No Way! I Want Something Cooler.
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Post-Apocalyptic, Seinen, Action
- Airing Date : October 2017 – December 2017
- Studios : Orange
Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Houseki no Kuni opens with us meeting Phosphophyllite aka Phos, who as the youngest of all of the gems, has a job. They will be in charge of cataloguing everything that they see on the island that they live on. Phos is not only the youngest, but also one of the weakest as they are not able to fight. The other gems that Phos finds themselves surrounded by are well-known gems such as Jade, Diamond, Bort, Amethyst and more. Each of the gems has taken on a female appearance with the use of male pronouns and ways of speaking, however, they are all genderless. Their distinctive characteristics are their eyes and hair which reveal the colors of their gems.
The gems live alone with Kongou-sensei, an individual of great power, who needs rest often and he teaches the gems what he knows about life on Earth and life as a gem. Kongou-sensei is unique in that he looks like a human. The gems fight against the Lunarians, which are beings from the moon who randomly appear and attack gems with bows and arrows in order to break them and take them back with them. Many a gem have been lost to the moon, but the very ambitious Phos wants to try fighting them, until they are broken once. Now Phos has to learn more about strength, inner courage, and just what this world is that they live on.
What We Liked About Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)
If there had to be something that we had to identify as being the leading facet as to why Houseki no Kuni was a fantastic show, it would be the fact that we are shown so little as a viewer. There is so little that is shown that you stay glued to your screen because you do not want to miss a single moment of story. There are so many subtle moments throughout the show that if you are not paying attention, you will miss them. Phos is, in effect, just like the viewer in that we are curious about how the Earth has gotten to the way that it is and the gems themselves. We see the world through a very limited perspective meaning that we are able to enjoy moments of revelation and learn more. This also means thought that shocking events can also hit a bit harder. Another great aspect of the show would be the art. While people are very resistant to seeing anime go fully 3DCG, Houseki no Kuni actually does it properly and you can see what a well-animated anime looks like with no 2D art. This is the future of anime and it can only get better from here.
Here is where we are going to break down as to why you should be watching/should have watched Houseki no Kuni. While the anime only covers so much of the source material, there are many good facets to the show that can be and should be appreciated. Please do note that there will be full spoilers and nothing will be held back. There are also a few downsides that we can argue as well, but to be honest, this is what a good, substance anime looks like.
1. Post-Apocalyptic World
One thing that will forever represent the seinen genre is a world that has been destroyed in the past as the characters now try to live on this world that they have been given or left behind. That is very true in Houseki no Kuni. Phos is given the job of cataloguing all life on the island that they live on, and while it does seem daunting, it only takes a few episodes for the viewer to realize that the world that they live on is very small and not crowded at all. There is nothing else there other than plains, cliffs, plateaus, and a marshland. Still though, the gems patrol daily looking for the Lunarians.
There is also the ocean, and while Phos is continually forbidden from going anywhere near it or into it, they eventually do, which results in our meeting Ventriscosus after she had eaten Phos and then Phos being reconstructed. They journey down into the ocean where Phos notices that there is nothing around. In fact, all life seems to be absent down there. The only sea life is located in the pools around the school that they live in. Even then, those are jellyfish. While we do not see much of the Lunarians, and nothing of the moon, there is still a lot to enjoy. We hardly know anything about it, and so, when new information is revealed, it is incredibly satisfying and enjoyable.
2. A Myriad of Characters to Enjoy
While this can normally be argued in favor of most anime, the characters of Houseki no Kuni really do stretch across a wide variety of both stereotypes and unique matchups. We will get to Phos themselves a bit later here, but this is where it can be argued that there is a character for everyone and yet, everyone can be enjoyed because they are all so interesting. Diamond is a character that really shines due to their soft nature while still being very ambitious and dangerous with a sword. They put themselves in the line of danger the first time we meet them and they suffer for it by breaking. Later, they are so accepting of Phos working with their partner Bort after the winter, that you just want to give them a hug.
The same is also true for Cinnabar. We don’t really know the real reason as to why they do not live with everyone and chooses to live outside, but their tough exterior is just that, and they want to be accepted and loved like the other gems. They claim that it is because their body produces a poison, but they might have other reasons as well that we have not seen yet.
Other characters like Bort, Antarcticite, Rutile, Jade, Alexandrite, Padparadscha, Yellow Diamond, and more are intriguing of their own accords and present a new outlook on both life on Earth, the Lunarians, and the gems. Hearing about each of their reasons for living adds yet another dimension to these gems. Not to mention, each of them has either a gem that they have lost to the moon or some sort of traumatic experience that pushes them together. More than anything else though, the characters show emotion that is raw and not forced. Nothing about anything that a character says feels forced or fake.
3. The Growth of the Main Character
Phos is in their own league as they are the main character and the one that the viewer gets to see the most growth out of. While it can be said that Phos matures throughout the series, it can also be stated that Phos starts out giving the viewer a slightly negative or dissatisfied impression due to their inability to fight or work and their penchant to get broken. Thankfully though, Phos is not overpowered and actually has to suffer through trials and tribulations to make them a better gem. This includes losing part of themselves and their memories. It is refreshing to not see a main character who knows everything and is super lucky right from the start. Phos may push their luck, but that can only be compared to the other gems who do not push theirs.
Everyone is cautious in this series and tries to be very efficient in their takedown of the Lunarians, but it is always and forever be Phos who says, “why?” This, even if it is not clearly evident, forces the other gems to reflect and then grow when they see Phos do what they have advised against and see Phos succeed. Phos makes for an excellent main character as their growth has to be one of the most enjoyable journeys that we have seen in recent years amongst anime.
This point is a little harder to argue as there is a lot that we like and enjoy about Houseki no Kuni, but it can be argued that maybe this show is not for everyone. If you are a stickler for certain facets of stories or you align with the points below, Houseki no Kuni may not be for you.
1. The Story is Ongoing
Spoiler alert: The series does not end when the anime does. In fact, the anime does cover a lot, but the series still has a lot more to continue on to. If resolution is what you seek, then go search out a shounen or romance anime. Those always have them. What Houseki no Kuni does not have in an ending, it has in a teaser. The ending is about Phos searching out answers to the Lunarians and their relationship to the gems. It seems as if even though they are going to ask Kongou-sensei about it, it may get them in trouble.
2. A World Dripping with Fantasy
Some people have an issue with series where the human element is so far removed, that it does not feel as if a human has ever set foot on their world. Houseki no Kuni really does take that look at what it means to be alive and moving. If you cannot handle a reality that has been bent sharply to the right, then this may not be the series for you.
Houseki no Kuni has left us with an open ending. However, it should not be the end for you. The manga continues on as the eighth volume has just went on sale recently with the ninth to be on sale in spring 2018 sometime. Voices all across the internet cry out that watching the anime makes the manga easier to follow and read. So if you want a good starting place, then we recommend that as a place to continue the journey with Phos.
At times moving, at times shocking, and at other times sad, Houseki no Kuni has left a very good stamp on the anime world. Phos is a relatable character who actually does grow on you and does not feel forced in the least. Watching their growth throughout the anime is really surprising and moving considering how much of Phos is lost throughout. But… in that moment, we see each time that even though Phos has lost something, they have not lost it. Rather, they have exchanged it for more knowledge and a better outlook on life. Looking at rankings across the web, the series has been very well-received among anime fans and now the manga will hopefully take off in popularity as well leading to another season! What were your thoughts? Is this officially the sleeper hit of the year? Did you catch this anime? Do you plan to now? Be sure to let us know down below!