Oh well. Despite our mountains of work, we refuse to abandon Review Rednesdays, so without any further ado, here is Land of the Lustrous 5!
This probably won't affect the review at all, but I want to point out that we're writing this instead of doing our regular job because we're enjoying some city-sponsored time off in the form of an unscheduled internet outage. I will say that the outage probably does affect our note about Ghost Quartz, because we decided to write it after we'd done all the other notes, when the internet was still out. So we had to do it all based on memory of stuff we already knew, and we couldn't go to Wikipedia for more information. Fortunately, I think we already knew all the relevant information. We actually knew about ghost quartz before Land of the Lustrous, for reasons we may or may not be at liberty to discuss by the time this review gets posted. [ETA: We are at liberty! We learned about it while doing research for Sailor Moon!]
But on that note, as we were looking up information on Padparadscha, we learned that Stephen Universe really is beating us to all of the gemstones. Here we were, thinking, "Wow, people are going to learn about so many cool gemstones they might not have known about before from this series!" but they're all in Stephen Universe already. Maybe not Antarcticite? I don't know. But for Padparadscha, I think the Land of the Lustrous stuff is unique to Land of the Lustrous, so at least we got to point out a neat linguistic thing.
So this is the volume where Phos starts her quest to talk to the lunarians. It's kind of an interesting contrast, thinking about the first volume, where Cinnabar's all, "I just want to go to the moon, where I might have some value," and Phos was like, "NO! DON'T EVER SAY THAT!" and now here's Phos, basically trying to get to the moon. On the other hand, she's also sort of fighting at the same time, maybe? It's hard to say because the one time she had a chance, she got interrupted. I was pretty bummed about that, too, but the Amesisters are so cute.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, we find out about Padparadscha. I'm not sure I have a whole lot to say about Padparadscha, because most of what I have to say is all about the lotus connection, and that's all in the translation note already. But! we did have one thought, which is that, if Padparadscha's body is all full of holes, why not try using some of the MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF HAIR the gem has to fill those holes? We already know why Phos's hair won't work to repair Phos, and I guess Padparadscha has a lot of metal alloy in him, too, but since he's not always pulling it in and out to fight lunarians, I don't think he'd have the same problem. So I'd wonder if hair is part of a gem's crystal structure or something, but we already know that hairstyles are changeable (although apparently Red Beryl is the only one allowed (by Red Beryl) to change hers at will). So I guess the two significant things we get from Phos's discussion with Padparadscha is that people have different views about what they should or should not do, so you have to be careful and prepared for the consequences, and, when the discussion is over, Phos tells her first lie. This is where all the secrecy starts kicking into high gear. (Although, knowing Phos, she's probably lied before, but this is the first blatant one that she actually expected people to believe? Or something?)
So now Phos is on a mission to learn about the lunarians. They're not coming lately, so she can't just talk to them, so her best option now is to ask Lexi to teach her everything they know about their enemy(?). And that's just fun because of Lexi's obsession with quiz games. Incidentally, the word is technically just "quiz," but since I hear "quiz" and think "short test," we felt the need to add "game" to it. I guess I forgot to mention the stuff about Zircon and Bort. I don't really have a lot to say about that, either, except that, as usual, all the characters are a lot of fun. And I'm amused at how Yellow Diamond is showing up everywhere now that Zircon is paired up with Bort. That was a kind of sad part, when Yellow went to talk to Padparadscha.
We also learn about "empty black spots." Either they were invented as a symbol of the emptiness in Yellow's heart, or there's going to be something significant about them later. Maybe they're lunarians who are about to come attack but then think better of it, or are detained for some other reason. I think of when Shiro showed up, and how first there was the black spot, and then his hand came out of the parallel dimension or whatever it is, and it got stuck. Maybe the empty black spots are lunarians who start to invade, but then just don't. We may or may not find out later!
But the most interesting part was when the lunarians really did attack, and Phos got a hold of one and tried to talk to it. (Incidentally, I just read through the script, but I still don't remember what order anything happens in.) But the Amesisters came before she could get more than two syllables. But the really interesting thing about it is the chapter title, because it matches what the lunarian said, sort of. We had to tweak it a little so we could have sounds that may or may not be part of words, that also matches the chapter title. We don't know if it's going to be significant or not, but if the lunarian was starting to say what the chapter title suggests s/he was starting to say, that brings up a lot of questions. I guess I should explain here that a more common translation of that chapter title is "anxiety" and the word is "fuan" (so the lunarian originally said "fu" and "a," which, as Phos suggests, are basic respiratory sounds). We used the word "angst" instead, because it basically means the same thing as fuan, and can be made up of sounds that might also be breathing, or at least groaning. "Ah" and "nng." But the point is, what would the lunarians be anxious about???? The plot thickens.
Then we meet Ghost Quartz, who is definitely a character. And then the lunarians set a new kind of trap! Dun dun DUN! And we learn that the "magical powers" Sensei has been using all this time were the result of him breaking pieces off of himself and throwing them at the lunarians. It makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. Apparently this is supposed to make Sensei even more suspicious, but for me, I'm just like, "Well, he's the hardest substance around, so if anything is guaranteed to beat the lunarians..." It's just the logical option. It's like, in all the magical girl shows, they start out by sending their weakest minions, and it's like duh you're going to lose! So instead, Sensei's always there to totally destroy the lunarians, as the strongest person in the Land of the Lustrous. And they've already established that the Lustrous don't die, and as long as they can get the pieces put back together, there's no problem, so even the self-sacrifice thing doesn't really fly here. Unless maybe it's really painful to break pieces off of yourself. But more importantly, now Phos has another secret to keep from everybody. But this one is Sensei's secret, too, so I don't feel like it should count. On the other hand, it's still a secret, and if it's such a big deal to Phos, I can understand having a hard time not telling anybody else.
Finally, Phos goes to Cinnabar to finally offer him a new job. That was a pretty fun scene, where Cinnabar was like, "You said it would be fun." But since Cinnabar said he can't help until Phos has a plan for in case Sensei is doing something terrible and unforgivable, they go their separate ways, which was a bummer on a couple of levels. First, there's the obvious one presented by Cinnabar himself, when he belatedly says, "But I wouldn't mind pairing up with you..." At least, we assume that's what he was going to say. Unfortunately, he trails off. We Googled the line to see how Japanese fans reacted, and they seemed to have the same opinion we did: it looks like he's probably going to say he'd be fine with pairing up with Phos, but there's a chance the sentence ends in a completely different direction. So we had to keep it vague, but we all think that's what he meant.
But the other bummer is that it's not entirely fair to demand an answer to that question, because how you deal with whatever terrible thing Sensei has done is going to depend on what exactly that thing is. But Phos doesn't seem entirely deterred, so that's good. I'm still of the opinion that whatever Sensei is doing, he's doing it because he thinks it's what's best for everyone. He's already admitted that he doesn't have all the answers, so he may not be doing the right thing, but I think he's doing the best he knows how.
And the Phos pairs up with Ghost, and I guess we'll see how that goes. Ghost had an interesting line where she said she was tired of praying. I think it's important to pray, but I also know that sometimes prayers aren't answered until you put forth enough of your own effort. Well, that's what Ghost is trying to do now. So, like I said, we'll see how that goes.
The series continues to be fascinating, and the characters are all still pretty great. I look forward to learning more, and I'm totally excited to see the anime. My one potential complaint is that when all the characters are genderless, they tend to get an all-female cast, which is fine, because there are a lot of great women seiyuu out there, but all my favorite seiyuu are men. But I'm sure the anime will be great anyway!
Aww, what a great series. I want to work on volume eight now. Someday... *wistful*
Anyway, this weeks releases include...nothing! Mwa ha ha ha ha! (<--meaning unknown) But tune in next week, for our review of Forbidden Scrollery volume two!
Today I'm thankful for finally getting back to work on Sailor Moon, special deals at Pizza Hut, getting to go outside (to get the mail), getting to take a minute to remember Land of the Lustrous, and getting to listen to some great Sailor Moon CDs.