First Look: Comet Lucifer

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Anime Original by 8bit
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Sōgo is a young boy living in the mining town of Garden Indigo who loves to collect rare crystals. One day, while helping his friend Kaon escape her unwanted fiancee, the pair crash into an underground cavern where they uncover a mysterious white haired girl.

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Zigg’s verdict: Hidden Gem

There’s nothing particularly outstanding about Comet Lucifer – it’s treading a well worn path that many other shows have trodden before it. Young boy on the cusp of adolescence, small town with blue skies, tomboy childhood friend, mysterious power from within the earth, McGuffin girl. Oh an giant robots of course. Thing is though, there’s nothing wrong with that formula, and in fact it’s pretty refreshing to see something so unambiguously upbeat, bright and family friendly after we’ve waded through a mountain of garbage in recent seasons.

8bit, who cut their teeth on Infinite Stratos, are clearly trying to move up in the world with their first original project and based on this first episode I’d say they’re doing a good job of it. Art is bright and engaging, character designs are great, and though the animation is clearly limited in places, they’re trying hard. Particular praise goes to the extremely good integration of CGI with the hand-drawn animation, which helps because there’s a lot of it. Sogo and Kaon seem like engaging protagonists and their haphazard race against Kaon’s fiancee in his ridiculously phallic hot rod is an obvious episode highlight. I think a lot will hinge on how adorable/insufferable mysterious crystal girl is, but this was a strong opener and something of a delightful throwback.

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Aqua’s verdict: Rock Solid

Did somebody say Eureka Seven? From its boy-meets-girl-born-from-a-crystal setup over its tropical meditteranean setting to its stubborn insistence on having mechs show up wherever possible, Comet Lucifer smells like a Bones anime from the early noughties. This is by no means a bad thing. It’s almost refreshing to see the main character crashing into his tomboyish — dressed in a crop top and daisy dukes, of course — childhood friend without his hands anywhere near her breasts, to watch her get embarrassed when they’re getting to close without punching him the face, and to witness a mysterious McGuffin girl being brought into the world with some actual clothes on. Aside from its smart looks, Comet Lucifer‘s accessibility earns it a lot of goodwill out of the box, though luckily there’s more that makes it good aside from the fact that it isn’t the worst thing in the universe.

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Comet Lucifer — in fact, we’ve seen this kind of show before, and we’ve seen it fall to miserable bits far too often (Fractale, Galilei Donna, Captain Blurgh) to justify giving it the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, I cannot deny I had a good time with Comet Lucifer. With the farcical race against Kaon’s fiancé and his phallic hot rod as a clear standout moment, this first episode was a fast-paced, quick-witted, and ultimately highly enjoyable romp. While the universe doesn’t seem particularly endearing, Comet Lucifer decides to let the visuals do its exposition for it — and I’d rather have a somewhat superficially pretty futuristic setting like this one than an elaborate world that needs dozens of jargon terms and minutes of bare exposition to sell itself. Comet Lucifer doesn’t have much of that, and when it does, the context immediately clarifies what people are talking about. That is how you do writing.

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Does Comet Lucifer deserve our praise, then, for its greatest virtues being not committing the sins many other anime commit? Not really, honestly, though it serves as a nice throwback to the kinds of tropes anime embraced before it overdosed on them. If this somewhat generic opening episode indeed serves as a way to ease viewers into a story more complex and original than it lets on, we could be having a rock solid adventure on our hands. If not, at least it, in this era of one cookie-cutter light novel adaptation after another, reminded us of an age-old creed to live by: Whether its in politics, conflicts, relationships or teen sci-fi adventure anime, there is always another way.

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Gee’s verdict: Average

And the winner of this season’s Glorio Majestic Prince Award for Excellence in Mediocrity goes to Comet Lucifer. There’s absolutely nothing about this show that’s particularly noteworthy or interesting, but it does everything with a degree of competence that makes it stand above most of its peers. Even its CG mecha action is notably decent, but not amazing. And I’ll grant that it’s not too heavy on the exposition so that’s nice too. There are glimmers of something more interesting here, such as the unique mecha designs showcased so far and that one guy with his silly car. I dunno man, if you noticed how bad Heavy Object was or if Iron Blooded Orphans didn’t have enough waifus or something, I guess you could watch this.

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