Review/discussion about: Comet Lucifer
(WARNING: This review spoils various parts of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, an epic poem that he constructed in the 14th century. His work is regarded by many as one of the greatest pieces of literature ever created. If you do not wish to have Dante’s magnum opus spoiled, read no further. Or, as Dante may write, “turn back to see your shores again.”)
Comet Lucifer is like Satan.
Before completing that simile, we need to define Satan first. In Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece, Divine Comedy, and, more specifically, the Inferno, Dante travels through the depths of Hell and (surprise surprise) he encounters Satan.
Long story short, Satan is eating specific souls (three to be exact) who have committed the most egregious of sins. But this is Satan we are talking about. Instead of simply eating them right away, he gnaws on them. He crunches on them. He bites on them. For eternity.
Back to the simile. Comet Lucifer is like Satan. When it catches you in its maw, it feasts and feasts and feasts until your brain is crushed and your sanity vanishes. Yet, even then, it feasts.
Technically speaking, Comet Lucifer is not the devil incarnate. But it is not a stretch to say that it would have been better off being the literal representation of all that is abysmal than what it ended up as.
The anime did not start off in such dire straits. If one were to be completely fair, it was actually doing all right before hitting the halfway point of its life. The first four episodes gave the audience its lovable troupe of characters. The episodes gave lots of robots. And the episodes gave a strange world with an even stranger plot. A grand adventure awaited.
Then episode five happened, and all hope had to be abandoned.
At the first circle, Comet Lucifer encounters the ghosts of repetition. Fights with robots constantly occur, but most frustrating of all is how the gang almost never comes out on top. Moura gets beaten, the others are tossed around, and then the plot resets, causing the loop to occur once more.
At the second circle, Comet Lucifer encounters a storm caused by subpar writing. Rather than having interesting dialogue or purposeful monologues, the words exchanged mostly boil down to lots of “Sogo…” and “Felia!” These cries, as it were, are difficult to love.
At the third circle, Comet Lucifer encounters an icy torrent of subplots. Apparently there is a war that had been fought. Apparently there is a council that watches over the world. Apparently there is new science. “Apparently” because these subplots go so unexplained that it is hard to tell one way or another.
At the fourth circle, Comet Lucifer encounters boulders that disrupt its pacing. Sometimes the narrative moves quickly from one area to another, and other times the narrative slows to a crawl. Either way, the boulders are always around.
At the fifth circle, Comet Lucifer encounters a morass with Do Mon’s episode. His entire side mission – talking to Gus, then getting shot, and then rushing all the way to Zoneboyle, only to end up at a random graveyard to get murdered – is nonsensical and hard to wade through.
At the sixth circle, Comet Lucifer encounters wicked flames. While wrapped in fire, it tries to escape by information dumping an absurd amount of details, like the concept of physical angels and earth-bound seeds. Of course, the attempt is to explain Felia’s origins. And, of course, the attempt fails.
At the seventh circle, Comet Lucifer encounters blood and a forest and runners that each get in the way of the central conflict. The characters are driven by their want to protect Felia. But since they never seem to be able to do that, and, in the end, she is not saved (in fact, she does the saving) made the whole plot impossibly pointless.
At the eighth circle, Comet Lucifer encounters a Malebolge filled with various maladies. Sogo getting beat up beyond what a normal person can take, yet still he walks around as if nothing happened. Felia growing up only once instead of multiple times. The final, true antagonist appearing out of nowhere. The original antagonists turning into nice guys because why not. And the whole trek to the Altar of Abyss meant absolutely nothing since the conflict moved back to the city.
At the ninth (and final) circle, Comet Lucifer encounters a sea of ice so slippery and so cold it trips and it freezes. Here, the final message – love saves all – has its heart in the right place, but since Sogo and Felia did not have enough moments alone together, let alone romantic moments, the message lays supine rather than upright.
When Purgatorio is reached and contemplation is had, Comet Lucifer admittedly had an interesting idea: the death of Earth’s angel causing Earth’s guardian to attack Felia, Gift’s angel.
Unfortunately, getting to this idea requires a figurative trek through Hell.
In order to get to the eighth circle of Hell, one must ride upon Geryon, a malformed beast made up of three creatures: a human, a lion, and a scorpion. While the beast is ugly, it is not without its own beauty.
Comet Lucifer is similar when it comes to its actual animation and artistic direction in that it is a hodgepodge of parts with flashes of brilliance.
Looking at the animation first, it is not impressive. Besides the CG robots quarreling time and again, the rest of the animation within the show is low. Flapping clothes and hair in the wind is as involved as it gets.
Speaking of the CG, it manages to cross the river Styx without too much trouble (dancing food notwithstanding). The robots have cool designs – especially Moura’s – and their movements are realistic and varied – flying, swinging, and jumping.
The art is like an angel that comes down to help for a brief moment then disappears, never to be seen again. Most of the art is comprised of clouds and cliffs and corridors. Yet, occasionally, the anime provides a serene look over the nearby plain or fills the screen with bountiful colors. Sadly (and again) these moments are not around enough.
And as far as the character designs are concerned, they, too, are rather boring. Sogo wears a giant monocle in his hair. Roman’s hair is dangerously red hair with a weird yellow streak going through it, but at least he actually looks like a pompous, rich dude. And the (original) antagonists wear a lot of dark colors to appear evil.
The only characters that seem to receive some attention are Felia and Kaon. The former looks like a dainty, flowery ballerina with color-changing hair and the latter’s ribbon, pink jacket, and jean shorts make her attractive.
(Also, a special, negative shout-out to the ending track that plays during episodes six, seven, and eight. The scrolling effect is lame and is made lamer by Zoneboyle’s silly depiction and the cow floating on a cloud.)
In the area between the fifth and six circles of Hell are the walls of the city Dis. The walls are guarded by harpies and, more importantly, Medusa. Medusa is known for her ability to turn any man to stone who looks directly at her.
The characters of Comet Lucifer are also known to do the same.
Sogo is supposedly the main protagonist of the anime. At first, he is trying to find a red crystal, but, after finding Felia, he makes it his mission to protect her. And that is it. He does not have a flaw that he overcomes, and he rarely experiences anything traumatic. The only time he gets emotionally compromised is when Do Mon dies, but, even then, that is through a phone call.
Do Mon’s character is likewise strange. Initially, he seems like an extreme side character, i.e., a character that is there for a small amount of time then disappears forever. But later on in the season, it is revealed that Do Mon has quite the history. He was once a soldier, he used to be a mentor for Gus, and he took in Sogo when Sogo’s mother was killed. (To be fair, him shooting Sogo’s mother’s killer not once, not twice, but seven times, without any trace of emotion, was hardcore.)
His character is given pretty quickly through flashback and, true to Comet Lucifer’s form, he is quickly taken out. His departure is a bit too over-the-top, but it is his lack of interaction with the other characters – and more specifically Sogo – that make it nigh impossible to relate or care about him. His lasting detail is a notebook of curry recipes that signifies how much he cared about Sogo, but said notebook, like Do Mon, is quickly forgotten about.
The same can be said for the other main characters. Kaon, Roman, and Otto hardly interact with Sogo, Felia, and Moura because they are never given the chance since, many times, the anime splits them up into these separate groups. The characters also hardly interact within their respective groups. Roman is always spouting the same words to Kaon, Moura surprisingly has little dialogue with Felia despite being her guardian, and Otto should not have even been a character given how he almost never speaks and almost nothing is known about him.
This splitting of the cast also causes the anime to lose focus on the first group. The latter half of the anime understandably puts focus on the second group, but, since Kaon and Roman only had their base characterizations of being nice and in love with Sogo and being rich and in love with Kaon, respectively, they do not develop as characters whatsoever.
Somehow the antagonists are just as lacking. The main problem here is that are too many. Gus is bent on fighting others and following orders. Patrick is demented due to his need for violence. And Alfred is a creep since all he lives for his Felia, his “mademoiselle.” Gus at least has something more to go off of: He was saved and inspired by Do Mon. But his motivations as an antagonist are weak; all he ever wants to do is get high off of fighting strong foes.
The other two, Patrick and Alfred, are simply awful antagonists. Patrick has a single scene where he shows off his crazy skills. Afterwards, he is just a scary kid. Alfred gets an entire episode, but it is dedicated to demonstrating his prowess at hacking. He, like Patrick, literally does nothing but get in the way following his introduction.
All that is left is Moura and Felia. Moura is the comic-relief side character; she serves her role well enough. Felia is found underground (with Moura), and she is taken in by Sogo and Kaon. She is a kid, learning about words and the world around her. She even comes to like the local “cat pigeons” a lot. She is exactly who she needs to be: an inquisitive, passive child ready to grow.
And grow she does, but not necessarily in the right way. The anime has her become a teenager near the halfway marker, turning her from a budding kid into a useless protagonist. “Useless” may be an understatement because Felia just exists. She is not so much a character as she is a plot device, moving from location to location only to be chased, carted, and captured indefinitely. Also, the cat pigeons are not brought up again – more incompetency.
Felia getting bigger does actually have purpose, and it is the first semblance of thought the cast receives. Her getting bigger gives her the opportunity to fall in love with Sogo. (She could not love him in the “woman loves man” kind of way because she was a child.) While those opportunities almost never occur (brought up earlier in the “Story” section), not all is lost. The wedding they crash (love), the confrontation between Sogo and Do Mon (more love), and the help she receives from the rest of the group (even more love) expose her to that nebulous feeling. By the end, she comes to understand what love is through the experiences she had witnessed. Meaning, however slightly, she developed as a character.
Sadly, it is not enough, especially when she is so useless, when many of these acts of love do not influence or involve her directly, and when the rest of the cast is as abysmal as they are.
Thus, who is the best character of Comet Lucifer? The answer is Malvina, otherwise known as Agent Honeybee. Of course, she is not without issues herself: She decides to stop betraying Sogo and the gang once Do Mon dies to make amends for getting Do Mon killed when she could have just not been evil in the first place.
Regardless, why is she the best character? Because she hides her guns and grenades in loafs of bread. That does not make her a well-written character, but it is a pretty rad trait to have.
The opening track is arguably the only strength of Comet Lucifer. Listening to the opening track, the vocalist does a splendid job. Her range and emotion are palpable, and the various shifts in beat and instruments propel the OP forward. The tone is almost too grand for the scope of the show itself, though, and the fact that it is not that catchy diminishes its value. However, the background choir and the hopeful feeling make up for these negatives.
The first ending track has a nice first half. The clapping, upbeat beat, and lighthearted singing (the “kokoro” lyric is especially fun) match the slice-of-life vibe that the first few episodes give off. Unfortunately, the second half gets lost among the loud instruments, losing the strong start the first half provided.
The rest of the music is reminiscent of a group of goblins called the “Evil Claws” that roam in the Malebolge. One of their more famous stunts comes from their leader who “made a trumpet” from his butt. That is, he farted – i.e., he played some of Comet Lucifer’s music.
For example, a bunch of different EDs replace the first. Some are used only once. (They feel more like insert songs than EDs.) Some do not match the tone of the anime at the time. (The ED for episodes ten and eleven uses an acoustic guitar and vocals that makes it happier than the events therein reflect.) And all sadly come off as “the same.” (Their not as stylistic as the OP and the first ED.)
The other tracks of the original soundtrack are similarly weak. There are quite a few tracks, but many come off as uninspired or lacking diversity, relying on lots of piano, choirs, and woodland effects.
Some tracks, like “So Ugo To Fe Ria” with its peaceful, everyday feel and “Moura To So Ugo” (the best track in the OST) with its jungle, simple feel make a case for the OST. Other tracks, like “Semari Kuru Kyoufu” which is harrowing and “Nukumori No Arika” (without the quartet) which is magical, also try to make a case. Still, these and the rest of the tracks are just not prominent or powerful enough to enhance the viewing experience.
And voice acting performances hover somewhere below average. Ayaka Ohashi does not capture the voice of a child. Inori Minase as Moura used a voice that fit for Moura’s stone form but did not fit at all for her human, warrior form. And Rie Takahashi as Kaon had next to no chances to demonstrate emotion.
When I got to the end of this one, I was surprised that they decided to include an epilogue. It was a kind gesture, but my surprise and appreciation almost immediately turned into disgust.
In the epilogue, the anime has the gall to show me Kaon marrying Roman. But more than marrying, they had three children together. Three. This girl who is in love with Sogo. This girl who is continually shot down. This girl who watches this faux romantic relationship between Sogo and Felia that has zero basis. She gets shoved onto Roman, the guy she repeatedly wants nothing to do with. And they make it pretty clear that she has slept with him (at least) three times. It is aggravating beyond belief.
This feeling just about sums up this anime: aggravation. It is aggravating how nothing makes sense. It is aggravating how the cast acts. It is aggravating how something that starts out pretty okay can turn out so unbelievably bottom-of-the-barrel.
Despite me creating a massive, extended metaphor that likens the anime to Hell on Earth, I honestly do feel bad for something like this. Somebody on staff has to realize how messy the whole project is while it is being created. They put a lot of time and effort into this anime, only to have the return be so negative.
All of the voice acting and all of the music; all of the time and all of the money; all of the animators and the meetings and the advertisements and the promoting – all of it is for nothing. That makes me sad.
And it makes me aggravated.
Comet Lucifer is about as horrible as they come. The story is awful. The characters are worse. And everything else that surrounds it is not worth talking about. If God does exist and he asks me to choose between Satan and this one, jumping into the former’s mouth headfirst becomes a no-brainer.
Story: Terrible, a figurative trek through Hell
Animation: Bad, Geryon’s offspring
Characters: Terrible, what Medusa sees when she looks in a mirror
Sound: Bad, like Curly Beard playing his “trumpet”
Enjoyment: Terrible, certainly no Paradiso
Final Score: 1/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3