Land of the Lustrous – Anime Preview

Synopsis: Phos, the youngest Houseki, must create an encyclopedia of natural history in a risky world where Moon Dwellers hunt their kind. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)

Live life with as much self confidence as her.

*It came to our attention after the original copy was written that the Japanese terminology used to refer to the characters, and the way they talk to each other, implies a more genderless form. The implication being that while the characters have a slender, female-ish appearance and voice, they are meant to be androgynous in nature. To reflect this the review has been edited to refer to the characters without male or female pronouns.

1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):

Tom: Land of the Lustrous is the 2nd of this Fall’s full CGI anime outings. And it looks amazing. There’s a beautiful art style here depicted via CGI, exuding elegance in its background design and character art.

Linny: The animation is definitely impressive for anyone willing to give CGI a chance. The Houseki, crystalline beings, have very interesting designs with hair that resembles something gelatinous and fun. However, their bodies are all very elongated and lanky, which makes them look awkward in certain shots, though that could come down to a matter of personal taste.

Surprise ink blot test: Go!!

Tom: Land of the Lustrous gives itself the arduous task of establishing its unique and other worldly reality. The story doesn’t take place on Earth as we know it, nor with humans as our central characters. There’s a lot here that requires explanations as the concepts are so foreign and removed from reality. Land of the Lustrous largely succeeds, managing to balance its heavy exposition with visual information, and a bit of character exploration, allowing audiences to come to grips with its foreign ideas and unusual concepts. That said, the character work leaves a lot to be desired, and is the show’s true failing.

Linny: It’s fascinating to learn of this unique world occupied by 28 androgynous humanoid beings, who turn out to be crystal based beings, apparently semi immortal, in that they can be revived so long as enough fragments of their crystal bodies are retrieved. The reveal of this knowledge in done in a manner that is both shocking and attention grabbing. And even the Moon Dwellers, the beings hunting them down, are equally fascinating to look at with designs and appearances that ape the sculptures of gods and goddesses from past real life civilizations.

Has fashion gone too far?

Tom: Turning our attention to the characters, Phos, a plucky teal hair colored Houseki who’s weaker than the rest of the flock, is exceedingly obnoxious. Phos expects greatness without the effort, and while that’s somewhat relatable, they exhibit few, if any, redeeming qualities, making Phos a chore to root for. It doesn’t help that another of the Houseki to receive focus, Cinnabar, is angsty to their very core. Cinnabar’s dialogue is all kinds of cringe, more off putting than endearing or heart breaking as they wail on and on about how there’s no place in their society for them.

Linny: If you’re someone who’s long left their teen years, ‘the age of angst’ behind, you’re going to struggle to connect with Phos or Cinnabar. Phos is such a nuisance, shown to often be a hindrance, preoccupied with getting a ‘cool’ job than being an active, contributing member of the clan. Even when Phos has a bit of a redemption plot line, it isn’t near enough to wipe out all their earlier behaviour. And Cinnabar’s angst and frustration with their own life is so extreme that Cinnabar actually voices their feelings of jealousy that Phos was attacked by Moon Dwellers instead of them as Cinnabar’s been trying their best to get abducted by the enemy and failing. The heavy handed and extreme personality flaws of the Houseki really hinders any potential drama and tragedy, likely to drive away rather than engage an older or mature audience.

Unbreakable the movie, now in anime form.

Tom: Despite it’s character trouble, Land of the Lustrous looks to be exploring a wealth of individuals, as there are 28 of these precious stone based characters. My hope is, with focus pulled from Cinnabar, and Phos’ character journey changing them, perhaps the characters will become more bearable, or even appealing. Couple my hopes with the intriguing world and attractive art style, I can’t help but be optimistic for this series.

Linny: Here’s to hoping that the introduction and change of focus onto other Houseki, besides Phos and Cinnabar, will be Land of the Lustrous’ redemption as the show boasts such impressive visuals and a world that’s engaging both visually and conceptually that it would be a shame if the show failed due to a weak cast. If you’re open to CGI animated shows set in unique, non human worlds, give Land of the Lustrous a chance.

“Recommended: Land of the Lustrous offers up an intriguing, alien world where humanoid beings are made of precious stone, but its characters feel more aggravating than entertaining.”

“Recommended: Teenage angst hampers Land of the Lustrous’ premiere but its amazing visuals and unique premise make it worth a try.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Land of the Lustrous is available for streaming via Anime Strike.

Enjoying our reviews? Please take a second to support AllYourAnime.Net via Patreon! Just 1$ goes a long way to keeping us afloat!

4 comments

  • If you actually bothered to look at the set up beyond the surface you’d discovered very quickly that just by existing Cinnabar is dangerous to everything alive around him. This includes the Bone people all the way down to the grass he walks through and the insects that flies by. Being depressed as he is seems a pretty normal and natural development. The reviewers here sound more like a teenager by suggesting that angst is only for teenagers and not a valid component of constructing a compelling character.

    When you criticise Phos characterisation it’s also similarly shallow. Suggesting that because he’s useless he’s automatically unlikeable just sounds like something teenagers would say. let me rephrase it for you: if a character isn’t capable enough then they are unlikeable. that sounds pretty dumb doesn’t it? Sounds like character arc and development aren’t a thing. Not to mention that it heavily implies that likeabily is heavily dependent on their ability to do things well while ignoring characteristics such as kindness, well meaning, eagerness, cheerfulness and other qualities. Besides, like how they outright stated that Cinnabar’s job is useless, it’s heavily implied that the new job Phos was given is almost as equally useless. From the beginning we see Adamant tried to coax her into it. Then scenes later Goshe outright stated they already know about things that are useful and pointed Phos towards things that aren’t useful.

    I have seen this kind of comment in other reviews here too and honestly, it’s annoying and immature.

    • So, insults aside, I wanted to clarify some stuff you touched on because clearly you are very passionate about this anime.

      Firstly: We are well aware Cinnabar damages anything around them. It’s perfectly understandable and normal that Cinnabar is depressed and frustrated with this. Neither Linny or myself has issue with that. What we find so… disappointing about the portrayal is the way Cinnabar’s dialogue is written. Much of her portrayal feels over the top, hammy, woe is me, angsty. It’s not to say the idea behind her character is, in fact, bad, but that the way it’s been realized here feels off-putting.

      the same goes for Phos. Phos isn’t so much as unlikable because they are useless, in fact it’s great that Phos has such a can-do attitude. But Phos hasn’t proven themselves yet, and the way they constantly push away the idea that perhaps they need find a different path ahead can be irritating, particularly in the way Phos character is written. An incapable character can be just as interesting as a capable one, but what’s presented in Episode 1 doesn’t feel realized in the strongest way. There’s always different ways to play the same idea, and write a character in different ways with the same qualities. Phos right now feels like individual who hasn’t realized what their strengths and weaknesses are, and is very forceful is pushing against anyone who says otherwise. The attitude displayed is annoying to watch and root for, particularly when they are so rude to the others around them (not that it is always unwarranted.) So the problem lies not with the concepts of the character, but the presentation.

      You’re probably seeing this comment on multiple reviews because people aren’t taking to the way these characters have been depicted. I can’t speak for other people, but I’ll say again for our review that it’s less about the core elements to the characters and more the way in which their personas have been developed and presented here.

      Edit: Your comment was marked as spam by the way. I don’t know why exactly, but that’s why it didn’t appear on the website right away.

      • “You’re probably seeing this comment on multiple reviews because people aren’t taking to the way these characters have been depicted. ”
        No, when I said I have seen this on multiple reviews, I specifically mean your reviews on other anime. That’s why it irks me, the very reason being that your write ups seems to imply this on multiple occasions. In other word, either you truly think that, or you focused on the wrong point of what you really want to say. Thank goodness it seems to be the latter.

        As for other reviews on this anime, it’s the contrary, most think Phos is likeable and not seems to think Cinnabar as “angsty”. When other reviewers made a point that Phos is annoying to them, they don’t focus their reason on how “she’s useless”, but explain their reason in a way that doesn’t give the connotation of what I mentioned above.

        • While I think perhaps you’ve misconstrued our points, and I am unsure specifically what other reviews you’re referencing, we’ll take it under advisement to perhaps make it clearer in the future what it is we mean when we say a character comes off as unlikable.

          Thanks for your input.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.