Don't go to pieces! Land of the Lustrous simulwatch (completed)

João Gomes

Vampire Ninja
I ANSWER THY CALL. STATE YOUR WISH. Invertedpentagram.png

Now then, already have the blu ray in place and I'm ready to go! I was actually thinking of starting as soon as midnight, but I'll refrain from doing it in case I get too eager to watch the next one...
 

Dai

Thousand Master
Instructions unclear, I have materialized as the orphan child of Yog-Sothoth as I feast on the blood of livestock.
Frantically flicks through Summoning for Dummies (Eldritch Abomination Edition)

Err, I think I need to cross the streams.
I am the bone of my sword...

Wait this isn't a Fate simulwatch?
I did consider leaving that intro in case we ever do a Fate simulwatch, but who knows if that will happen?
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Did I hear someone summoning an ancient high-level horror?

So what is this, anime Steven Universe? Who ripped off who?
 

ManiacB

Brigade Leader
Forgive the ignorant question, first time doing one of these, but do we all watch each episode at a specific time, or is the idea just that we all watch an episode a day in our own time and then discuss here?
 

Vincentdante

Mad Scientist
Forgive the ignorant question, first time doing one of these, but do we all watch each episode at a specific time, or is the idea just that we all watch an episode a day in our own time and then discuss here?
You can watch it anytime we don't have a strict time. Tomorrow is the first ep discussion is all. I've actually just seen it now so I am ready for the discussion.
 

Dai

Thousand Master
Episode 1
Land of the Lustrous opens with some unique and striking world-building, and poses some interesting questions. Our cast of immortal gem girls are stuck in an endless cycle of battle to defend themselves against an enemy they're both wearily familiar with, and yet don't really seem to understand. The main question we're faced with in this opening episode is: what gives life meaning? The initial answer we're offered is to find purpose through meaningful work. But what makes work meaningful? Phos is offered a job that Sensei Kongo thinks is suited to her abilities, though it hardly seems to fit her personality, and she balks at being lumbered with it. Compiling the encyclopaedia is a task unique among the gem girls, but Phos sees no value in it. Instead she's only interested in the prestige she thinks comes from fighting the lunarians, a task for which she seems equally ill suited. But this battle is apparently never-ending, and the gem girls seem to have no interest in doing more than pushing back each attack as it comes, so is there meaning in that? She's also baffled by Cinnabar, wondering, "Why keep doing a pointless job? Why bother?" Episode 1 ends with Phos promising to find a better job for Cinnabar, but the question remains: what gives life meaning?

The other immediately striking aspect of the show is the art. I can count on one hand the number of CG anime I've seen that I thought were well executed: Expelled from Paradise, Arpeggio of Blue Steel, and this. Part of it is how well the style fits the world of the story; these girls are meant to be solid gemstones, not flesh and blood. But the main reason is how well the faces are animated. The downfall of most CG anime is the facial expressions, or lack thereof. Badly animated CG faces might as well be sock puppets, but that's never a problem in this show, where faces are so expressive that it's often hard to tell if this is pure CG or a mix with hand-drawn elements. That said, I do wonder if I'd be as accepting of this look in a show with a less abstract setting.

If you're stuck for what to write about this episode, here are some possible thoughts for the day:
What gives life meaning? (just a small question)
Is there such a thing as CG anime "done right", and if so, is this it?
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
And we're underway! 😀

I watched our first episode yesterday and drafted up some thoughts, so I'll post those as-is for now and come back to @Dai's questions during the course of today.

* * * * *

Episode 1: Phosphophyllite

I'm finding my feet here with this first episode, having never seen the series before, so perhaps some accordingly scattergun thoughts and observations will do for this post.

First off, I'm already drawn to the concept of characters losing bits of their memory if some part of their body becomes chipped away; I'll be keen to see how that can be used in the story.

And in terms of characterisation...

From Google:
Cinnabar (otherwise known as mercury sulphide) is the single most toxic mineral known to man. ... The problem with Cinnabar, is when oxidized it produces methyl and dimethy mercury, two toxic compounds that cause terminal damage to the nervous system.

I can see already that the screenplay is aiming to take the properties of minerals and imagine how that mineral would feel if it were humanised.

(I'm aware that the anime is an adaptation of a manga by Haruko Ichikawa, but I have no knowledge of it, and so don't want to appear to be claiming any knowledge of it. As such I can only comment on the anime itself.)

Even at this early stage, I'm very much enjoying the show's animation work. It's highly impressive in its own right but surely even more so for a TV anime with a TV production schedule. I also liked the use of the Mohs scale of mineral hardness on Phos's profile shown on the mid-episode eyecatch; I'm starting to learn new things already from watching this series.

On a personal note, I'm also already enjoying the presence of voice actor Jōji Nakata as Kongō-sensei; he's one of my favourites. As always, I'm watching in Japanese with subtitles.

Actually, something that I was listening out for in the Japanese dialogue (and I don't know how many of you here are also watching subbed) was the use of pronouns. I understand that the gems are portrayed as genderless, and I'd read that the subtitles will use "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun. This doesn't appear to be the case in the original Japanese, though: Phos uses boku, a male first-person pronoun, to refer to their own self, and kare, meaning "he", was widely used to refer to Cinnabar. Cinnabar is using ore as a first-person pronoun; it's male again but rougher in sound than boku.

(It's worth nothing, however, that boku can be used by female singers in song lyrics without any male gender connotation. I don't actually know the reason for that.)
 

Dai

Thousand Master
On a personal note, I'm also already enjoying the presence of voice actor Jōji Nakata as Kongō-sensei; he's one of my favourites. As always, I'm watching in Japanese with subtitles.

Actually, something that I was listening out for in the Japanese dialogue (and I don't know how many of you here are also watching subbed) was the use of pronouns. I understand that the gems are portrayed as genderless, and I'd read that the subtitles will use "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun. This doesn't appear to be the case in the original Japanese, though: Phos uses boku, a male first-person pronoun, to refer to their own self, and kare, meaning "he", was widely used to refer to Cinnabar. Cinnabar is using ore as a first-person pronoun; it's male again but rougher in sound than boku.

(It's worth nothing, however, that boku can be used by female singers in song lyrics without any male gender connotation. I don't actually know the reason for that.)
This is the third or fourth time I've watched this show, and for the life of me I can't remember if I normally watch it subbed or dubbed. Recently, I've got into the habit of putting a small label inside blu-ray cases to remind me which I prefer for each series, but I guess I only started that after the last time I watched this. Even watching this episode in English today, I still can't remember if these are the voices I'm more familiar with or not. The English VA for Phos is great though, as expressive as her face. It's just a shame the American accents are so strong; the twanginess feels out of place in this setting.

Does Japanese have androgynous word choices for referring to people?
 

CommanderZx2

Adventurer
Ah yes American accents are one the things I find most distracting in dubs, but I guess it's unavoidable when they're sourcing their voice actors locally. One of the worst examples I can recall is them giving Lucoa an American valley girl accent even she's supposed to be inspired by an Aztec dragon like creature.
 

RadFemHedonist

Pokémon Master
"But because of that... we have grown completely incapable of giving up on anything".

Interesting line, also I love the CGi even the grass looks pretty XP Worth observing that Phos does seem less "committed" to things than the other gems. For now I'm watching dubbed, I agree that Phos' English VA is excellent :)
 
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