Actually, Lucky Star is a Comedy

This is a slice-of-life picture. If you don’t get it, you’re looking it at wrong.

Ever notice how Lucky Star is a comedy? Ever been told that if you’re not watching it as a slice-of-life anime, you’re watching it wrong? Ever wished that Baka-Raptor would write a post on how that’s the stupidest shit in the universe? Well your birthday just came early.

For the record, this is not a post on whether Lucky Star sucks (I’ve already written one). This is a post on whether it’s proper to view Lucky Star as a comedy. To a lesser extent, this is an examination of whether the slice-of-life tag cleanses Lucky Star of its failures with pure virgin goat blood. This is definitely not a review post opining that Lucky Star blows. I can’t imagine why anyone would get that idea.

Before getting into the specifics of why Lucky Star is rightfully judged as a comedy, it’s necessary to bust five common myths about the slice-of-life genre:

Myth #1:  Slice-of-Life describes anything that doesn’t defy the laws of physics

Drama? No, it’s slice-of-life. Comedy? No, it’s slice-of-life. Fanservice? No, it’s slice-of-life. Slice-of-death? No, it’s slice-of-life. It’s getting ridiculous. Just because a show is about people doing stuff they could possibly do doesn’t make it slice-of-life.

We could have an intellectual circle jerk trying to define slice-of-life, but let’s not get carried away with theory—that’s how this whole mess of overusing/misusing the term slice-of-life got started. Why don’t we just find an established, authoritative definition and stick to it?


of, pertaining to, or being a naturalistic, unembellished representation of real life: a play with slice-of-life dialogue.

slice of life
n.   pl. slices of life
An episode of actual experience represented realistically and with little alteration in a dramatic, fictional, or journalistic work.

That’s the definition I’ll be using for the rest of the post. If you don’t like it, find a definition from a source more authoritative than

Myth #2: Any scene with character development is slice-of-life

Look at the definition. Does it say anything about character development? Didn’t think so. Slice-of-life shows often have character development. So do shows from every other genre ever created in the history of the universe. Whenever you’re watching characters, you’re probably also learning about them. They could be telling jokes, battling aliens, or both at the same time for all I care. The fact that you’re also gaining a greater understanding of them doesn’t make the show slice-of-life.

Myth #3: Slice-of-Life can’t suck

This is perhaps the greatest myth about slice-of-life, and it can be dispelled in three quick words: Akikan episode 10. The episode is textbook slice-of-life: one character does her laundry, another character does her hair, and a third character cleans her room. That’s the whole episode. Total slice-of-life, total bullshit.

The moral of the story is that you can’t defend a show by simply claiming it’s slice-of-life and stopping there. You actually have to explain why it’s good slice-of-life. Or, if you still insist that slice-of-life can’t be bad, watch Akikan episode 10. I triple-dog dare you.

Myth #4: More Comedy does not mean less Slice-of-Life

Yes it does, unless your life is so blessed with hilarity that making a joke every minute is a naturalistic representation of real life. Sure, comedy is a natural part of our everyday experience to some extent. It’s not unusual to act silly, make humorous observations, or even pull off a slick one-liner when an opportunity presents itself. However, the line between naturalistic, unembellished comedy and unnatural/embellished comedy can be crossed quite easily in any number of ways, including:

Quantity: More jokes = less representative of real life.

Setup: More setup = less representative of real life.

Farce: More exaggeration = less representative of real life.

Presentation: Artistic/directorial embellishment = less representative of real life.

Absurdity: Absurd situations = less representative of real life.

Myth #5: Jokes about everyday topics are Slice-of-Life

Wrong. Look at the definition. Does anyone else find it ironic that this trendy, overexpansive view of slice-of-life is accompanied with a nonsensically narrow view of comedy? It’s common sense that comedy covers everyday topics. Jokes stemming from everyday observations are called observational comedy. Jokes expressed through everyday situations are called situational comedy. Watching a show “as a comedy” doesn’t in any way suggest that you can’t appreciate the realistic aspects of the show.

Now that we know the true meaning of slice-of-life, we can see how the definition applies to Lucky Star. The random number generator chose episode 9. This worked just fine:

  • I wanted to do this analysis as if I were watching an episode for the first time. I specifically remembered scenes from episodes 1 and 24, so they were ruled out.
  • The director was fired after four episodes. It didn’t change anything, but just to keep any bullshit excuses about the director change from popping up, episodes 2-4 were ruled out.
  • I distinctly remember having a positive opinion of the comedy in episode 23. Naturally, I’d have a lot to say about how that episode is best viewed as comedy, so I had to rule it out.
  • For the purposes of this analysis, the intro sequence, ending sequences, and Lucky Channel (definitely not slice-of-life) were excluded.

Let us venture into the heart of darkness.

Scene 1:

Konata: Since fall is for reading, I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

(Let me guess, you were “reading” manga)

Kagami: That’s unusual!

(Read between the lines you dumbass)

Konata: The expenses are piling up.

Kagami: You don’t have to buy them. Can’t you just go to the library?

/punchline music begins, background changes from classroom scenery to abstract scenery

Konata: A library wouldn’t have manga.

(Told you so)

Kagami: “Reading” huh?

(Wait, I still don’t get it. Please continue to explain.)

Kagami: They mean books, you know…

Wow. Not having watched Lucky Star in over two years, I thought I may have been exaggerating when I said that Lucky Star can’t stop masturbating after punchlines. Nope, I was dead on. Why do they do this? Do I need to jerk off to prove that my “read between the lines” comment is a hilarious double entendre?

But as I promised, this isn’t a post on whether Lucky Star sucks; it’s a post on whether it’s proper to judge Lucky Star as a comedy. The dialogue in this scene is undeniably a well-structured joke, not a natural conversation pattern: it has an extensive setup, a punchline, and some follow-up masturbation, not to mention all the effects thrown in to aggrandize the punchline. If you don’t see this as comedy, you’re watching it wrong.

How exactly is one supposed to watch this scene as slice-of-life? This is a serious question. If you can’t answer it, you admit it’s complete bullshit to argue that “you must watch Lucky Star as a slice-of-life anime to get it.”

Scene 2:

Konata is too lazy to study. She makes her way over to the computer with comical movements and comical sound effects. As she starts playing a game, she sees her teacher online and reacts comically because her teacher knows she’s playing games instead of studying. The comical situation is reinforced with masturbation. Then Konata asks her teacher how she studied as a student. The teacher admits that she also screwed around instead of studying but insists on being strict to Konata now that she’s a teacher. The comical situation is reinforced with masturbation, sound effects, and an abstract background.

It would be very easy to make this into a slice-of-life scene:

Konata is too lazy to study. She makes her way over to the computer with comical movements and comical sound effects. As she starts playing a game, she sees her teacher online. and reacts comically because her teacher knows she’s playing games instead of studying. The comical situation is reinforced with masturbation. Then Konata asks her teacher how she studied as a student. The teacher admits that she also screwed around instead of studying but insists on being strict to Konata now that she’s a teacher. The comical situation is reinforced with masturbation, sound effects, and an abstract background.

How did I do it? The formula is quite simple: get rid of all the punchline music, punchline backgrounds, and post-punchline masturbation. These are all comedic embellishments that serve no other purpose than to say, “hey, this is supposed to be funny, you should be laughing right now.” The scene is begging you to view it as a comedy. If you can’t see that, you’re watching it wrong.

Scene 3:

Tsukasa wants Kagami to help her study. Kagami agrees. Time skips forward an hour. Tsukasa appears distracted in the middle of a problem. When Kagami asks her why, Tsukasa explains that a juicy new episode of her favorite TV show is on. Kagami asks Tsukasa if she’ll stop studying to watch it. Tsukasa makes an enthusiastic-denial moé face followed by a determined moé face and replies that it’s ok that she’s missing the show because she’s taping it. Time skips forward another hour. Tsukasa is falling asleep. Kagami wakes her up. The background music cuts off and Tsukasa makes a flustered moé face. She says that she gets sleepy when she doesn’t understand a question, prompting Kagami to quip that Tsukasa must always be sleepy. Tsukasa calls it a day.

Rather than a realistic representation of a study session, we’re only shown two comedic moments. When you take an otherwise normal scenario and cut out 99.2% of it (124 minutes cut from a 125 minute study session) to show only the funniest and most interesting parts, it’s no longer slice-of-life—it’s a highlight reel. Once again, we have a scene that’s designed to make you laugh, not to depict life as it happens.

Scene 4:

Konata calls Miyuki for advice on studying for a test. Miyuki says she studies best when she follows her usual habits. The next day, Konata brags to Kagami that she expects to do well on the test because she took Miyuki’s advice. Kagami masturbatorily questions the wisdom of the irresponsible Konata following her usual habits.

An irresponsible character interpreting advice irresponsibly—this is classic comedy. It’s also why anyone who’s seen a fair amount of comedy won’t laugh. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times. You’re not going to laugh unless there’s some interesting variation on it. But just because you won’t laugh doesn’t mean it’s somehow more appropriate to label it slice-of-life. After all, it’s too absurd to be slice-of-life. Here’s what would realistically happen:

Konata calls Miyuki for advice on studying for a test. Miyuki says she studies best when she follows her usual habits. They both realize it’s obviously a stupid idea for Konata to follow that advice. Then Miyuki gives Konata some useful advice. The next day, Konata brags to Kagami that she expects to do well because she took Miyuki’s advice. Kagami masturbatorily questions the wisdom of the irresponsible Konata following her usual habits.

Scene 5:

Miyuki, Tsukasa, and Konata are talking in the library. Kagami walks in and tells them that she did worse than usual on the test. Tsukasa says she did better than usual. Konata says she did poorly, which is strange, because she was so sure she’d do well. The background music cuts off and Kagami seizes the opportunity to masturbate. When she’s done, the background music starts up again. Konata makes an extended joke comparing everyone at the table. When that’s over, Konata says she’s not worried about doing poorly on the test. When Kagami asks why, Konata says it’s because she didn’t make any bets with her father about the outcome of the test. This punchline is delivered with brand new punchline music in a brand new abstract background. Kagami once again masturbates after the punchline. Then Kagami suggests the right way to study like Miyuki. This leads into a long conversation about blood types and sushi types in which the characters joke about each others’ blood types and sushi types.

Everything here is comedy except in the initial conversation in the library, which lasted about three lines. Parts of the blood type discussion could be construed as slice-of-life if you’d simply remove their comedic embellishments (as I did with Scene 2). Other than that, nothing is colorably slice-of-life.

There’s not much to analyze in the remaining scenes that’s substantially different from anything I wrote above. Just to summarize the rest of the episode, comedy is at the heart of every scene, Kagami can’t stop masturbating after punchlines, and the only scenes potentially worth anything from a slice-of-life viewpoint are:

  • Early parts of the cake shop scene
  • The part of the sale discussion before Konata enters
  • Miyuki’s eye drop scene


1. Lucky Star must be viewed as a Comedy

Not only is comedy prevalent in every scene, it’s emphasized in every scene. The show wants and expects you to view it as a comedy. The comedy is in your face. You can like, dislike, or tolerate it, but you can’t dismiss or ignore it. That would contravene not only common sense but the clearly manifested intent of the studio.

The whole “if you’re viewing Lucky Star as a comedy, you don’t understand what it’s trying to accomplish” argument is ridiculous. By that logic, the studio didn’t know what it was trying to accomplish either. If they thought they’d accomplished what they’d intended, why did they fire the director after four episodes? Also, do you think you’re doing the studio a favor by saying their work shouldn’t be taken seriously as a comedy? Have you ever written comedy? Can you imagine what it’s like to hear people saying that the best way to appreciate your work is not to view it as comedy? There is no harsher insult to a comedy writer. Lucky Star is clearly written to be a comedy. Even if you don’t think it’s a good comedy, it at least deserves to be acknowledged for what it is.

By the way, a lot of Lucky Star fans actually do think Lucky Star is funny. There you go.

2. Lucky Star is not a Slice-of-Life anime

Slice-of-life shows aim to depict real life with little embellishment or alteration. Does Lucky Star do this? Rarely. Sure, most scenes are premised on natural situations. The girls are studying for tests. They’re talking about horoscopes. They’re eating cake. These could all be slice-of-life scenes if depicted naturally, but they’re not. Rather than depicting everyday life, Lucky Star does everything in its power to transform these otherwise everyday situations into something greater. The humor is aggrandized through every trick in the book. The characters’ behaviors are farcical. The soundtrack and its utilization convey a mood of comedy, not normalcy. The scenery constantly shifts from reality to the abstract. Get rid of all this embellishment and you’d have a perfectly qualified slice-of-life anime.

What about everyone who sincerely claims to like Lucky Star as a slice-of-life anime? Am I calling you all liars? No, I’m just saying you’re using the wrong term. There’s certainly more to Lucky Star than comedy. However, that something more isn’t slice-of-life. There are many valid reasons to like Lucky Star, such as:

  • You like the humor
  • You like the parodies/references
  • You like the characters
  • You relate to the characters
  • You like the character interaction
  • You think the characters are cute
  • You relate to the situations
  • You like the animation
  • You like the direction
  • You like the pacing
  • You like the fan culture

Some of these legitimate reasons to like Lucky Star have been used to reach the illegitimate conclusion that Lucky Star is slice-of-life. “Lucky Star is a good slice-of-life anime because I relate to the characters and their situations.” Why not just say you relate to the characters and their situations without jumping to the slice-of-life conclusion? It justifies your liking of the show perfectly well without all that pesky incorrectness.

Nobody called Lucky Star a slice-of-life anime when it first came out. The first line of defense against criticism back then was, “If you don’t like Lucky Star, you don’t get the jokes.” That failed pretty miserably, so the excuse was abstracted from the easily disprovable “you don’t get the jokes” to the impossible-to-conclusively-prove-or-disprove “you don’t get the show.” The ensuing battle of attrition was unsurprisingly won the by more passionate side, the Lucky Star fans, as one by one the Lucky Star critics decided to stop wasting their time and moved on to watching better shows that season, such as Claymore and Darker than Black. They thought to themselves, “What’s wrong with letting people justify their fandom however they want?”

Little did they know the cancer would spread. More and more shows were praised with the same flawed slice-of-life justification supporting Lucky Star. Slice-of-life, once a term used to describe the niche genre of unadulterated depictions of real life, was now being used to describe every show under the sun without giant robots. As word of these fake slice-of-life shows spread, true slice-of-life shows and shows falsely presumed to be slice-of-life were dragged through the mud by association.

Sanity needed a hero.

This one wears a feathered cap.

Well, I usually wear a feathered cap.

By the way, this was a slice-of-life post. If you didn’t like it, you were reading it wrong.

88 people love sucking up to me

  1. First off I actually wonder how anybody could get the idea that Lucky Star is a Slice of Life series.Every goddamn Sitcom under the sun is Slice of Life then.Hell Seinfeld should be the Holy Grail of Slice of Life in that case.
    I think the biggest problem with this topic is that people usually cant agree on certain genres for the media they consume.Go take a look the music scene and how people argue endlessly which Genre a Band belongs to.
    Its actually pretty pointless since it wont make the show better/worse if its labelled under a certain tag.

    While I do understand that should have the correct definition of the term slice of life I do think that its a bit strict.Any show that would simply depict slice of life as mentioned would be boring as hell.There needs to be a certain punchline and a certain setup to make a show remoteably entertaining.
    Using that definition I couldnt really name one show thats truly slice of life.Minami-ke has always been what I thought to be the essence of Slice of Life.I mean people like Hosaka-senpai rarely exist this larger than life in Real Life.
    His behavior is overexaggerated to get a certain comedic result.

    In the end its bullshit to say a show is better worse just because its filed under a certain genre.When the show sucks it sucks as comedy as much as it would as slice of life or vice versa

    Btw i just remembered the follwoing:
    LS is based on a 4 koma manga…This clearly defines its Comedy Roots

    • People are so stubborn about their expansive slice of life definition that some actually do cite Seinfeld as the holy grail of slice of life. Go figure.

      A slice-of-life show doesn’t have to be 100% slice-of-life. Some embellishment is fine. The thing about Lucky Star is that practically every scene is embellished. Compare that to a show like Aria. It has its fair share of comedic and dramatic moments, but the vast majority of the show is day-to-day conversations and activities. Minami-ke is very comedic, but a lot of the comedy feels very natural. There’s a lot of passing humor as opposed to the outright jokes you get in Lucky Star. I just popped open the first episode of Minami-ke Okaeri and watched the first four minutes. The girls dress up and go to a festival. There’s a fair amount of comedy, but nothing unnatural or embellished that would preclude it from being slice-of-life. I also remember many scenes from Minami-ke that aren’t slice of life, such as putting chili peppers in the bathtub, and Hosaka doing pretty much anything. But in Minami-ke, if you filter out all the scenes with unnatural/embellished comedy (and drama for that matter), there’s still enough slice-of-life left over to justify calling it a slice-of-life anime. That’s really not the case for Lucky Star.

      You’re right, the whole genre thing is bullshit in terms of how to enjoy a show. When genre matters is when you’re using the genre of one show to decide whether you’d like another show. This is where genre mislabeling gets dangerous. If someone doesn’t like Lucky Star, which many claim is a good slice-of-life anime, why would they want watch Aria?

      And yeah, the 4koma nature is strong evidence of comedic intent, but you really have to judge the anime for what it is. It could be adapted in a different manner.

      • Why can’t lucky Star be a Slice of life comedy I mean it’s about the lives a normal girls and its funny sometimes soooo. Why not both?

  2. Slice of life anime is like a visual version of field recordings ^_^ I can see your point, mainly because of the disconnects; there are a bunch of little skits that aim to be funny and not really convey the moment of experience. Then again, people call things in many different ways, which is why open ontologies exist I guess. >_>

    • It’s the job of the philosopher to accept the value in all these different ways of thinking. It’s the job of the pragmatist to say there are wrong answers. As you can tell, I’m no philosopher.

  3. I blame Ichigo Marshmallow… That’s the first of the recent successful so called ‘slice-of-life’ show (aka kind of boring ‘comedy’ which relies on the ‘cuteness’ of it’s characters more than actually funniness) I can think of but I may be wrong. All subsequent shows just followed it’s formula. But at least they followed the AYAKO DOCTRINE.

    BTW, I never made it past Lucky Star episode 1 or Aki-can episode 2… Baka-Raptor you poor soul!

    • While I do agree with Baka-Raptor and his verdict about Lucky Star, I’m going to diagree with you on Ichigo Mashimaro. There’s a fairly amount of slice of life moments, unlike Lucky Star, and the humor is probably something more akin to Minami-ke. It relies on characterization more so than the dialogue; it has more to do with the relationships between the characters. To compare it to Lucky Star, jokes aren’t always delivered the same way; Lucky Star is almost like watching a Mazai comedy routine for 20 minutes between different characters.

      I digress, the show isn’t really about funniness, and I do agree that it is supposed to be cute. I mean, it’s created by Barasui for goodness sakes. However, I do feel that there is more to the show. I’ve been watching anime for a very long time now, with my favorite being Maison Ikkoku, and I’ve grown to value characterizations and “slice of lifeness” over anything else. I also love subtlety in not just anime, but everything, and Ichigo Mashimaro, again in my opinion, have that nailed down. Other than the characters, I really love the voice acting, especially Miu, but I suppose you have to understand Japanese if you want to dig that deep to liking a show.

      Then again, if you don’t like slice of lifes(since you mentioned boring comedies), then I guess there is no sense in trying to convince you into liking a whole genre. Either way, cheers.

  4. First of all, I was completely unaware of this “controversy”. I suppose that Lucky Star would be “slice-of-life” in the same way that a show like Seinfeld could be called “slice-of-life”, just because it’s a “show about nothing”. Which is, suffice it to say, not that strong a case to make. I tend to agree that both are comedies, and it just so happens that both are comedies some people simply don’t find funny — some in my family among them — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Second… it is true that two different people might have completely opposite opinions about a show and both have legitimate, well-thought-out points of view, which is what is truly meant by the poorly-stated “you’re seeing it wrong” argument. However, what is more “masturbatory” is how people have to go to such great lengths to justify why, by some either make-believe or makeshift objective standard, their like or dislike is somehow justified by the text. I mean, ultimately, who cares if a show is slice-of-life, or comedy, or whatever — you watch a show to enjoy it, and your brain doesn’t compartmentalize like “oh, now entering ‘comedy mode’ to enjoy this one!”. Some people can be so obsessed with proving that the show is “failing to be good”, when all that can be actually gleamed is that that individual person is “failing to be entertained”. And then, to come to terms with the “the show is wrong!” crowd, the entertained crowd feel the need to somehow justify why they’re not somehow “wrong” for liking it. WHO CARES?! It’s not going to make the people who dislike it suddenly change their minds, nor are the converse arguments going to convince people who enjoy the show that they’re the ones who’ve been “watching it wrong”. People only spout all this stuff because they’re either trying to show people up, or win the affection/admiration of their “peers”, whoever they are. I’ve rarely seen a case when any of this kind of talk actually helps anyone gain more enjoyment from a show (except if their enjoyment of the show is in talking about it).

    So, while I think a strong case can be made to prove that Lucky Star is best classified as a comedy (even stronger if you look at the original 4-koma manga it’s based off of), the ultimate “fight” is impossible to win. If there’s no wrong way to watch a show, there’s no right way either, and even if people want to attribute their like or dislike to some arguably-invalid reason, proving that wrong isn’t going to make them like the show any more or less. Now they’ll just have to come up with some other explanation, if they care. So I guess yay for getting the classification right; at least now we know where to file it.

    (And yes, while I was writing this other people posted many of the same points… too slow. :p )

    • (I apologize for not moderating comments quickly enough. Moderation has been turned off for a while to allow future comments to view and build off prior comments as quickly as possible.)

      First of all, I was completely unaware of this “controversy”.

      I envy you.

      The “slice-of-life as an absolute defense to shittiness” rhetoric we’re I’m hearing all the time is the result of a few sissies being unable to tolerate valid criticism of the shows they like. Sure, it’s petty, and that’s why I’d gone years without writing a rebuttal post. Then I realized how harmful it was to let them get away with this. In my recent review of Best Student Council, I received this comment: “Never heard of this one though. But then again, I’m not a big fan of slice of life.” This is when I realized that slice-of-life had become a dirty word, all thanks to petty fans sweeping their crappy shows under the rug known as slice-of-life. As a true fan of slice-of-life anime, I couldn’t let it slide.

  5. So slice-of-life is people doing mundane activities with no intent to highlight the humourous moments, the exciting scenes or even make the slightest attempt to include anything that the viewer might actually enjoy watching.

    …so why the hell do people watch slice-of-life then?

    • Natural and unembellished, not necessarily mundane. Humorous or exciting moments can be depicted for sure, but the more you highlight them, the less you’re representing real life.

      Why do people watch slice-of-life? Some see beauty in the ordinary and think it’s the greatest thing in the world. Others think it’s really fucking boring. I don’t blame them. It’s all a matter of taste.

  6. I have decided that slice of life genres don’t even exist. I really don’t consider any show that I’ve watched slice of life, not even reality shows, because technically, no reality shows are real, unless in real life you have a person following you around with a camera all the time.

    Slice of Life does not exist.

    The only thing that is slice of life would be a hidden camera capturing everyday life of a certain person of place. the Truman Show (if it were real) wouldn’t count because everyone in Truman’s life is either an actor or an actress.

    • The thing about “reality” shows is that the participants are thrown into wildly unrealistic situations. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a reality show without an absurd premise.

      In the Truman show, the directors were manipulating Truman’s actions through instructions to the actors. I don’t remember if the audience was aware of this, but if they weren’t, it could certainly be slice-of-life to them. Slice-of-life is about representations of real life. It doesn’t have to be real real life; it just has to be realistic real life.

  7. Lucky Star is a comedy but also have strong ‘slice-of-life’ components.

    There are some very good moments, like the one with Konata’s mom and their final dancing practice, but my favourite one would be when Tsukasa was talking to herself in the water. Just something I noted long time ago after watching episode 6:

    You watch her looking thoughtfully at this little shell while the waves silently crush on the beach. Then she’s surrounded by the seawater, gentle music playing while she looks upon the light that’s rendering her into something ethereal. It was more of the atmosphere that impressed me more than what she actually said. It felt like she was coming to realise, somewhat subconsciously, that she’s not fascinating like Konata or responsible like Kagami (*I think there was a scene of Tsukasa watching Konata from a distance). Staring at the ever bright light, she repeats to herself ‘I’m Tsukasa…I’m Tsukasa’, perhaps trying to reinforce the idea that all people are different and she should remain as what she is. But that begs the question, what exactly is she? Maybe she didn’t come to an answer, so she closes her eyes, somewhat defeated and manages a grin. Beautiful. There are points that I like about Tsukasa that separates her from other girls, I just think she hasn’t come to that realisation in this shell-talk, I haven’t read the manga but I hope she will in the future episodes.

    • There’s beauty in those moments. They’re just not slice of life. (I don’t know if that’s what you were trying to remark by the single quotes.)

      1. Konata’s mom: Ghosts returning from beyond the grave to haunt the living isn’t natural. If anything, it’s supernatural.

      2. The dancing practice: I haven’t gone back to watch this episode, so I’ll assume for the sake of argument that it’s the world’s most perfect slice-of-life scene. Here’s my qualm: I remember that episode, and that episode wasn’t representative of the series. If there was any episode outlying the general concept and feel of the series, that was it. So even if it was slice-of-life, I can’t count that towards determining whether the series as a whole is slice-of-life. It’s much like Akikan episode 10. You have a perfectly slice-of-life episode, but the series as a whole is far from it.

      3. The beach scene: I rewatched it just now. It’s artistic and dramatic, really not slice-of-life. You can’t say it’s natural or unembellished for picking up the sea shell to toss her into ocean. There’s also some meta humor in this scene. Before saying “I’m Tsukasa, I’m Tsukasa,” she says “I’m Tsukasa, I have nothing funny to say.” Breaking the fourth wall is one way to kill the slice-of-life feel. Finally, that serenity of the scene sets up the bug joke, though that’s not really so important.

      • Those were just memorable moments that made Lucky Star a still worthwhile show for me (despite its failures). Examples of strong slice of life moments would be those hundreds of chocolate coronets conversations that one would engage in (as well as doing things like going to beach, visiting frnds home to play/homework, just normal things), whether those were well executed, or developed characters, since the show was filled with kind of things I’d imagine real Japanese high school girls would do in real Japan (without counting too much on how real it was presented). I don’t know if Lucky Star was not funny enough, but those moments still felt as important, if not more, than the humour of Lucky Star so the slice of life components in Lucky Star still feels very important for me, regardless of how one would want to classify comedy or slice of life.

        • The infamous chocolate coronet scene is as close to real life comedy as Lucky Star gets. Whimsical observations that don’t require any hard setup are most common kind of comedy in real life. If you want to call that slice-of-life, I have no problem because it’s presented realistically.

          the show was filled with kind of things I’d imagine real Japanese high school girls would do in real Japan (without counting too much on how real it was presented)

          That’s the problem. The current usage of slice-of-life is all about realistic premise without regard to realistic presentation. It’d be more accurate to call that situational comedy (sitcom).

          In any case, you’re doing what’s important: judging the show based on what you liked about it, not what genre it might be in. If Lucky Star, K-ON, and the other “slice-of-life” shows were reviewed and discussed like that, there’d be no problem. Instead, there’s this pervasive, stubborn, vindictive rhetoric that only people who like the show know how to watch it right. That’s the root of the problem, not the dictionary. It becomes a dictionary problem when the fan base at large innocently starts to believe them.

          • I got a lot out of this exchange of yours with gaguri. I used to think that LS is indeed more slice of life than comedy, but you did a good job with distinguishing how it plays up the scenes for comedic value. Like gaguri I do think that there is heavy use of SoL elements, despite your ruling them out due to artistic presentation, supernatural elements, or what not. This is due to my own experience with conversations (often with my wife) that does involve supernatural elements (more often than I’d care to remember), and embellished too by my own ‘animated’ antics. I don’t think I’m that unusual too, as I’ve come across rather funny individuals that if their monologues or dialogues are taken as individual ‘scenes’ they could fit in situational comedy, and yet remain very much slices of our social lives.

            I am more inclined to relate to SoL as a narrative mode or device than a genre in itself. And even if it is, then it is subject to ‘internal’ genre criticism. For a genre to be declared an auto-win is incorrect. It would be saying that all situational comedy is funny, which is highly improbable. I couldn’t have been watching Tony Danza and Scott Baio wrong all the time.

            • @Gaguri

              Actually the “I have nothing funny to say” line was taken from the comedian Hiroshi. That’s an interesting way of looking at that scene, but I dunno if it “meant” anything beyond the setup to the bug gag.

  8. Wow, how a big post this is, baka-raptor 😉

    I couldn’t get why everyone where bitching about lucky star before watching it, is it bad ? yes, but one of my final arguments about it is that lucky star is bad on purpose. 😀

    But that does not mean i didn’t like it, in fact, i loved lucky star. Like you stated before, the reasons to be a fan of this series could be, liking the humor, the characters and the scenes you can relate to, like konata procrastinating all the time, among others.

    I don’t get why all this anger and rage just because some told you it is a “slice of life”, anyone who isn’t blind can see lucky star proposal as a comedy, in fact, i don’t like using this term at all, as you stated, it is overused, it isn’t used nowdays with its original meaning…just like happened with the tsundere term too.

    For the jokes and punchlines, they’re all crappy. Reaaaaaaaly, sometimes i was laughing because of how crappy those girls really are and how stupid and ridiculous some scenes are, like for instance, their silly discussion about how is the right way to eat stuff or one time later on when konata’s sensei would write a post in her blog after a long hiatos, and there was an error to the page when she posted it and when she clicked the back button the page expired…after that she went to sleep all sad…and wait ! of course ! the background music and the scenery abstractions to reinforce the joke ! i mean, WTH this joke came from ? out of nowhere they place this random scene about nothing and those who have had that same experience before can relate to it and laugh too.

    I really didn’t took lucky star seriously, i mean, for a plotless anime i didn’t know what to expect from it, so that means i wasn’t expecting anything from it… but amazingly it got better from one episode to another, and i was loving its randomness that could *always* never bore me and i couldn’t help but becoming a fan !

    As always you’re right about *almost* everything, but the “masturbatory” thing you mentioned is not a bad thing in comedy, have you never watched the El Chavo TV series ( ) ? , it is one of the most masturbatory comedy ever made , but very funny and hilarious, even knowing the punchline you can laugh countless and infinite time until you fall and hit your head in the floor, just to laugh some more 😉

    The conclusion is, can anyone like Lucky Star ? Yes, but everyone that likes it has to admit it sucks. And not gives extra excuses about “watching it the right way” or “having proper anime background to understand the jokes”.

    That’s one big contradiction though 😀

    • Don’t used to it. It’ll probably be another three and a half years before I write anything this long again.

      Ah, the so-bad-it’s-good argument. I could see that for a shorter series, but 24 episodes? That’s really overdoing it.

      I wouldn’t have a problem with this slice-of-life nonsense if it were only about Lucky Star. The real problem is that it’s now being used to describe anything and everything, and as a result, people are getting reluctant to try anything that might be slice-of-life under that expansive definition (see my comment responses above).

      The scene with Kuroi-sensei’s failed blog post was probably the funniest joke on the show to me. Though it’s not presented in a slice-of-life manner, I can still relate to it and laugh at it.

      Haven’t seen El Chavo, but you’re right about punchline repetition having comedic value in some circumstances. There was a recent South Park episode in which a fish sticks/fish dicks joke was repeated throughout the entire episode. Even if you knew it was coming, it still was hilarious.

  9. Well, if you provide your own definition of something, it’s pretty simple to prove a point, I guess.
    Lucky Star is not a slice of life… according to your definition.
    For example.
    “When you take an otherwise normal scenario and cut out 99.2% of it (124 minutes cut from a 125 minute study session) to show only the funniest and most interesting parts, it’s no longer slice-of-life—it’s a highlight reel.”
    Seriously? What would slice of life be, then? Showing the whole 125 minute study session?

    Also, false dichotomy. Why must something either be a comedy OR be a slice of life? Couldn’t it be both?

    EDIT: … and then I read the definition. I think I’ll shut up now.

    • On the false dichotomy point, see myth #3.

      On the definition point, feel free to show me a better definition, or at least a viable alternative definition if you can find one. I realize that isn’t the godly truth of the universe, but it’s as reliable definition as any you’ll find on the internet. One Wikipedia page has the same basic definition. Another had a more expansive definition, but it was flagged for reliability concerns. The TV Tropes definition was ridiculously broad, and you think of counterexamples very easily to prove it’s too broad.

      To make the study scene slice-of-life, you could cut down the artistic/directorial emphasis on the punchlines to the point that it feels natural and unembellished. Then you wouldn’t need to add filler to balance out the comedy.

    • Akikan episode 10. I triple-dog dared you to watch it.

      A few series that have enough slice-of-life for me to consider them slice-of-life series (at least as far as I can remember):

      – Aria the Animation/Natural/Origination
      – Asatte no Houkou
      – Bartender
      – Hidamari Sketch
      – Honey and Clover
      – Only Yesteray (movie)
      – Touch

  10. The only reason there is this confusion between slice of life and other genres is because the wastes-of-life target audience can’t tell the difference between reality and anime. Most of them, without any form of normal social life, imagine that other people’s lives are indeed as depicted with as much fun events as lucky star or azumanga; they don’t realize that people actually have quite mundane but productive lives. So they consider lucky star as slice of life and continue to wish for the unrealistic lifestyle these high school girls live.
    Or most likely I’m interpreting it wrong.

    • You’re right. There’s a point about comedy I wanted to make but ended up cutting because this post was too damn long: most comedy in real life is incredibly simple. Complex setups to jokes rarely exist in everyday conversation, and by complex setups, I mean more than one line. If you can make a joke capitalizing off two consecutive lines in a conversation, you’ve had a stroke of comedic genius. Three lines or more? Practically never happens. These kinds of funny jokes and situations generally impress on TV precisely because they so rarely happen in real life.

  11. I was never familiar with the term Slice-of-life, I am an old fashioned guy, stuff like slice-of-life didn’t exist back then. I found Lucky Star to be adequately funny, long and behold, it became my first comedic anime with a slice-of-life component to it. The over expansive use of the term is bothering me though. Normally, I wouldn’t give a damn about what other people want to watch in their own time, but the overwhelming acceptance of K-On! (of which many people tried to defend it as SOL, which I call Shit Out of Luck)really put that in my face everywhere I go, which is becoming extremely annoying.

    • That’s exactly why I had to write this post. The continued misuse of the term slice-of-life might not be such a big deal because we’ll adapt to understand that they mean “everyday premise” instead of “everyday depiction.” The more serious problem is that nobody is distinguishing between good slice-of-life and bad slice-of-life. If every show is being called a good slice-of-life anime, how am I supposed to know what to watch? How is anybody supposed to know what to watch? We’ll end up watching bad shows and staying away from good shows, and for what? So some insecure douchebags can achieve inner peace thinking they can silence fair criticism of their guilty pleasures? Fuck that.

  12. I agree with you about “you’re watching it wrong” argument. It isn’t possible to watch something wrong, unless you convince yourself to do it, or you’re a kid and was tricked. I have done both, I watched Twilight as a romantic comedy so that I could survive. I also watched Nausicaa as a comedy, because when my mom rented it she told me it was “omoshiroi”, which could mean either interesting or funny, I interpreted it as the latter and was thoroughly disappointed.

    I still think that Lucky Star is a comedy with Slice-of-Life elements though, and that the dictionary definition is both right and wrong. If you made a show using the dictionary definition, you would get K-on. K-on was incredibly boring. Slice-of-Life is a much broader term, and it does not need to be boring, I would classify a Slice-of-Life as a series which follows a single or a group of characters in their daily life and has no over-arching plot. You would probably need to combine Slice-of-Life with some other genre for it to be entertaining though. Here are some examples:

    Mushi-shi – Slice-of-Life + Supernatural
    Aria – Slice-of-Life + Science-Fiction
    Kamichu! – Slice-of-Life + Supernatural
    DMC – Slice-of-Life + Comedy + Rape
    Gon – Slice-of-Life + Dinosaur
    House – Slice-of-Life + Medical Drama
    Seinfeld – Slice-of-Life + Comedy


    By the way,
    The background music cuts off and Kagami seizes the opportunity to masturbate.
    This just sounds so wrong.

    • I see, if DMC is slice-of-life, everything makes sense.

      A few years ago, I might have believed that that K-ON is slice-of-life. However, now that I recognize moé (at least in blatant cases), I see K-ON for what it truly is: fanservice. Most scenes in K-ON are either patently unrealistic or grossly exaggerated to deliver moé fanservice. It’s no different than Queen’s Blade, except Queen’s Blade has a plot, isn’t pedophilic, and doesn’t suck.

  13. I agree with your arguement after you presented all the facts. Congradulations you’ve made a long article that was interesting and not tl;dr!

  14. The disgusting thing about it all is that there are people out there who view shows like Lucky Star so much as slice-of-life that they start to construe their own lives by seeing/accommodating similarly exaggerated comedic patterns in their daily routines, and making as many comedic references into their conversations.

    Oh and btw, your post essentially says that Lucky Star is more about Kagami masturbating than it is slice-of-life.

    • Agreed. Lucky Star (namely Konata) is weeaboo fodder and justification for embellishment of the mundane.

      Although she’s cute, I don’t really get why people see Konata as such a great character. Stating facts of your failure to get over anime/manga/gaming isn’t humorous in real life because, often, the person in this condition is not a moe moe blue-haired girl. Replace Konata with a more typical member of the otaku community and what you get is a disgusting failure of a human being who can’t overcome the base desire for instant gratification or accomplish objectives outside of fantasy.

  15. There is that nagging problem with certain fans who like to argue “my anime->s’life->good->you must be watching it wrong”, but another problem you kinda touched upon was that many of these people just want a quick, easy label to use to describe their shows, and thusly mislabel them. This kind of logical fallacy permeates the common language of fandom, and ends up damaging the reputations of both s’life and non-s’life shows. I’d think the more appropriate classification is “4-koma comedy adaption” or “high school girls comedy”, and leave the real slice-of-life shows, Asatte no Houkou, Aria, Someday’s Dreamers, etc. to the true s’life fans.

  16. I think it’s kind of absurd to appropriate a definition for something that is largely a eastern and not western concept. Most of the dictionary definitions refer to transferring realistic life elements to a radio drama or play. and merriam-webster are by and large a western creation. I tried to look up a Takoyaki and came up with nothing. There is some crossover mind you but by and large it is divorced from a what I would come to view as the eastern concept of slice-of-life. What is a western/american show that is slice of life? The definition is hardly referring to the topic that we are debating right now. Though we took a term that may have been close to appropriate and adopted it I doubt that the definition on is representative of what slice-of-life is when it comes to anime. The only definition I can think of that is close to accurate and as mindlessly simple and specific as those laid out in the dictionary would be any show in which “status quo reigns supreme” The closest minami-ke ever broke status quo was having that annoying Fuyuki kid move away. I feel like it is the lack of character development or overarching plot that is more representative of the slice-of-life definition as it pertains to anime.

  17. Actually it’s wrong to view Lucky Star as a comedy as well. This reasoning mainly stems from the absolute fact the complete thing is downright bland and unfunny. Unlike Azumanga Daioh the jokes don’t feel just forced, the producers intend to shove them down your throat until you like them and buy the DVDs.

    It’s pure unadulterated moeblob.

  18. Might sound like I’m spouting what everyone else seems to be (or not…I stopped aring) but it just seems like these days anything with a grounding in the real world on any level is judged as slice of life. Without further masturbation, you have succinctly spoken above, what I have felt is the truth about this anime’s genre.

    On a completely different note, I drawed you.

    Thanks for being a funny bastard, Baka!

  19. For what it’s worth, I’d say Lucky Star fits into – or at least, has made indecent advances towards – the genre Animated SitCom.

    If Full House can get away with having a genre name that includes the word “comedy” (for a hundred and ninety two episodes, no less,) than Lucky Star can get away with having a genre name that’s usually reserved for shows approached with a quantum of professionalism.
    Horrible false compromise aside, Lucky Star DOES have more in common with sitcoms proper than just the nebulous beast called comedy by virtue (vice?) of its gleefully, shield-bitingly indulged habits.
    1: What should be a single scene goes on too long to be called that after its point has been made. In a good sitcom, this is done because there’s something called a plot happening that we still haven’t seen the end of. In Lucky Star, this is done because I really think we don’t quite understand how Tsukasa is forgetting to do her homework because of that triviality called summer vacation.
    2: Characters flesh out, but more or less stay the same, excluding character exaggeration. (I wish LUCKY STAR got an arc’s worth of the main character recovering from a gunshot wound.)
    3: Non-Diagetics that are constantly telling you what to think*. Studio audience reactions, changes in lighting, “heartwarming” music chords during the end of a token “drama” section.
    4: Its characters are established enough to have running gags**. These are used consistently throughout the series.

    I could go on longer, but it’s hard to concentrate when it feels like a hundred ants are burrowing underneath your scalp.

    *Personally, I think that’s only forgivable in video games, like in a certain ’08 Valve title. When the nearly-always formulaic/static soundtrack is suddenly hijacked by a swelling, minor-key orchestra, pounding drums, and wailing choir, with that being your only new information, sound is a valuable development. A development that tells you to get ready and stop trying to molest your AI teammate. Could the studio audience’s utterances, canned laughter, tone-reinforcing music, or sudden art shifts possibly tell you anything valuable in a non-interactive medium?
    **Ordinarily, I’d say that’s a good thing. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Japanese directors in general simply don’t know when to stop with them, thinking that because it’s a running gag, it means that they have to use the same (choose two) circumstances, roles and punchline for it to work. There was one character who I wanted to die painfully by SZS season three. Take a wild guess who. Lucky Star took the concept of “running gag” and instead turned the entire cast into “running gag personalities”.

    • I’m all with you on the sitcom thing, but no matter how much sense it makes, it’s never going to happen, for two reasons.

      1. The term sitcom is too closely associated with the quirks of the live action TV format to catch on as an anime genre.

      2. The whole slice-of-life thing is an excuse for Lucky Star fans to pretend it’s objectively good. If they admit it’s a sitcom, poof goes the excuse.

      • As for number one, I would argue that it’s more due to it being an American term. The Simpsons, and especially King of the Hill, are both labeled as animated sitcoms without reservation. I should mention that it is my belief that it’s not a cultural thing, just one of different linguistics giving birth to ignorance of genre. I don’t think these claims cultural divide is especially right, because the claims of the tremendously different importance of animated media in a cramped and not-very-real-estate-rich Japan as compared to the western nations are, well, corn-fed hormone-treated bullshit, with A: the stigma attached to animated programs there, and B: how many more people have viewed, say, Family Guy, than, for instance, Dexter.

        As for two, I’m afraid I’m forced to commit the grave sin of agreeing without further comment.

  20. This is both the longest and awesomest of your posts I think I’ve ever read. Was just talking about this the other day: anime bloggers have spent a great deal of time debating whether the sky is green or purple. If you really want that green sky to be purple, fine, as long as that helps you appreciate the sky. I had already drafted the post in which I tell people that the sky is freaking blue, stop this nonsense. Thankfully, you did it for me, because I didn’t feel like finishing it.

    Slice of life is a slightly nebulous genre (if indeed it is a genre), but that doesn’t make everything fall into it. Many series do have elements of it, but that’s really just like how everything tastes like chicken. If characters live lives, eventually you will see slices of those lives. That’s the Akikan laundry episode thing.

    I might disagree with you on liking Lucky Star, but even if you hate it you’re doing it a service by calling a horse a horse.

    • Definitely the longest, and one of many awesome posts (too many to choose from). But that’s no excuse for you to quit writing your post. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be writing a long post again, just to make sure you’ll be following through. I shouldn’t be the only one writing community service posts.

  21. DUDE, Nice post, like it seriously made me sit and read it for the greatness, awesome, coolness it really was. For the most part, I agree that slice-of-life doesn’t have to suck balls and just because one things, well, one thing, it doesn’t mean other things are different. Keep up the sweet work.

  22. Another thing: Constant references to an inclusive culture, such as geek, otaku, football fan… that makes something a comedy.

    Think Genshiken, then think The Big Bang Theory.

  23. I’d say it was comedic if not comedy (Though I think it is.).

    I was most amused by its being a running ad/commentary on anime/manga/gaming in general, & The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in particular.

    I thought the intro of new characters “midway” as an attempt to draw 12 episodes into 24, which it did. Still was amusing enough for me to see it to the end. I especially liked their doing a “fade to white” ending of ep 24 instead of repeating the cheer number.

    “Slice of life”? Hmmmm. I remember high school as h–l, thus nowhere near as fun as this series.

    A thought or two here:

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