Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Phos had no idea where the Chord Shore was.
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Land of the Lustrous Episode 8 Review – Best In Show

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Land of the Lustrous Episode 8 Review – Quick Summary

In Land of the Lustrous episode 8, “Antarcticite,” Antarcticite tried desperately to find Phosphophyllite (Phos)’s arms after the ice floes had sheared them off. But it was no use. The ice was too dangerous. The depths had claimed the green gemstone. Antarcticite accepted full responsibility, but Kongou asserted he was to blame. Regardless of who was to blame, Phos was still without arms. Fortunately, Kongou knew of a possibility to restore Phos’ arms: The Chord Shore, the source of the materials that gave birth of all of the gems. Is there a chance Phos could regain their arms? Is the journey safe, even assuming only 10 days of sun during the winter — days when the Lunarians can attack?

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

Favorite Quote from Land of the Lustrous Episode 8

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Despite having lost two arms, Phos tried to keep their sense of humor

Phos stood there, having lost both arms just above the elbows, and was still able to make jokes. Bravery come in many forms. As we’ll see later in the episode… Capture from the Amazon stream.

It was a touching scene. In most other episodes of this or any other series, it would easily have been my favorite moment.

But this is Land of the Lustrous. This is just one among many amazing moments.

Antarcticite beat themselves up because they thought they should have done a better job protecting Phos. As Antarcticite tried to rush from the room after telling Sensei what had happened, Kongou caught them in a fatherly embrace, saying it was his fault, not theirs.

The brave Antarcticite sobbed into Kongou’s robes. The tears of a brave person are really tough for me to take. It’s like they’re doubly authentic. The episode’s not four minutes into the episode, and I’m on the verge of tears.

Kongou asked Phos if they knew what must be done. Phos didn’t, of course. They said (05:18), “Nope, not at all. I raise my hands in defeat! I mean my hands are probably rising up right now out of the sea in defeat now.”

You know, I have to give Phos credit: They never loose their sense of humor! Even in moments as heart-rending as this.

Best in Show Moment for Land of the Lustrous Episode 8

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Phos' moment of decision was stunning.

Fiction exists to present moments like this. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Setup: So Much Held Phos Back

Just between us, this episode is among my favorites of any medium, any genre. The moment I’m about to talk about is one of the reasons I hold anime in such high esteem. It’s technically difficult to deliver such a moment, and this episode made it look easy. Please, let me try to describe what I mean.

During the entire series up to this point, we’ve seen that Phos wanted to contribute to the fighting effort. They couldn’t because phosphophyllite as a gem is extremely soft and brittle. Maybe because of that, Phos had little stamina, so even when they tried to help Amethyst on patrol, Phos lacked the energy to keep up.

More noble desires drove Phos, too. Phos deeply appreciated Amethyst trying to show them the ropes. Despite Antarcticite’s sometimes cold demeanor, Phos also felt gratitude at how much Antarcticite tried to teach them about ice husbandry and managing sleep-walking gems.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Kongou was stunned that Phos lost their arms.

Kongou was horrified at the sight of Phos without arms. To Antarcticite’s credit, they tried to take responsibility. Phos appreciated that. Capture from the Amazon stream.

On top of all of that, Phos earnestly wanted to see Cinnabar reunited with the rest of the gem family. I mean, look at Phos’ first words after Ventricosus and Aculeatus deposited Phos on the shore near Cinnabar: “Even out at sea I couldn’t find a new job for you. I’m sorry.”

At that time, Phos lay in a shattered heap, and their biggest concern was that they hadn’t been able to help Cinnabar.

Delivery: It Only Took a Tragedy

The Beautiful Sadness of the Chord Shore

Now we come close to the moment. Antarcticite, in an attempt to find replacement material for Phos’ arms, took Kongou’s advice and traveled with Phos to the Chord Shore. They found no gem material suitable for Phos, but they did find gold and platinum. Antarcticite was dismissive, because those metals were both too soft and too heavy. Phos, though, showed a bit of whimsy, saying it would be a shame to discard them (09:15), “Even after they’ve made it all this way,” referring to their geological journey.

As the clouds began to thin, and as the sun began to shine, Antarcticite attached some of the gold to Phos. It stuck; Phos’ body didn’t reject it, nor did the metal (apparently with biological traits like the gems themselves) object. But as they had feared, it was heavy. To make matters worse, it began to expand, immobilizing Phos.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Antarcticite didn't know how to react to the gold's aggression

The gold so aggressively attached itself to Phos that Antarcticite didn’t quite know what to think. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Then the Lunarians attacked.

Antarcticite’s Final Gift to Phos

I’d love to write pages describing that battle — how the fragile Antarcticite used intelligence and tactics and experience to overcome the aggressive and new kind of Lunarian. But I want to focus on what happened next.

Antarcticite, cracks everywhere, returned triumphant to find Phos encased in a gold box. Despite their damage, Antarcticite tried to free Phos, who began to say how grateful they were that Antarcticite was there.

Neither expected the spear that sliced through Antarcticite’s neck. The force of the blow was strong enough to shatter their entire body. After an instant of shocked silent, Phos tried to scream Antarcticite’s name.

As Antarcticite’s face came apart, they made was was perhaps their last conscious gesture. They put one finger to their disintegrating lips. Silence was Phos’ only hope now. The gold came alive, as if in response to Antarcticite’s warning. Hands formed and covered Phos’ mouth. The gold surged, holding Phos immobile.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Antarcticite's last act was to warn Phos to be quiet.

Even as their body came apart, Antarcticite thought to warn Phos to be quiet. Capture from the Amazon stream.

The Lunarians slid down ropes, their baskets ready to gather Antarcticite’s remains.

The Written Word Struggles to Express the Land of the Lustrous’ Experience

This episode, more than any others, made me face the futility of trying to recreate a moment in anime, here, in written form. Sometimes it’s not so bad, because the moment relies more on thoughts or emotions or a single framed shot. Here, though, this next moment is the culmination not only of Phos’ character development, but of the development of every character around them. In this series, that development so often took the form of stunningly nuanced animation that I have no hope of conveying here. So I’m left with clumsy words without the elegant animation, music, and voice acting to elevate them.

As the Lunarians gathered Antarcticite, Phos could only watch through slits in the gold box. Everything Phos has experienced until now, every humiliating defeat, every near victory, every instant of chaffing at their own limitations stabbed Phos’ heart.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Phos struggled to convince their arms to obey

Phos could not understand why their new gold arms would not obey Phos’ will. Capture from the Amazon stream.

Raging silently at the gold arms that would not obey, Phos thought (18:16), “If you really are part of me, you’ll fight!”

A Lunarian approached, unsure what to make of the gold box. Fear may have added a bit of additional inspiration. Phos begged their new arms to strike back and save Antarcticite.

Phos Begins to Live Up to Their Hopes

Having gathered the last of Antarcticite’s remains, concluding that the gold box was simply an abnormality, the Lunarians filed back to the ropes.

Phos shook free of the golden hands and screamed, as loudly as they could (18:55), “Do what I say, you worthless junk!”

Phos screamed their resolve to the world. Tomoyo Kurosawa, Phos’ voice actor, was sublime. Capture from the Amazon stream.

That is the moment. Phos knew what would happen if the Lunarians became aware that another gem hid in the box. But every dramatic beat, every instant of character development from the previous 7 episodes came into focus in that instant. Phos decided to fight to save Antarcticite.

What came next was spectacular, of course. It was animated and musically scored poetry. It set the bar for what this medium can produce. But it was Phos deciding to fight, manifest in the look of desperate determination in their face, that took my breath away.

And this is only episode 8.

What did you think of the Chord Shore? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Land of the Lustrous Episode 8 Review – Best In Show

    1. Thank you! You’re very kind!

      Though when you do watch the episode and look back on this review, you’ll see what I mean when I said words can’t do it justice. I hope you get a chance to watch it!

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