Adding another show to the roster. Not dropping...yet.

Well to…umm…no one’s surprise, I have decided to switch shows around. I still will be sticking with Just Because!, but I have decided to watch Land of the Lustrous as well. I figured that I might as well use my subscription with HIDIVE while I still feel the need for it 🙂

In a fantasy world inhabited by ‘jewel people’, one has been given the job of compiling an encyclopedia for them, as her body is too weak to defend them against the ‘Lunarians’, who want to take their bodies and use them as jewellery or weapons.

Phosphophyllite, or Phos, yearns to be in battle with her colleagues, but she’s clumsy, dim and with a jewel hardness of 3 and a half, brushing against her would cause her body to crack. She hates the job she is given by her elder, but when she hears about the jewel that is on night watch, Cinnabar, she discovers that there is someone that is more of an outcast than she is.

Cinnabar has been effectively forced out of the community because of her body, which is weaker than Phos’, but she secretes a poison that endangers life. She doesn’t want to do her job either, and in fact yearns to be taken by the Lunarians. This gets Phos curious, and thus she decides to find her another purpose in life.

Episode 1 is the introductory episode, while episode 2 introduces Diamond. She may be the highest in hardness, but she is actually very fragile inside, and her questionable relationship with Bort (the strongest fighter) proves it.

Sadly, I can picture all sorts of people who are willing to compare these characters to all the gems in Steven Universe; the two shows have very little in common. The Homeworld gems all know their purpose in life, while in Land of the Lustrous, the jewels fight, protect and defend what little they have, but in all honesty, they are pretty lost themselves. Phos can’t fight due to being too brittle, and is pretty clumsy too, so is stuck to a more academic role which she already hates, and Diamond can fight, but is emotionally weak and is forced to the bench when Bort launches in every time, making her question why she even needs to fight…not to mention Cinnabar, who has been outcast from the rest of the jewels because of her poison, and yearns to be taken by the Lunarians to end her suffering.

The studio (Orange) have taken their time in making this show as good as they can, and the hard work has paid off. This show proves to the cynics that 3D anime can work, after all. Polygon Pictures love to experiment with it in Knights of Sidonia, Ajin and the more recent Blame!, but often fall at the first hurdle (the scripts they write make up for it though)

Moving on to Just Because!, and now that I’ve had the chance to rewatch episode 1, I can find something in this at last.

Izumi is the bored-looking transfer student’s name. He returns to town after being in Fukuoka and discovers his old classmates are growing up. Haruto still has a crush on Morikawa and doesn’t have the courage to tell her, and Natsume, who Izumi liked at some point, is in two minds in who she likes. After last week’s not-so-great opening episode, the four are brought together in a trip to the local aquarium.

The sakuga fans seem to be gushing over this show, and I can sort of understand why. Despite the somewhat questionable animation in places, a lot of the frames are directed in a very purposefully minimal way. Regular anime acting emphasises on expression; in Just Because! the acting is more conceptual, and the animation directors have taken consideration in gestures and their meaning. The addition of the hyperactive photography club member (whose name I have still forgotten…), who is very expressive, just becomes more of an eyesore than anything else.

But the thing is…it’s just not really an exciting show to watch. When the Fall season is over, the story will be forgotten in a matter of not weeks, but days. I can already take pretty accurate guesses on how this show, which is an original and not an adaptation of anything, will end.

Well another show that I know the ending of is Love Live! Sunshine!! 2, but I lean far more towards this than with Just Because! Is it the standard expressive animation, or the fact that I know this Love Live! show format too well, already enjoy it, and am eager for more? I think both probably.

Oddly enough, this week’s episode echoes episode 2 of the second season of Love Live! School Idol Project, where the girls split up into groups to get to know each other more. Here in Sunshine, Chika, Riko and You put the first-years and third-years together to write an original song for their upcoming Love Live! performance. We soon learn that they see life very differently. While first-years Yoshiko and Hanamaru enjoy indoor activities like reading, third-years Kanan and Mari enjoy outdoor activities.

For a show that guarantees a happy ending, and where its audience knows that a sad ending is something that just does not exist in Love Live!, this week’s episode was rather predictable, and that’s not just because I could compare it to a past Love Live! episode, though. The die-hard fans are already in love though, and nothing can shake that love, so whilst I’m not a die-hard fan myself, I’m expecting 10 more episodes of the same kind of thing: mini-stories culminating to the happy ending of the school being saved, and the third-years graduating…and then a few months into 2018, a Sunshine movie will be announced or something…

Let’s move on to Kino’s Journey, and I’m still enjoying it very much. As I said last week, the heavy focus on the main characters Kino & Hermes really works, and makes it look more like an exciting travelling adventure show than some soppy drama. This week, Kino is led to a imperialist country that makes random travellers fight in gladiatorial contests. Kino is given the short straw and so with her assorted weaponry, she easily beats all competition until she meets a swordsman desperate to be a citizen but has ulterior motives in doing so. After defeating him, Kino uses her new citizen rights by implementing a Battle Royale-style law.

There are some adventure shows that work very well with mini-stories and many more adventure shows that do not; Kino’s Journey is one of them. This is mostly down to the fact that having one long and consistent storyline weaved into the show simply would not work as well. I’m now very curious, in fact, at the 2003 show, the OVA and the two movies (one of which was, in fact, one of SHAFT’s earliest works). I understand that ADV Films had the rights for it, but as for now, I sadly do not know.

I’ve talked enough now, and so because I added Land of the Lustrous to the list, and had to catch up on it, coverage of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine will return next week 🙂