Posted by SuperMario on 26 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Houseki no Kuni

And this phenomenal anime has come to an end, at least for now. This finale is pretty much a calm before the big arc coming up, and further solidify the extend Phos has been growing so far. Well, Houseki isn’t very subtle on this by showing the parallel between this finale and the first episode. Again, we have the meeting between Phos and Cinnabar as the emotional chord, now with Phos’s offering the new job to their Crimson friend. Again, mirroring the very first sequence of the show  we have other Gems calling out for Phos to meet Kongou-sensei. While in the first episode Phos was lying on the grass doing basically nothing, this time they’re standing at the edge of the cliff and clearly have a goal in mind. It comes to a full circle, which is kind of appropriate for a heavily-Buddhism theme like Houseki. Many viewers might consider this ending anticlimactic, but I really like the steady progression of how the story unfolds and particularly how Phos has matured slowly but firmly since the start of the season. Even Phos reflects on the change with sad sentiment, a loss of innocence that they will never go back to the way they were before. This is one of the most well-developed anime character arc I have seen in awhile. Well done Houseki.

But not only Phos, this episode also shines on bringing other Gems to light with many hints of their backstory, while further highlights their colorful personalities with surprisingly relatable traits. Take Padparadscha for example, the beautiful Swiss-cheese holes Gem just waking up, having a walk at the shore and then falling back to sleep all too soon, but they sure catch up well with the situation and leaves a lasting impact. They’re the one who give Phos a much-needed advice: keep their composure and be mindful with their actions. Adding to that wise advice is the way he wears the uniform: loose shirt, uneven pair of socks and cool demeanor make him a total winner to me. But even Alex (Lexi), Zircon and Yellow Diamond all give their own stories that rooted deep in their insecurities when it comes to their roles and the fear of losing their dear comrades. Phos, on that note, had experienced both those issues, but it becomes apparent this time that the other Gems also have experienced them in some degrees too. Alex determines to learn all about the Lunarians as a reminder that they took Chrysoberyl away (the way they love trivia and cosplay Kongou sensei, by the way, are awesome). Zircon, on the other hand, feels deeply nervous around Bort, and their insecurities of having Phos surpassed him despite being the same age.

The biggest hint about the Lunarians comes from Phos’ attempt to isolate one of the Lunarian and try to talk to the figure. The Lunarian’s eyes come back into focus, or to put it better, they regain conscious. They even mutter something before got swept away by the toxic of Cinnabar. This makes me thinking what if the Lunarians are mind-controlled as well, just like the poor Admirabillis? All we know at the moment is the Admirabillis were captured and lose their consciousness in the Moon land, and the Gems are systematically controlled by Kongou-sensei, so it’s reasonable to assume the same fate with the Lunarians? Kongou-sensei obviously is the key to open the door full of secrets here, although Phos’ current decision to come over the Moon to see their side of story is a very logical move. After the Moon, the next target should be the Snails, right?

I still can’t put my finger on how much Phos still remembers Cinnabar and their promises, but it sure isn’t a good sign that Phos starting to lose their memories and Houseki suggests that as time goes on, when Phos loses more of their body parts, they will no longer have those important memories too. But their last encounter brings a lot of raw emotions to the forefront. Cinnabar still leans on what Phos promise, every single word of it, and the scene where they ran off Phos and showed their vulnerability speaks volume considering how they tend to avoid showing any emotions towards other Gems. It’s a hard job, and not necessary a rewarding one, where they team up with Phos to offer an opinion, or rather a contrasting opinion. I’m looking forward to see how the outcast duo will fare when they go up to the Moon for an enlightment.

Overall, what a ride! While I still bemoan for Houseki ending too soon and we have to wait for a certain amount of time for the sequel to come, if ever, I would definitely say that Orange studio had succeeded on their gambles of using fully computer generated to the entire show. The animation is dynamic and inventive, the visual is striking with symmetrical visual, moody color palette and the comedy is unexpectedly slapstick-y that somehow fit the tones of this little gem. Houseki is a treasure and I really hope they greenlit for the second season. This story is deserved to receive a full adaptation. The Gems must live on.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Strength says:

    Have you heard the news? There’s a new best gem around, boasting fabulous red hair, not so faint smile (actually a smirk), infinite wisdom and the unforgettable voice of Romi Paku?! It is also a Hollow – Uluquiora would proud. Can probably make Cero Oscuras too… The catch? The universe must balance the overflowing glory of this elite one – it needs control rods to keep its nuclear powers in check and can only maintain walk for an intro of the episode, much like a berserk Eva without its umbilical cord.

    Romi Paku sealed the deal for me, I stand defeated. Her voice is my One True Weakness. The episode avoided chasing last-minute mysteries and concentrated on the gems as a whole – exactly like I wanted. The ending made a full circle in several ways and the parallel to the start of the series was awesome. I couldn’t ask for more if I wanted.

    9/10. A rare combination of uncompromising fun and quality show that can be appreciated by both the lowly commoners and the elite with a deep taste. Lets have a quick review.

    Pros:
    – pretentious oh-so-deep coming of age story
    – emo MC, edgy & OP as fuck
    – violence & mutilation of immortal creatures (so it can go on forever)
    – visuals & animation
    – harem of gender-less creatures ready to serve
    – leg fetish, cgi asses, breast physics and tentacles – now in 3D!
    – punipuni x fuafua
    – AAA voice actor lineup
    – delicious OST
    – backgrounds
    – action scenes
    – Buddhists hoping for their mineral collection to come to life
    – Dia, made of the strongest waifu material in the universe
    – student council president Jade
    – Sailor “Antarku” Uranus
    – The youngest senile ever to be iffy about his age Yellow Diamond
    – Padparadscha
    – Padparadscha’s hair
    – Padparadscha’s voice
    – Padparadscha’s exhibitionism
    – Padparadscha’s, well… everything else about Padparadscha
    – everything else about the show

    Cons:
    – only one season

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      You summed it up all too well, haha. Yeah Padparaparaparaparadscha comes and goes like a wind. They need a Prince kiss to wake up again I believe #SleepingBEAUTY. I also add to your list:
      – Gold tears
      – leg fetish with HIGH HEELS in battles
      – That MOON always in full
      – the jumpy jellyfishes
      – Some Lunarians playing music in battles

      But really, like you said, Everything about Houseki has a lot of its own personality that we could talk about those things for all eternity.

      • Avatar Strength says:

        ++ for mentioning high heels. You can’t put up a decent fight without solid footwear to back it up.

        Maybe Rutil would like to play the prince?

        And now I wont stop thinking about this, because: the only thing Houseki needs to complete itself as a classic is a controversial Utena ending.

        So in S2 Phos fights the system, duels everyone (insert 38 copy-paste episodes), cars suddenly pop up everywhere, Kongo shows up and explains how he maintains the whole illusion that this is a harem anime and that the real party is at Lunarians’ place. He shows Phos the End of the World and Phos gets angry there won’t be any more fanservice episode and duels Kongo, but sword of Dios, I mean Antaarku, fails her and she loses. Lunarians then screw up Kongo’s plan to bring everyone back and Phos opens the Moon gate, but vanishes. Cinnabar grows a pair, stops being antisocial, realizes her love for Phos and sets out to find her, with a smile on her face.

        Dunno… Houseki no Kuni checks out as an anime I’d toss Ikuraha to take for a yuri-spin-off.

        • SuperMario SuperMario says:

          Haha, Utena is another one of my favorite. But really, what’s wrong with the Utena’s ending that is controversal? Unless you mean the movie version because boy, I’m sure Ikuhara was on crack when he made the movie.

          The trick that Utena pulled to fill up its 39 episodes is that Utena has to duel the same players two or three times. Keep repeating the system until she breaks. Not that I’m complaining because I’m a sucker of those fights.

          I wonder how The Emd of the World Houseki-version would be?? Or how Phos and the Gems eat curry and they change places? The twin Amethyst can serve as our shadow puppets.

          • Avatar Strength says:

            We seem to share the appreciation of some titles. I’m glad.

            Hm. Maybe because revolution ended up almost intangible and immaterial? I have no issue with the last ep per se, but Ikuhara’s style over substance… well, it involves masterful metaphors, but they become more true than the motifs they represent – so the show keeps building up and then ends, leaving you wondering; at which point did the revolution or whatever occur and what was all the fuss about. Yuri Kuma played it safe, but I found Mawaru Penguindrum quite intolerable.

            I feel like Ikuhara goes on various thematically (loosely) connected tangents, but fails to firmly connect them into a thread. The metaphors only stand on their own, e.g. see the incoherence of the visual clues, like: prince, witch, coffin, car, elevator… It works, locally, and in grand scheme makes for a fun puzzle, but one that when completed, only shows a picture of those very puzzles. I’m missing an entire thematic layer!

            But really, the only fault I have with Utena is reusing the fight animations – very sad.

            Ah, the movie – that was so unlike anything I had expected. Borderline incomprehensible, but ballsy and iconic. It’s without doubt the ‘End of Evangelion’ of Utena.

            Hah at Ametyst. And Jade is Sayonji and Pad is Touga?

  2. Avatar Amagi says:

    I like how this is one of the best coming of age story I’ve read/seen in a long time, despite it not being an actual coming of age, since we’re dealing with age old gems here and the development gets triggered by the exchange of body parts whereas the passing of time couldn’t do anything.

    My only complaint would be that they skipped a few scenes in the final episode that had a bigger impact on me. I guess they’re just re-arranging them and will/could show them in season 2 if there ever is one, but at least one of these scenes works way better when it happens before the “new job” scene with Cinnabar IMO.

    Anyway still an awesome adaption and I really hope for a s2. Considering that the 3D models are already done it wouldn’t cost as much as a normal, newly animated, season and so far the BD sell rather well (more than 6000 in the first days) so a sequel is actually somewhat likely to happen. I hope.

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