The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Comet Lucifer

Title: Comet Lucifer
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: 8-bit
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 4 Oct 2015 – 20 Dec 2015

Synopsis: In a mining town on the planet Gift, a young boy named Sogo Amagi comes across an extraordinary gemstone. What makes the gem so remarkable, however, is hardly anything Sogo would have expected and he soon finds himself being pursued by the military. While on the run, his acquisition magically transforms into a mysterious girl named Felia who wields earth shattering powers that could alter the fate of the planet. As far as Sogo and his friends are concerned, however, the safety and happiness of Felia trumps whatever potential uses she may have and they fight to defend her from those who see her only as a tool for their bidding.

The Highlights
World building: Dearth of clarity makes the world visually engaging but uninteresting. 
Cast: In need of character development, or some concrete backstory at the very least.
Internal logic: Both physics and rational human behavior are stretched past belief.
Take all: This is an anime where the most memorable moments are about dancing garden vegetables and weaponized baked goods.

Comet Lucifer is cute but insubstantial. To elaborate would be to expound upon this anime more than it expounds upon itself. But for the sake of the argument, I will say that this is a series that fails to live up to anything more than eye candy. This is a pretty anime with appealing backgrounds and character designs. In the moment it is fun with decent CG fights. There was no reason for this not to be a silly, stupid junk food series. And it probably would have been for the better had it been nothing more.

Comet Lucifer follows about as basic a narrative as one can find. Boy meets magical girl. Magical girl is of interest to nefarious forces. Hi-jinks ensue until one must make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the world. Despite the simple plot, I can say with confidence that I understand virtually nothing about the world this story resides in. There is a breadth of material to draw from with virtually zero depth. War flashbacks, secret societies, crystal power, even giant robots are all present in Comet Lucifer. But to what end is never discussed. I have little qualm with a work of fiction that opts not to base its world building on overt exposition; it would be preferable if done well. Alas, in an attempt to build mystery and intrigue, story elements are decontextualized to the point of having no meaning. When the bigger picture is finally revealed, the results are split between underwhelming and harder to swallow than a bottle of horse pills.

So the story may be limp and ends on a ridiculous note. A series can shake that off if it is but entertaining, and as mentioned, Comet Lucifer certainly counts as entertaining. But the majority of that entertainment value is on a count of questionable direction. The prime example of this is the cast. Believable (or at least recognizably human) behavior should not be so difficult to portray. Most writers and directors are human after all, and can thus draw from experience of being human. Yet just about every character’s emotional range feels stunted, as if the novelty of the ridiculous and fantastic things happening around them is overriding the part of their brain that knows how to react appropriately to situations. Telekinesis is basically shrugged off while a weak hurricane fills the characters with terror. Little of the characters’ backstories or personalities are expanded upon. My best explanation for their behavior is that everyone has been left so jaded by the world’s Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner physics that a psychic loli and her robot guardian come off as passé. 

The storytelling in Comet Lucifer does not encourage any substantial audience investment. At best the show works on the level of generic eye candy, elevated occasionally by a tightrope walking robot or a procession of dancing vegetables. More ridiculous moments such as these, played up by the absurd character behavior, could have made this series memorably amusing. But of course, this show has story ambitions, and is all the lesser for them. Like many anime before it, Comet Lucifer tries flying towards the Sun. But only after it jumps does it become clear that this series has no wings.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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