What They Say:
Sogo Amagi has spent a good portion of his young life looking for rare crystals in abandoned Giftdium mines, but it’s not until he’s lost in the ruins beneath his own home town that he and his friend Kaon make the most incredible discovery of all: a giant crystal with a girl trapped inside! Things only get wilder when the girl is unexpectedly freed. Suddenly, the mines are invaded by giant robots controlled by a secret military organization, which is in turn fought off by a mysterious being made of crystal!
That leaves Sogo, Kaon, and their friends scrambling to figure out what to do with Felia, a red-eyed girl with strange powers who doesn’t even speak their language! They need to figure everything out quickly, because unless they can unravel Felia’s secrets and learn why the military is after her, their whole planet may be in danger of complete annihilation in COMET LUCIFER
The audio presentation for this series is done up with the original Japanese language track only using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show has a decent mix of action and dialogue to it since it is a mecha show and those areas do tend to stand out. The directionality in those scenes are nicely handled with some solid movement across the forward soundstage and some good impact as well when the machines really start going at it. The dialogue side is a bit more subdued overall but it has its small moments here and there to give it a bit more oomph and impact. But both aspects come across well as the mix and encoding is clean and problem free with no distortions or dropouts during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by 8-Bit, there’s some definite quality to the designs and animation here that comes across well, especially with the color palette used that works in some greens and other pale colors that aren’t the norm. The colors are solid throughout with their look in both the stills and the high fluidity scenes and that leaves you with a very good visual impression of the show. The designs are solid with some neat details to them while the backgrounds have a good bit of life, especially some of the early episodes with a look at the city from the tram.
The packaging for this release uses a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The front cover works the familiar key visual of the main cast of good guys together over the skyline, with a good nod to the city below, that has some good detail to it but feels just a touch too busy overall and without a clear enough focus. The back cover is a bit more traditional, though with an odd choice of a yellow background, that has some key character artwork of the two leads along the left and a big chunk carved out elsewhere for the summary of the premise. The extras are clearly listed and we get a decent selection of shots from the show as well to give it a bit more color. The bottom third is done with a gray backdrop that makes it easy to read the production credits and the clean and accurate technical grid breakdown of how the show is setup. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for this release riffs off of the style of the covers and overall color palette for the show as we get the standard fifty/fifty split. The left side uses some good character artwork from the Japanese covers that’s bright and outgoing in all the right ways and with lots of detail. The right side works the greens in an appealing way with some white segments to give it some real pop. Especially with the episode navigation done with black stripes and white text that really pops against the blues and greens behind it. The navigation menu looks good as a pop-up menu and everything is quick and easy to access and setup both during playback and as a main menu.
The extras for this release are a bit more than usual as we get the clean opening and closing sequences as the starting point. The music videos that were streamed previously are included here as are the brief shorts that add a little simple color commentary and fun about the show. They’re not indispensable by any means but they’re a fun little piece that adds some needed humor.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original series that aired during the fall 2015 season, Comet Lucifer was the kind of show that had a lot going for it in the design phase. Directed by Yasuhito Kikuchi and Atsushi Nakayama based on the script by Yuichi Nomura, the project was animated by 8-Bit with some really good designs and a color choice that worked well to separate it from the pack a bit and give it a more ethereal feeling in many ways. The problem with some original shows, especially those that are playing to more fantastical ideas rather than a real world drama, is that it does require some solid world building early on in order to make it feel grounded and connect. With Comet Lucifer, we’re sadly not given much on this world or place in the grand scheme of things to help cement something that I find instrumental in connecting with it.
The show takes place on a world known as Gift where we’re introduced to a young man named Sogo, a resident of Garden Indigo, one of the mining towns. The thing that’s mined is a blue crystal known as Giftium that’s sought after by many. Sogo is a hunter of rare Giftium and we see him coming across a red one near the beginning of the show that he ends up connecting with after finding it in a deep mine that was abandoned long ago. When he runs into some trouble over it later with some of his friends, he and best girl Kaon end up falling into a massive cavern where the two of them discover a mecha that’s hidden down there and a girl that Sogo ends up catching as she floats down from above. This brings us into contact with Felia, who we discover easily along the way is essentially the physical manifestation of the world. There’s a big convoluted aspect to this in the final episode but it wasn’t seeded well and just feels tacked on, making the ending less than engaging.
What the show does, largely, is bring Sogo and Felia together as you know that they’re destined for a closer bond as it progresses, as we see the world through Felia’s innocent eyes. There are complications along the way because fellow friend Kaon is obviously interested in Sogo but I like that it’s made more interesting because of their other friends, Roman and Otto, as Roman and Kaon were actually part of an arranged marriage from childhood days that has fallen through. They’re all friends of sorts and end up being protective of Felia as events progress but at the same time you never really get a strong and rich exploration of the friendship. Felia draws most of the attention as she takes in everything, especially early on, and the most you get out of those like Roman and Otto are chuckles or encouragement to explore.
The less said about the crystal snake thing that provides comic relief the better. I hate those kinds of characters for the most part.
While there are some pieces early on with opposing forces that are seeking out Felia and the mecha that she’s able to control along with Sogo, there’s no clear cut villain or true opposition that feels real and concrete. While we do get things going to a big level toward the end, like planetary calamity level destruction, when you think back over the course of the show even after just watching it you’re hard to pin down the real threat. There are fun moments along the way, some good quiet introspective moments, and I like the interplay between the main trio of characters, but the show really doesn’t feel like it has a strong overall narrative that really defines it and makes it engaging. While I liked the little moments, I found myself frustrated with the bigger picture and unable to really get into it because everything else was so standard in most ways.
Comet Lucifer is a show that didn’t work that well for me in a lot of ways but has some appealing areas to it. The characters have some interesting little quirks of family and connections that were a nice change of pace but didn’t really add anything to the whole to be exploited. The animation has some really fantastic sequences throughout and I really loved the color choices used and some of the settings and directions from which we saw them. But the larger story simply did not connect for me and it ended with so many things that really needed bigger and better answers that it just run a bit too hollow for my tastes. Sentai’s put together a good release here with a solid looking transfer, the inclusion of some welcome extras, and a good price for it that makes it accessible so those that do enjoy it will be able to own it.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Garden Indig’s Train Shorts, Music Videos, Clean Opening and Closing Animation.
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.