We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Yes, Houseki no Kuni sadly flew under the radar of a lot of people due to the lack of initial hype when it came out back in 2017. But let me tell you that after only watching three episodes, it got me jumping into reading all the manga chapters it had available at the time as well, all because how captivating its story was. For the sake to keep it short and spoiler-free as possible, this time we will only be focusing on the anime adaptation and why you should definitely give it try.
WHAT IS HOUSEKI NO KUNI / LAND OF THE LUSTROUS?
Houseki no Kuni is a story set on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, where a collection of immortal genderless gemstones shaped as people live their lives around the mysterious Adamant-sensei, who keeps them occupied with jobs according to their interests and abilities. All the gems except our protagonist, Phosphophyllite.
Phos is, apart from childish, the weakest of the gems, something that gets her broken very easily even with the minimum impact. Despite this, Phos is very insisting on fighting these mysterious creatures that come from heaven called Lunarians. The same that are constantly trying to shatter the gems and use them as jewelry.
Sensei, in order to keep away Phos from fighting and knowing they are too weak for most other jobs, gives the gem the task of creating an encyclopedia to distract them. During their duty, Phos meets the self-isolated Cinnabar for the first time and begins to question what is really what makes themselves worthy.
The story might be introduced with a slice of life atmosphere, but this just to keep everything else in the series a complete mystery at the same time we get to meet every character as part of the day-to-day life Phos, in which they act as older siblings for the gem.
The arcs of the story (the first one concluding in episode 5) are always concluded with a drastic change in Phos, something that gives our protagonist a new perspective on the world they live in and the secrets their beloved sensei is keeping.
Many anime fans (myself included) are very often discouraged by the mention of CGI in anime production. Never less, Land of the lustrous is maybe the best example we had for a great CGI that perfectly suits a manga adaptation. Striking cinematography since episode 1 with great fighting choreographies. It’s a visually stunning product that also helps to give the gems that ´shiny´ vibe they carry and to be easily recognizable as individual characters. Studio Orange did a really good job in the way they tried to take this project to another level compared to other CGI anime.
Voice acting is great, sound effects that match perfectly as well as an OST really well done, and that blends really well with the scenes. And I absolutely loved both OP and ED that carry this meaning I feel constantly changes at the same time Phos does.
At times wholesome, at times shocking, and at other times sad, really sad actually. Houseki no Kuni is probably one of those hidden gems (no pun intended) that are worth it. Phos character development and growth doesn’t feel rushed even with only having 12 episodes to guide us through. And it perfectly translated Haruko Ichikawa´s manga aesthetic and narrative in a way no one expected.
Until now, this 2017 series has left us with an open ending and still no news of a second season. But all of this is probably because the manga itself it’s still ongoing. I can recommend you to continue this fascinating journey where the anime left (chapter 30 of the manga) if you are wanting for more after finishing the anime, or even take it from the start. You won’t regret it; I can assure you.
In the end, Houseki no Kuni is a magnificent anime adaptation, that accomplished what it wanted us to experience. To be something that feels like nothing that´s come before it.