Houseki no Kuni Review: More than a pile of rocks


Phos is happy

Is it fair to say that this show is the one that made me rethink the "dumb as a rock" expression? I'll admit, I decided to watch this show largely because my parents are both geologists, but the series brought up some surprisingly interesting philosophical concepts. To set the stage, the story centers around a society of minerals in human form, called Gems, who fight against an invading species that is trying to spirit away the shiniest of them to the Moon. Yeah, I know it sounds like a weird concept, but each side actually has a surprisingly deep history.

Bort has no time for inferior beings

The Gems themselves are actually composed of microorganisms, which inhabit the minerals that make up their visible surfaces. As opposed to normal human anatomy, a Gem's identity exists within all of these organisms, rather than being concentrated in one spot. As a result, the show does a lot to show how many of their behaviors and lifestyles are adapted as a result. For example, any significant damage to a Gem's body will result in memory loss. It's an interesting concept that appealed to the neuroscientist in me more than I would have expected.

Phos is taunted by a jellyfish

The main character, Phosphophyllite, is relatively younger Gem with a low hardness rating. However, Phos is one of the brighter gems, which makes them a preferred target for Lunarians. We follow Phos as they try to find a way to be helpful to the other gems, at somewhat drastic costs. As a result Phos changes pretty drastically throughout the course of the series, which is intriguing to watch. Phos is also a charming protagonist, with a goofy attitude backed by an earnest desire to contribute.

Smug Phos

As a fair warning, this series is fully 3D, in case that's a deal breaker for you. I wasn't generally bothered by it. The music of the series also brings plenty of tension to its battle scenes, with a bit of a traditional sound to it. I also really enjoyed the opening song, since it has a bit of a mysterious feeling to it and an off-beat musical line.

Cinnabar is worried

All in all, I thought that this series gave me a lot to think about, whether it's the nature of memory, the perception of time, or just the cost of gaining power. Additionally, I've read the manga past the point where the anime ended, and I'll end on a warning. If you thought that the anime was weird, you haven't seen anything yet. The story gets pretty absurd.

Overall Score: 8/10



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