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We all have had days when we feel like we are good for nothing. However, it is a matter of time to find the mission of our lives, just like what happened with Phosphophyllite (Phos for the friends) in Houseki no Kuni. Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) is the recent work of Haruko Ichikawa, who presents us with an utopic vision of the future of the Earth. Humanoid genderless creatures called gems are fighting against beings from the Moon. In the middle of this battle, Phos and their allies will have to show what they are capable of. Some enchanting, some mysterious, but all of them magical, the characters from Houseki no Kuni deserve a Top Ten!
10. Jade 8
Meet one of the closest gems to Kongo-sensei. Jade has a hardness of 7 and is known as Kongo-sensei’s “chairman”. Their hair is green and is arranged in two laces tied like a ribbon. Probably the main characteristic Jade has is to be serious.
Jade is a character that is always there, although not always appreciated. They start the series thinking that Phos is good for nothing. However, whenever Phos is in trouble, Jade will be doing their best to help (for example, when Phos was eaten by the giant snail and Jade helped dig them from the shell). You can call Jade a magical sidekick that is not very charismatic but useful.
9. Red Beryl 10
Meet the fashionista among the gems, with a hardness of 7! Red Beryl has a cute long strawberry hair, the exact color of the jewel they are based on. They also like to style their hair in different ways throughout the anime. Always wearing a needle pad on their arm, Red Beryl is in charge of making the clothes for the gems. Their abilities in fashion are simply magical!
Unfortunately, the gems spend most of their time learning and fighting than in fashion shows. This does not discourage Red Beryl, though, as they take every opportunity to show off their magical skills. Red Beryl made new clothes for everyone when it was hibernation time in winter, for example. They are also friendly, promising new pajamas to Phos after their legs were repaired once.
8. Rutile 10
Rutile is tall and elegant, with a bob shape in their half blonde, half brunette hair and a hardness of 6. Some of the other gems call them a model. Nevertheless, Rutile always wears a white lab coat over the school uniform. This is because Rutile is the gem that cures the others.
Doctors also tend to be workaholics, so you can expect Rutile to be in their office. This is the paradise a fan of herbs, potions and remedies would expect: there are ingredients for remedies everywhere! However, as magical as Rutile’s ability is to cure others, their most tender and magical moments are when they are healing their companion. Poor Padparadscha is weaker than other jewels, so Rutile has to do a lot of research and repair them.
7. Amethyst 10
Amethyst are twin jewels with hardness equal to seven who braid their purple hair. Although they look almost the same, they have a few physical differences and also in terms of personality. To distinguish them, sometimes the one who covers their left eye is called 84 and the one who covers their right eye is called 33. While 84 is social, 33 goes straight to the point.
In episode 6, Phos gets the opportunity to join battle together with the Amethyst twins. Here is where we testify how magical these two are, synchronizing perfectly both in thoughts and movements. However, when they are recovered from the Moon, they prove they are even more magical than that. That is because they forgive Phos and treat them graciously, something that few gems do throughout the story.
6. Kongo-sensei 10
If there is one character in Houseki no Kuni that stands out, it is Kongo-sensei. While the gems have standard uniforms, Kongo-sensei looks like a buddhist monk. It is also a mystery if he himself is a gem, although he has the incredible ability of dispersing the Moon people in one blow. Exactly who or what he is is yet to be revealed.
Mysteries aside, the personality of Kongo-sensei is magical. He is the kindest and empathic being to the gems. When they are happy, he is happy, and when they are sad, he also is sad. He lets them approach him and is the one who gives Phos their mission of writing a natural history encyclopedia. Thus, Kongo-sensei is responsible for putting the story in motion in the first place.
5. Antarcticite 10
Gems need to hibernate during the winter. So, who takes care of the Moon people and other duties while they are gone? None other than the only gem who crystallizes properly in winter: Antarcticite. They end up pairing with Phos and teaches them everything about the winter duties.
Unfortunately, Phos messes up as always and loses their arms. Antarcticite takes them to the Chord Shore, where they replace the arms with an alloy of gold. A battle with the Moon people follows and Antarcticite sacrifices themselves to save Phos, who was being taken to the Moon. This triggers new powers in Phos, although Antarcticite is gone for good. ;_; Their hard work and their development from an isolated gem made of them a truly magical character.
4. Bort 9
We have reviewed a few strong gems along the way, but Bort is a star on their own. With the maximum hardness of 10, Bort has black long hair. They also are the most battle savvy among the gems, just overcome by Kongo-sensei. They are so obsessed with battle, that they rarely pair up. However, they do not usually need it as they are almost invincible.
Bort has an important defect: they do not see Phos as valuable at the beginning of the story. Even worse, they are downright cruel and says Phos should not exist! It is only when Phos gets new powers that they become interested, even asking if they would pair up with them in battle. That is why Bort is not higher in our Top Ten.
3. Diamond 12
Often called Dia, this gem with the maximum hardness sports a rainbow colored bob. Diamond has one of the kindest personalities among the gems, often talking about love. Even her voice is super sweet! Diamond is also developing a new fighting technique against the Moon people, which often puts them at odds with Bort for being reckless.
Perhaps some of the most beautiful and magical scenes in the show have included Diamond. Let’s just remember how they were the only ones who wanted to save Phos when the giant snail swallowed them, rushing to their home once they got a hint on how to do it. This scene with Diamond running through the plains and jumping with the full moon in the background was wonderful. However, it also reminds us that Dia is a sweet but responsible gem who cares for their friends. They remind us that kindness is not a weakness!
Cinnabar (also called Shinsa) is the softest of the gems we have met, with only 2 in hardness. Their long, red hair floats together with drops of poison. In short, every living thing that is close to Cinnabar can be hurt. Therefore, they are mostly alone, choosing to patrol by night just in case the Moon people attack while the other gems are resting.
Some people might find Cinnabar a bit rude for starters. After all, the first time Phos goes to find them, they do not treat them kindly. However, as time goes by and Phos tries again and again to find a different duty for Cinnabar, Cinnabar grows to care for Phos. Their relationship is an interesting one, as Cinnabar saves Phos several times in direct or indirect ways (let’s remember when Phos was swallowed by the giant snail and when Phos went missing into the ocean). Both of these characters feel useless and unwanted, forming a bond that can only strengthen with time. In other words, the magic of Cinnabar is in doing what they can even when they feel they are a threat to the others.
We finally arrive to our most magical character in Houseki no Kuni! That can only be the protagonist, Phos! Yes, they are a bit annoying in the beginning. Phos has been alive for 300 hundred years but still hasn’t find their calling in life. They are so weak with a hardness of 3.5 that other gems find them a nuisance. However, when Phos starts going out of their comfort zone, they become stronger.
The magic of Phos resides in not giving up. After being swallowed by the giant slug, after being captured by the Moon people and many other adventures, they still try their best. That is why their once impossible dream of becoming a fighter like the other gems eventually becomes true. It did not come without sacrifices, but Phos also matures while meeting other gems and living creatures, exploring the world with them. Silly and tragic at the same time, Phos is the ultimate Magical Houseki no Kuni character!
Houseki no Kuni is an anime that apparently is about beautiful battles, but as the story progresses, we find out there is something beyond this shell. Ideas about what is to be a human, science and discovery are present. Through a character with so many imperfections as Phos, we explore diverse personalities in the other gems and submerge in complex questions about our world without feeling confused. Quite the contrary, a sense of wonder is awakened in us, the viewers of an utopic future without humanity in the Earth. In a way, it feels as a relief to think that live might persevere in such magical characters, don’t you think the same?
Which character from Houseki no Kuni do you like? Which magical character do you think we missed in this list? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!