Land of the Lustrous (anime review)

Title: Land of the Lustrous: Complete Collection

Director: Takahiko Kyōgoku

Written By: Toshiya Ōno

Music By: Yoshiaki Fujisawa

Studio: Orange

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 21st, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


No matter what the odds, life will find a way to continue, with young Phos and the other gems as the ultimate proof. Instead of flesh, their bodies are made of living crystal, allowing them to survive in a world too toxic for any human. But their gem bodies also attract a terrible danger: the Lunarians, who hunt the gems and use their shattered forms to fabricate jewelry and ornaments. The gems with the strongest forms defend the others, but Phos is too weak and brittle to fight. Instead, Phos is ordered to compile an encyclopedia; but could that research discover hidden secrets that could help the gems? Join Phos, the toxic Cinnabar, the powerful Bort, the valiant Diamond, and others in a glittering world unlike anything you have seen before!


I am not sure what drives creators to chose the style of animation techniques that are employed. I am also not sure what possesses creators to leave stories with so much to be interpreted by the viewer. In any case I will say that Land of the Lustrous falls short in these two areas and excels in almost every other area it used to tell this strange yet poignant tale.

Watching the cast of characters work though their own complexities and trying to discover their own identities is in many ways the story all of us moving through our own life. With such a strong connection to Buddhism the realities of life was not lost in this surreal world. I particularly enjoyed watching Phos grow and overcome her weaknesses.

Overall Rating: B+

The weaknesses that stood out in the series was clearly the decision to use Computer Graphics (CG) to animate the series. In doing so is was easy to see the group of gems in a more natural state, but the over-reliance of the software took away from the ease of watching the story unfold. The hard edge and stiffness of the production delineated from the story and at time overwhelmed the viewer ability to truly absorb and enjoy the story and many of the complexities of what was happening. This really spotlighted the writing which proves to make the series shine. If the animation would have been done using a more sophisticated program of letting the human hand get more involved then I believe that there would have been a second season and more enlightenment about this strange yet poignant world of Land of the Lustrous.

Land of the Lustrous may not be for everyone, but I think that if you are able to overlook the poor choice of animation style then I think you will find a story that gives you plenty to think about.

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