Genre(s): Fantasy, Action, Drama, Mystery, Coming of Age, Seinen
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (violence, mild language)
Platforms: Amazon Prime
TheAwersome Rating: 8.6 / 10 (Refreshingly new)
Premise: In the mysterious future, crystalline organisms called Gems inhabit a world that has been destroyed by six meteors. Each Gem is assigned a role to fight against the Lunarians, a species who attacks them to shatter their bodies and use them as decorations.
Phosphophyllite, also known as Phos, is a young and fragile Gem who dreams of helping their friends in the war effort. Instead, they are told to compile an encyclopedia because of their delicate condition. After begrudgingly embarking on this task, Phos meets Cinnabar, an intelligent gem who has been relegated to patrolling the isolated island at night because of the corrosive poison their body creates. After seeing how unhappy Cinnabar is, Phos decides to find a role that both of the rejected Gems can enjoy.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I am so very glad to have watched this. From the first episode it’s clear that this is a different and unique anime, and not just because it’s animated in 3D. The gorgeous scenery, colors, composition, and music are all extremely captivating and sweep you up into this mysterious world. Action sequences are beautifully and dynamically animated giving you a real feel for the chaos and whirlwind of danger involved. The characters themselves are also very interesting takes on their gem counterparts without being oversimplified. While yes, the mercury oozing Cinnabar is dangerous, and their body is fragile (much like the mineral) they’re not just a two-dimensional Tsundere character. The mineral qualities serve as a base for the character, not a direct copy.
Most remarkable to me for this series was Phos’s character development, and the unexpected emotional journey that is.
TLDR: A gorgeous and fresh experience with strong emotional elements.
A common theme throughout the show is Isolation. From the sweeping visuals of large empty halls and fields to the musical choices, there’s a lot of thought that went into portraying it. Isolation not only of the gems on their island in small numbers, but of the characters themselves. Cinnabar’s loneliness in being an outcast because of their poison. Phos’s loneliness of being the only gem without any given role. Kongo Sensei being the only non-gem character on the island and frequently secluding himself to his meditation. Very deliberate choices in sound and visual design serve to accentuate this theme and immerse you in the emotion and world.
Where Sound! Euphonium showed the passionate drive to improve one’s self, and the obsession there, Land of the Lustrous shows us the other half: the price of that obsession. You can achieve your dreams, yes, but sometimes you’ll find that it isn’t what you really wanted, or rather it doesn’t bring you the happiness you thought. And that’s part of growing up. Realizing that those things you yearned for and idolized don’t meet the fantastical, wonderful picture you painted them to be.
And this mindset helped me realize a few things about myself, and helped me make some significant changes.