Listening to: Comet Lucifer (The Seed and the Sower) – Fhana (Comet Lucifer Opening)
This review is free of major spoilers, in the interests of being helpful to those who are considering watching the show in question.
“Both sought to claim the heavens for themselves.”
At the beginning of this past anime season, I began my spiel on Comet Lucifer by comparing it to Code Geass. Now that I’ve seen the show in full, I very much regret that comparison. For one, I may have unconsciously primed myself to expect the show to be much better than it was. The reality… well, perhaps I’m just growing jaded, but we’ll get to that later.
Comet Lucifer takes place on a planet named “Gift,” where a mineral called “giftdium” is a key part of the infrastructure. Sogo Amagi, an aspiring mineralogist, is investigating a rare red crystal when he discovers a mysterious girl named Felia inside. The military shows up to take the girl, who they call “Lima,” into their own custody, but a mecha, apparently summoned by a mark on Sogo’s hand, appears to help him escape with Felia in tow.
After returning together to the city of Garden Indigo, Sogo sets out to find out more about Felia: where she came from, the source of her strange powers, and how to help her to adjust to life on the surface. However, the government is not prepared to let “Lima” go so easily.
As far as characters go, there isn’t anything terribly remarkable to be found in the main protagonists. Sogo is a typical shonen protagonist: determined to protect his friends, oblivious to love, and stubborn to a fault. Felia is… mysterious. I was going to look up more synonyms for mysterious, but there wouldn’t be much of a point. She is mysterious. And Kaon is Sogo’s childhood friend who insists on wearing a midriff-baring top at all times, and turns out to be the third participant in the inevitable love triangle that springs up.
As I tend to, I enjoyed a couple of the minor characters: the over-the-top antics of Roman Valov reminded me of Skyward Sword’s Groose, especially given his preening, flirtation, and surprising usefulness. Major antagonist Gus Stewart shows promise, but his motivations and even his loyalties remain largely unclear, especially when he recruits a murderous psychopath and a probable pedophile to serve on his crack team of investigators. (The less said about those characters, the better.)
The plot, while not quite on Chaos Dragon levels of incomprehensibility, certainly comes close. One of the main reasons for that is that the antagonists come across as completely ineffective: they repeatedly fail to secure Felia, constantly lose to inferior forces (at one point, a mecha platoon is chased off by angry civilians with rocks), and fire with the kind of accuracy that would make even Imperial stormtroopers shake their heads in disappointment. In addition to this, their motivation was foggy at best: everything about their dialogue was vague enough to give me flashbacks to Evangelion.
Unfortunately for my expectations, it was all downhill from there. I never got particularly attached to any of the characters, so seeing them deal with difficulty wasn’t as emotionally impactful as it could have been. A lot of the scenes that were supposed to be dramatic ended with me laughing and shaking my head instead, especially during several instances of “New Powers as the Plot Demands.” And as for the ending, the only thing that I really managed to figure out was that the show did indeed end. I didn’t care enough about the show to mentally justify why.
That’s not to say that the show didn’t have its high points. In fact, the score for Comet Lucifer was incredible. Tatsuya Kato, who also composed for The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato, was the mind behind it. I complimented his work in Disappearance for effectively conveying call-backs to the original series, but his work for Comet Lucifer shows that he’s equally good at original work. The action sequences where dialogue was minimal and Kato’s score took over were the best in the show, and sometimes even managed to make me forget how little sense anything made.
The animation was also high-caliber. From the establishing shots of landscapes and towns to the mecha battles and high-speed chases, there was almost always something interesting going on. The designers must have been beside themselves with glee at the opportunity to create this many sci-fi scenes. (Though for some reason, a considerable amount of time was invested into making vegetables dance…)
For all its flaws, Comet Lucifer wasn’t a bad show. It simply overestimated its capacity to tell a story, and fell short in quite a few key areas. It’s possible that if I re-watched the show with more realistic expectations, I would enjoy it more. But, then again, I am a very jaded person.
To come to this rating, I spent hours underground seeking out the perfect mineral, unperturbed by the fact that the military was chasing me.
Rating: 2.8 out of 5
Ruling: While the setting and plot are certainly interesting, Comet Lucifer ultimately falls short of its storytelling goals, leaving a story with a lot of potential but little closure.