If you have read through my top anime of 2017 list and my top anime of fall 2017 list, you might see that Land of the Lustrous is missing from them. I wish I could give a complete reason why that is, but it seems like each one of them is an excuse or a half truth. “This show sounds like Steven Universe, something I couldn’t get into” and yet it’s something completely different. “This show is CG, so it might look bad” is something that I would say, but that isn’t something that usually bothers me and this Land of the Lustrous has the best use of tv cg I’ve ever seen. “I’m not a fan of Land of the Lustrous’ character designs”, yet I am watched a show like Girls’ Last Tour which has moe character designs that I’m not usually a fan of. It turns out that I don’t have any excuses at all. Why didn’t I watch this show as it aired? It’s great!
The most interesting part of the Land of the Lustrous for me is its world. Since this anime is centered around a short period of time in an immortal gem’s life, it feels that way. Everything is set in stone (har har), besides our protagonist, Phos, who is still trying to find out where she belongs. A lot of the different gems have their assigned roles in how they support the society that they are currently living. All of those roles are based on how hard of a gem they are, what they are gifted at, and how they react to what is going on around them. Those are all constants in this unique land. Some other constants that set in this word are the master of unknown origin who cares and takes care of each of them and a mysterious set of beings called Lunarians attack from time to time to collect gems for some unknown reason. Not the happiest place for beings that can live for forever, but hey. You live with what you have, right?
Our main protagonists’ name is Phos. A light blue gem with a mohs hardness of 3.5 (a scale that goes up to 10) who is the youngest at three hundred years old. At the beginning of the series, we see that Phos hasn’t been given a job yet. He/She lives a care free life without any purpose. Phos’ most well-known trait is how much he/she mouths off. Of course, that is to the detriment and lack of joy from all the other gems. They think he/she is annoying, but Phos is still the baby and heart of the gems. Land of the Lustrous’ story is Phos and his/her development from a wide-eyed gem with a dream to who is grown up and wants to know more. This is second to her development to someone who is useless to someone who is competent on the battlefield. Both of these things happen in a short amount of time for a gem, which comes across as a loss and a gain for Phos. Both of those come things affect Phos physically and mentally.
The only complaint I have about Land of the Lustrous is the lack of characterization throughout it. It’s only a small complaint, because the show has such a large cast and the camera is focused on Phos one hundred percent of the time. There is no balanced treatment here. Some characters are focused on when they hang around with Phos and give their point of view of life or share their gift with Phos while other characters are pushed off to the side and are barely given a surface level scan of who they are. This was always going to happen anyway, because this Land is only a cour in length. There isn’t enough time to develop everyone, but I do think Land of the Lustrous does the best it can with its time.
For a CG show, Land of the Lustrous is the best tv production that I’ve ever seen. While the movements are not as fluid as the most top tiered 2D produced show that has ever existed, they are still much better then the average show. With CG animation, everything is so consistent. Nothing is ever off model, and each character has a unique way of walking that really sells their personality. Then there are the backgrounds. From the unique backgrounds in the building and island locations during specific seasons, there is a lot to say about color that goes beyond my understanding of what is going on. I’m going to say that they all like really nice. Such a beautiful show with great and fluid animation. No complaints at all.
I know that this is just an engineering and material nerd thing for me, but I love how this show accurately uses the word “hardness” and explains the concept of ductility. Land of the Lustrous uses the concept of surface hardness, because they are measured in mohs, which means how much surface abrasion a material can take before getting scratched or broken. Ductility is a concept that measures how much deformation a material can take before breaking. Yes, a hard material is hard to break, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t brittle. We see this distinction with Bort and Dia. Both gems have a Mohs hardness of 10, but Bort is ductile and Dia is brittle. That means that Bort can take a lot of damage, be bent, or pulled a lot before breaking. Dia is brittle, so once enough stress is administered on her to break her, she shatters. Whoever wrote this show did their homework, that’s for sure.
Land of the Lustrous also has an interesting concept that I like a lot, having memories connected to their bodies. Spoilers coming up here. (I think a lot of people know about this part already, but putting a spoiler warning is kind of mandatory at this point.) Seeing Phos lose her limbs and part of her memory really sells the aspect that everything that happens has consequences. Phos wanted to become an action hero too fast, so as a result she lost part of her self along the way mentally and physically. It sells a lot of the danger of a long life. Gems might live forever, but well they always maintain who they are for forever? A question that I want to be explored more, if there is another season in the works. Lord of all, please let that happen.
With all this said, where do I place this show? Definitely somewhere amongst the best of Fall 2017 and Shows worth watching 2017 list. Those two posts will be adjusted shortly or have already been adjusted by the time you read through them. Land of the Lustrous provides us with a unique experience that not many anime offer these days. It also asks a lot of questions toward the end of the cour that would make a good second season. I hope if a second season happens, it won’t appear on Anime Strike. That’s it, that’s all I am going to say about Land of the Lustrous. See you all next time for…I don’t know what. *wiggles fingers dramatically*