Anime Review: "Land of the Lustrous" Season #1 (PLEASE GIVE ME A 2)

This was the first fully CGI series that I think looked better in CGI than I could have imagined it looking with traditional animation. ‘Duke of Death’ came close for me, but this really did it. Honestly, the only way I think the animation could have been done better would have been to take an entirely different approach to it, with a different director and studio – maybe gone the way of Masaaki Yuasa turning it into more of an artsy production. That said, I adored what studio Orange pulled off here. The music, voice acting, cinematography, action, animation – all of the things that make an anime adaptation were perfectly well done. The only problem I have with it is that it was so damn incomplete. You ended it there??? 12 episodes??? Season 2 when????? (I actually wonder now how much of the manga had been completed when this came out… perhaps I’ll need to compare publication and air dates.

When all is said and done. 10/10.

Wait… do I actually have to elaborate on what makes the series itself special? I can’t just assume everyone who’s seen this anime already read the manga? I waited to watch this series forever because I felt nothing could live up to the source material. I honestly figure a lot of people probably did the same. I kind of started reviewing this anime from the perspective of someone who’s already up to date on the manga, hanging on for dear life waiting for the next chapter release. Hiatus after hiatus, but I guess that’s not going to be the case for everyone.

Hmmm…. I suppose I can reuse this in my manga review later, so here it goes.

The setting for this is totally unique. Unique to the extreme. I’ve never experienced anything like this piece of fiction in my entire life. “Land of the Lustrous” is about a bunch of rock-people living on an island with a priest-looking-fellow; they’re constantly being attacked by aliens who try to kidnap them. Why??? It’s a mystery. [It’s a feeling I can understand. If given the opportunity I’d like to kidnap a couple of these gemstone girls to keep for myself, because they’re so damn cute and full of personality and they desperately are in need of protection. Like truly some of the best created characters in all of anime and manga. And they’re rocks.] There’s a lot of mystery to this series. I’d put mystery at the top of the genre tags list if it were up to me, but my guess is those get taken up by non-descript things like Fantasy, Drama, or Comedy.

Sorry – getting side tracked. It’s really hard to explain this series, and why I think it’s special. The manga is in my top 3, firmly entrenched, never to leave. Taking a step back to describe what I love about it is proving difficult.

The story, at least in the anime, is episodic, but things take a drastic turn, in the manga, right about where the anime ends – so to say that the story of Land of the Lustrous is excellent is a bit tricky. I think the story in the first half has its charm, but it’s certainly not as good as it gets (because it gets AMAZING).

I mentioned above how I’d like to kidnap the rock people. That was mostly a joke, but I want to again say, the Lustrous are some of the best characters ever created. One, the main one, Phos, specifically, should be in the list of greatest protagonists in any media. Ever. I’m not sure why I’ve not listed her in my personal favorites list; it’s an oversite I’m about to correct after writing this review. I became so invested in Phos’s journey through this series. It’s one hell of a ride.

I guess more than anything, this series made me feel things. Emotions. I felt genuine sadness for the Lustrous when they suffered (and there’s enough suffering in this to keep several therapists in business indefinitely). I felt joy when there was comedy. I empathized. That’s not something that happens to me very often because I’m about as jaded as jade is.

Anyway, if you watch this, I hope you find something special in it too. It’s beautiful, but bleak. There’s a lot there to digest (even more if you get into the source material). I don’t think it’s for everyone, since it seems like a pretty difficult nut to crack, but it’s worth it if you do.

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