Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Iroduku – The World in Colors

Original Run: October 6, 2018 - December 29, 2018
Number of Episodes: 13
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Iroduku: The World in Colors. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The year is 2078, and Hitomi Tsukishiro (voiced by Kaori Ishihara) comes from a long line of powerful witches. Although her family is famous for its mystical abilities, Hitomi despises magic. After all, her own powers have literally robbed her world of its color.

Seeing everything in black and white has caused Hitomi to disconnect with everyone around her. The only person she has any feelings left for is her dear grandmother, Kohaku Tsukishiro (voiced by Sumi Shimamoto).

To rescue her granddaughter from her gloom, Kohaku transports Hitomi back sixty-years. Far away from everything she has ever known, Hitomi can’t imagine what her grandmother expects her to see – at first.

By chance, Hitomi comes across a phenomenon she had long forgotten: Color. In an instant, Hitomi’s heart opens just a crack. But that small amount is enough to start letting the light shine back in.

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Series Positives

There were two things about Iroduku: The World in Colors (Iroduku) that really struck me:

  1. It was beautiful.
  2. It was quite good.

For a while — specifically in reference to that first point — I have been warning people not to become narrative-blind when in the presence of breathtaking animation. Although it may sound counterintuitive to say this given the nature of the anime medium: Art styles and visuals should always be secondary to stories and characters.

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If I can do nothing else, I try to at least keep reminding myself of that notion every time a series treats my eyes to awe and wonderment. Much like Iroduku did.

Naturally, we should make sure to never fail at praising great art skills when they are before us. After all, animation itself is sort of the entire draw, isn’t it? Assuming imagery is our only factor, for the moment, Iroduku was spectacular.

With the word “color” in the title, it would have been a downright shame had there been no spark to Iroduku. Fortunately, from the opening seconds of episode one, this show was nothing but bright, vivid, and alive with every positive description you can give a rainbow.

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Accordingly, was there a single moment which best demonstrated this series’ visual prowess? Well, if you consider an entire thirteen-episode anime to be one moment, then yes. Therefore, if all you care about is a show’s animation, then I have nothing left to say.

However, if you are like me and are constantly looking to get more out of a viewing session then just pretty pictures — and to be frank, you should — visuals can’t be the be-all and end-all. There must be more. That was where Iroduku hit home. It had plenty more.

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There were two aspects to this story which were exceedingly well-done. The first was time travel.

The ability to go backward and forward through time is tricky to get right. So much so, in fact, I don’t recall when I last saw it done successfully. Iroduku was a rare specimen for it found a way to adequately have Hitomi Tsukishiro bridge a sixty-year gap.

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For starters, this series was smart in not showing us too much of the future. And what parts there were, weren’t outrageous. Don’t get me wrong, Iroduku’s interpretation of what the world might one day look like was advanced, but it wasn’t too advanced. Things weren’t outside the realm of possibility. For example, in six decades I can totally see paper money becoming so obsolete people would no longer have any concept of it.

Then, once Hitomi arrived in the year 2018, the rules of time travel Iroduku operated under fit within the story it was trying to tell. As to not give away any spoilers, I won’t reveal what set of rules this series used. The only thing I will say is, nothing was ever too much to accept.

The second aspect this story did well with was magic.

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I enjoyed how the world of Iroduku accepted magic and mages as a reality, and their existence never needed any elaborate justification. More to the point, this show’s version of magic was both practical and fantastical, but it was never a source of power. The extent of a magician’s abilities rarely went beyond fancy lights and simple, almost cosmetic manipulations.

To put it another way, Iroduku’s magic was more like an alternative form of modern technology than sorcery.

Whenever those two elements combined – time travel and magic – this series was able to be as mystical as any fantasy story can get, while simultaneously being snuggly grounded in a down-to-earth, contemporary setting. Iroduku put together an amazing balancing act that made it incredibly fun to sit through.

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Series Negatives

Although I was a fan of how this show used both time travel and magic, there was one thing which left me somewhat puzzled.

I have no idea why it took so long for Hitomi to reveal she was from the future.

I can understand why she was hesitant about wanting to keep her color blindness a secret; it was probably a combination of embarrassment and self-consciousness.

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However, Iroduku never made the prospects of traveling through time to be either dangerous or beyond a person’s comprehension. I mean, if someone from a well-known, well-respected family of mages used a phrase like “time-magic” to explain their sudden, mysterious appearance to people who live in a world where magic is commonplace knowledge, what is there to be quiet about?

To me, this was such a silly worry that I had forgotten Hitomi hadn’t immediately explained herself to everyone to dispel the misunderstanding which arose when she was seen sneaking out of the boy’s bedroom she had landed in. Thus, when the topic came up midway through the series, it was a shock to realize this had apparently been a psychological barrier since the onset.

Am I just nitpicking like crazy here? You better believe I am.

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Putting that aside, I actually do have something to talk about in this section. It was crystal clear what the least interesting aspect to Iroduku was. Without question, Yuito Aoi (voiced by Shoya Chiba) – the boy whose room Hitomi arrived in – was mostly forgettable.

There were several segments throughout this series where I was unaware Yuito was even part of the cast. Whenever he was involved with anything significant, I always needed to take a second to recall who he was and what he was doing in this story.

Did I dislike this character? I wouldn’t go that far.

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There was nothing about Yuito that made him unlikable (I say while still admitting he made one or two harsh comments towards Hitomi which caused me to momentarily think he was a super dickhead). All this would have been fine had Yuito not been Hitomi’s love interest.

To tell you the truth, I thought Hitomi had connected far more with everyone else than she ever did with Yuito. The only thing he could take credit for was drawing pictures Hitomi could see in color. While that wasn’t insignificant (the joke being such a thing was MASSIVELY significant), Yuito himself was kind of dull.

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Luckily, whatever the Hitomi-Yuito pair lacked, it was more than made up for with Hitomi’s relationship with her seventeen-year-old future grandmother Kohaku Tsukishiro (voiced by Kaede Hondo).

So, although Iroduku was weak in one area, there was plenty left to keep the series standing strong.

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Final Thoughts

Brilliant visuals are not a replacement for a weak story. However, breathtaking visuals can take an already good story and make it far better.

This series is my proof to that statement.

Here was a show which had both flash and substance. It took two inherently tricky plot devices and made them work on their own, as well as together. That was impressive.

This was a series which knew how to capture the imagination and keep everything so believable, you would almost think it was possible.

I urge you to not let this one pass you by. Iroduku: The World in Colors gets a big recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Iroduku: The World in Colors? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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