First Look: Land of the Lustrous

Alternative title(s): Houseki no Kuni
Manga Adaptation by Orange
Streaming on Anime Strike

Premise

In the distant future, the world is occupied by gemstone-based girls, who must battle evil invaders from the moon who wish to use them as jewelry. Phosphophyllite, the youngest of the gems, desperately wants to be a warrior but instead is assigned the task of compiling an encyclopedia.

Zigg’s verdict: Cubic Zirconia

I desperately wanted to like this, because it’s just so damn weird and out there it’s hard not to be fascinated with it. It’s the kind of bonkers idea that you’d only really find coming out of Japan, and there’s a bunch of fascinating concepts at play here, such as the idea of the gem girls shattering and being rebuilt, or the incredibly striking Indian-esque moon invaders and their creepy gem lust. There’s some great background work too, with lovely landscapes and colours. It’s too bad then that this first episode is weighed down by incredibly sluggish, clichéd dialogue (despite the best efforts from the excellent voice cast) and an overall lack of energy and inspiration. Despite the wonderful background work, I also think the CGI character animation is flat and ugly, particularly the translucent hair effect which just makes everyone look like a first year student CG modelling class. It doesn’t help that all the girls share the same stick-thin bootyshorted body model either. Overall, I can’t say I really enjoyed this first episode that much, but there’s definitely the makings of something interesting here. Perhaps I’ll give it another go.

Iro’s verdict: Needs More Polish

This feels like a third of a good show. There are a number of cool ideas on display, but it’s hard for it all to gel together when the other two-thirds are so lackluster. The presentation alternates between working decently – there’s actual character acting, facial expressions, and gesticulation; some solid directing as well – and working poorly, with Cinnabar’s liquid powers looking like extra-spicy nacho cheese. All of the Gem Girls being the exact same model with only swapped heads also doesn’t help the show’s case, nor does having the environs be the same dull stone halls and blank grass fields, or the plot seeming to be a classic not-quite-yuri setup. I just can’t help but wonder what it’d be like if all of the plot concepts were put together with a setting and characters that had some more bite to them.

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4 thoughts on “First Look: Land of the Lustrous

  1. This episode is exactly like the manga though. The CGI is incredible compared to other shows I have seen done in the past. The story progresses much better once we get past the first chapter and I feel like people aren’t giving it a shot. The one thing I will complain about is the lack of music. It could use more drama with some music! And the gems are built this way in order to appear androgynous, boarding on looking feminine and manly at the same time. A lot of mixed reviews out there but I simply love it! To each their own I always like to say 🙂

    • I didn’t have time to add my thoughts on this one but I was probably a little more positive about it than the others. I did notice the official subs using gender neutral pronouns for the gems so that is interesting. I might give it another episode or two.

    • I also didn’t get time to add my thoughts, but my overall impressions were more positive than not. I will say though, one of my complaints is that the gems /don’t appear at all androgynous to me. I hear they’re presented as fairly gender-neutral in the manga, but in the anime they’ve all got long, thin legs, reasonably noticeable breasts, and absolutely tiny waists – and perhaps more to the point, the camera spends a lot of time on all of these (as well as their butts). I wouldn’t say it’s fanservicey per se, but it does seem to be leaning in that general direction at times.

    • Why depict them as human without them being gendered? I’ll never understand this with inorganic humanoids. Sex implies nature, we have sexes because we’re a type of animal. There seems to be no purpose for the gems to be the way they are.

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