'Magical Girl Team Lucky Star' (Japanese: 魔法少女隊らき☆すた; Hepburn: 'Mahō Shōjo-tai Raki Suta'), often referred to as Lucky Star in the west, is an Emmy award-winning Japanese anime series created by Hiroshi Takajima for Drillimation Studios. It is the third anime in the main series Drillimation anime, and unlike the other productions, it is geared towards a female audience. It stars the female protagonist Konata Izumi and is the first Drillimation series to have a female protagonist. The anime first aired on February 22, 1981 and ended its run on February 15, 1987. After the series became an initial success in Japan, North American company Harmony Gold produced an English dub of the anime, which aired on ABC's Saturday Morning block from 1990 to 1996. Reruns of previous episodes are also being shown on Cartoon Network, Teletoon, and UltraToons Network.
The anime follows the story of 16-year-old Konata Izumi and her journey at Ryou Gakuen High School of Magic and Drilling, who must overcome dangerous obstacles and to defeat Dr. Manhole for killing her mother when she was five months old. However, the Lucky Star Kingdom, a kingdom located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Tokyo, loses popularity due to the loss of their monarch many years ago. Minami Iwasaki, a wind mage of the kingdom, orders Prince Susumu to find a new monarch, and their goal is to find and reincarnate a deceased woman as a youkai for its queen.
After a lot of digging, archaeologists finally manage to find a pureblood cell from a Shinkunated body and when they reincarnate it, they are actually surprised to find that it was actually Konata's long-gone mother, Kanata Izumi. Despite this successful find, she is coronated as the queen of the kingdom, her husband and daughter, Soujirou and Konata, also become coronated. At the coronation festival, Konata meets Susumu for the first time, and Susumu is actually surprised that Konata has developed a crush on him. Team Ankoku also tries to take over the kingdom by plastering it with destructive imagery and cursing everyone. Konata and friends are sent to fight Team Ankoku and destroy Dr. Manhole's database.
As the story progresses, Konata and Susumu's relationship develop even more, and Team Ankoku wants to try and make Konata lose her beauty by trying to tarnish her life. As Konata gains more experience, her keen grows more beautiful. Konata's cousin, Yutaka Zhong, comes to live at her house and becomes a magical girl as well. During a battle with a Team Ankoku mecha while Konata was charging the Lightning Rod, Yutaka Zhong, as well as her friends Minami, Patricia, and Hiyori joins in charging the rod. Before unleashing its power, the power she obtained from Yutaka's team caused Konata to evolve into Neo Princess Konata.
At the end of Konata's fourth year in Ryou Gakuen High School of Magic and Drilling, the group, as well as Yutaka's team, go to Creation Universe Anaheim to celebrate their graduation. During the trip, they encounter Dr. Manhole who tries to sabotage the park. Thanks to the Magical Girl Team Lucky Star, Dr. Manhole was arrested and detained. During Manhole's time in prison, Manhole breaks free and launches an all-out attack on Japan. As the battle goes on, the group descends into the Endworld. In the Endworld, where they find out Keel Sark has transformed into a youkai. When they get there, they find Yutaka's team started battling Keel.
- Main Article: List of Magical Girl Team Lucky Star episodes
Every episode is broken down into two acts, and almost every episode, either the title or the story itself is a parody of a classical story or historical event. The episode context usually parodies a movie, event, play, or even a video game. The end of every episode is followed by a segment called Lucky Channel, where two characters, Akira Kogami and Minoru Shiraishi, discuss many things about various characters. Nevertheless, they also taught morals and other subjects as well.
Yutaka Yamamoto was the initial director of the anime but was replaced by Yasuhiro Takemoto after the 20th episode due to the death of Yamamoto that occurred in July 1981.
The anime was critically acclaimed by critics. The anime was immediately successful in Japan, spawning a large fan base that comprises of doujinshi, fanart, and fanfiction. When the anime was brought to the west, the series started slowly at first, but gained popularity as a new type of audience, being the "bronies", who are male fans of the series, spawned. Many of the anime's bronies are generally college students to men in their twenties and thirties. The anime was intended to be aimed at kids and teens but gained an adult audience as well. Many of the anime's Lucky Channel segments were found useful by teachers and was used as a teaching aid in schools.
The anime has won many awards, including the 1983 Anime Grand Prix, and two Emmy awards in the United States. President Bill Clinton made the following statements about the anime:
- I think the cartoon is really funny and entertaining and is a great competitor to The Simpsons. According to Drillimation, they said that the series is called a "magical girl" series, where it features young girls using magical superpowers. Many of those series often have characters in sexy, revealing outfits that I don't think my kids could stand, but this one, it's nothing like that. It's pretty much everything we see in the superhero comics.
According to an interview with Clinton, Takajima stated they needed to get the magical girl genre out to a wider audience, as many of those animes' viewers are generally teens and adults and wanted to create something to appeal to a wider audience.