Land of the Lustrous Episode 5: Morganite searched for Phos
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Land of the Lustrous Episode 5 Review – Best In Show

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Land of the Lustrous Episode 5 Review – Quick Summary

In Land of the Lustrous episode 5, “Return,” the Lunarians used a basket to haul a broken Phosphophyllite (Phos) out of the sea. Ventricosus, Phos’ betrayer, demanded her payment: access to her brother Aculeatus. The Lunarians, though, changed the terms of the deal: they demanded she deliver more of the gems to them. With the guilt at what she’d done to Phos eating at her heart, she tried to demure, but the Lunarians prodded her with fire. They even burned off one of her arms. Phos, exhausted and gagged, could do nothing. Is the end for our green hero?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Land of the Lustrous Episode 5

Land of the Lustrous Episode 5: Phos has seen better days

I think it’s safe to say that this was a low point for Phos. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Rutile, in a terrible hurry, rushed into the dispensary. All of the gems were exhausted, having spent the evening searching for Phos under the waves. In their haste, Rutile tripped over something that should not have been on the floor.

Astonished, Rutile saw Phos propped up against the wall. The Lunarians had claimed Phos’ legs. Aculeatus had accidentally sheered off the left side of Phos’ face during his rescue of Ventricosus. Phos, their energy spent, barely had the strength so speak.

“Rutile, “Phos said (14:29), “I lost my legs.”

That’s among the most heart-breakingly pathetic things I’ve ever heard.

Best in Show Moment for Land of the Lustrous Episode 5

Land of the Lustrous Episode 5: Phos will try harder tomorrow

“Tomorrow I’ll try harder”? I’m not sure I want to see what toll that would extract. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Setup: An Oppressive Ambiance

Cinnabar watched Kongou send the other gems walk out, two by two, to search for Phos lost under the sea. Nearly in tears, Cinnabar tried to convince themself that the search had nothing to do with them.

Cinnabar failed.

The animation was just superb — but for this show, that’s the same as saying it was like any other moment. I don’t think I’ve seen a series establish and maintain such an amazing level of beauty. Almost every frame has something that would, in another series, be its pinnacle.

You could see the agony throttle Cinnabar in its grip. It’s one of those moments where I forgot to break, it so captured my imagination. The feelings within Cinnabar were so intense that they started to accept responsibility for the whole affair.

“This is all my…” Cinnabar began (11:48).

Land of the Lustrous Episode 5: Guilt almost crushed Cinnabar

Cinnabar was just about to give into their feelings of guilt. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Phos interrupted them.

“Out at sea…” Phos began. Cinnabar whirled, and on the beach behind them lay a shattered Phos. Both legs had been severed below the knee. The left side of Phos’ face was gone. Sea foam obscured what remained of Phos’ face until the wave receded.

Delivery: Phos Never Forgot the Goal

Cinnabar stood, shocked into silence. A simple stringed instrument provided the soundtrack. The hiss of waves was the only other sound. After a moment, Phos said (12:02), “Even out at sea I couldn’t find a new job for you. I’m sorry.”

Cinnabar could only look on, shocked into continued silence. Then, as a sob threatened to overtake them, Phos spoke again.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 5: Phos' condition shocked Cinnabar

Cinnabar couldn’t speak after seeing Phos’ state. Capture from the Amazon stream.

“Tomorrow,” Phos said (12:12), pausing to wait for a wave to draw back. “Tomorrow I’ll try harder.”

The scene went on with some heart-rending dialogue, but in my notes beside this moment, I wrote, “That might be the saddest thing I’ve ever read.” That’s hyperbole, of course. I’ve read sadder things. But in that scene, in that instant, Cinnabar’s grief and guilt, and Phos’ exhausted determination, was just so beautiful I had to react. The characters might be composed of gemstone, but they are some of the most sympathetic and likeable characters I’ve come across.

And I’ve come across quite a few.

What did you think of Kongou yelling so loudly at Phos that they slid off the table? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Land of the Lustrous Episode 5 Review – Best In Show

  1. Cinnabar does not get _nearly_ enough attention in most reviews of Lustrous. I think you nailed it here, despite her relatively low amount of screentime, she’s got a lot going on – and Phos is pretty much the only gem that gets it. Like Phos, she wants to be “part of the team”, but she’s isolated by her terrible curse. And unlike Phos, she’s self aware enough to curse her own existence.

    1. “And unlike Phos, she’s self aware enough to curse her own existence.”

      Cinnabar’s agony just stabs me in the heart. There’s a scene coming later… Well, I can’t say without spoiling the surprise. But this show is just so effective at portraying emotion with a simple gesture or an expression.

      And these characters are gems! They’re literally rocks! Yet, they’re profoundly emotive.

      I’d love a second season.

    1. It really can be — between Cinnabar and what happens to Phos later, there’s a real sense of tragedy here.

      I almost feel guilty for enjoying it so much!

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