Ice on the Horizon, Skyline Folding In: Omens and Foils in Land of the Lustrous

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Change is inevitable, but are the gems ready for it?

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This Was the Land’s End: The Butterfly Effect, Making History, and Purpose in Land of the Lustrous

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Our Lady of the Shipwrecked is striding toward the horizon,
Her marble skirts blown back in two pink wings.
A marble sailor kneels at her foot distractedly, and at his foot
A peasant woman in black
Is praying to the monument of the sailor praying.
Our Lady of the Shipwrecked is three times life size,
Her lips sweet with divinity.
She does not hear what the sailor or the peasant is saying —
She is in love with the beautiful formlessness of the sea.

– Sylvia Plath, Finisterre (1961)

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“A living fragrance from the shore, of flowers yet fresh with childhood”: Yosuga no Sora and Resisting the Tide

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Over the course of my time spent with anime, there have been a select number of series I giddily relish in discussing, waxing lyrical regarding their bizarre narrative proclivities, absurdist bents. That a gaudy incestuous tirade dragged howling from the medium’s rusty vaults would dare invoke Lord Byron’s ennui-driven Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage quickly cemented itself as one such series, becoming the scourge of fandom for a time. Ostensibly Yosuga no Sora does little to support its ambitious epithet, female characters swooning over its protagonist viewed through glistening shoujo filters, glowing and giddy. Within minutes it seems as if every eligible lady within a twenty-mile radius falls for Haru’s affable everylead charms… Leaving twin Sora to grip onto him a little tighter, scowl deepening as each episode parades a litany of semi-explicit eroticisms. Despite its undeniably trashy conceits and lack of substance however, even after all these years Yosuga no Sora is one of those formative pieces I still find myself mostly bemused by. As I derive genuine enjoyment from its bawdy practices, I would be reluctant to call it an exercise in ironic consumption.

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