Many of you may have already seen this anime, as it came out about two years ago. I do realize this makes it not very fresh news, but I still feel this is worth taking a moment to talk about.
Land of the Lustrous main character is Phosphollite, or Phos for short. I’m not sure how familiar with geology you are, but Phos is named after a gem stone. An odd choice for a name, but this is because Phos is made from said stone. In fact, each of the characters is made from some form of gem stone or another.
The world story isn’t super clear in the anime, though it is something I hope will be covered more at a later date, but I’ll go over what is covered.
Apparently at some point in the future, Humanity sheds its current existence. When doing so, Humanity apparently split into three other forms. There is the flesh, which takes the shape of shapeshifting squid-like merfolk. The spirit, which takes the shape of the Lunarians, whom are these statuesque looking entities. And finally the bones, which take the shape of the gem based humanoids known as the Lustrous.
The Lustrous, who are the protagonists, are a race of immortal beings, whom as I have mentioned, are made out of various minerals. They are ageless, immortal, and genderless.
That’s right, I said genderless. This show manages to make it clear that they are such, with out making it an ovebearing message. While the characters are feminine, they lack gender based physiology, and are never referred to with any gender specific pronoun.
Another particularly interesting feature of these creatures, is their immortality. I know referred to them as both ageless and immortal. While these two things coincide, they can be distinctly different. In this case, I do mean literally immortal, as in cannot be killed. When damaged, they simply shatter into pieces. These pieces can then be reassembled. They have a doctor, who painstakingly puts eats piece together, much like a living jigsaw puzzle, and bonds them together using a special glue. I did find this aspect a little disturbing at times, but it is an interesting concept.
Something else that is interesting aboout the Lustrous, is how they measure the relative strength of the characters. As I mentioned, they are made of gem stones. But each character is a different stone. They measure their strength based on the hardness of the stone they are made out of, which is measured using the Mohs scale. This is an actual measure of hardness used for such stones by modern scientists.
The Lustrous are lead by a mysterious figure they simply refer to as Sensei, which for those that don’t know, is the Japanese word for teacher. It isn’t made clear as to if this Sensei is one of the Lustrous, or if they are something else. To be honest, it isn’t even made clear if this Sensei has a gender, or is genderless like the rests. This character is decided masculine though. The Sensei is also incredibly powerful. While many of the Lustrous have impressive physical abilities, few of them possess would could bedefined as mystial properties. This is not true for the Sensei, as they clearly possess abilities not displayed by the others, including, but not limited to, the ability to perform what I would call a destructive shout capable of shattering the Lustrous, as well as the ability to launch projectiles from their hand.
Now that I’ve covered a bit of the world and its inhabitants, I’d like to talk more about the actual story. As mentioned, it stars the character Phos, who starts out as a bungling goof. Phos has the second lowest hardness, which makes them incredibly weak, and is generally clumsy, and often very absent minded. What they lack in capability, is easily made up for in personality. Phos is very humorous, and very determined. I find them to be very easy to like, and at times, very easy to relate to. This abundance of personality, combined with being awkward, often leads to Phos being made fun of.
To be honest, not much of the overall story is revealed in the first season. It is clear that there is way more going on that it shows, it just isn’t clear as to what that is. The main driving force in the story is Phos trying to find their place in the world.
Each of the other characters already as some function. Most function as defenders against the Lunarians, which are a near daily threat. But there is the also mentioned doctor, as well as an archivist, and then the Sensei, who is primarily a leader, but also a powerful source of defense at time.
The focus of the story is of Phos, and their personal growth as an individual. At first they are inept, clumsy, and absent minded. But over the course of the anime, Phos not only acquires new powers, but also matures as a being. I admit that I miss the humor Phos had early in the show, but it is nice to see a main character actually grow. So many anime have main characters who gain power, but they don’t grow as individuals.
There are seveal things I like about this anime. First and foremost though, is the visuals. The animation is absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful. From the very first opening scene, to the spectacular way the Lunarians enter the realm of the Lunarians, this anime is just gorgeous.
Beyond that, this is just a very good show. I enjoyed te maturing of the main character, though I do wish they had kept Phos being a least a litte humorous. The story world is very alien and intriguing, which left me wondering more about it. Parts of the story were quite odd, but I don’t feel they detracted from the show too much. I also like how the show made an obvious acknowledgement to gender neutality, but with out making it something that was an overpowering gimmick.
This is definitely a show I would recommend. If only for the visuals. I think it has more than that going for it. But if nothinng else, you need to watch the opening scene of the first episode. It starts with a panoramic view of this field, and leads into the Lunarians teleporting into battles, and is just stunning.