It’s a sunny morning in the neighborhood, and there’s a girl sitting on the peak of the roof. The music is moody and melodramatic despite the bright sun and chirping birds, when a sudden cut to an indoor scene is accompanied by a loud discordant note. The melody takes a disturbing turn. A young man is in bed, staring down…a lizard? A talking lizard? Who claims to be a knight?! Nonplussed, the young man opens the sliding doors and launches said reptile into the trees. Twice. (The lizard is somehow magically linked to him now and can never be very distant from him, meaning it reappears in his vicinity/on his shoulder whenever he shakes it.) Bickering ensues as the lizard tries to recruit Amamiya Yuuhi to save the world and the princess (whoever she may be) and maybe something else too? Yuuhi is unfazed and uninterested. That is, until a golem tries to kill him, and he is rescued by his neighbor, the young woman from the rooftop who apparently speaks with a Kansai accent. Turns out she is either the princess or the devil, but regardless, there’s a giant biscuit hammer (i.e. a hammer used on biscuits? Not sure…) hanging over the world, ready to strike, and she at least cares enough to take it on and save the world. So that she can punch it herself instead—“it” being the world. Yuuhi is smitten and swears fealty, becoming the Lizard Knight. Also, there’s a FLCL-style Vespa incident.
This last detail should give you a clue of what’s going on here with Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. It’s like FLCL lite, with all the most egregious elements edited out, and the recently popular trope of the apathetic, disaffected MC added in, but with a talking lizard instead of horns and robots. The color design is toned down a notch in comparison, but there’s a kind of graininess to the linework half the time that creates the impression that this was animated in the 2000s and just lost on a shelf all this time. There’s an inappropriately flirty/violent older woman who takes out the MC with a Vespa, and a possibly funny, possibly incredibly dangerous mystery girl who demands the MC’s servitude. In other words, the Fooly Cooly influences are strong with this one.
But the thing is, Biscuit Hammer lacks the coherence of FLCL, and yes, I did just use the term “coherent” about FLCL. What I mean is that there are some delightfully bonkers moments in Biscuit Hammer that are pretty entertaining—e.g. Yuuhi’s power manifests as a fried egg, sunny-side up, and the lizard’s little clenched fists are hilarious—but also numerous long stretches of quite repetitive dialogue that doesn’t really go anywhere. Yuuhi is the worst culprit. The art and forced perspective at times are compelling, but most of the time, the storyboarding is a bit pedestrian. The one consistently strong thing about this episode though was the music and sound design: it is at various points cheery, driving, moody, and epic, and it works really, really well. Particularly the Sawano-like AoT orchestral rock swell near the end. And it’s that final moment too that has me hopeful that this actually could turn into a solid series: when Yuuhi bows before Samidare (the princess/devil), there’s a flicker of genuine life and human interest in his otherwise smirky, self-satisfied eyes. And that is enough to get me tuning in next week. I want to see this MC get over himself. And also more cosmic biscuit hammers. Maybe even some really, really big biscuits too.
Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer can be streamed on Crunchyroll.