Jan 3, 2018
Helozoru (All reviews)
(That's my first review, as a non-native english speaker I'm sorry for the eventual mistakes, etc etc. This review is also spoiler-free!)

If a month ago someone had told me my favorite 2017 anime would be a CGI anime, I would've laughed a lot, yet here we are.
Houseki no Kuni (also known as Land of the Lustrous), is one of these rare animes that left me with a feeling of emptiness after it ended. Not a bad feeling, but it could be described as a mix of satisfaction and of, "Well, what now ?", because I fear I might not see any other anime as well handled as this one.

The story starts with Phosphophyllite, questioning their place in society, and it ends up dealing with... a few other problematics, such as how far you can blindly trust the ones you love, Theseus's paradox, or in which ways it is possible to deal with grief and mourning. Yet the plot remains easy to follow, and you never get lost as it gains in complexity. Overall, the story is original, but that's definitely not the only reason why I'm recommending Houseki no Kuni.

The artstyle... Is absolutely one of the anime's strong points. And, sadly enough, probably why a lot of people ignored it ; during the first episode, and maybe the second, the use of CGI might be a bit disturbing, but at some point it stops being noticeable. As the show goes on, the animation keeps getting better and better, so that it'd be hard to imagine it in a 2D style. Everything is just so smooth, and the characters don't lose in expressivity. If anything, I hope it will motivate other animes to use CGI in a beautiful way.

The OSTs are also very, very good. Both the OP and the ED are splendid and the other soundtracks aren't worth any less. If you're indecisive about watching this anime, consider listening to them, because I personally feel like they represent the serie quite well.
And, as well composed as the soundtracks are, I'd also mention how great the anime is when it comes to using these. It's no longer a way to fill in the empty space, it's a way to add feelings, stress sometimes. Hearing the first notes of the Lunarian's theme is an experience I can't possibly explain with words, because if you watched Land of the Lustrous, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, then, oh well, you can't even begin to imagine how it feels.

The characters are very interesting as well. Through the 12 episodes, we can see a lot of development, sometimes for the best, sometimes for... eh, it's up to you to decide. But overall, every personage is truly unique. Some are confident, some have the strongest insecurities, some have to deal with feelings they can't understand, and in the end everyone is a bit relatable.

So.. Yes, I can personally say I enjoyed Houseki no Kuni. A lot. It gave me a really strange Zelda : Breath of the Wild vibe, because of the general atmosphere, the OSTs, the decors too, but also the constant... feeling of pressure, maybe, where everything seems fine, but you can't be at rest either because things are dangerous out there. And you have a terrible feeling that things could go wrong anytime, and it's usually true.

Is Land of the Lustrous my favorite 2017 anime ? Yeah, probably. The art, the soundtrack, the characters, the plot, everything is likeable and I can't think of a major flaw, yet the show didn't get that much attention, which is a shame if you ask me. Hopefully it can get a second season someday... ?