I need to make this clear before we dive into this review: Comet Lucifer is a fun series to watch. Sure, it still has the mecha feels, poor dialogue, and that one dancing vegetable scene that nobody liked, but that’s all part of its originality.
Like the fallen angel whose name is shared within this anime’s title, Comet Lucifer is very impure, no matter what direction you take to talk about it. The anime is part mecha, part shōnen action, part tragedy, part fantasy, part cute, part futuristic sci-fi, part hallucinogen-induced animation, part environmentalist foreshadowing, and if we consider any of those elements separate from everything else, then of course this series fails in all categories! But from these impurities in everything we know about making categorizing things, I still think that Comet Lucifer has a creative side that makes it worth watching. I mean come on, when will be the next time you see melon pan grenades in a drama series?
Comet Lucifer brings us to the world of Gift: a planet similar to that of Earth with people who look very much like humans in anime today. Here we follow the adventures of Sōgo Amagi: a boy who lives at a local cafe and has a knack for all things geophysics. Coming from the suburbs of a mining town, Sōgo and his friend Kaon Lanchester run into a bit of trouble when they tumble deep into a pit where the planet’s resource giftium can be found.
Finding no other way out of this cavern, Sōgo and Kaon witness a huge giftium deposit that reacts to a shard that Sōgo kept with him ever since his scientist mother passed away. With more explosions, a cave collapse, and military mech units on their way to see what the hell is going on, Sōgo meets a girl that came from out of the wreckage, Felia. And as the saying goes, that moment would change his life forever.
I don’t want to spoil too many details of the plot, but I did feel like the story was rather simple. Maybe too simple. It’s pretty easy to figure out whom we’re supposed to sympathize with, whom we’re supposed to hate, who’s going to backstab whom, or what is the enemy’s proverbial “final form.” But I’m not here to bicker about how plot twists are executed in this series, as there are plenty of them. I’m here to revisit a lot of the themes that come out of Comet Lucifer, for that’s where my interest in this show lies, and why I ultimately believe that this is fun to watch.
I suppose I’ll make my assessment messier later, but some of the things I like about this series are the mechs. Maybe they aren’t all used for military purposes, as are the case for the most popular of mecha anime, but each design is unique and — more importantly — a reflection of the character who pilots them. Comet Lucifer is also made with a young audience in mind, so a lot of the humor plays to children at heart.
A lot of people think Felia is cute in whatever she does, but I still like Kaon best (and… here comes the hate comments). She’s not afraid to give a piece of her mind and call out everyone else’s shenanigans. The fact that she’s engaged to the obnoxious Roman Valov doesn’t really help matters, but it’s crazy to think that they’re a lot more similar than one might think!
Sōgo and Felia tend to be the characters that we are supposed to relate to most, as they bear both their strengths and vulnerabilities. But even so, Kaon has saved the day many times and in her own way, brought the best out of the main characters. And when the going gets tough, Kaon stands her ground with plenty of confidence.
Comet Lucifer has its fun moments, but I still consider this series an action drama. Between all the ridiculousness that goes on, we catch glimpses of how and why characters engage each other in certain manners, such as why Gus Stewart seems so adamant about maintaining his image as a soldier, or why Zoneboyle is but a puppet in a much bigger plan.
I will admit that a lot of these instances are very short, and I do wish that the series was just a little longer to spread out those details a little more. But one instance that is worth mentioning is the explanation for why Do Mon has chosen to raise Sōgo.
If there is a single instance as to why I still categorize this as a drama and not a comedy, Do Mon’s visit to Ena Amagi’s grave is probably it. While fan theorists might have their speculations, Sōgo’s biological father is unknown, and there isn’t enough evidence to prove that Do Mon is. But for the sake of this moment, I think just knowing that Do Mon and Sōgo are not related by blood is an incredibly powerful blow to our own conception of family, and the role of a father.
I think implicitly, a lot of people wish that Sōgo was Hajime Do Mon and Ena Amagi’s lovechild when Do Mon was still serving as Ena’s bodyguard. In a practical sense, that would mean that Do Mon felt obligated to raise Sōgo because that’s his son, and he should be responsible for him in the mother’s absence. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Do Mon raises Sōgo out of Ena’s last wishes before she died, and perhaps from the beginning, he probably felt some level of obligation to do it. But over time, Do Mon had grown to love Sōgo to fill his love for Ena, and in turn made him an amazing father. Stewart accuses Do Mon’s decision to raise Ena’s child as a sign of weakness. But seeing how he is now versus how he was as a soldier, Sōgo has a different understanding of it. Do Mon didn’t grow weaker. He grew kinder.
I mentioned earlier that Comet Lucifer is impure, but I don’t mean that in a devilish or “evil” sense. I guess I’m using a more analytical understanding of impurity, which is closely related to complexity and incongruity, contrary to purity, which is closely related to specificity and distinguishability. Comet Lucifer is an original series, and a lot of its elements are bits and pieces from other works and genres, that those who stick to very specific genres of anime cannot separate certain themes from others.
By pinpointing each element of this series separately and abstracted from context, of course it’s easy to think that this series is terrible. There seem to be plenty of attempts where the show tried to be cool, cute, sexy, strange, or even thought-provoking, and often failing to do so. Even I admit that the kind of philosophy that is introduced through the dialogue in this show is probably middle school level at best.
But where trying to be a drama, a fantasy, a mecha, a romance, an adventure, and all the other possible genres that could possibly fit in with whatever tone or direction this series would take, I think Comet Lucifer is still very creative. The fact that it doesn’t fit neatly in any categories shows just how impure the series is, but I prefer it to be that way. After all, Comet Lucifer is also about building worlds.
While the explanation is rather short, Comet Lucifer takes place on a planet other than Earth, despite things we might recognize as “Earth-like.” In terms of futurism, the anime had to essentially create a complex world that would at least make sense to our understanding of a world, and how it might operate.
Comet Lucifer further adds to the fantasy realm of its narrative by proposing that each planet is governed by an angel (or faery) like Felia. That angel gets its life energy from the planet through giftium; and if you recall, that’s the resource that is mined in Sōgo’s town. While some people like Ena Amagi have tried to study giftium in terms of what it’s for and why it’s important, others like the elder Zoneboyle turn to the resource for profit and power.
But little does anyone know, abusing this resource hurts the angel; and thus hurts the planet as well. We as humans might recognize and translate what that means to us, especially when it is revealed that a very familiar planet was already destroyed because its denizens abused these resources.
Now I’m not suggesting that giftium is actually a thing, nor am I suggesting that we should start thinking about looking for another planet to live on merely on the grounds that this planet is screwed (although I still think it is). What this might teach us, had it not glossed over the idea in a convoluted way, is that we shouldn’t take our planet for granted, and that includes the resources that are on it.
Mechas are a good way of exemplifying the human condition whenever they’re used in anime, and they do play a significant role in different capacities. For this one, they are both the instruments of innovation (e.g. mining, military) and the faeries that serve the planet’s angel. In this sense, a mecha might be seen as human’s dominion or control over the planet. In some cases, this might be the very destroyer of planets, as is the case for Earth and Anatolia. But perhaps I might have to reconsider that notion of destruction… when Felia pilots her own mech.
For most of the series, Sōgo is the one piloting Felia’s guardian mech, Moura. You might say that is symbolic of that control I was talking about over the planet. Now, the planetary angel is piloting for herself, a symbolic gesture of bringing the planet back to its own hands.
I don’t think the series is suggesting more than humans are the scum of the earth, but I do think it suggests that there is a symbiotic relationship that we have with the planet, and we are simply not aware of it; or perhaps we should come to learn of this relationship. That very relationship with the planet is part human, but also part nature, and is thus impure. And that impurity is what should be embraced.
But whether that message is intentional or that it was even received by the audience, I think that Comet Lucifer is still fun to watch what it has to offer. And for what it’s worth, it still stretches the imagination to create another world.
So if you like the futuristic and hopeful side of mecha anime and thought it needed a little more cuteness, check out Comet Lucifer.