Houseki no Kuni review

Apr 15, 2021
I'm not a huge fan of the way the plot has been progressing lately (spoil chapter 80).

I like this series, but I can't help but feel the quality of the writing has degraded ever since Phos went to the moon, so I thought I'd discuss it a little here and get some opinions. This might get a little long, so there's a TL;DR in the bottom.

The major issue with this arc is that we're switching from a mostly character-driven story to a mostly plot-driven story. While LotL obviously has a good plot, most of it came from how characters interact with each other and Phos learning about the world and changing within it. Other than "lunarians are attacking", there really isn't much happening in the world.

We take a sudden shift from Phos just wanting the truth to Phos tries to end the war between the gems and the Lunarians. The arc starts off great, because you're not sure who's side you should be rooting for, or if you should even be rooting for Phos because he seems kind of evil and suspicious trying to lure people onto the moon (granted, it's for a greater purpose, but being a lunarian spy is just creepy).

The problem with this is that after that point, we almost get no character interactions outside of Phos, Adamant, the Prince, and Cairngorm. Everyone else seems to have been thrown to the side so we can get more time to move the plot forwards. Characters like Dia, Amethyst, Alexandrite, etc have barely appeared at all in the last ~15 issues other than a few cute scenes, and we barely see the perspective of any of the gems on earth. This already makes things iffy, but lets talk a little on what the main characters have been doing in this arc.

The prince and Cairngorm
I like the idea of Cairngorm being broken of their curse and becoming more like their own character, while some people called him evil it really isn't the case, as he did thank Phos for bringing them to the moon and did show some appreciation despite everything. Other than that, the relationship between the prince and Cairngorm really isn't going anywhere. Other than Cairngorm wanting to become a lunarian, all their time spent together could've been utilized better. I'd rather have seen the rest of the cast getting some love.

Feels like some parts are missing?
Since we're mostly spending our time on the moon, we don't get any perspective for what's happening with most of the characters. We see the earth gems visibly upset about some of them leaving to the moon, but that idea doesn't get expanded at all. Also, some things that should've been there just... Aren't. For example, we never saw Rutile's reaction to Padpara being revived and shattering him other than this one panel in chapter 70 (which was heavily rushed and hard to follow imo). Considering we just had a huge time skip, I doubt they'll ever talk about this.

I wish some characters would explain how they're feeling so we can understand their perspective. Dia looks alright on the moon, but are they happy? The earth gems look frustrated, but do they not have any doubts about killing the moon gems they used to love? We never got any of that.

What the hell is going on with Cinnabar?
Cinnabar's arc just makes NO sense. The first encounter with Phos, he said he wanted to go to the moon. After that, they literally thought to themselves "If you had just asked to team up... I would've said yes". When talking about finding the truth, Cinnabar said they haven't decided on trusting Adamant or not, indicating that they're willing to work with Phos in finding the truth. In general, they're distant but very close friends with Phos. After all their interactions, Phos FINALLY tells him the truth, and FINALLY asks to team up, but CINNABAR SAYS NO?????

What the hell? It felt like they threw out all of Cinnabar's development away in one chapter. Not only that, but cinnabar treats Phos as an enemy and even attacks him in chapter 70 FOR NOOOO REAAASOOON. Literally just tried to kill the one character that legitimately cares about them. Are you telling me he didn't actually care about Phos after all this time? I hate what they did with cinnabar this arc, hopefully there's a reason for it.

This arc is kind of messy story-wise. Everything is happening a little too fast and we're not getting developments in the right spots. Some characters like Cinnabar aren't acting like themselves at all just to cause trouble for Phos. I honestly doubt most of them should be as heartless as they're being now. It feels like the writing has gotten a little lazier and more plot-heavy but sacrifices character development to move things forwards. Hopefully things will get better in later chapters.

I still like the story and would love to see what happens next though.


Houseki no Kuni
Houseki no Kuni
Autor Ichikawa, Haruko