Episodes Seen at time of writing: 9
I decided to start watching Houseki no Kuni today after seeing a handful of Diamond with Bort fanarts as well as the trailer on social media for a while, and I ended up catching up with it because of how intriguing and beautiful it was. To me it is one of those anime that manage to catch your attention at the very beginning, which says a lot about it.
Phos, the main character, is presented as a childish and carefree Gem life form who, because of their fragility (Based on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness) is often mocked and her requests to partake in battle against the Moon Dwellers are denied, but instead of the usual plot where the MC suddenly becomes better and stronger, we see a more genuine, more meaningful journey of character development: What it means to become better, the reasons behind it, and the cost and consequences of becoming so.
Story: 7/10 - This far in, I can tell the story of Houseki no Kuni is one of survival, but also of discovery; The world the story is set on is one full of mystery, and knowledge lost to time. After all, Gems are life forms that are seemingly immortal, so the concept of time is a bit lost and it's up to the MC to uncover bits of information gathered in their encounters and connect the dots to give meaning to the Gems' situation, how they came to be and what their reason to exist is. It's not hard to get hooked on the first 2 episodes, and after that, it just keeps getting better.
Art: 8/10 - Normally I wouldn't give this high a score on Art, but I was really surprised to have grown fond so quickly of it considering it's CGI, which most of the time just feels wrong. This show manages to make CGI look amazing, and I doubt it would look any better without it. The setting is luminous and fresh, the characters, although similar in body design, are easily distinguishable by their facial features, and the animation, especially in action scenes, is quite astonishing, once again, very impressive considering it's CGI
Sounds: 7/10 - The Opening song is catchy and even if you're the kind to skip it when binging, you'll probably find yourself letting it play most of the time. SFX are pretty appropriate and add a nice touch to certain situations, and it makes a great work setting the mood on every scene, action or otherwise.
Character: 8/10 - Though there are 28 Gems, we hardly get to see all of them often, but they're all quite distinguishable, and they grow into you very quickly, especially our MC Phosphophyllite. A nice cast with great seiyuus and no annoying characters.
Enjoyment: 9/10 - So far, this series has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but all in the good sense, and it's a series that has managed to hook me up for the best part of the day. Every single episode had something exciting or interesting to offer, and the whole experience of watching it has been thrilling and always leaving you wishing to know what happens next.
Overall: 8/10 - Houseki no Kuni is a show that manages to convey a story of character development and meaning of self pretty decently. My sole complain is that it's only 12 Episodes long. It's a piece of work that definitely deserves being put out there for all to watch, like a pretty Diamond. It doesn't seem like it's being talked enough, and I fear it might be slipping under the radar, part of the reason being the general consensus of CGI in works like these, but I hope it gets the recognition it deserves soon enough, and either way I'll be looking forward with anticipation for its last 3 Episodes, though I hope it gets a second season sooner than later. At any rate, as soon as it's over, you bet I'll start reading the manga.