your new found obsession-(i mean)-passion.

    Speaking of which, I have to agree with you only a little on the comparison between Azumanga and Lucky Star. True, they both carry their original comic strip style into the Anime, but I have to admit that I am at times lost in the drawn out conversations of Konata and the gang. While I find her character overwhelming and attractive, she’s certainly a handful when it comes to ‘visual culture’, even to me X_x yea, I’m ashamed to say, but most of the time I’m unable to find the punchline, not saying it isn’t funny, it’s just hard to stay into it like you must. Regardless, you did hit a few key points on the girl and her tidbits. She is quite cool and I’ve even found myself doodling her on occasion XP

    Once again, congrats to you and your partner/apprentice on this new home of your’s. May it spawn even more “non-intelligent” conversations such as these, nya!

  2. 16 September 2007 13:32:14

    Thank you for your comment, Kou! I don’t receive detailed comments like these often, so I will reply in the same manner.

    I guess I always knew I was otaku, but because I know how to turn it on and off, I never really considered myself fully one. After hanging out at Otakon though, lately, I have been taking on the realization of that identity.

    Thank you again for the compliments on the blog and the banner. If I can fool your eye, then I must be doing a good job. I’m becoming faster and well-rounded with my illustrations you know.

    Thank you for the compliments on my style of writing. I don’t take note of it, but I do try to keep it conversational while still coming off as knowledgeable and believable. I really do my best whenever I decide to write something that really could be seen as a reference or a source of insight to the anime community. This, however, was the first time I ever saw a piece as having potential lasting value as a scholarly something, which has given me an idea about another piece to write. I suppose I am passionate about L*S, but I’m moreso passionate about my stance in regards to L*S and anime in general.

    The bit on Azu was meant to be a hook of interest to get people’s blood flowing. There are differences and similarities between L*S and Azu. So, for you to agree only a bit on that reference is well-placed, because they are not broken from the same mold in comedy or target audience at all. I will say that catching the punchlines do require pretty good knowledge of not only visual culture, but, in Konata’s case, the world of Akihabara.

    Once again, I do thank you for your support and best wishes on this blog. Though I have a partner here, that still doesn’t get you off the hook for our manga…Mr. Starving Artist.

  3. Kou permalink
    17 September 2007 0:10:17

    Aw hey, you’re too harsh XP; But seriously, I can’t wait to see you. I’m ready for the next chapter >.< OSSSSSS!!!

  4. 18 September 2007 0:13:38

    I love your review of Konata and agree with you on most parts :D. Although until now, I still don’t really get the meaning, plot, main story and real reasons behind Lucky Star. I guess I’ll just have to agree with my brother saying that Lucky Star is just a random anime with complete randomness. Just one thing that I hate about Lucky Star, The Ending!!!!

    I was hoping that at least they’re gonna make an appropriate ending song for at least one of the many epsiodes, not that I hate shiraishi….. Ok maybe I hate him. However seems like an ending song will make ‘randomness’ disappear from Lucky Star.

    Anyway, it was fun while it lasted. I hope they’re gonna make a second season for it. Something like ‘Lucky StarS’ :D. Anyway, nice review! and I’m sure, many people are gonna miss Lucky Star.

  5. 19 September 2007 13:46:00

    Tatsuya: Your brother is, for the most part, correct. The meaning of L*S is to be a slice-of-life comedy of the day-to-day goings on between the characters at school, but mostly on the outside. The plot is undefined. The real reasons has to do with the meaning and how that meaning was shown throughout the series.

    I do agree with you on the fact that I disliked how it ended. My prediction seems to have been right on the money…though totally not expecting it to end with Minoru Shiraishi doing another anime song cover… >_> I don’t hate the guy, but I think if the director was going to have someone sing, they should have reverted back to the original karaoke endings…That would have at least been more settling and complete for me. I’m going to blog about this, so come and comment again!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this. It’s always great to hear responses from fellow fans of anime. I don’t think a second season is too far-fetched either. Thank you for your comment! ^^

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