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?
There are plenty of reasons why mecha anime is intriguing to audiences. From collecting models of each machine to telling an heroic narrative with futuristic technology left to the imagination, mechas are often given a commercialized feel to what is often a replication of classic storytelling.
My main concern when discussing a mecha series (especially a drama like this one) is to address the aspects of the human condition, as it is superimposed by a human-shaped fighting machine. And while there are many different directions that can be said about it, I believe that this series is designed not as a glorification, but a criticism of modern warfare. When it comes to the relationship between human and mech, Argevollen strips the Human of autonomy to make way for the Machine.
People are different. Whether we choose to be or not, people are not like other people or other living things, and we are different from each other on an individual level. But somehow, we find ways to cohabit this blue planet we call “home.”
But what would happen if an entire population of humans went out on an expedition in space and completely forgot about the people there? Surely in the immediacy, there would still be contact, but what about when many generations pass, to a point where those human explorers live somewhere else? Would we still be in communication? Would we even speak the same language?
But more importantly: what would happen when they return to our planet?
Before I get into this, I would like to say that I enjoyed this series. What I didn’t enjoy are the loudest fans who say it sucked because of the ending or anything about the love polygons or other things that only tell part of the story. Yes, unrequited love is a central theme, but like anything else I’ve reviewed, the result isn’t the only thing that matters to the series. It’s how they got there.
I would like to avoid as much of the fandom as possible in this discussion. So if you’re here to find out what my opinion is on the whole Inaho v. Slaine campaign, I realize it exists; that is all.
When it comes to mecha narratives, there are certain recurring themes. On the surface, one might expect military involvement, technological advances, and gargantuan battles between giant machines, piloted by people or automated to fight on their own. The mecha genre also offers what I call “social themes,” such as humanity, post-humanism, and relationships (note: these are all very loaded terms, and don’t necessarily boil down to something simple).
However, one thing that this series offers in addition to some of these established themes is something that I’m sure a lot of fans who have heard of this show are aware of (and if you weren’t, you know now): literary comparison! In this review, I will explain to the best of my ability what these inferences are.
The Midsummer Knights of Captain Earth. Sound familiar?