Alternative title(s): Hoshi no Samidare, The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer
Manga Adaptation by NAZ
Streaming on Crunchyroll
Deadbeat college student Amamiya Yuuhi wakes up one morning to find a talking lizard on his bed. It proclaims that his destiny is to join up with the other Beast Knights and protect the Princess (who turns out to also be his next door neighbor, Asahina Samidare), lest the gigantic Biscuit Hammer fall and smash the entire planet. Though indifferent over the fate of the world, Yuuhi swears to follow Samidare after she declares that the Biscuit Hammer won’t destroy Earth; she will.
Iro’s verdict: Read the Manga Instead
Biscuit Hammer is one of my top two favorite manga, alongside Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou; if literally anyone is the target audience for this show, it’s me. So trust me when I say they really screwed this one up. I would not hesitate to say that other than the voice work, the only redeeming quality about this adaptation is that it might cause people to look up the source material. It’s visually muddy (it feels like there’s some kind of gross, fuzzy filter on top of the entire show) with a drab color palette. The golem in particular looks atrocious, with a disgusting “stone” texture rather than the clay colors of the manga pages, and the brief battle against it is so phoned-in as to be comedic. The music is devoid of personality, which is particularly galling in a series named after a Pillows song. Reports are that the show is aiming for two cours to adapt 65 monthly-size chapters; the pacing is accordingly rushed and tramples over the slow mood that’s critical to building up the emotional payoffs in the second half of the story. Everything about this production is an embarrassment. They just don’t fucking care.
Zigg’s verdict: Fallen Angel
While not perfect, the Biscuit Hammer manga is a terrific piece of work, suffused with author Satoshi Mizukami’s trademark humour and humanism. It manages to be both a great battle adventure and a slightly more thoughtful than you’d expect meditation on personalities and heroism, with a sort of gentle melancholic atmosphere that’s hard to describe and even harder to achieve.
What’s most upsetting about this adaptation then, is not that it’s spectacularly bad, though make no mistake it absolutely is. What’s most upsetting is that they didn’t even seem to try to capture any of the atmosphere or emotion. It’s obvious the show has absolutely no money devoted to it at all, but even within that wretched envelope a bunch of bad creative decisions have been made, like the choice to douse the colour palette in a series of drab browns and oranges, so everything looks like you’re viewing it through sludge coloured filters. The shot choices are equally uninspired, mostly combining extremely basic blocking with classic money-saving techniques like panning stills. The only memorable images are straight lifts from manga panels, which sometimes work in the animated medium and sometimes don’t, but there’s scant effort to make them match. The entire thing feels like homework scribbled out at 3AM the day before the deadline.
That’s a shame, because the awful trappings cant completely obliterate the fun and quirkiness of the original premise. I think that in better hands even a production so obviously starved of investment could have worked on some level, but clearly NAZ and the production committee have decided it’s better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.
Gee’s verdict: No Seriously, Just Read the Damn Manga
It can’t be overstated how much of the Glorio DNA is inextricably tied to Satoshi Mizukami’s cult classic, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. In a lot of ways it’s emblematic of everything we’ve always loved about Japanese media. It’s charmingly rough around the edges, deeply earnest, and above all, built on a foundation of likeable and compelling characters. It’s the kind of work that embodies all the classic tropes, but does them with unparalleled execution. So it’s a shame that the anime seems to be such a low effort production. I try not to hold anime studios with too much contempt when they fail to meet lofty expectations, after all these are often difficult productions with neither the time or money that they may deserve. However, what’s particularly egregious about this anime is the the complete lack of effort to even try and evoke the tone and vibe of the original work. It would be one thing if this anime was merely incompetent in its execution, but even in its intentional choices, it seems to be asleep at the wheel. It’s rare we get an anime that just fails on every conceivable level, from the visuals to the sound to the pacing of the story. It’s unfortunate, because the original Biscuit Hammer manga is a work with so much heart, that to create something this lifeless is frankly insulting. Satoshi Mizukami deserves better than this.
Euri’s verdict: …why?
I read this manga for the first time only a few weeks ago, and while I don’t have the same reverence for it that other folks on the blog do, the anime adaptation really is out here catering to no one. I can’t quite get over just how much the backgrounds and characters do not match up – you’ll have scenery which looks washed out with characters that look like they’ve just been slapped in there instead of being drawn to fit the scene. The colours are dull, the animations are ass and I can’t help but wonder what the point of this adaptation is. I’m genuinely shocked that Noi and the golems are not CG given the state of everything else, not that what we got is much better.
On the tiniest of positives they did cut out the panty shot, though they also changed the following conversation and made it worse for no explicable reason too. There’s enough trash out this season that I can see this surviving on some people’s watch lists, but just know there’s a better version out there.
Artemis’ verdict: Weak Sauce
I haven’t read the manga and only know of its existence because the rest of the Glorio crew won’t shut up about it. I bring this point up purely to emphasize how disappointing the show must truly be to those who were actually invested going in. As for my first impressions – yeah, it’s pretty bad. The artwork looks incredibly flat and one-note, the animation itself is sorely limited, and the writing and general execution make it feel like this was an anime originally created sometime in the mid-90s, complete with a poorly timed panty shot joke. That kinda sucks because I think the core premise has some potential, but unfortunately, everything else about Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer seems like a botch-job. It won’t make you laugh. It won’t make you excited. Best-case scenario, you’ll just be bored.
Peter’s verdict: Low quality anime meet low quality response
2 thoughts on “First Look: Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer”
The only Mizukami manga I’ve read is “Spirit Circle” which I really enjoyed, and I read that off the back of watching “Planet With” which he wrote.
I’d read lots of good things about the manga for this one, but the show had the look and feel of something from decades ago, and I get the sense that many manga readers wanting more anime based on Mizukami’s works were yelling ‘Damn you Monkey’s Paw!” after this first episode aired.
Yeah, definitely not happy about this situation. I’d say it’s worth reading the Biscuit Hammer manga as well as Sengoku Youko, if you can.