Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Land Of The Lustrous Volume Five Review

Phosphophyllite continues the search to find the truth about Sensei while also having to come to terms with their disintegrating mental state and quickly compartmentalized inner life while also learning more about Alexanderite and their reason for being such a Lunarian obsessive. While also being introduced to Ghost Quartz a gem who quite literally fades into the background. While also trying to learn about Lunarian speech patterns or if speech is even possible with the denizens of the moon or if it is merely mimicked vocalizations. Emotional isolation seems to suffocatingly enclose on the characters whether it is Rutile's obsessive quest to help Padparadscha regain consciousness. Phosphoyllite's wanting to uncover Sensei's true motives or even Sensei himself with a stockpile of secrets and implications from a few scenes. Making this as much a mystery and a question of the limits of trust one can have along with the question of ends justifying means. While occasionally this miasma of frustration, recrimination, and self-recrimination is broken by a sardonic, withering, and sarcastic sense of humor which fits given the often dry and stilted characterization. It's not a kind of humor for everybody but then again this series has never really been for everybody with its subtle hints at Buddhist philosophy and cosmology. To grey and shading being used to manufacture the effect of translucence in the gem's hair to the exquisite detail on the Lunarians who all look like a piece of Mahayana Buddhist devotional art or the denizens of the moon from Takahata, Isao's Kaguya-hime no Monogatari. To bleak landscapes used to show the interior turmoil of the characters. Capturing human emotions in nonhuman characters can be difficult yet Ichikawa-Sensei shows a nuance at characterization. That the characters have real feelings but never lose the otherness that always leaves the audience away from a full-hearted embrace of the characters which given the number of secrets the characters harbor to the odd stilted conversation patterns. Or even odd slightly comedic elements like Ghost Quartz phasing in and out of reality and their overall absent-minded demeanor. Continued strong characterization and simple character design contrasted with meticulous detail in the design for the Lunarians. While also showing astute insight into the interior lives of characters who are non-human. A series I am glad was given a chance in the English Langauge market as it is if nothing else a completely individual work.

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