Lucky Star Copycats in Anime Theme Songs

I hated the Lucky Star theme song at first. It was anticipated to be, like everything about Lucky Star, the second coming of Haruhi and it’s very popular ending theme song. But it turned out to be nothing like Haruhi at all. After the first episode of the show aired in Japan and someone had posted the opening on Youtube, I was left scratching my head over this strange creature…

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The theme starts off with a spoken-word introduction (aimai san senchi…) and then goes into an entire verse of spoken-word lyrics (Nanka daru, nanka deru, aishiteru…). While this is not quite rapping, it still has enough of the rhythm to it that you can’t quite call it free-verse either. The song then breaks into semi-singable verse (Bon-bon, ooendan..) which builds into a full-blown j-pop chorus (Motte ike, saigo ni waracchau no wa atashi no hazu…). And just before the song is over, it calls back to the spoken-word introduction.

This semi-rap aspect of the song was just too unusual for me, so I thought it was an epic failure of a theme song. But after listening to it a couple of times, I started to like it. Not only did I start to like it, I was loving it. It’s odd style of the spoken word verses made them very memorable. I found myself saying things like “Let’s get, cherry pie” to myself all the time. I became a total fanboy for this theme song!

Originality is rare in the anime business, and the Lucky Star theme shows that taking creative risks can pay off in the long run. But that kind of success can come with a price…

A few months after the Lucky Star theme made it big, the risqué OVA show Indian Summer (Koharu Biyori) came out with a theme song that seemed very familiar…

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Spoken-word intro, spoken-word verse, singable verse, j-pop chorus, and a callback to the spoken-word intro at the very end… this is just copying the Lucky Star theme! In fact, I think I even hear the simularlarity in just the background instrumentals of this new theme song.

This trend continues into this very anime season as you begin to hear more spoken word verses in many new anime theme songs. For example, the opening theme song to the Nico Nico Douga series, Penguin Girl Heart (Nico Nico Link, Youtube video not currently available) or the ending theme song to Kyouran Kazoku Nikki:

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This is a prime example of how attempting to appeal to the moé market becomes quite desperate and shameful at times. Anime creators see that the Lucky Star theme, no matter how odd it may be, is a hit among the otaku fanbase, so they just copy everything that is unique about the song. But a song begins to lose its originally when it is imitated again and again. Those hoping to cash in on the success on Lucky Star’s theme are going to be very disappointed when their own theme song just doesn’t quite make it.

Where else have you heard Lucky Star being immitated in other anime theme songs? Shoot me an email at scott {at} animealmanac {dot} com and I’ll add it to this list. Let’s spot out the copycats and call them out on this bullshit.

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