Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Vol. 5-6 – Review

Back to the manga front, with some more Biscuit Hammer. This story is just getting consistently better at this point, with the story and characters gaining complexity and poignancy as everyone moves towards the endgame. The art is also improving, though it’s still a mix of highlights and lowlights – some of the shots of the horse in particular made me kinda wince. If you can’t draw a horse, it is pretty ambitious to make a Horse Knight one of the main characters of your story. But that’s beside the point – this story is great, and you should buy it. I hear the manga hasn’t been a success for Seven Seas, which is a shame, because they really deserve to be lauded for bringing this one over.

Anyway. Here’s my full review over at ANN, and you can check out my chapter notes below!

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Chapter 1

Beach trip!

Yuuhi and lizard are very comfortable as friends now

“How do you repel water?” “I dunno, I just kinda felt like I could.”

“I gotta say, this whole ‘superpower’ thing is way more random and haphazard than I thought.” Yep. Reflective of the book overall, but it works

Snake Knight has feelings for Yuuhi, but hears him and Samadare discussing her real plan

And of course, the Owl Knight is already on the Mage’s side, and the heavier dude knows about it

Seven-Eyes shows up, and the Mage whisks away Yuuhi and Samadare. Quite a trickster

It’s nice seeing the whole team fight

Apparently Samadare is the Mage’s sister, his excess power, and they must fight according to some set of rules?

He calls her “Anima” to his Animus

holy crap, really great two-page spread of Samadare punching the mage. Huge explosion, great pacing

This chapter has the manga’s first well-depicted fight. This is way better with the whole team around

Chapter 2

The line work on Yuuhi’s domain control is getting more interesting – more thick and evocative borders, and lots of crosshatching for speed

Yuuhi not caring about being seen naked by the princess. More gag-subverting through these unique characters

The faces are also getting more expressive

Samadare’s mom came home, so she ran away

And then Yuuhi gets a call from his aunt, saying his grandfather wants to talk. Running from family drama all around

“Five golems left. Hurry up, number eight. I don’t want to have the time to worry about anything.” Great line, great moment. Yuuhi keeps focused on the fight to avoid his own life

Chapter 3

Princess’s sister discussing her childhood with some dark presence

The whole team practicing as they can. These characters are an interesting group

“Smile like being a grown-up is fun. Samidare likes seeing that.” Love the melancholy in this series. A sense of things ending

“Children become adults by mimicking the adults around them”

So Anima is a spirit divorced from Sami, the dark image?

Sami’s powers growing, talking with the mage about Anima as a separate being

Sami’s on the news. People have been noticing their antics

All these chapters about Sami avoiding her mother. That’s no way to “die smiling, without regrets,” as the book has already said. That plus “adults must smile to inspire the young, no matter what” are an interesting pair of themes

“Are you following her? It looks like she wants to be alone.” “Yes, but it also looks like she’s looking for help”

“Princess, Yuuhi’s own mother…” “Don’t, Noi. That’s not relevant.” Again, great exchange

“Cut it out, act like an adult.” “What are you talking about? Real adults don’t hide their feelings.” So great

And it’s also wonderful that Yuuhi finally leaping the river was accomplished not in order to defeat some great monster, but to convince Sami to go and see her mother. Great work

Anima has arrived

Chapter 4

The “Princess Anima” has arrived, and she’s apparently moody and uncooperative and kind of weird. She just sort of stares at people, warps the whole team to her crazy platform (Snake gets warped in cosplay gear, etc), and turns the horse into a unicorn. Almost none of the animals are fond of her

The eight golem arrives

Horse knight is powered up. Again, the fight feels much more dynamic this time, good momentum across panels. Still not entirely clear what happens, but it’s actually exciting now

Chapter 5

Golem-creating Cat Knight keeps making practice golems for his teammates

Of the teen couple, the boy’s learned to create fire, the girl ice

Discussing special attack names. Everyone but Yuuhi agrees on their importance, lol

Anima’s a hungry, blunt jerk. She slums around Yuuhi’s place asking for food, and warps in the better cooks to feed her

Some occasional, kinda random fanservice

Anima’s not a big talker

Horse leading the team more decisively now that he’s a mythical knight

Chapter 6

Akane Taiyo. The Owl Knight, betrayer of the princess, who wishes the world’s destruction

The Owl Knight’s story is what you’d expect from this manga – he’s always felt estranged from his family, and thus feels no compulsion to save the earth

The owl is just tired of losing, tired of contributing to a failing battle again and again

Some nice worldbuilding details regarding why the knights were chosen, how time works

And this final ramen scene, making great uses of the characters

Horse Knight getting grenades

Chapter 7

Taro, the Mouse Knight – a “hero”

Sharing some time on the roof

New golem – shaped like a knight and steed

Taro sacrifices himself to save Hanako. Aw jeez

Chapter 8

Everyone grieving in their own way

“There’s no such thing as a strong person.” This manga handles strength and humanity in a very refreshing way

Great full spread of Hanako with her bike, alone

The hero who dies a pointless death

Yuuhi wants the power to protect Samidare. He will fight Snake, who wants the power to protect the earth. One will become the special Invisible

Chapter 9

Snake wins, as Yuuhi despairs over his own weakness and failure to save his friends

The snake gets thrown in a bag and shaken to turn into a dragon. lol

And Snake confesses to Yuuhi

The eleventh golem shows up, a shapeshifter, and says they’ve already met the tenth

The art keeps getting better. More backgrounds, more sense of weight to their physical bodies

Things are getting very melancholy now

Chapter 10

So of course the shapeshifter goes to Hanako in the form of Taro

A nice flashback of Hanako and Taro growing up, and then the lovely subversion: “you don’t look anything like him, you big faker”

The rematch against nine-eyes is fought in mourning garb

Hanako got a character development haircut!

Nice two-page spread, though the artist still can’t really draw a horse

“Snake of a thousand heads!” Now THERE’s a nice two-page spread

Chapter 11

Everyone attacking while reflecting on memories of Taro

And Hanako wins the fight with tears in her eyes