Housuki no Kuni Review: Mystical wonderland

houseki no kuni reviewProving that CGI doesn’t have to suck.

I witnessed the ratings starting out meager for Housuki no Kuni. But quickly after, they started to skyrocket. My interest piqued and I had to jump in on the hype. What made this CGI anime such an intriguing watch?

After the apocalypse

Houseki no kuni is set in a world long after humans have become relics of the past. A mystic land where creatures of the moon battle against sentient stone beings created by a mysterious Sensei figure. We follow Phos who wants to help the war effort, but instead she’s tasked to improve the encyclopedia of the world.

Houseki no Kuni review While this plot is very intriguing, it also lays bare one of Houseki no Kuni’s biggest weaknesses, it gets lost in its own world. The setting is very original and jaw dropping from a world building perspective, but is so secretive about it, that the viewer keeps guessing what has spawned this new world order.Filling the encyclopedia by Phos, also doesn’t add much to clarify its mysteries.

We are individuals

Charming about Houseki no Kuni is how it goes about creating their characters. Cast members have their own set of features and characteristics, which give an interesting dynamic and make them likeable for the viewer.

All are named after the stones from which they are made. Some types are strong but inflexible, others weak but easy to heal. All those elements combined make for an interesting plot driver, where the girls take on their archenemy. But since their, and the enemies, purpose remain unclear, there is no real answer to what drives each party on their quest. The story tellers assume you already know and this is how its always been. Or keep this information for a second season.

CGI that doesn’t suck

All anime come with different styles, you may like the more 90’s look of Koi no Ame Monogatari or the more after 2015 looks of Hyouka, yet CGI was often times a hit or miss. Many studios tried to combine CGI and hand drawn animation, with periods where it became excessive and unbearable to look at.

Houseki no Kuni review It’s tempting to dwell in a world full of adjectives, but Houseki no Kuni created a visually spectacular world, with characters that pop right out of the screen. The movements are smooth and natural. Details, crisp and colorful.

Verdict 8/10

Despite Houseki no Kuni’s original story and great visuals, the show fails to deliver a complete package. But, since it dears to tread on paths that are often times treacherous, I give Houseki no Kuni an 8 out of 10. It proved that CGI works in anime.

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