Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer ? Community score: 3.5
I knew this day was coming. Once the shock of how wonky this show looked had faded, an inescapable truth rang through my brain like a church bell: at some point, this anime team was going to have to draw a horse. Even well-produced anime made for more than pocket change struggle to make these horrific quadrupedal beasts look right, and now Biscuit Hammer’s Beast Knight conceit meant these poor souls were tasked with animating one. And honestly, maybe I’d just braced myself enough, because Dance Dark’s arrival wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t good, but I’ve seen objectively shittier horses in anime, so we cleared the bar that was sitting on the ground. Woo.
Granted, that horse also brings in a whole lot of other characters with him this week, as the show finally deigns to start building up its extended cast and actually dig into the bigger narrative. The result is an episode that feels like it never has a chance to breathe, even by this adaptation’s brisk standards for pacing, cobbling together three separate character introductions with diminishing returns and investment.
For one there’s Dance Dark’s partner, Nagumo, who seemingly shows up because we need at least one adult in the room. There’s some charming moments for him – like how he just books it rather than answering Mikazuki’s initial challenge to a fight – but otherwise he’s here to tell all these distracted and/or grieving neophytes to get their shit in order and prepare for a fight. There’s certainly room for him to become more interesting, but as of this episode he’s more function than actual character, and doesn’t leave much of an impression. He’s useful though, establishing exactly how many more Knights are left to be found (we’re at five total by the end of the episode, with seven to go), and even bringing one with him to the fight so we can get the plot going in earnest.
That brings us to Yayoi, the Snake Knight. Like Nagumo, she doesn’t get a ton of time to establish herself, but her all-white aesthetic is at least a memorable design – plus she’s apparently a swordfighter, which is always neat in these kinds of shonen battle series. Oddly enough it’s her familiar, Sia, who’s more important to the emotional arc of this episode, as her connection with Neu gives the little lizard a more prominent role in the waning minutes. More directly she confirms what’s been insinuated before: that this whole battle against the Biscuit Hammer has happened before, seemingly many times, with the various spirit beasts and their chosen knights falling in different orders throughout. In fact it’s confirmed so matter-of-factly that I’d forgive anybody who thought they missed a scene or episode while watching it. You’d think that knowing they’re on the latest edition of a repeating cycle that hinges on the world being destroyed would shake Yuuhi, but I suppose he’s occupied with so much else that a potential time loop isn’t very important to him.