Houseki no Kuni – Episode 7 [Hibernation]

Huzzah, Amethyst is saved! And while Phos apologizes for being frozen in fear on the battlefield, Amethyst actually apologizes to Phos for being careless – they’d been trying to set an example for Phos, and hadn’t been paying proper attention to their surroundings. Alexandrite shows up to get some information on the new type of Lunarian that Amethyst and Phos saw, and Phos sees this as a good chance to sneak away.

Phos goes out for a late night run to clear their head and they see Cinnabar on patrol, but Phos doesn’t approach their crimson friend. It starts to snow, signaling that hibernation is coming soon.

The next day, all the jewel people start preparing for their winter slumber. Sheets stretching from floor to ceiling are being hung on the walls, while everyone gets a new outfit to wear courtesy of Red Beryl. However there is a problem – Phos does not feel tired enough to hibernate this year, for some reason they are not quite aware of. Phos does lie down and try to sleep alongside the others, but to no gain.

Master Kongo allows Phos to remain awake with the one jewel person who is able to withstand the cold winter alone: Antarcticite. I was really fascinated by this character – a jewel person who exists in a liquid state, but becomes solid in the winter months when the temperature drops. Neat!  So if they fight the Lunarians in the dead of winter, technically their body should have a much higher hardness because of the cold.

Antarcticite shows Phos some of their menial tasks, the main one being the cutting down of the ice floes. When the icebergs rubs against each other they make horrendous screeching, crunching noises that can be heard for miles. These noises risk waking the slumbering jewel people, so Antarcticite must cut them down – and in heels to boot. But they do it flawlessly, so now it’s Phos’ turn to learn how to do it. Thankfully Phos has their new agate prosthetic legs to help make the learning process easier.

Phos has a hard time being awake in a time of little sunlight, and they are easily tired from cutting the ice down too. Nevermind that because Phos’ hardness is only 3.5, sometimes they sustain some cracks and fractures from trying to pierce the ice. Anarcticite plays the role of Rutile in the winter season, and is easily able to patch Phos back together.

A few days after Phos starts their ice floe task with Anarcticite, they start hearing voices coming from the ice. Phos reports this to Master Kongo, who says that ice floes are the most basic of ancient creatures, so technically they do  have a voice. He goes on to say that the ice floes naturally reflect “the anxieties of other” and heighten them, so Phos will have to learn to ignore them. Seems like a simple enough solution, right?

Except when Phos returns to the ice fields the next day, the voices don’t go away. If anything they are are stronger, more insistent. They say that Phos should lose their arms because they can be replaced by something stronger, which would be better for Phos. The voices invite Phos to put their arms into the water, and the source of the voices will bite off Phos’ arms for them.

Phos doesn’t like the idea, but when they slip on the edge of an opening in the ice, they no longer have a say in the issue. Phos ends up slipping and falling into the water, and while Antarcticite races over and fishes Phos out, they are not fast enough – something has bitten off Phos’ arms!

 

My thoughts: I felt pretty bad for Phos in this episode. For what is perhaps the first time in their life, they are really truly trying to help others and be useful, but their efforts never seem to be good enough. A backhanded compliment from Anarcticite highlights this really well – they compliment Phos’ new legs, but say that they can’t help but wish that Phos had arms to match. I’m assuming this is to make cutting the ice floes easier, but really? Was that comment necessary?  There was also the comment about Phos-never-trying-too-hard-and-therefore-never-accomplishing-anything-new, but I’m more likely to let that slide because hey it’s somewhat true.  [shrugs]

I’m still curious about Master Kongo’s backstory and origins. What is his issues with humans despite he himself being human? Unless… he’s not? The preview for the next episode shows the Lunarians crowding around in front of Master Kongo – does he have a connection to them?? x_X

I’m calling it now – by the end of the season, most or all of Phos will be replaced with harder jewels. And Phos will be almost like a whole new jewel person because of the memories they’ve lost that were stored in their original arms and legs.

 

Nikolita

Just an animanga-loving social worker. I've been watching anime for almost 20 years - ask me about my favourites! I've been to Japan twice and would live there in a heartbeat if I could.

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