Ryu’s Musings – Lucky Star Vol 01

Posted on July 19th, 2011 by Ryu Sheng |

9781604961126-2 ISBN-13: 9781604961126
Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 153
by: Kagami Yoshimizu
Publisher: Bandai Entertainment
Type: Series
Genre: Shounen

Synopsis:

Effects of Lucky Star:  With comic strips of “loose” stories, you will find yourself giggling involuntarily. When you want to relax, or feel lethargic, or spend your time leisurely, is especially when we recommend this. Especially recommended for: People who are stressed, People who are fretting, People about to start some competition.

General Musings:

I’ve finally finished reading this volume, and frankly as I sit looking at the other six sitting here I want to cry.

This is the second 4-korma title that I’ve picked up, the first being Azumanga. Since I liked that I was hoping that this series would be just as fun. Sadly however this fails on so many levels, and I can’t help but think it was all Bandai Entertainment’s fault. Though I have to admit something about the story was a bit lacking.

Kagami’s art style is pretty similar to that of Azumanga, though with several differences. I get the impression this style is standard with most 4-korma titles. I do like this style, and I also liked the character designs. They are varied, and distinctive with good personalities that, for the most part don’t clash.

I do feel some of the other characters could have done with some more variety, such as the teacher and cop. While they were distinctive, I felt they looked a little close to some of the other characters running around. I also liked the chapter start pictures, they’re great looking, and have at times a bit of comedy in them which did make me smile.

One thing I noticed though, unlike Azumanga Lucky star doesn’t make me feel like there’s a lot going on. Since a lot of the panels just have the characters in, no back-grounds or scenery, the dialogues and characters have to make the reader feel like those things are there; this manga failed to do that for me.

The colour pages of the volume I have to admit were nice, and had a different feel to the rest of the volume. In a way it’s a shame that the entire volume wasn’t done in colour, as I think it might have been more enjoyable that way. I also felt the colour panels had more depth and life in them than the usual black and white ones.

The story is also rather weak. Day in the life type of stories can be weak, but Lucky Star takes it to an all new level. There’s nothing to get your teeth into, it just meanders along pointlessly with no destination in mind. For me this made it hard to read, as there was nothing really keeping me interested.

I like to read volumes of manga in one go, and if given the chance I’ll read entire series of manga in one sitting (biggest single sitting was Project ARMS at twenty-two volumes lol). However I found reading this volume hard, and that I was having  to force myself to complete it. This is the first time I’ve come across a series I couldn’t finish in one sitting. Reading just the first volume took me a total of six sittings over four days.

Publisher Musings:

This has got to be one of the worst handlings of a manga I’ve come across. I’ve read some bad releases before, but they’ve usually come from small/new publishers that were just learning the ropes so to speak. Considering Bandai is a large well established company, and considering the past few titles of theirs I’ve read, I am devastated by the way this series is handled.

Now, in all fairness the cover designs are great, and the fact they left the colour pages in is a huge bonus. However Japanese is a hard language to translate into english, especially when it comes to the humour, usually revolving around play on words. Sadly the translators and editors over at Bandai don’t seem to have considered this and as a result we get quite a few sentences that frankly make no sense in English. they May have been funny in Japanese, but in english they senseless.

The other thing I noticed was the glossary at the back, we get a rather in-depth glossary of terms. One of the things I noticed was that it explained one-chan and sensei. So here I was thinking we’d be getting a decent translation with honorific’s and titles intact. However that wasn’t really the case. While it’s notable that they did keep the –san and –chan honorific’s, they were also removed at times as well. One-chan was used once, and sensei was never used, despite it being in the glossary, can you say confusing!!

The one time one-chan was used it comes off as an after thought, and to make matter worse it’s put in the speech bubble:

pg7 vol01. Right sis(one-chan)

What a horrendous way of using translation notes. You never put them right in the speech bubble full size, and never a reverse translation. What was the point of translating it to english, but then putting the Japanese right next to it.

Finally we have the printing itself. When I picked up the volume I thought it looked gorgeous. A glossy cover that both looked and felt nice. a decent size making it easy to read and hold; added to a good grade of paper. Not the best, but still a good grade. However, the printing was horrendous. Have you ever seen a printer running out of ink? When it goes from nice vibrant black and white and slowly goes to patchy grey and white. That’s what we  get here. Some of the pages are so faint I almost felt the need to get my scanner out, scan the pages and the level them in Photoshop so as I wasn’t getting eye strain trying to read them.

Sadly this is the case throughout the volume, it goes from bad to worse, and then recovers. At a few points it’s actually the perfect tone, but quickly fades off again.

All told this is a depressing title and effort by Bandai. I bought it because of the hype, everyone I know goes on about how great Lucky Start is, how it’s one of the best series ever. Now I wish I’d not bought it and put my money to better use else where. If you haven’t read this series yet but are thinking of it, take my advice, don’t, save your money for something you’ll enjoy and finish.

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