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

Vincentdante

Mad Scientist
Episode one - The Buddhist Menace

Well the episode is named after the character in question Phosphophylite aka Phos and the title card suggesting the next episode is called Diamond I see a pattern emerging already. I have no horse in the Dub vs Sub race but I usually choose Sub for low episode count shows anyway and that is what I have done here.

I went into this show with with similar expectations I went in with when I saw Ajin. A show with a good story that is marred by a poor CGI art style, and while that proved true for Ajin I was pleasantly surprised here with how the CGI style actually accenuated the gem like quality that these characters are taking on. It took around 10 minutes into the episode until I got comfortable with this, believing it to be a purposeful choice by the animators.

It's interesting how the characters take on characteristics based on the gem they are named after. Phos is a brittle green gemstone while the other character we got to know Cinnabar (which according to wikipedia and as Neil.T mentioned above has properties of mercury) is poisonous to everything around it.

We are told in this episode that there are 28 gemstone people who I suspect we will be introduced to as the show goes on, and they are defending against the Luminarians. Beings which live on the moon and remind me of Buddhist images though anything beyond that is speculation at this point.

One thing I wonder. We are told the gem folk are more or less immortal, even though they can be shattered thay can also be rebuilt if the pieces are collected again. However those pieces are beyond repair if Cinnabar comes in contact with them. Does this mean that Cinnabar has the unique power to kill immortal gems? Or would a gem person fully corrupted by Cinnabar be more or less a person afflicted with dementia?

Overall a solid start to the series which I ended up enjoying a lot more than I thought I would.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
This is also my first experience with this series and am with the general consensus on the quality of the CGI. It has to be good for me to forget it's CGI during the watch! And I agree with Dai that a lot of that has to do with the quality of facial animations. On that note, I generally can't manage wooden CGI but more recent outputs like Beastars & Dorohedoro have been helping keep me open minded.

Thanks for the language knowledge Neil.T, given the gender differentiation present in Japanese. It definitely helps get a bearing around what I perceived amongst the genderless characters as some having more masculine and others more feminine characteristics. Though, at the same time I don't know if assigning them gender characteristics takes away from the point of them being androgynous or gender neutral. Will see how it plays out.

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.
On looking him up I've just realised that he voiced the coolest anime character ever, in my opinion: Alucard, closely followed by the second coolest: The Count of Monte Cristo (also explains why on my recent watch of Gankatsuou I was constantly reminded of Alucard heh). So if the trend follows I'm guessing that I'll be adding Kongo-sensei to this list!

The underlying theme is certainly fascinating. As Dai mentioned this being around the meaning of one's life, with the cure to the inevitable existential crises also being provided in the form of the distraction that is meaningful work. Work therefore being the pursuit of happiness? Heresy to a lazy git like myself! The relatively immortal nature of the gems adds gravitas to this. Also as Neil.T mentioned, it's very interesting how each character is literally the sum of their substructural components - reminds me of how in neuroscience a lot of cerebral functioning has historically been determined by cases of brain injury and their effect of an individual's functioning and personality.

I'm also finding Phos very likeable with a lot of personality and drive. Definitely hooked at present and really resisting not watching anymore episodes to keep with the schedule heh.
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
I can count on one hand the number of CG anime I've seen that I thought were well executed: Expelled from Paradise ...
Ah, good man. Yeah, I'm a big fan of that one too. The Gen Urobuchi script certainly helps as well, of course!

It took around 10 minutes into the episode until I got comfortable with this, believing it to be a purposeful choice by the animators.
I was watching this yesterday as well. It's an early promo video for the show from 2013, four years before the first episode of the TV series aired. It's in 2D and I think very much proves your point:

There's also this excellent side-by-side comparison showing the above promo along with the equivalent scenes from the finished show:

"But because of that... we have grown completely incapable of giving up on anything".
Yeah, that was a really good line! 😯

I've often liked to include a quote from the episode in my simulwatch posts, and I think you picked a real corker there. The sentiment of that hit quite hard, I thought — even on a first watch of this first first episode.

Reminded me of Ghibli's Princess Kaguya.
Yeah, absolutely. If you've seen Kaguya you're right at home here.

Ghibli's film is based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a 10th-century Japanese folk tale:

As for why the Lunarians from this series and Kaguya's people from the Ghibli film look so similar... I don't actually know. 🤔

All I can say is that the Lustrous manga began publication in October 2012 and that The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was released in November 2013.

(I'll take this chance to recommend the film to you, @Vincentdante. It's quite long and admittedly probably not to everyone's tastes, but it's my second-favourite Ghibli film after The Wind Rises.)

On looking him up I've just realised that he voiced the coolest anime character ever, in my opinion: Alucard, closely followed by the second coolest: The Count of Monte Cristo
Yeah, he's so good! He's a real thespian in the way he delivers his lines and bring a pleasing dramatic weight to his characters. Absolutely one of my favourite VAs.

It's just a shame the American accents are so strong; the twanginess feels out of place in this setting.
This is actually one of the major reasons that I don't watch anime dubbed: I just find the accents an earache. 😬

Work therefore being the pursuit of happiness? Heresy to a lazy git like myself!
🤣👍
I'm right with you there, buddy!


That's plenty for just now, so I'll answer Dai's language question in a separate post later. 🙂
 
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Neil.T

Idolm@ster
Does Japanese have androgynous word choices for referring to people?
It doesn't really, no. What Japanese does have, though, is a habit of omitting elements of sentences that are felt to be already understood in context.

As you may already be familiar with, English has the structure of subject–verb–object. (Example: "I ate food.")

Japanese has a more flexible structure but is generally subject–object–verb. The order of the subject and object can be reversed, but the verb will always come at the end. With the parts already understood in context being omitted, though, it's actually very common for a complete sentence to be no more than the verb. An example might be this exchange between two female speakers:

Kinō ano bangumi mita?
Ē, mita yo!

Translation:
— Did (you) see that (TV) programme yesterday?
— Yeah, (I) saw (it)!

The parts in brackets are nowhere to be found in the Japanese sentence. This facet can also be used to avoid referring to people directly.


The common name suffix -san (Mr, Mrs, etc.) is gender neutral, sure enough, but it can't be used to refer to someone on its own. There's aitsu to point someone out, but that's outright rude and has a tone akin to "that one there".
 

Loris

Brigade Leader
After wrestling a bit with HiDive to accept my card details for a subscription, I managed to watch the first episode.

The premise that the first episode sets up is fairly interesting. Like other users have pointed out, it's funny to see the different gemstones acting differently depending on the stone they're based on. I'm interested in getting to know more of the characters for sure, they seem fascinating. The setting is also quite interesting, as well.

As for the artstyle, I don't have much experience with CGI anime, but I think this one handles it fairly well. The facial expressions are nice and overall it feels quite fluid? (Don't know if that's the right way to describe it lol).

Overall - Quite interesting, and I'm excited to watch the next episode.

(First time doing this, hopefully I've done stuff correctly 😶)
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
As for the artstyle, I don't have much experience with CGI anime, but I think this one handles it fairly well. The facial expressions are nice and overall it feels quite fluid? (Don't know if that's the right way to describe it lol).

Overall - Quite interesting, and I'm excited to watch the next episode.

(First time doing this, hopefully I've done stuff correctly 😶)
I'd say it looks fluid as well so, yeah, definitely.

And there's no wrong way to do this, dude. If you're watching along at simulwatch pace, then all is good. 🙂
Praise, criticise, analyse... whatever you fancy. It's good to have you on board with us.
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
I've had a hectic last 3 days due to work stuff so my plan is to write this up now, then later I'll pop back in and check for previous replies and responses and things :)

First time viewer! Episode 1!

I'm not going to deep dive the episodes too much, but I will put some thoughts down on what I feel/think about stuff as I go along.

For starters I must say I love the vibrancy of the world they are in, the landscapes and lighting really show a paradise.

The gem people are seemingly agnostic sexes, they certainly all look pretty feminine to me with the exception of the master Adamant. Each character being a different gem presumably, with their own unique "toughness" and properties is an interesting concept.

This understanding did lead to some more internal questions though:
  • Is Master Adamant himself a gem? he seems the least gem like of them all. He has no hair to gauge gem sheen from though!
  • How are more gems made?
  • Can duplicate "gem" classes exist? simple example being two rubies, or two emeralds or whatever.
It was mentioned that there were 28 of them so I found it slightly odd that they didn't seem to be that communal. Rather than being close knit it felt more like the gem people only spoke to a handful of other gems routinely.

Phos seems to be the MC of the show so far, Cinnabar seems to be an important character who has some issues fitting in due to his nature. To me it's clear that those two will be pivotal characters.

The concept of how the gems work as people is interesting, we learnt that losing even chips of their gem bodies can also lose memories, so rather than having a brain that contains memories, their entire bodies seem to act as a brain containing gem fragments.

The concept of light seems to play a large role in the gem people as well, with Cinnabar being the only one who can operate at night, and his poison causing their gem structures to dull to the light and require chipping away as per what happened to Phos.

The elephant in the room is the attacks from the moon people, felt kind of NGE where an enemy would just appear out of the sky and attack them, only their defence seemed a bit less urgent. I wonder what the moon people were after, attacking the gem people and stealing their fragments seemed important enough for them to wage constant attacks to attempt it.

During the fight where Cinnabar was defending, his own "poison army" seemed to act kind of like the mini-army that the attackers brought along. Cinnabar definitely seems special/unique as an outlier compared to his 27 compatriots.

Lastly I will say that the gem people do not seem to feel a lot of pain, but when they were being put back together there seemed to be some. I wonder if the memories being reconnected after being chopped off caused the pain, and losing fragments doesn't cause pain, because they are memories and they are forgotten once disconnected.

As an intro ep I was happy with it, didn't throw too much at me, and I'm interested to see how things go from here! 🙂
 

WMD

Railgun
Not really much to add to what's been said by everyone else already. (Also I'm still emotionally vulnerable from the WandaVision finale I watched just prior to this so I'm hardly in the best frame of mind for critical thinking)

The big thing for me here is the animation. The way the light refracts and shines through their hair and onto surfaces around them is sublime. After watching the 2D promo version @Neil.T shared all I can say thank god they went with CGI. In this case it genuinely improves the quality of the show and gives a much better visual representation of them as living gemstones.

The thing I've always found odd about them being non-gendered is why drawn all of them with that waist:hip ratio. It makes them so classically feminine and not giving them massive anime boobs doesnt change that. I see that you just drew a bunch of waifus 👀
 

HWR

CCG’s Reaper
AUKN Staff
Very interesting hearing everyone’s thoughts so far, both from newcomers and those rewatching!

Episode 1: Phosphophyllite

I am reminded of how good the CGI works here in conjunction with the character designs, and how the episode gradually sets up the world, characters and premise. I recall being very intrigued to watch more at the time.
 

IdiomaticLynx

Student Council President
Just watched the first episode and overall a pretty solid one (dare I say, rock solid 😉). One thing that had me worried at the start was the CGI and.... it's pretty okay. I'm not as sold on the artistic merits of it over 2D animation in this case, but it definitely didn't harm the show. There are several things that often go wrong with CGI. One being emotionless faces, as @Dai already mentioned, which this show doesn't suffer from. But IMO equally bad are overuse of camera movement through the 3D space and lacklustre/empty backgrounds.

With 2D animation you're essentially forced to think of the composition of the shot, whereas with 3D the composition of the scene takes precedence. The only thing that makes the translation from 3D to 2D is the camera, but unless you know what you're doing, it can be really challenging to express the shots the way you want. Often you don't "break" things in the 3D scene to get a desired effect, but this also means that certain effects will remain out of reach. On the flip side the camera allows some things that are prohibitively expensive in 2D, namely 3D rotations. As soon as a show excessively resorts to these to spice things up, it's a bad sign. Luckily this isn't the case here. There is some modest usage of it, but generally as a transition/easing into a shot. As a result it pretty much feels like any other anime.

The one thing that felt off, was how "empty" everything seemed. I was slightly concerned that this was a side-effect of opting for CGI. But as the episode went of, it was quite clear that this is deliberate. In a way the world feels quite empty, which brings me to the themes and the story thus far.

A lot of exposition takes place, and while it was nicely dressed up and spread throughout the entire episode, it always pains me a bit when seeing it. To some extent it is unavoidable, so I don't really mind, especially in the first episode of a 12 episode show. Anyway, we learn that:
  • They are pretty much immortal. In terms of ageing, but also in terms of being killed. The closest to death seems to be being split up and "kidnapped", as that would reduce the odds of being put back together. But we also learn that Cinnabar is even capable of permanently damaging them. Logically repeat that enough times and one is really gone for good.
    • They also don't seem to experience pain(?)
  • They do effectively have a day/night cycle, but thus far that only seems to be due to practical reasons (not being able to see at night). I think it's probably also safe to say that they don't need to eat or sleep.
  • Their memories can be stored in different parts of their body. Losing those parts means losing those memories.
While watching it's very easy to indeed start pondering about the meaning of (their) life(s). This episode gives us one thing: having a job to fulfil, even if simply assigned to you, can give a purpose. But the other way to look at that, is just to avoid answering the question as you'd be preoccupied.

But what I would like to know in this case, is the timescale of what they've already experienced. It's clear that they do have emotions and their social interactions are quite like that of humans. But given their seeming immortality and lack of procreation(just guessing here?), it would paint the question in a slightly different light. It's not like leaving a legacy or achieving something within your lifetime, are likely candidates. Upholding virtues on the other hand, becomes a bigger feat the longer ones lifespan is. But taking one step back, are they actually alive? Is there even life without death? If we were actually talking about rocks, we would likely not talk about their "meaning". The difference here is that they are sentient and can act, but besides that their just rocks (thus far). While killing them seems impossible, rendering them in a state where they can no longer act (and are possibly also no longer sentient) does seem possible. We can thus classify that as their "life" and start thinking about the meaning of that "life". If they are somehow created (from the raw rocks), then their meaning can perhaps be derived from their creator. If their sentience stems from those unique micro-organisms inside of them, then their meaning might actually be a symbiotic relation in order to "survive".

Apologies about the above rambling, but my key point was actually that it's easy to make the mistake of assuming the situation is comparable to that of ours (humans). In a similar way that I find interactions between immortal entities and mortal humans to often be handled poorly. There is way more to consider than just "everyone I know will eventually die", because that's the issue you get if a human gained immortality.

On a less philosophical level. What's up with their master? He's bound to die or disappear somewhere done the line, is my feeling. Also, if the enemy is collecting them to be turned into jewellery, why were the arrow tips made out of one of them?
 

Vincentdante

Mad Scientist
On a less philosophical level. What's up with their master? He's bound to die or disappear somewhere done the line, is my feeling. Also, if the enemy is collecting them to be turned into jewellery, why were the arrow tips made out of one of them?

In regards to this in metalurgy you use harder jewels/metals to break apart the weaker ones. And of something like a diamond you need a very strong one, this was my take away anyway. And if your goal is to take the enemy anyway and confidence you will win then you only need to collect the parts afterwards so nothing lost.

I'm trying to remember the name of the yellow jewel that made up the arrow heads though. If it's a weak jewel then I am officially wrong lol.
 

João Gomes

Vampire Ninja
Damn, you're all way too fast and eloquent and there's nothing left for me to say lol

Loved the OP (well, appearing as the ED here), both the music and the visuals. I love that there's some traditional animation in there (a few frames depicting the enemies), and I caps lock LOVE how vibrant and colorful it is. It's very striking.

There was a bit much on the explanation side, and it rarely sounds natural for characters that have all inhabited the same world for the same amount of time to spout things out like the master does to Phos or the doc, as well. Not a huge deal, all in all.

Powerful emo girl being even less resistant than Phos was a nice little twist of sorts, I didn't remember that at all.

I'm wondering if there's any significance to the fact they're specifically 28, the way the master dresses the way he does (they?) and the way the enemy looks. I could google Buddhist stuff, but I don't feel like it. I'm hoping we get a glimpse of what's going on in the moon, eventually. Very appealing premise.

I liked that they had arrows made of a former comrade, solid bit of world building, making the world feel lived in. Not a lot, but it kind of is.

Orange are the guys that did Beastars, right? Loved that show and the visual side of it.

Well, I guess I had bit to say after all. Enjoying the experience of reading everyone's thoughts, it's motivating!
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
The one thing that felt off, was how "empty" everything seemed. I was slightly concerned that this was a side-effect of opting for CGI. But as the episode went of, it was quite clear that this is deliberate. In a way the world feels quite empty, which brings me to the themes and the story thus far.

A lot of exposition takes place, and while it was nicely dressed up and spread throughout the entire episode, it always pains me a bit when seeing it. To some extent it is unavoidable, so I don't really mind, especially in the first episode of a 12 episode show. Anyway, we learn that:
  • They are pretty much immortal. In terms of ageing, but also in terms of being killed. The closest to death seems to be being split up and "kidnapped", as that would reduce the odds of being put back together. But we also learn that Cinnabar is even capable of permanently damaging them. Logically repeat that enough times and one is really gone for good.
    • They also don't seem to experience pain(?)
  • They do effectively have a day/night cycle, but thus far that only seems to be due to practical reasons (not being able to see at night). I think it's probably also safe to say that they don't need to eat or sleep.
  • Their memories can be stored in different parts of their body. Losing those parts means losing those memories.

It did feel a little empty to me also but I think it's just the state of having 28 gems in a fairly large area, I made the comment that the gems didn't seem that communal, so I think having lots of space is good for the gem people.

In regards to pain I am fairly sure they seem to feel it when getting put back together, I commented that when broken no visible signs of pains seemed apparent, and to me that seemed more to do with how the memories stored in the fragments worked, and reconnecting missing pieces caused pain by virtue of the memories potentially being reconnected.

It's super early on but I am going to go on and say that the master feels like kind of off to me, the constant attacks they face may well be caused by the master and the splintering off from the luminariums. I think it shows him being the protector, but I suspect he is the reason for the attacks somehow.
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
I'm trying to remember the name of the yellow jewel that made up the arrow heads though. If it's a weak jewel then I am officially wrong lol.
My girlfriend watched episode 1 with me and has a much better memory than I do. She just caught up with the thread and texted me:

I think the stone is heliodor. It's a type of beryl (related to emerald) and is a good 7.5–8 on mohs [the scale of mineral hardness].

So you were right, Vincent. 👍


EDIT: It's also known as "yellow emerald", apparently.
 
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