Houseki no Kuni (宝石の国 | in English Land of the Lustrous) is a seinen manga written and illustrated by Haruko Ichikawa released in 2012 in Gekkan Aftermoon magazine. In October 2017 it received a 12-episode anime adaptation that impressed everyone for using the hated CG, but this time it was excellent.
This work created many twists not for its magnificent CG art, soundtrack or story, but for the characters that make up the work, which are nothing but gems or stones and crystals. The anime basically tells the story of crystals that come to life in the form of cute girls and fight archers that appear randomly in the sky.
These crystals are immortal and have been fighting lunar beings for millennia. The main character is a girl named Phosphophyllite, a very valuable crystal for its green color, but quite fragile. I thought it would be something totally bizarre, what do you mean crystals? As bizarre as it may seem, the story manages to hold you and make you anxious for the next episode, even though it seems to have a light and peaceful atmosphere.
The anime uses simple features in the script that cause feelings in those who watch. The series' evolutionary process, the existence of the crystals, their struggle and their everyday life always have an impact on anyone who is reading or watching. Every episode manages to be different and end with a cliffhanger without using the same cliché formulas.
Houseki no Kuni facts
The Lunars that appear attacking the crystals are direct references to Buddhism. Your appearance, clothes, accessories, music, etc. Buddhist symbolism and imagery are definitely an important factor in the overall picture of the story and allude to aspects of Buddhist philosophy. So much so that we see sensei meditating almost the entire anime.
Houseki no Kuni, fundamentally, is a fascinatingly imaginative exploration of existentialism as understood from the perspective of Buddhist, Taoist and Japanese philosophy with really deep ideals. The work was even nominated in the Manga Taisho (An Award Equal to the Awards).
Gems do not age or die. The oldest is Yellow Diamond, which is over 3000 years old, and the youngest is Phosphophyllite, which is about 300 years old. The character who lives isolated called Shinsha It's a cinnabar that's associated with liquid elemental mercury, so it's dangerous.
If you haven't watched this masterpiece yet, I recommend checking it out and using the 3-episode rule. If you want to buy the manga in English:
The curiosity below contains SPOILERS:
In Buddhism there are seven gemstones (7 treasures of the lotus sutra) that represent faith, perseverance, feeling of shame, avoidance of mistakes, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. Phos when exchanging its parts for agate and gold is a direct reference to these treasures, it even starts to think differently and more wisely.
Phos is unique among Gems in that it is actively changing over time. With every step he is approaching the ideal of Buddhist transformation, an acceptance of himself in all his perfections and imperfections, as symbolized by the "Seven Treasures".
Spoilers for Houseki no Kuni
Many ended the anime wanting to know the secrets and origins of this universe. If you want to follow the manga, you can read from chapter 33 onwards. Below I will share the true backstory of Houseki no Kuni, as a second season is very uncertain.
It is impossible to know precisely the whole story behind the universe of Houseki no Kuni, since at the end of the anime Phos is suspicious of Sensei and wants to know the truth he is hiding about the Lunars. Phos manages to be captured by the Lunars and ends up on the moon to find out the truth.
Despite being a dangerous action, the moon boss presents himself as friendly and tells the real story behind the attacks on the gems on earth. He says that Lunars are spirits that are trapped in the moon and want to be freed, but for that he needs a human to say prayers. Kongo-Sensei was created to say these prayers and free the Lunars, but he is refusing to do so.
For this reason the Lunars attack the gems that are precious to Sensei, in order to attract attention and make him change his mind. So much so that in that scene of the dog Shiro Sensei makes him disappear, probably freeing his spirit.
With that Phos makes a deal with the Lunar chief named Aechmea to confront Sensei, even though she is a little uncertain if she can fully trust the Lunars. After that I really don't know what happens as the manga is still ongoing.
Phosphophyllite is mentioned to have a strong connection to their own inclusions, which allows their memories and personality to be kept more intact even if they lose parts of themselves.
According to Kongo-sensei's version
Six meteors have visited the planet in the past. After the planet was destroyed by the sixth meteor, six moons emerged. There is nowhere left but the land where they live, so all life has fled to the ocean. The people who lived on the planet ended up dying and their bones turned into crystals that ended up on the beach and giving life to the gems we know.
What did you think of this unexpected story behind the universe of Houseki no Kuni? Hope you enjoyed the article, we appreciate the comments and shares. We also recommend reading: