When Visuals Falter but Story Is On Point: A Quick Review of Early “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer”

Carl Li
When Visuals Falter but Story Is On Point: A Quick Review of Early “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer”

A screenshot of an anime girl's face covered in a golden glow

The following article does not contain any spoilers. Feel free to read on. 

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, aka Hoshi no Samidare, is an anime that I had been eagerly anticipating. As someone who read the entire manga, I was excited at the prospect of the series gaining new fans. Its odd premise—normal people who become warriors to stop a giant biscuit hammer from cracking the Earth—is hard to forget. But then, I started seeing less than stellar reviews.

Seeing how online reactions lamented a low budget that did not do L&BH justice, I watched the first episode with a good deal of trepidation. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time an anime failed to live up to its manga counterpart’s visuals. However, things didn’t quite turn out as I expected.

Not That Bad. Maybe Even Good? 

Certainly, the series feels on the cheap side, featuring weirdly blatant animation shortcuts that were more commonplace in the 2000s. And while the manga is from 2005, I don’t believe this is an intentional callback to the early days of digitally produced anime. But while the adaptation is lacking in certain respects, I couldn’t say I was disappointed in that first episode. I definitely enjoyed the L&BH anime, and am planning to watch more. Even in this early stage, the odd mix of a reluctant hero (with some clear trauma), a heroine who defies damsel status by being a bringer of destruction, and the reveal of the actual identity of the titular “biscuit hammer” implies a bizarre, yet intriguing world. 

The Strengths Are Hard to Ignore 

I think what keeps me from dismissing the anime version is that for all the visual flaws present, the story and characters of L&BH are still strong. Their eccentric personalities shine through, and the basic premise of the series is still bizarrely intriguing. The original art style is also not especially complex, so that there isn’t as harsh a fall when a manga with a gorgeously intricate look like BERSERK or Blade of the Immortal gets an anime that fails to live up to the lofty standards of their originals.

The Many Parts of a Creative Work

It would be a mistake to pretend that the animation isn’t pretty flimsy, but the fact that L&BH seems decent to good in many other categories reminds me of something I see fairly often. Namely, that there are plenty anime and manga find success in spite of not always having the most skilled artists with the best resources. Attack on Titan is a famously ugly manga with a creator whose skills were rough at best when starting out. Yet, in that case as well, the other qualities of the manga still managed to reach people and turn it into one of the most popular comics ever.

A Fun but Imperfect Adaptation

It’s understandable why fans of Lucifer and The Biscuit Hammer might end up disappointed in the anime. When you believe something deserves a five-star effort and you only get three stars, it can feel disheartening. I’m not going to pretend that the L&BH anime isn’t without its animation flaws, but I find that having three out of four legs of a table still working can nevertheless result in an anime for people to love and enjoy. And who knows? Maybe they’ll end up checking out the manga too.

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