Shelf Life
Luck & Logic

by Paul Jensen,

I went to see Your Name last week, since I'm lucky enough to live near a theater that's playing it. Then I went to see it again a few days later, since I really liked it and wanted to inflict it on as many of my friends as possible. Seriously, go see it if you get the chance. In the meantime, welcome to Shelf Life.

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Luck & Logic

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Shelf Life Reviews

Shelf Worthy
Nothing this week.
Nothing this week.
Luck & Logic

It's time for some super-powered teenagers with fancy costumes! Here's my review of Luck & Logic.

It usually takes one of two things for me to stick a series with a Perishable rating. The easiest calls are the utter train wrecks, shows so blatantly bad that their existence genuinely annoys me. Luck & Logic falls into a second group, one that makes it much tougher to settle on a final rating. It's the kind of series that's just below average across the board. Nothing about it is supremely awful, but there's also no redeeming features to bump it up into the Rental category. In a crowded genre, bland and mediocre don't make for a winning combination.

Luck & Logic tells the story of Yoshichika Tsurugi, a young guy who once defended the human world from otherworldly invaders. His career as a “Logicalist” ended when he lost the Logic Card that allowed him to use his special powers. Yoshichika gets a second chance when the goddess Athena shows up with his missing Card and says that she wants to be his new partner. The two of them join up with other teams of goddesses and Logicalists to fend off a variety of wayward gods and evil spirits.

The script makes a self-aware joke early in the story by having Yoshichika promise his little sister that he'll be the kind of boring hero who never loses. This becomes a recurring thing throughout the series, as other characters take jabs at him for being too much of a stereotypical protagonist. The problem is that this description does fit Yoshichika too well, and it can also be applied to the majority of the supporting cast. It's all well and good for a series to poke fun at itself, but you really have to commit to breaking the fourth wall if you're going to do it successfully. The cliché character development in Luck & Logic isn't a joke, it's an actual flaw that the show tries to mitigate by making jokes about it. It's a thin line, but this series ends up on the wrong side of.

The plot follows a similarly predictable track. We go through the usual beats of Yoshichika getting to know his hot female teammates, realizing he likes Athena, and facing off against a final villain who's supposed to be morally ambiguous but really isn't. Most of the episodes start with a decent enough premise, like teammates finding common ground or a mid-level baddie switching sides to join the good guys. The real problem lies in the execution, with overly predictable plot twists and emotional peaks that are more clumsy than compelling. The consistently below-average execution adds up to a story that's usually boring when it needs to be exciting.

The upside here is that sticking to the “safe and boring” route generally helps Luck & Logic stay out of truly awful territory. While the story never did much to grab my attention, it also never made me want to beat my head against a wall. The basic structure of the plot is coherent, and the show does manage to be mildly amusing at times. The duo of rookie Logicalist Yukari and grumpy snake god Quetzalcoatl stands out more than the rest of the cast, partially because they have some cute chemistry with one another and partially because Yukari gets a fun snake pajama outfit whenever they do their Trance fusion technique.

Luck & Logic is also fairly respectable on the technical front, featuring some good character designs. My main visual gripe is that it tends to jump between traditional animation and CG during the action scenes, which creates a jarring effect that reminds me of the dance numbers in the first season of Love Live. It's one of those cases where both styles are passable, but blending the two just doesn't work. This set is light on extras, but it does include a competent English dub from Funimation. The casting choices and performances are pretty solid, but the dub can only do so much with a story this bland.

If you really love shows about teenagers fighting invaders from other dimensions, then you might get something out of Luck & Logic. On the other hand, the more familiar you are with this genre, the more obvious it becomes that everything in this show is stale. It's not good enough to stand out on pure quality, and it's not distinctive enough to carve out a unique niche for itself. That makes it pretty forgettable in my view, sinking it just far enough down to end up in Perishable territory.

That wraps up the review section for this week. Thanks for reading!

This week's shelves are from Art:

"My name is Art and I've been watching/collecting anime on and off for almost five years now. I was debating whether or not to share my collection because it isn't as elegant or grand as past collections I've seen on here but what the hay. My first introduction to anime was with Neon Genesis Evangelion and it's complimentary film End of Evangelion and what a way to be introduced to this medium. As I said before my collection isn't really big and it's organized in a favorite to least favorite manner, blu rays are also scarce because I hopped on that train fairly recently."

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As anime introductions go, starting with Evangelion definitely counts as jumping in at the deep end. Looks like your collection's in pretty good shape to me; I see a lot of good shows in there. Thanks for sharing!

If you'd like to show off your own anime and/or manga collection, send me your photos at [email protected]!

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