Houseki no Kuni Episode 1: Isle of Gems

Well here’s a show that flew under my radar. Some peeps recommended I check this one out so here I am.


Phos (short for Phosphophyllite). the main Gem.

First of all, in case the screen grab didn’t already make it clear, the show is all CG. However, I personally see it as good Japanese CG in the sense that it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, I’d argue the show works better this way than if it were hand drawn. That or I’m just mesmerized by the Gems’ shiny hair.

We started the episode with two fighter Gems looking for Phos because Master Kongo was calling “them” and also because the Lunarians (Moon Dwellers) were about to attack. Phos hoped “he” called “them” (Yeah I’m just going to refer to the Gems as women despite them technically not having genders) over to assign her to the battlefield but he did not.



Gem slashing Lunarian General.jpg

While the episode was mostly calm there were some fights between the Gems and Lunarians.

Gem remnants.jpg

Gem remnants.

The Lunarians invade Earth every so often to hunt Gems and harvest their shininess for decorations like Heliodor here whose fragments were used as arrows.

Master Kongo and other Gems

Master Kongo and some of the other 28 Gems.

Master Kongo with Phos following behind got rid of the Lunarians when it looked like the two that fought them were in trouble. Dunno why the others didn’t come help them. Must have been scared or very few of them were skilled Fighter Gems. Anyway Master Kongo used a powerful scream to get rid of the Lunarians and scold the Gems…I think.

Phos shattered.jpg

Phos shattered.

Unfortunately he forgot Phos was nearby and she couldn’t handle the sonic waves. Plus she’s one of the weakest Gems on the isle, being so fragile even a simple handshake could break her hand. That’s why he didn’t make her a fighter. He then told her that there was an important job for her, compiling the world’s encyclopedia. Phos wasn’t exactly thrilled about her new job.

Gems getting repaired.jpg

Gems being repaired by the Medic Gem.

Back at home base we learned that the Gems are technically immortal. As long as there are enough shards they can be put back together. They hoped to one day gather Heliodor’s missing shards to restore her. Back to Phos. She tried to shove the encyclopedia responsibility on someone else but when she tried to prove herself a Fighter it didn’t go well so she begrudgingly accepted the role.


The show’s main source of fanservice are booty shots since all the Gems are slim cuties wearing shorts.

Phos didn’t know how to start filling up the encyclopedia. The others recommended she go talk to Cinnabar. Problem is Cinnabar, for some reason, emits\ted silver poison that damaged everything it touched, especially Gems. Should they get a smudge of poison anywhere near their bodies they’d lose some of their memories. For that reason Cinnabar was assigned to “night patrol”. That and she seemed to not have a problem walking outside at night whereas other Gems were powerless without sunlight (I think). However, Lunarians only attack when the sun is up. So yeah, Cinnabar’s life is a lonely and miserable one. Despite initially not wanting to go look for her she ended up doing it anyway, especially because everyone else treated her like an outcast and she pitied her. She eventually ran into Cinnabar…and some Lunarians on a forbidden cliff just before the sun set.

Cinnabar vomiting.jpg

Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Not Cinnabar. She’s hot. I meant what happened.

Cinnabar and Phos barely standing.jpg

Phos and Cinnabar after the Lunarians’ attack.

To sum up what happened next Phos felt really bad for Cinnabar and wanted to find a something else for her to do. Basically she didn’t want her to be alone anymore and made it a priority to find a way for Cinnabar to walk freely with the others during daylight.

This show is a bit complicated to explain why I enjoyed it. I suppose it’s a similar reason to Girls’ Last Tour. It’s calming yet very melancholic. I’m VERY INTRIGUED to see what happens next. Plus it looks super pretty.

Gem Dia.jpg

Dia. You bet I’m looking forward to learning more about her next episode since she seems to be the central focus.

I’d like to take a short minute to talk a bit more about the genderless/androgynous thing. Now I imagine some may see the Gems as shotas/pretty boys and I choose to address them as girls…basically “Steven Universe rules”. I see them more as having both boyish and feminine traits. Not quite pretty boys or sexy beasts. Close enough to be either handsome or sexy depending on their hairstyle I guess. I’ll stick to using “he” for Master Kongo and “she” for the Gems because referring to every character as “they” would be kind of confusing (even if “they/them” is the correct way to address them all)

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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31 Responses to Houseki no Kuni Episode 1: Isle of Gems

  1. Shinryu says:

    Good to see this show getting some extra exposure. So many people are going to just be “ewwwww, CG” and not even give it a real chance. I really enjoyed the first episode. It’s a very interesting world with some very cool characters. The design on the Lunarians is just gorgeous. The CG feels like it hearkens bark to a much older anime style than the typical modern look which makes it stand out in a good way. It feels more original and less like it’s just trying to ape modern the anime look (which is why I feel it usually fails).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. kawaiipaperpandas says:

    The first volume of the manga was AMAZING! I love how they brought out the whit and charm of Pho’s. Cinnabar’s character is so well done and I can’t help but also want to save her. The translation of what Pho’s is doing didn’t come across well in the anime. It is actually a natural history she is writing and not an encyclopedia. Also when the doctor was talking about them being able to be put back together I wish they would have mentioned that even if they were ground down into a powder as long as they had all the piece they could be made whole again. The concept of the gems is so intriguing! I can’t wait to see more of Diamond and when Bort makes her appearance ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Autumn 2017 Anime: First Impressions | Rory Muses

  4. so this is basically an anime version of steven universe

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mauron says:

    Their hair is so shiny…

    Interesting concept so far. Phos seems to have left an impression on Cinnabar.

    I think I’d watch another episode just for the hair, even if I wasn’t interested in the show.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. cirno9fan says:

    they look too much like shotas to me, and it feels liek I’m watching some yaoi. Add onto that, all the breaking scenes were making me uncomfortable.

    I will not be watching more of this unless they get more interesting with clothing choice maybe. Those uniforms are the worst 😦


    • OG-Man says:

      I posted a previous that was too blunt so let’s try this again. They are “genderless”, not shota or shoujo. They’re more like a mix of the two.

      In any case you don’t have to continue if the shattering of their bodies is too much and you dislike the outfits/character designs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. LiteraryScribeOtakuGamerGirlT says:

    Well, I personally love the fact that they are genderless/androgynous. You don’t see that often enough in anime and it’s nice because you can see them however you wish. We can see them as girls or effeminate boys if others were so inclined. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds, at least it is for me, since I’m a fan of all sides of the spectrum. Therefore, I’m probably going to use genderless pronouns or even more simply, their names.

    As for the show itself, this is definitely the most interesting show I’ve seen all year in terms of originality and premise. The CG also fits perfectly with the theme and is probably the prettiest I’ve seen recently. I’ve already got my list of potential best characters, but I won’t make a final decision just yet. However, the Pho x Cinnabar ship is definitely the top for the moment. This was totally under my radar, but I’m so glad OG asked me to watch it. It could very well end up being one of my favorites of the season.

    On a final note I second OG’s sentiment that Cinnabar is hot. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yes. That does make for a very interesting character dynamic. It is as you said, the characters can be seen however the viewer chooses to. Is it yuri? Yes. Is it yaoi? Yes.

      I’ll do what I can to address them by name but it won’t be easy.

      2017 has been the year of “moepocalypse” and “melancholic calm” shows. I don’t know a better way to describe the latter type of show. But yes I’m very intrigued to see where this show goes.

      Yup. Phos X Cinnabar has high potential.

      Glad you accepted my request to check this one out.

      Cinnabar is most definitely hot.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LiteraryScribeOtakuGamerGirlT says:

        I appreciate your willingness to use their names, but you are perfectly welcome to use female pronouns. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just choosing to use neutral ones. Sorry about those two messed up replies. Please delete them.

        Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      It’s cool. What’s important is we’ll be keeping a close eye on this show. It shall be WONDERFUL (hopefully)!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Umedyn says:

    “We are the Crystal Gems.
    We’ll always save the day!”

    My immediate thought when I saw this.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. LuzeriP says:

    I’m glad this show piqued your interest. Ive watched a lot of CG, but this is the prettiest. It has interesting concept. Originaly I watched it for the seiyuu. And it turned out to be fantastic. I’m excited too see more.

    To me the Gems are girls. Not that I don’t like them to be boys or androgynous. It’s just that’s what I feel when I watched them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Yes. It’s definitely some of the best TV Anime CG I’ve ever seen.

      Same here, the excitement.

      A little of both on my end but yes I too see them more as girls.


  10. kitsu260 says:

    Same studio of Bubuki Buranki who give me a good memories last year, the cg animation is improving a lot quickly.
    It will be romance between Phos and Cinnabar, we can take as yuri the same way with take romance with robots or doll in other series.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. B-M says:

    I was late on the uptake on this one until you posted it, but wow. It’s been a while since a pilot episode has flabbergasted me so much. So much chemistry between the characters, some fairly obvious androgynous-leaning-feminine romance between Cinnabar and Phos (like Simoun in that it’s totally not yuri wink wink), gorgeous music, incredible CG and tons of intrigue. I’m really excited to see more, in short!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lunar Nights says:

    Just so you know, when you refer to nonbinary characters as women (they are officially nonbinary, by the way), you are erasing their nonbinary identities. I know that they are fictional, but it really doesn’t matter. As a nonbinary person, I have an extremely difficult time finding content that reflects my identity. Also, just because someone is feminine it doesn’t mean that they are a woman or are female aligned. Pronouns matter.

    Men (as well as any gender {or a lack of} can be feminine. They are genderless, not women, (and not genderless women). Misgendering even fictional characters is lazy. How would you gender (or not gender) a person in real life? It’s the same concept. Please keep that in mind. It really isn’t that difficult to use gender neutral language in order to describe them. I know that may difficult for you (or others) to understand, but I honestly don’t care. There are plenty of resources to help you understand better. Please use the proper pronouns for your article. Thank you. 🙂


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