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After the First: Houseki no Kuni

Posted in: Anime News

Synopsis

Set in a distant future, there exists immortal and genderless lifeforms known as “Gems.” So far there exists only 28 on earth and as such are highly sought out by their enemies known as “Moon Dwellers.” They are mysterious beings who resemble statues and seek to capture Gems to turn them into decorations. For the Gems who go against them they are all assigned different roles.
One Gem by the name of Phosphophyllite seeks to join the ranks of fighters. However being the youngest and one of the most fragile, she is restricted and is instead assigned the role of creating the first natural history encyclopedia. This is her story.

First Impression

The first notable thing when watching the episode is how smooth art and animation is. When it comes to anime using computer graphics, most often than not, it come off as not all that great, especially when mixed with the general art. With the episode however, it makes everything seem so much soother and the characteristics of the different characters stand out even more given how they are designed with their different aspects.

It is during the action scenes that the quality of the art and animation truly come out but it is also in the little things like the way the character’s hair moves to how they break that a viewer can appreciate the work that was placed into the episode. Still, as pretty as an episode’s art and animation work is, it wouldn’t work without a solid plot or at the very least interesting character introductions.

And the episode does just that with a solid plot introduction and character portrayal. Though there were some points that could have been done better but for the most part there were mostly good points and as a first episode, holds a lot of potential.

General Impression

The most notable thing to be said about the series as it progressed was how commendable its plot and character development structure went. You would think that with how Phos was introduced as a the usual persistent but somehow endearing hero the story would go with the usual themes. Things like them banking on the strengths of their dreams or friendship or other positive thing to go through whatever struggles the story would throw at them. Instead it took for a more interesting if not darker path.

Here we see some actual character struggle and pain with the character and added that they do not having a specified gender though having a rather feminine figure but androgynous voice, brings a rather refreshing change to the usual. It’s not often to see the aspiring hero to go through the changes that Phos did. What did make this work though was how the story was structured. The problem with it however was the overall pacing. Given how there are only few episodes, the chances of a rushed ending is a high possibility.

And as commendable as some of the character development is, there are certain characters that could have been given a better development. One such character is Cinnabar. In the first episode it seemed as if they were made to be one of the major characters but as the series progressed, they ended up as a side character and it seems somewhat a waste with how their abilities were presented.

Outside of the pacing and generic character moments, much of the series holds strong. The art and animation continues to present as a visual pleasure. In addition to this the plot has also managed to slip in some good comedy in the midst of all the plot work so that is a point to consider.

Conclusion

Plot and character development wise, the series does highly well and mixed in with its smooth art and animation work, it brings a highly interesting series. The way that the plot went was highly interesting and refreshing from the usual work involving character types like Phos. However there is also some generic points that can be notice such as with the Cinnabar or with the side characters. Looking at the big picture however, the biggest flaw to be noted on the series is the pacing and the structure work.

If you’re looking for a new type of fantasy work with a completely different type of character development with a good dash of drama and mystery then this is the work for you.

Rating: 8.5/10

See also: An Honest Identity Story: Shimaname Tasogare

See also: An Actual Simple Love Story: Doukyuusei

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