Houseki no Kuni Ep. 6: All work and no play

Since I just recently watched Little Witch Academia, I can’t help but think of Akko when I look at Phos. Both characters are full of spirit, but they are also both equally useless. But maybe, just maybe, there’s hidden potential lying deep within. This is Kongo’s theory as far as Phos is concerned. The gem now has super speed thanks to the agate-reinforced legs, which are bringing out the power of the… inclusions? Whatever. The details here aren’t that important. But like Akko, Phos is primarily concerned with flash and pizzazz, but not the fundamentals and definitely not the effort required for said fundamentals. The gem wants to join the battlefield, whip a blade around in a cool manner, and be heroic. But is Phos willing to put in the work necessary to get to that point? Like Akko, they will, but not yet. Not now. For the moment, all we can do is see Phos take everything for granted.

Kongo wants to know why Phos so desperately wants to fight despite having no inherent combat abilities whatsoever. The latter offers the following answer: “I want to help because you have a special place in my heart, Sensei.” Uh, why? Shh. It’s one of those crucial character motivations that won’t be explained for a long time. Maybe never. All Kongo can do is stare back with astonishment. No matter. After begging Kongo for an opportunity to do more than simply collecting information, Phos is assigned to the twin Amethysts. Twins are always slightly creepy, aren’t they? And the twin Amethysts are no different. Not only do they speak in unison, they also speak very slowly. It’s not readily apparent why. As the trio do their rounds, however, Phos is often found on the ground. A little hard work is enough to leave the gem both physically and mentally exhausted. Has Phos actually learned anything in their short time together?

Short is an understatement. The Lunarians inevitably attack, and although the twin Amethysts show off and look cool initially, they eventually fall to a new, nasty apparatus that is specifically designed to chew precious gems into tiny bits. Before they meet their fate, however, the twins tell Phos to run. I can’t help but wonder why they themselves didn’t run. The Amethysts just stood there and stared at their impending doom. How come they all don’t run? Even Yellow Diamond admits that they’re only the oldest current gem because they are inclined to flee at the first sign of danger. Meanwhile, all the cool gems are still stuck on the moon, i.e. Green Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, etc. Unless you hope to free someone from the Lunarians’ clutches, why fight at all? Maybe the twins were overconfident, and they thought they could teach Phos a thing or two. Oh well. In the end, Kongo always arrive super late.

So Phos didn’t really do anything wrong. Even if the gem could move an inch, what can anyone reasonably expect them to do? A newbie isn’t going to suddenly become a warrior in a matter of seconds or even days. But despite this, Bort still shows up and screams at Phos: “Explain yourself!” Explain what? Everyone should’ve run in the first place, especially when you have a newbie in training. Phos didn’t tell the Amethysts to stand completely still and do nothing right before they got captured. Maybe Bort should explain why they’ve always got a stick up their butt. Anyway, that’s where we are at the moment. Phos gets the brunt of the character development, so there’s very little emotional engagement whenever anyone else is in danger. We had only just met the twins, and now they’re gone. I can’t say I’m too worked up about it.

After six weeks, the story still lacks a sense of urgency. Phos has no real endgame beyond helping Cinnabar out, and even then, that isn’t remotely the focus at all in this week’s episode. Phos has a short dream about the gem, and that’s about it. With their missing memory, you can’t help but wonder if maybe our protagonist has forgotten about Cinnabar just a teensy, tiny bit. Well, our mercury-oozing friend has been suicidal for years and years on end. What’s another day or two tacked on? In any case, the mystery surrounding the Lunarians and the world itself hasn’t gotten any deeper, and it seems that our fleshy friends from last week will be gone for a while. What exactly are we driving towards? Where is this vehicle going? With winter coming soon, I hope this doesn’t mean that the story will be slowing down, because that would be a shame. After last week’s episode, I had hoped for things to pick up steam.

7 thoughts on “Houseki no Kuni Ep. 6: All work and no play

  1. Niello

    “How come they all don’t run?”
    Slomo – and iffy directing.

    Phos is supposed to run away though, that’s the thing. He’s supposed to run away and warn sensei and the other gems.

    The main focus of this series has always been character development, that’s why it is a bit lacking in the story department.

  2. Karandi

    I’m with you on Bort. What does Phos have to explain? They attacked, Amethyst lost for reasons, and Phos couldn’t have done anything even if they weren’t paralysed with fear so what exactly does Bort want?
    Still loving this show even ifthe plot is meandering a little. I’m kind of hoping it all comes together but I don’t mind that it doesn’t feel like it is in a rush to get to the point.

    1. DerekL

      I’ve concluded that Bort is basically an overpowered overcompetent *sshole who doesn’t really grasp that other people aren’t her. I’ve met a few people IRL like that, you really want them on your team – but you also don’t want to have to *deal* with their crap.

    2. Sean Post author

      It’s an alright show, but it’s a bit bland in some crucial areas. The setting is weak, and the supporting characters are weak. It’s basically just the Phos show.


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