Houseki no Kuni review
"If every part of a ship is replaced, is it still the same ship?"
Now, this is only my second review, so bear with me here!
To preface, this manga series is one of, if not, my favorite. However, I won't let my bias towards this series get in the way of this review. This is a REVIEW, after all.
Story - 7
To start this out: This series looks like K-ON! + the rock exhibit at your local museum, doesn't it? Well, then you'd be wrong. Very, very, very, very wrong.
Now, I'm not going to summarize the story, for that would be getting into spoiler territory. But,
I can say for a fact that the story is definitely an engaging and interesting concept. If anything, it's original. One of the most original series out there.
However, it does take a while, I'd say ten or so chapters, for the story to actually begin making traction. It's a slow and somewhat boring start that leads to a tense and well thought out tale.
Though those boring chapters are not without their charms! Symbolism plays a heavy role throughout this story, especially in terms of floral and animal symbolism.
I.E. Butterflies are often showcased as a symbol of rebirth/metamorphosis, a VERY important theme throughout this series.
However, it doesn't take a genius to see the story have its ups and downs. The current arc in the manga (Chapter 75 came out two days ago to put in perspective) there are a large number of filler scenes that just seem to drown out the actual flow of things. These filler scenes aren't exactly boring, or unenjoyable, but not necessary, and takes away from the story as a whole.
Art - 6
The artwork for this series is beautiful, eye capturing, and elegant. However, it can be awfully hard to actually tell what in the world is happening at certain points throughout this series. At times, the artwork can be stunning and perfectly capture the scene, and other times it's just a confusing bunch of panels.
That being said, the good greatly outshines the "bad", if you can even call it that, and though some of the battle scenes had me going "wait, what just happened?" they are still greatly enjoyable in the big picture.
Character - 10
OH BOY! This manga's strong spot, right here. Character. Oh, I'm fuming with excitement!
Change is a heavy theme in this story, and it shows through its characters.
To start this off, the characters in this series are very well developed and intricate. Some characters are even based around certain philosophies, and every character is based around a certain theme.
For example, Phos, (without getting into too much spoiler territory) is associated with the "Ship of Theseus." (That quote at the start of this review.) Change is VERY heavy with them, and the way it's executed is on the lines of brilliant.
Characters have drastic and beautiful developments, symbolic moments, and unique depth to them and their ideologies and individuality. Despite being immortal gems, they feel real, relatable, and most of all, compelling.
Enjoyment - 10
I'm a fanboy of this series. I sit and wait, counting down the days every month for the new chapter, so I can analyze it and read it thirty times waiting for the next. I enjoy this series greatly, though I can see it isn't everyone's cup of tea. Who knows, maybe I just look too much into things, this series being no exception? That could very well be the case.
Overall - 9
Houseki no Kuni/Land of the Lustrous is not quite a masterpiece, but it's quite an enjoyable and unique work of art. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good character-driven story with outlandishly original, yet somehow working, concepts.
It's thought provoking, symbolic, and original. What more could you want from a series?