Land of the Lustrous – Mid Season Anime Review
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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Land of the Lustrous is at the very least gorgeous. It manages to blend 2D and 3D near seamlessly, creating a production that’s so visually captivating that it almost feels flawless. It’s a remarkable feat, as other anime struggle to successfully blend the two animation forms without it becoming painfully obvious or even an outright eyesore.
Linny: The visuals are definitely the show’s biggest selling point. Unless you are extremely averse to any and all CGI, Land of the Lustrous features some of the most well done and beautifully rendered CGI animation in recent years. It could almost be called a work of art in its own right thanks to some of the imagery, which one can clearly tell has been rendered with care and intrinsic attention to detail.
Tom: Another big bonus to Land of the Lustrous is its unique, vibrant world with a rich history. There’s a unique story here beneath the visuals that takes several twists and turns that are incredibly interesting and lend to gifting Lustrous with a very unique and engaging atmosphere. That said, sometimes the story feels caught in a loop as we’re stuck waiting for a deeper understanding. Calm and peaceful, interrupted with the sudden appearance of our reoccurring villains. Their surprise entrance gets repeated near every episode, and gradually loses its menace, dampening their once thrilling impact.
Linny: The bigger revelations and twists teased as the show continues definitely add a new layer of depth and understanding of the in show universe and characters, which adds extra appeal. The concepts teased are rather unique as well which only adds even more reasons to be sucked in by Land of the Lustrous.
Tom: Smaller issues aside, Land of the Lustrous has one, incredible central caveat to your enjoyment: Phos, the lead character. Phos is a down-trodden lead, incapable of performing the same physical feats as everyone else. These gem based lifeforms can generally perform incredible feats, but Phos, the weakest of the group and easiest to shatter, all too often goes to pieces at the slightest exertion of force. They desperately want to fight alongside their siblings, but Phos just doesn’t seem to have what it takes. A story about finding one’s place in the world is a good one, but Phos as a lead offers few traits that paint them as anything but obnoxious. Despite being dismissive of their siblings, and their master’s concerns over their weak constitution, Phos’ frustrating persona only compounds as they begin their redemption arc again and again, only to seemingly reset after each turning point. This means by episode six you’ve seen Phos confronted with their lack of ability, lack of understanding the situation, offered several avenues for self improvement and even seen Phos outright grow bored and disinterested in the very tasks they were seeking in the first place! To enjoy Land of the Lustrous, you might have to be so sick of Phos that you’re actively invested in seeing Phos get their just deserts for never ever learning from their mistakes.
Linny: That constant resetting of Phos’ personality is the biggest issue for me. Some might argue that it’s all part of Phos’ journey and if you enjoy that, that’s fine. But if you are someone who expects sincere results when a character shows some potential personality growth, prepare to be frustrated as Phos has not one, not two but three separate moments where you expect them to become a mature and responsible member of the family only for us to be back at square one by the next episode. Once again, this is a subjective issue as some viewers might be able to forgive this as a result of Phos being the youngest and thus most immature member (They are at a minimum of three-hundred years old though), or more in line with real life where character growth does not always occur overnight. But everyone else…prepare to grind your teeth in frustration.
Tom: Land of the Lustrous has several unique facets and elements that make it a truly magical watch at times. A unique backstory, elegant visuals, but Phos is likely to undo all that for anyone seeking to find more redemptive and relatable elements to their main characters. Phos offers little in their persona to find endearing(save as, at best, a comic stooge), and while Phos will, hopefully, at some point actually complete their redemption arc, it’s little wonder if your patience runs out by episode six. There’s only so many times I can watch a character seemingly grow and wise up, only to then fall back into their old, egotistical, self-absorbed ways.
Linny: Land of the Lustrous is by no means a lost cause. It has the visuals and world building to engage audiences who can also appreciate the effort put into its CGI animation. However, for anyone who fixates on the characters to truly enjoy a show, do be aware that while Land of the Lustrous features an ensemble cast, most of the focus is on Phos who seems to have a very lengthy and repetitive character journey and that could potential be a deal breaker.
Land of the Lustrous is available for streaming via Anime Strike.