Anime Series Like Land of the Lustrous

In this world, Gems inhabit the ruins of a world. Taking on certain characteristics, gems are assigned roles depending on their hardness. The hardest among them fight the Lunarians, aliens that seek to shatter them to decorate their own bodies. Phosphophyllite, or Phos, is young and fragile, but wants desperately to help the war effort of fellow gems.

Unique and unexpectedly dark, Land of the Lustrous is one you may of missed, but should definitely pick up. If you want more underrated gems (pun very much intended), then head on down below.

For Fans of Unraveling the World

From the New World

After the sudden outbreak of psychokinesis, the .01% of the population that developed it started using their powers for nefarious means. Far into the future, the town of Kamisu 66 is wholly populated by psychics with the young Saki being one of the most recent to awaken her powers. Finally she can join the rest of her friends at the Sage Academy. However, her school days are plagued with questions that threaten to unravel the dark secrets of her idyllic village.

What both of these series do very well is that they present a mysterious world, and only through the adventures of the characters do you discover it. The secrets are both good and bad, making it so you just get pulled in for the ride. Unfortunately, the pacing in From the New World can be a touch sporadic.

Made in Abyss

The Abyss is an enormous cave system and the only unexplored place in the world. No one knows how deep it goes, but generations of bold adventurers have descended into it. In the town at the edge of The Abyss, an orphan named Rico dreams of raiding, as her mother did before her. One day while exploring the murky depths, she meets a boy, who turns out to be a robot, kicking off the start of her epic adventure.

Initially, both shows have you thinking that they are going to be action-y, but rather tame shows. Then you learn how wrong you were. Furthermore, you also discover the world as the characters do, making you able to grasp their own feeling of adventure.

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

In the distant future, humanity has abandoned a ruined Earth and now lives in the furthest reaches of space fighting their eternal enemy, the Hideauze. During one of their massive space battles, a young soldier named Ledo and his mecha Chamber are flung through a warp hole into space. He crash lands on a strange planet that is covered in completely in water. To his surprise, he finds that other humans also live there aboard massive fleets of boats. Found by the Gargantia fleet, Ledo must navigate this strange new world.

While Gargantia features actual humans rather than genderless gemstones, it still shows you a world that looks somewhat like ours, but is distinctly different. The unraveling the mystery of the world is a big plot point in each, but mostly these shows really shine through their characters and the art.

For Fans of Non-Humans

Cells at Work

The human body has approximately 37 trillion cells that are hard at work every day to keep you alive. Cells at Work tells the story of a red blood cell and a white blood cell and the tireless work of countless other cells to keep you alive. Germ invasions, scratches, and drama unfold inside this body.

At a glance, these seem very different, but its is really not so. In both shows, you discover the unique world through the characters. The characters themselves are personifications of various things (gems or cells). Finally, both shows are about the characters fighting alien substances to stay alive.

Haibane Renmei

Rakka is an amnesiac who only remembers emerging from her cocoon. She is born into the world as a Haibane, a group of young people who small gray wings and halos. While she tries to live a normal life, there is much that the Haibane don’t know and must figure out.

Haibane Renmei and Land of the Lustrous both follow new members of different races. Phos is a young gem, Haibane is a new wing person. Throughout the show, you follow them develop their abilities and fully come into their own.

Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo has become a merciless city where ghouls live amongst humans and feast on their flesh. Their ability to blend in has humans facing danger with every new person they meet. However, one day bookish college student Ken Kaneki finds himself instantly drawn to another avid reader, Rize Kamishiro. Unfortunately, their date doesn’t go quite as planned when she turns out to be a ghoul and tries to devour Kaneki. By a twist of fate, Kaneki is saved, but not without some consequences. Now he must adjust to his new life as half human, half ghoul.

In both shows you follow a new person who enters into a world of non-humans. Though he is only half-ghoul, he faces the same challenges just the same. Similar to Phos, you watch as they fight against changes and try to help their friend, flailing at every step.

For Fans of Darker Than Expected

Kemono Friends

Japari Park is an enclosed piece of paradise where animalistic humanoids live in peace. One day, these humanoids, known as “Friends” encounter a new Friend that doesn’t understand what species she is. This sets in motion an adventure throughout Japari Park to help her discover it, but the Friends will discover many things on their own.

Both anime series are shows about things personified by anime characters. You watch these gems or animals come alive and be kind of cute at first. However, the longer you watch, the more you realize that these shows are much darker than you thought they would be.

Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki are your typical middle school girls, but one day they encounter a cute creature named Kyuubey that offers to grant them one wish. In exchange for their wish, they must become magical girls and protect humanity from witches. While Sayaka accepts right away, Madoka is more hesitant, not knowing what she would wish for. However, her decision is even further delayed when the mysterious Homura Akemi, a transfer student, begs her not to accept.

Madoka Magica is the poster child for shows you though would be bright and happy, but were actually dark and depressing. While Land of the Lustrous doesn’t quite reach the same same level of darkness, you notice a distinct decline as war ravages the gems.

Children of the Whales

Chakuro is a young archivist on the island of Mud Whale. This island floats above an endless wasteland of sand. On this island, nine of the ten residents have been blessed with special powers but also curse them to an early death. While the inhabitants have seen other islands, they have never met or even seen any other inhabitants. However, one day, then find an island as large as their own. There Chakuro meets a girl that will change her destiny.

These two series are actually really similar in how they are laid out. You discover the world through the characters, the characters have special powers, and eventually things start a sharp decline into darkness.

Did we miss any more good anime recommendations like Land of the Lustrous? Let fans know in the comments section below.

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