Houseki no Kuni – Episode 4 [Soul-Flesh-Bone]

Master Kongo has awakened from his sleep meditation, and both Jade and Bort brief him on the recent Lunarian attack. They also notify him about Phos’ recent strange behaviour – Phos has been talking to the snail involved in the attack.

The snail tells Phos that its name is Ventricosus, and it is the king of its people, the Admirabilis. The snail’s people were also hunted down by the Lunarians in the same way the jewel people have been under seige. The Admirabilis were stolen away to the moon, where to the present day they have been brainwashed into forgetting who they are.

Ventricosus shares with Phos that Cinnabar saved them yet again, and this makes Phos feel horrible. Phos wants to help Cinnabar so bad but they keep messing up. Rutile arrives and tries to take Phos away to be broken down and reassembled again (as Phos having apparent mental health issues negatively affects Rutile’s reputation and competency), but Phos resists. Somehow Ventricosus gets flung into the air and lands on Master Kongo’s face, where it falls head over heels instantly into a crush on the bald master.

Master Kongo tells Phos to take Ventricosus with them as they work to complete the encyclopedia. Phos pleas for Master Kongo to do something about Cinnabar’s situation, and Master Kongo surprises Phos by expressing remorse over the redhead’s circumstances. Master Kongo says he is working to find a solution for Cinnabar’s situation, adding that working the night patrol was actually Cinnabar’s idea and not his. Lastly, Master Kongo says that Phos can best help Cinnabar by finishing the encyclopedia. He sure sounds like the parent of a young child, eh? xD

Back out in the fields, Phos despairs about ever being able to help Cinnabar. Ventricosus suggests that Phos head for the sea, where it’s rumored there lives an individual who looks like the jewel people. However the jewel people are not allowed near the sea… although as we know by now, that doesn’t stop Phos.

Phos tries to ninja away Rutile’s resin that the jewel people have to apply on themselves if they want to enter salt water. But Phos is busted and dragged before Master Kongo to be reprimanded. The master repeats that Phos needs to focus on the task they’ve been given: the encyclopedia.

Phos says fuck everything and takes Ventricosus into the sea, to try to take the snail back to its homeland. Except it’s not a snail anymore; once in the water, Ventricosus now resembles a jellyfish and… it’s definitely female. Or at least it has a very feminine form. Phos does not approve of this new transformation, calling Ventricosus “unbecoming.”

As they walk, Ventricosus explains some of the legends of her people. She explains that the planet used to be inhabited by beings called “humans”, and that when the sixth “waning” came (which I interpreted to be an extinction-type event), humans left for the sea and evolved into three different species: soul, flesh and bone.  “Well those aren’t species!” you might be thinking, but hear me out. According to the Admirabilis’ legends, they came from “flesh” and gained a lifecycle of reproduction and death. The species that became “bone” made some kind of a deal with other lifeforms to gain longer lifespans and they left the water to live on land – theoretically the jewel people. Which, as you might guess, means that the Lunarians are potentially the “soul” that humans evolved into. Ventricosus goes on to say that apparently the Lunarians are trying to seek out the “flesh” and “bones” in order to “bring about a revival” – become human again. It’s a really interesting theory, one which I hope gets fleshed out and proven.

The two continue to walk and swim onwards until they reach a very bright patch of water; Ventricosus says they have reached their destination, despite Phos not being able to see anything. Phos lies down on the ocean floor using the bowl as a pillow, leaving them somewhat defenseless for what happens next. With great regret, Ventricosus reveals themselves to be a traitor: they have traded Phos to the Lunarians in exchange for the safe return of their brother Aculeatus.

By now Diamond has noticed that Phos is missing, but Phos could be anywhere in the ocean and it looks like the Lunarians attack the jewel people at home in the next episode. So if their hands are full, will anyone be able to rescue Phos and all their little pieces?

My thoughts:
I definitely did not see that betrayal coming. Maybe I’m just really naive, but those twists always just seem to hit me out of nowhere.  ^^;;  Which is a shame because Ventricosus was my favourite character so far.

The theory about the Lunarians trying to become human again really intrigues me. It certainly explains why they’ve been trying to collect the jewel people; if they already have the Admirabilis and their shells on the moon, then all that’s left is to harvest the jewel people, no?

I’m really enjoying this series. :3   Everything being in CGI doesn’t bother be as much as it did with the last couple seasons of Berserk, and in fact during certain scenes (like grass blowing in the field, or Ventricosus moving through the ocean) I find the CGI is almost preferential to traditional animation. For me, anyways.


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