Panning the Stream: Comet Lucifer, Young Black Jack, & Four Bad LN Adaptations

Off to the races once more!

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As a reminder, I watch every licensed premiere and do at least a brief writeup about them. I’ll do full meet ‘n’ greets for shows that caught my interest enough to warrant it. Everything else gets a blurb explaining what I liked, didn’t like, and why the show might not or didn’t make the cut.

The fall deluge of new shows has begun, and despite that exciting tag line, it’s been more like a five-car pileup than a “race” at this point. I like to include at least one full meet ‘n’ greet in each of these, and it took a whole lotta panning before I found one. Hit the jump for a flicker of potential, a half-naked doctor, and a pile of light novel nope.

Comet Lucifer

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Studio: 8-Bit
Original Series: Directed by Nakayama Atsushi (Absolute Duo) and Kikuchi Yasuhito (Infinite Stratos); written by Nomura Yoichi (Eureka Seven, Darker Than Black)
Streaming On: Crunchyroll (click here for a list of regions)

In a Sentence: Young miner Sogo and his friends stumble upon a rare strain of the crystal, Giftium, as well as the feathered girl sleeping within it.

How was it? A bit confusing, but competently directed and with the potential for plenty of future story lines.

Overall
Comet Lucifer had one of those premieres that’s difficult to judge because a lot was introduced and very little fully explained. After the deluge of awkward exposition I had to handle from the other shows this weekend, I was frankly relieved to find a series that trusted its audience enough to throw us into the world and let us work out what’s going on as we go. Whether it can make good on that trust remains to be seen, but I’m willing to come back and find out.

For now, we’ve got multiple characters and plot points in the air. A planet called “Gift” and the Giftium crystals buried within it. A government/military organization mining for red Giftium and a protagonist doing the same. A girl trying to escape an arranged marriage and a fiancee determined to see the wedding through. A sleeping feathered girl who came from a crystal and seems to have the power to summon a mecha of some sort. Again, I couldn’t tell you where this is going, if the story will hold up, or if the characters will prove compelling, but so far there’s nothing to hate and a lot to pique my interest. Comet Lucifer, you have my attention.

On the Fence

Young Black Jack

Based on a manga that is, in turn, based on Osamu Tezuka’s classic Black Jack manga, this is the story of a genius maverick medical student in the late 1960s and his miracle surgeries. I’m familiar with Black Jack, though I haven’t seen more than a handful of episodes something like a decade ago, but the series is newbie-friendly, using a young female intern as a perspective character to help introduce the story.

The premiere is absurd, full of self-serious melodrama, exceedingly detailed abs and pecs, Christ imagery, and dubious medical procedures. I laughed a lot, and I don’t think I was supposed to. Even so, I wouldn’t say I disliked it—it’s entertaining in its sincerity, and the historical setting is an inherently interesting one. It didn’t quite earn a full meet ‘n’ greet, but depending on how the rest of the season shakes out, I might come back to it.

Dropped

Lance ‘N Masques

A checklist of cute girls and a boy raised as a knight given to overblown chivalric speeches, it’s the kind of premise that leaves a bad taste in the mouth right from the get-go, but mostly? It’s just boring. The director makes some attempts at bouncy animation and framing, but the dialogue and characters are so bland that all the chibis in the world can’t make them amusing or endearing. I bailed at the 10-minute mark when my eyelids started to droop.

Heavy Object

The first five minutes are a masterclass in how not to write organic world-building, and the next five feature even more awkward exposition, this time in the form of a clunky conversation interspersed with voyeuristic shots of a girl taking a shower. Then my video froze and I took that as a sign from the anime gods to move on to something with actual competent writing. Heavy object too heavy. Dropped.

The Asterisk War (Gakusen Toshi Asterisk)

Supernatural school stories are a dime a dozen in the anime world these days, as are series that begin with the hapless male protagonist accidentally stumbling upon the main girl/love interest in her underwear, her freaking out, and the two duking it out in some kind of superpowered battle. Combine all that, add some accidental groping, and you’ve got the most formulaic and least likable series on the market. I’m out.

Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan)

See above. No, seriously. They’re basically the same damn show. The male protag has a little more personality and the female love interest is a little more insufferable, but supernatural school? student battle system? dude meeting girl in her underwear and girl freaking out about it? Check, check, and check. I wasn’t kidding about that “formulaic” bit, y’know.

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17 thoughts on “Panning the Stream: Comet Lucifer, Young Black Jack, & Four Bad LN Adaptations

    • The next batch of shows was MUCH more promising, so with any luck we just got all the really bad stuff out of the way early and can start having fun now.

      Looking forward to the new Lupin, although as of yet it doesn’t seem to be available on a (legal) streaming site. That said, Crunchyroll just uploaded what looks to be the entire Lupin III backlog onto their site, so presumably they’ll be airing the new one eventually, too. Fingers crossed anyway!

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  1. LMAO! There was a point when I was talking about Asterisk that I realized I was describing Rakudai. They are so similar, it’s freaking hilarious. Even after watching both of them, I can’t quite recall which one was which.

    Heavy Object got worse as it went, so be thankful you didn’t waste more time on it. Same with Lancer N’ Masques. It was just so, so terrible.

    Though, I’ll give Asterisk one thing. At least it managed to nail the theme of the season with the failed knight. Or, wait, was that Rakudai? Dammit.

    Comet Lucifer is interesting, but I’m not sure yet if it’s gonna be able to be more than an average mecha series.

    Not covered here, but I did check out Concrete Revolution, and… actually I’m still trying to figure out WTF happened in that one. Very weird.

    The fall season is certainly not living up to the summer that preceded it, that much is for sure.

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    • Hahaha, Rakudai did the failed knight thing. The only reason I know that is because it’s in the title. ^^;

      The second batch of new fall shows was MUCH more promising! Just tossed up a post about the new Gundam, One Punch Man, and the wonderfully bizarre Concrete Revolutio, and I enjoyed all three. Things are looking up, maybe?

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      • I don’t know enough about Gundam to judge it fairly, but it was interesting, and didn’t have any knights! OPM is definitely a neat show. I’m looking forward to more of it.

        Concrete Revolution confused me, though. I’m willing to give it a couple more episodes, but the horse mecha thing and the egg in the girls boobs was hard to take seriously.

        Still, all better than the first batch, yes. So much better. Then again, the little two to seven minute shows, such as Kagewani, Komori san, and Hakone chan, were better than those. :p

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      • Haven’t watched any of the shorts yet, but I’ll have to check them out once I get a moment to breathe! And you’re totally right, Concrete Revolutio is impossible to take seriously, but I sort of think that’s intentional. Or at least it’s part of why I enjoyed it, anyway. All-out absurdity frequently works for me, especially if it exists in a world as colorful and action-packed as this one. If nothing else the creative team seems to know what they’re doing visually, so I’m hoping the writing team will prove that they do, too.

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  2. It’s like a full-blown-infection, all these light novel adaptations. All with the same characters with the same designs and the same personalities and the same old argument. I like to call them ‘clones’, because… well, they actually are (my thesis is that the original clone and source of infection was Shakugan no Shana). The last ‘clone season’ was last winter (5 of the 17 shows I watched).

    I’m really happy with the new Black Jack series. He’s one of my favourite Tezuka’s characters and, oh boy, now he’s ripped! Count me in!

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    • Hahaha, he is at that! XD

      My only hope with all the cut-n-paste LN adaptations is that if studios adapt them quickly enough, they’ll run out of material and then we won’t have to watch any for AT LEAST a couple seasons.

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      • George Orwell describes in ‘1984’ a machine that writes the same novel over and over again, making slight variations in the situations, the dialogues and the characters. I think Harlequin built such machine in the 1980s, and Dengeki Bunko bought it and installed it in their basement.

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  3. Black Jack adaptations are weird. I absolutely adore the manga, as it was capable of combining zany comedy and srs bzns perfectly (well, it IS Tezuka), but the anime adaptations, oh boy. Never quite enjoyed them, there’s always something not right about them. OVA is hilariously super serious at all times, almost completely throws Pinoko out and invites Dr. Kiriko (an episodic manga character AT BEST. I think he showed up a total of three times there?) to be the main antagonist almost. The TV series does some things better than the manga (I was really happy with how they handled a certain story. they absolutely turned its message upside down and it fit BJ’s character just way better) but ultimately its just too kid-friendly to work as good as manga. No operations shown, for example, which is a big let down for me.
    And now there’s this, BJ the bishie ver. :0 I don’t want to judge the series I never seen, but I’ll just presume they won’t use Tezuka style in art or storytelling, ever. Which wouldn’t be right. The thing I love about Tezuka character the most, Black Jack in particular, is that he’s not the cool suave anti-hero twenty four seven. There had been a handful of times when he was in a silly dumb cartoony situations and made a lot of weird faces, which is just really cool actually… in the most adaptations, he’s more cool, sure, but just a lot flatter. So yeah :U

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