The Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer anime seems like a monkey paw situation. A cult-favorite manga by a well-regarded creator finally gets its moment to shine only to look like…well this. It’s hard to ignore in a visual medium but can this adaptation get by on charm alone?
This series is streaming on Crunchyroll
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Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
Alright Steve. Last time we got to cover your shonen anime about the ennui of growing up of the season. Now it’s my turn. Which means we’re bringing down the hammer!
And how apt of you to bring this to me, known enjoyer of both Satan and spunky anime girls with ties to oversized mallets.
Live Lizard Reaction
Yeah, leaving jokes at the door for a moment, this project’s jank was foreseeable practically from the moment it was announced, and it’s a symptom of the much larger endemic problems of industry bloat and an overextended workforce. Sure, it’s cool that we’re getting so many adaptations now, but these are coming at a cost, both behind the scenes and smattered throughout the scenes.
Seriously, though. Even as somebody who loves Mizukami’s ouvre and has a pretty high opinion of the original manga, the early material is rough and takes a while to find its legs. An anime adaptation being partially written by its creator sounds like a great opportunity to adjust some of that, but the bunk animation makes it realllllllllllly hard to connect with Yuuhi in the early goings.
And seriously, taking into account the acute threat of apocalypse looming large over the entire planet—an increasingly unabstracted feeling that I think subsumes our demographic more and more—there’s something downright cathartic in the idea of taking the reins in your own hands and ending the planet on your own terms. We all have to find ways to wrestle power out of despair, and identifying with a tiny anime girl with a powerful punch is a perfectly valid one.
There’s an undeniable clumsiness to this part, no doubt exacerbated by the adaptation’s weaknesses. But the big heart-on-sleeve emotions and the acceptance of their messiness—those are qualities I always look for in storytelling.
I liked when I could tell which episode I was on by how many eyes the monster of the week had.
Like you said earlier, the real strength here is in how Biscuit Hammer introduces all these characters in short succession, but somehow makes them each stand apart from each other, form their designs to their personalities. There are series that have enough trouble making a single guy stand out, Biscuit Hammer has a frim grasp on how to wield even its broadest archetypes with precision.
“80s romcom bastard” is also just a very good insult.
Though now that you mention Okada, I can also see a bit of her style in these characters too.
“Teehee, I’ve accepted and internalized the inevitable mortality of the world. Uwu”
Though I must defend her taste in characters. She has the Eye, for sure.
Though perhaps Nagumo’s true sign of maturity is that he quit being a cop to become a horse girl.
But sadly, for everything that’s based, there is its equal and opposite: cringe.
I do love that Animus, our ultimate villain, just hangs out like he’s wandering around the old folks home, PJs and all. He may be plotting to end that world but that’s no reason to get dressed.
This is why you can always trust cat people.
Like I said, basically everyone here is their own flavor of Shonen Protagonist, to the point where you could easily build the whole story around them. Even in this very condensed form it rules.
I have no idea if ONE ever read Biscuit Hammer, but let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me if he did and that helped spur some of the core ideas of Mob Psycho 100.
I can only empathize with how longtime Biscuit Hammer fans must feel. I’ve had some anticipated adaptations whiff stuff for sure, but there’s no getting around how all-around lackluster this one is. There’s still plenty of greatness baked into the series that shines through—that’s why I can say I had a genuinely good time watching it for this column. But if you have the manga available to you, even sight unseen, I can’t imagine not recommending it over this anime.