Houseki no Kuni Final Episode (12): I’m ready for more

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

This season’s ending was a bit strange, but it still didn’t make me feel bad about the series as a whole. It was probably about the best you could expect from an ending that’s clearly leaving room for a continuation. I did like that it referenced events from the first episode, contrasting the new Phos with the old Phos in preparation for meeting Sensei.

I really wasn’t expecting Padparadscha to go so quickly. I was worried last week because it seemed like it was going into a new character’s introduction, but Padparadscha only really awakened to give Phos some advice. I can live with that.

Zircon’s story with Bort seemed to crowd this final episode a bit, but it still seemed interesting. It’s nice to see that Bort might actually get a consistent partner, even if it’s at the expense of Yellow Diamond and Diamond. It’s also fun to see someone envious of Phos.

Ahh, I really wish this series hadn’t ended with so many pressing questions, but I suppose it couldn’t be helped. I’m really curious about that talking Lunarian.

It’s here that I will admit that I read the manga (only up to the end of this episode) to see how these events are portrayed. And honestly, I felt like the growing suspicion of Phos was handled better in the manga. Multiple sections are skipped to reach some form of resolution in the anime, so Phos goes to Cinnabar much sooner.

Regardless, this scene was nice to watch. The fact that Cinnabar placed so much hope on the promise Phos made speaks a lot to how much Cinnabar wants to find a true purpose and a place to belong. Even though Phos has seemed to pursue the promise earnestly, the promise itself has seemed like a bit of a side comment for Phos. As we see in this scene, it’s been a constant thought for Cinnabar.

Final Score: 9/10 Consistently enjoyable to watch and a lot more than I was expecting from the premise

Houseki no Kuni Episode 11: Everyone knows

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I’m really glad that this episode explored the mystery behind Sensei further. It’s an intriguing mystery, but I’m a little sad that we’ll likely end the season without an answer. On that note, didn’t it seem like the last piece of the episode was bit too abrupt with switching gears? Sure, Rutile got some welcome characterization, but it seemed a lot like the series was saying “okay, on to the next one”.

Alex could probably have been explained better. My guess is Red Alex is just a berserk mode fueled by an obsession with Lunarians, but we don’t really get many specifics. All we get is that the mode is triggered by seeing Lunarians.

Along the same line, was the scene with Sensei supposed to be “enough” explanation? I suppose it could be enough to say that Sensei knows that Lunarians are lost souls trapped in the world, and he somehow has to power to let them pass on. It would explain why he pities them and why they reach out to him. But surely there’s more than that.

The revelation that everyone knew that Sensei was hiding something was a pretty interesting one. Given what we’ve already seen, we know that Phos isn’t exactly what you would call clever, so it would be weird if no one else realized that Sensei had a connection with the Lunarians. Instead, it seems they’ve chosen to trust him rather than learn the truth.

As random as Padparadscha’s introduction was, I’m glad that the series explains why Rutile is the gem doctor. Based on what we’ve seen in the past, I think the gems each have some basic knowledge of how to repair themselves, but Rutile is there for the tougher cases. Padparadscha’s condition is also a good explanation for why Rutile keeps trying to dissect Phos (and other gems) to learn more.

Houseki no Kuni Episode 10: That’s a new one

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I’m glad we got such an entertaining fight now that Phos is finally battle ready. For me, this episode was just great to look at and did a great job of exploring the relationship between Diamond and Bort. The chase scene also felt oddly horror-like while I was watching it. It was definitely something I wasn’t expecting.

I was a bit curious about this line. Is this the first time that the categorization of Lunarians has been brought up? It seems weirdly late, but it’s an interesting piece of the world.

I definitely liked how this scene displayed the level to which Diamond envied and idolized Bort. We usually see Diamond as the sweet, innocent character, but these lines do a good job of a showing the resentment that can’t be completely hidden.

I’m not sure if I was supposed to see a special significance in the giant Lunarian that appears in this episode, but I sure enjoyed the extended fight. Bort’s initial fight reminded me a lot of the cinematic giant boss fights I’ve seen in video games, which was nice to see. And Diamond’s fight just clever overall, with the use of broken diamond pieces used out of necessity and such.

This cliffhanger’s just mean, though. After what we just saw Diamond do, it would be pretty for the Lunarians to succeed in their abduction.

This jellyfish scene was just hilarious.

Houseki no Kuni Episode 9: The new Phos

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Well, Phos has certainly been through a hell of a change. This episode’s a pretty good representation of how bittersweet the series is in general. Seeing a change in Phos is a welcome sight, but I will definitely miss the old Phos.

This episode really made me notice how much I love the way this series pays attention to details. This line about Phos’s speed is such a cool demonstration of how all of Phos’s changes are fitting together. The speed from the new legs is being mitigated by the extra weight from the metal alloy. It really makes it feel like information isn’t wasted when it’s presented in the series.

I also really liked this scene. Before Sensei even said his line, I had already made the association between the phenomenon that Phos called “leaking” and normal human crying. It was such a clear reference to the human past of the gems. It also really demonstrates how Phos is really the most human of the gems, which is something I’m hoping is more important as more gets revealed.

As weird as it seems, this scene really did have me legitimately worried that Phos had forgotten Cinnabar. I’m really interested by Phos’s new condition, where the alloy continues to create fragments whenever it’s used. My interpretation of this is that Phos will continue to lose memories as the power is used, but it’s never really stated.

To be fair, the other gems did try to make up for the lack of silliness from Phos…

At least there’s some hope, right?

Houseki no Kuni Episode 8: Final form?

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Curse this show for making me actually care about gems. I know that the show has made casual mentions to lost gems from the past, but this is really the first time the Lunarians managed to take away a gem who was formally introduced.

I suppose it’s meant to be a “final” piece in Phos’s transformation to sacrifice Antarcticite for the new arms. The series did a good job of characterizing Antarcticite as someone who tried to help out despite being weak, only seeking the praise of Sensei. The fact that Antarcticite’s final act was to protect Phos makes it an even crueler loss.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the new Phos next week. Just putting myself in Phos’s shoes, I can’t imagine how crushing it must have felt to fail yet again to do anything as Antarcticite was taken away. However, the preview seems to show a new face of Phos…maybe it’s one that’s less goofy? I’m actually hoping that’s not the case as that was part of the show’s charm.

It looks interesting that Phos will be using a metal for hands instead of a gem too. The flowing gold that we saw this week looked a lot like the poison that Cinnabar uses, so it might make things interesting.

As a side note, I was curious about Sensei’s scenes too. It seemed like he was dealing with something strange while Phos and Antarcticite were dealing with their own fight. Does the special interest from the Lunarians have to do with the secret that Sensei seems to know?

Houseki no Kuni Episode 7: Being Phos is suffering

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

It really messes with my mind how much fun I have watching this series given it has pretty dark tones when you really step back and examine it. I suppose Phos contributes heavily to both aspects of that. If you look at this episode as a whole, Phos ends up being relatively useless in every task yet again, and the episodes with Phos losing even more body parts to potentially get stronger.

Still, I definitely had a lot of fun watching Phos in this episode, between attempting to slog through the snow and sawing the ice. It’s probably a large amount of why I keep watching.

I was surprised at how easily the events of last week were brushed off in this episode. The fallout probably took 2 minutes of time. I was a bit disappointed too, since this line about the blades being made from Sapphire was interesting. As I recall, Sapphire was one of Yellow Diamond’s partners whom the Lunarians abducted. I wonder if it was an intentional evasion of the topic of what the Lunarians do with captured gems.

The whole thing with Antarcticite made for some interesting world building. It introduced the character while simultaneously going into how the gems’ reliance on light for energy translates into winter behavior.

I liked how the “slug communication” aspect was kept as more than a one-off by having Phos understand the ice floes as well. It gives a stronger sense that scenes aren’t wasted in this show, which makes me happy to see.

How much of this show will just be maiming Phos and rebuilding? I imagine there’s not much more that can be done, but I wonder if the memory loss thing is going to keep being relevant.

Houseki no Kuni Episodes 5-6: Finally useful

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I regret skipping this series last week because both of these episodes were pretty interesting. Episode 5 was interesting for me because Phos had managed to survived being dissolved within a slug, but some new legs were enough to grant a new power. It was also neat to see everyone banding together to find Phos, even Bort who’s constantly throwing insults.

As I said before, I’m sad to see Ventricosus go, as she provided a lot of personality to the series. It’s also kinda cool that she didn’t just go. Because of the loss of Phos’s legs, it’s more like Ventricosus was written out of existence. Phos was the only one who could hear her, and now even the memories of their underwater conversation are mostly lost.

I really liked the scene where Phos washed up next to Cinnabar. I mean, of course it would be Cinnabar, but the sad state of Phos was pretty chilling. And the whole time, Phos was going on about trying to save Cinnabar.

But yeah…Phos gets some new legs and becomes the Flash. I feel bad for Yellow Diamond, who gets introduced in Episode 6, because the yellow streak is a lot more appropriate than Phos’s green streak.

I wonder if the stripes on Phos’s new legs were done on purpose. They made me think of the saying “earning your stripes”.

Episode 6 was pretty fun to watch because Phos’s excitement was pretty relatable. It was a nice portrayal of the nervousness and excitement you feel on your first day on the job, while everyone else is disinterested because they’ve been doing it forever.

The lighting changes in this scene just as Sensei’s tone changes…nice touch.

I think that the cool Amethyst twins make for a nice sidekick for Phos, but I’m confused about Bort’s backlash at the end of the episode. Sure, Phos was standing there, but did Bort really expect anything from Phos’s first battle? I guess Bort is generally pretty gruff, so that might just be a personality quirk. Heck, I honestly thought the Amethyst twins might be the first fatality in this series.

Houseki no Kuni Episode 3-4: I missed Phos’s reactions

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

This series is really giving a lot more than I was expecting to get from it. I was largely uncertain with episode 3 because I wasn’t fully able to buy into the idea that the slug could so convincingly respond to the other characters. It seemed like too much of a coincidence, but episode 4 reveals the personality of the slug and it makes a lot more sense now. I also really liked the background information that was introduced in episode 4.

I really do want to spend more time on episode 4 because I feel like so much happened. To start off, Ventricosus was much funnier than I expected. The stark difference between the impression of the “playful” slug in episode 3 and the haughty noble in episode 4 was hilarious. I felt like the episode handled the perspectives of Phos, who could actually understand, and the other gems very well.

Cinnabar’s background was also pretty interesting. Phos complains a lot about the encyclopedia thing but at least has a delegated task to do. The fact that Cinnabar’s “task” is self-imposed makes for a much more tragic character.

Of course, my favorite part of the episode is the underwater discussion about the setting itself. I was honestly ready to accept that this was just some fantasy world that I’d have to discover, but this episode brought the world back into focus by stating that the main forms of life were human descendants. I think the concept of each species taking a particular trait of humanity and building on it is really cool, even the idea that the Lunarians are what remains of the human soul.

My main gripe with the episode is the end, though. I guess I just didn’t want Ventricosus to be a traitor and wanted her to be a main character. Based on the preview, though, that might still happen. The brief flashes we got suggest that her brother will not return as the one she remembered, so the gems may have to save her from him. We’ll see, I guess.

And as always, this show has the best reaction faces.

Houseki no Kuni First Impressions (1-2): Very shiny

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I didn’t get a chance to write about this series last week, but that’s really not a comment on the show itself. I had no idea what this show was going to be, but I’ve been finding it pretty enjoyable so far. I’m still lost on the story overall, but I’ve found the characters to be particularly entertaining. The world that’s being presented is also interesting (and I swear I’m not just saying that because my dad is a geologist).

Probably the most noticeable aspect of the show is the heavy CG. I’m not really an expert, but I think it’s been fine so far. I’d also add that the fact that characters are all anthropomorphized minerals also helps make it feel more appropriate. I also wanted to make a quick comment about sound too. I definitely noticed some familiar sound effects during the battle scenes from Seikaisuru Kado…it hasn’t been a problem yet, though.

Getting into the episodes themselves, the first episode felt way lighter in tone than the second episode. Sure, the danger and fighting were mentioned, but the overall feel from the episode was that the show might just explore these characters. The second episode, on the other hand, gets a lot more aggressive, even ending with a fake cliffhanger putting Phos, the main character, in danger.

Focusing in a bit more on the second episode, I thought the idea brought up with the character Diamond was an interesting flipping of the script. Diamond, similar to her namesake stone, is very popular and brilliant among the gems, but she’s constantly outshined by Bort, normally the most undesirable of diamonds. The idea that “hardness isn’t everything” is pretty standard, though.

I still have my complaints with the series, though. The explanations so far have felt lackluster for the most part. In some situations, they’ve felt completely lacking. For example, take this scene from the first episode when it’s revealed that the gems can be “repaired”. The doctor explains that the gems are composed of microscopic organisms, but doesn’t really explain why that allows them to be repaired. But being composed of microscopic organisms is pretty common for multicellular organisms…

Anyway, I’m honestly curious to see where this series goes. I certainly want to know more about this world.

Strike the Blood Episode 11: Fighting angels

[HorribleSubs] Strike the Blood - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.59_[2013.12.18_06.26.09]

What? Kojou died again? This guy’s horrendously useless in battle. Oh well, at least he’s managed to remove Kanon from the fight. I guess that’s something. I assume that next week, we’ll have some more blood-sucking to get through this whole fight? Then they beat the Magus Craft guys and Kanon turns…the usual.

The real question is which of the two new characters will be contributing the next familiar to Kojou. Either La Folia does it to fend off an enraged Kanon or Kanon does it when either her foster father or the Magus Craft guy unleashes some other weapon. The first option is more likely based on instinct, but I’m not sure how a new familiar would be different enough to hurt Kanon (the other two couldn’t even touch her).