What makes Lucky Star worthwhile is that it epitomizes the “nothing happens” anime and still brims with characterization. Each scene focuses on the characters expressing their respective personalities and exploring the group dynamic–creating a cast so compelling that its lack of a serious plot feels irrelevant.
I’m not trying to copy Mother’s Basement, but Lucky Star’s OP really captures its intentions. It begins with a few seconds of the main cast (Konata, Tsukasa, Kagami(<3) and Miyuki) talking about starting the song, with Kagami finally getting fed up and yelling at them to just start already. Not only does this clip characterize Kagami as the one with a short fuse, but it foreshadows the meandering nature of the show by placing “pointless” conversation up front. It’s the anime equivalent of the phrase “without further ado”. The rest of the OP mostly shows characters dancing in random locations while singing nonsensical lyrics, further driving home the anime’s essence.
The first actual scene rockets out of the starting gate with Konada winning a school race. When asked why she doesn’t join any sports teams by Tsukasa, we learn that it’s because she wouldn’t want to miss her primetime anime–cluing us in on Konada’s priorities and introducing Tsukasa’s lovable way of revering her friends.
Following this is the famous five-minute food discussion scene, which is exactly what it sounds like, in which we are introduced to the intelligent and scientific Miyuki. As Konada eats a chocolate cornet by biting one side and licking the resulting ooze from the other ad infinitum, Miyuki gently suggests that she cut off the small end to dip in the fat end as she eats. Tsukasa, predictably amazed by Miyuki, prompts her to explain more of her eating techniques. Miyuki goes on to explain that she eats a creampuff by using the lid to scoop off any excess cream and that she follows a normal distribution when eating a strawberry “keiki”. This scene is what really sets the precedent of “no plot” and almost serves as a warning sign to those who desire it to get out while they can. More importantly, though, it shows how precise and thoughtful Miyuki is while characterizing Tsukasa’s reverence and showing that these characters are not just interested in talking but deeply involved in each others’ ideas and personalities.
I’ve been implying that, even though Lucky Star is good, it’s not for everyone, and I stand by that completely. Those who don’t like it may even be moe fans, because the story is all about the characters’ personalities and dynamics and not much else. All but the staunchest plot ascetics may be put off by it, so be warned.
In the end, though, Lucky Star shouldn’t be remembered for what it lacks, but what it does so well. That is, Konata, Tsukasa, Miyuki and Kagami.