Toradora and Lucky Star – Welcome Back To Anime, Digital Boy!

On monday, I began a quest. For I knew it had been too long. Since early September, I had only completed 3 anime, two of which were rewathches. I watched various episodes of random shows here and there, as well as in October the first episodes of all the currect season shows, but no further into those series. What was happening to me? Why was I watching so little anime? Moreover, I was growing more and more elitist. The silly and cliche shows I would once have loved were now losing their standing to me, and what’s more I was getting descriminatory toward moe for no viable reason. Last weekend I had a revalation – what the fuck? My entire foundation as an otaku is based around moe. I fucking LOVE moe! And I fucking love anime!!! And that’s when I knew what I must do. I would have a 7-day moe marathon. My schedule for this marathon changed many times as well as what shows would be watched, but in the end I got te perfect combination that I needed. Unfortunately for you, I can’t tell you about any of that yet. At the end of this week I plan to take my findings from all the moe anime and do a massive thesis which will be insanely awesome. In the meantime, though, here is a related story.

While my moe marathon continued to burn with the desire to finish because I wanted to write a thesis, the original purpose was to reunite myself with my former otaku. I have no idea where he had gone. The combination double-hit of Otaku no Video and Otakon had, for a while, made me more otaku than ever before, but for a while there I was lacking. My moe marathon did just the trick. It began with Air, which was much better than I expected to remember and was definitely a refreshing dip of my feet into the waters of moe to get my marathon started. However, it was two shows to come next that would make me remember what being an otaku was all about.

The first and most important, which ought to be obvious if you’re looking at my front page at all, is Toradora. It’s been a bit since I’ve had a show I could really fawn over, and it’s been longer still since it was a show I was caught up on. There are plenty of great shows airing this season, but Toradora is the only perfect show airing this season. I never thought I’d say this about a purely moe or romantic comedy anime. Toradora is absolutely fucking incredible, amazing, and perfect. The characters are interesting, deep, and I care about all of them. The animation is top-notch. Pacing is flawless. Funny jokes. Touching moments. Voice acting! Opening theme! Delicious flat chest!!! I cannot open my mouth in complaint about Toradora. How could I? Okay, here’s what I can come up with. Episode 4 was a little slow. And maybe the music doesn’t stand out. That’s pretty much all i can come up with. I never, ever thought I’d be saying this about a straight-up romantic comedy, but this is shooting for a top spot on my favorites list. I’m flabbergasted.

And it’s reintroduced me to things I’d forgotten about. Like anime songs! you see over these past months I’ve been obsessed with music more than ever, and aside from weird shit like Kuusou Rumba, I’ve been neglecting anime songs. I was like ‘fuck that Jpop bullshit.’ Then came Pre-preperation, the Toradora op. I listened to it on youtube. And then I did again. And again. Fed up with the inability to loop, I headed over to Nico and looped the song for 3 fucking hours. I can’t even remember the last time I listened to a song that many times in a row.

And then we have the final piece of this puzzle – the thing that said ‘hey, see how you’re obsessed with Toradora? We can explain that. You… are an otaku. Here’s what you should do.’ And this came from Lucky Star. For those of you who were here in the beginning (TheBigN) you might remember that Lucky Star was one of the first shows I blogged. I did so up until episode 11 where I got really bored, took a break from anime, and never resumed. I then marathoned the show with my best friend (who at the time I had only known for about a month or two) in about October last year.

Even though I always remembered most of what happened in Luck Star, and the show felt the exact same, somehow this viewing experience was one-hundred percent different. I know this because the first time I watched LS I thought it was ‘good but not great’ and it’s sat outside my favorites list for a long time. My second watching was nothing like that. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe that this show wasn’t on my favorites list. I put it next to Haruhi in my top 20. And I will explain why. Once again, I was watching the show with my best friend (much closer at this point, it’s No Name, by the way) who has now officially seen the show 5 times total and we had a fucking blast. Every single time we saw a poster or figure in the background we paused to figure out what it was. Any references we couldn’t get were immediately googled. The ones we did get warranted immense bouts of laughter. I knew all the voice actors by heart now. I knew all the background info on the show. Over the past year, I’d learned the lyrics to all of Shiraishi Minoru’s songs (hes my hero.) We also watched it with my brother who’s long looked forward to it and had a damn blast finally seeing it (especially since he was well acquainted with Minoru-sama). Oh, and we’d all since seen the original Anime Taichou video like 5 times so any appearance of his in the show warranted fist pumping and going nuts.

We ate copious snacks, drank shittons of Mountain Dew, and finished the show at 3 AM (I actually haven’t gone to sleep yet). It also helps that my parents are on vacation leaving the house ripe for yelling every time the creepy cake shop lady showed up and gawking at the 70-inch HD-tv in front of us. By the end, we were all battle scarred and weary from so long a quest, but we were also full of the spirit of Lucky Star. I think manly tears were shed in the beautiful light of the full stage performance of motteke sailor fuku.

Lucky Star had far transcended merely an anime watching experience – it is tied so deeply into the fundamentals of today’s otakudom and my own otakudom that it is an all-encompassing beast. When I watched it, I felt at one with the anime universe, and I felt like I could watch the show forever…

But even more importantly, I felt like an otaku. I felt like it was time to find a way to buy that Horo figure. I felt like it was time to catch up on the current season. I felt like it was time to memorize every line of dialog in my favorite shows (5 watches would do it prolly). I felt like (having seen Konata with a PS2 controller so often) playing some video games (and of course right afterward No Name and I played Arcana Heart for about an hour and I daresay started to get a little good at it.) I felt like hey, I’m a motherfucking otaku. That’s what I want to be – that’s who I am – and that’s who I’m going to be.

Now if you excuse me, I have to finish Aria and rewatch the 10 currently aired episodes of Toradora.

9 thoughts on “Toradora and Lucky Star – Welcome Back To Anime, Digital Boy!

  1. Great post. I love Lucky Star for many of the reasons you’ve stated here. I’m quite new to moe so I’m still finding my way around the subject (not that this stops me from enjoying it).

    It always feels good for me to witness ‘coming home’ stories like this post and when people meet themselves again as otaku. I’ve posted something tangentially related, and I feel this post is inadvertently, an awesome response.

  2. I don’t quite know how to put Toradora‘s goodness into words. It’s a kind of . . . amiable love story? Like, if it was a person, it’d go to the pub with you. I guess maybe your point about caring for all of the characters gets close to the heart of the matter: it’s a story about funny people navigating their feelings, and it’s done very well.

    Love the idea of a Mountain Dew-fueled marathon, too. Must try that sometime.

  3. Awesome post. Good you found your way back into anime again. Even though I’m not as big of an otaku as you and everyone else in the blogosphere I am as well making my way back into anime. Mainly started out of boredom, but you have to start somewhere, and after reading this post it definitely brings back memories of the good times we had while watching anime.

    ANIME FOREVER!!!!!!!!!

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