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Category Archives: Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours): Whole-Series Review and Recommendation After The Finale

“You know, you should’ve stolen the whole book because the warnings…come after the spells!” –Doctor Strange

The Magic-Photography-Arts Club begin to send Hitomi back. While waiting for the magic to build up, each of Shō, Chigusa, Kurumi and Asagi bid their farewells to Hitomi. When it’s Yuito’s turn, he has a terse exchange with Hitomi before the spell is ready, but Hitomi subconsciously rejects it, feeling that there are still things she has to say to Yuito. Entering another realm, Hitomi and Yuito exchange their true feelings, revealing that the presence of the other had helped them out in growing and opening up. Happy that she is accepted, and admitting her feelings for Yuito for done so much in helping her, colour is restored in full to Hitomi’s world. She accepts that she must return to the future, and once she departs, Kohaku and the others promise to remember her. Back in her time period, Hitomi reunites with Kohaku, admitting that her sojourn back sixty years allowed her to experience joy, sorrow, anger and friendship. Kohaku shares with Hitomi a time capsule, which holds albums of their past times together and also a picture book that Yuito had authored. She settles back into life with her peers and resolves to make the most of her future, living in the moment and doing her best to make everything as colourful as she can. This brings The World In Colours to an end; its thirteen episodes follows a story of discovery and learning, one that is set at the edge between adolescence and adulthood. Combining the diverse array of topics associated with youth with magic, The World in Colours is a cross between Tari Tari and Glasslip – evidently, learnings from the failures of Glasslip were judiciously applied to The World in Colours, with magic being explained in a more comprehensive manner to drive the narrative, but otherwise do not interfere with Hitomi’s journey. The end result is a fantastical, if somewhat familiar story about self-discovery and the impact of friendship on one’s world-view.

In its presentation, The World in Colours presents to its viewers that the problems individuals face are a matter of perspective, and moreover, that support and encouragement from peers have a substantial, positive impact in helping one along with their troubles. Hitomi, having long despised magic for driving people away from her, comes to see other applications for magic, as well as the potential of magic to bring joy to those around the wielder. As she spends more time with the Magic-Photography-Arts Club, she opens up to them as friends, and also begins seeing the world differently. Over time, Hitomi becomes more outgoing and more open-minded, beginning to explore magic as a way of bringing happiness to those around her. However, the true magic she learns is simply being able to support someone: Kohaku, Asagi and Kurumi help Hitomi open up, and she in turn begins encouraging Yuito in his drawings, helping him reaffirm his decision to pursue artwork as a career. Positivity and warmth from friends have this magic of driving people be more comfortable around one another, as well as the confidence to deal with one’s own doubts and troubles. Even the confident Kohaku ends up calling on her friends in the Magic-Photography-Arts Club to help her prepare for Hitomi’s eventual return to the future. The World in Colours covers a great deal of ground in thirteen episodes, but in the end, the entire narrative consistently and constantly deals with moments in friendship, both memorable and everyday, that allow individuals to overcome challenges they otherwise could not. Through her experiences, Hitomi discovers anew that magic can help create happiness, that there is magic in the ordinary and that seeing the world in colours is a matter of choice.

The presence of a strong, overarching narrative ensured that The World in Colours could remain focused despite its propensity to explore a variety of tribulations that youth encounter. From the struggle to work out what one’s future might entail, to matters of the heart, The World in Colours dabbles in this and that, much as its predecessor, Tari Tari, did. Like Tari Tari, The World in Colours succeeds because the diverse range of elements in each of the characters’ lives conveys that they are multi-faceted characters, with strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and aspects to their personality that can come as a surprise. Because personal growth resulting from mutual support is ever-present, The World in Colours is able to deal with everything from futures to romance, and include magic, without losing sight of its intentions. This theme and its variations are common to P.A. Works’ other series; The World in Colours differs in that magic becomes a more integral part of the story. Its presence ultimately allows for an interesting premise to be created; Kohaku sends Hitomi back in time to allow her past self to help Hitomi. Glasslip‘s ultimate failure was that magic was only ever a distraction from the main narrative and had no bearing on the outcome of the developing love n-gons that had arisen, which diminished its presence and resulted in questions being asked of why it was present to begin with. The limitations and applications of magic are explained as The World in Colours progresses – it feels a natural part of their world, being sufficiently developed to remain plausible, which did much to breathe life into the world that Hitomi and her friends live in.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The World in Colours‘ finale brings to a close a series whose strong point was being able to remain focused and consistent. The episode is split evenly down the final farewells and Hitomi’s return to her own time, and there’s plenty to go over; this post will be a larger one with forty screenshots so that I can offer various thoughts and opinions, as well as have more space to showcase some of the artwork in this series and go on one last set of tangents before 2018 draws to a close.

  • Shō and Chigusa’s farewells are the most straightforwards: they are incredibly proud that Hitomi came as far as she did during her time with them, and are going to miss her. Their short farewells are typical of men, who are less adept at sharing their feelings. Chigusa and Shō choose to focus on reiterating all of the accomplishments and growth Hitomi’s had, since these are tangible observations, and their words to Hitomi contain suggestions, advice for making the most of the future.

  • By comparison, Kurimi and Asagi both focus on feelings and memories. The times they spent together are important, and both tearfully embrace Hitomi. Body language plays a much greater role in female communication, and as much as words embody gratitude, their hugs also serve to convey just how much of an impact Hitomi’s had in their lives: with only a short window to speak, the girls put their feelings into hugs and hand-holding.

  • Through something as simple as a farewell, The World in Colours shows that it was written with details in mind: capturing the differences between the way men and women talk correctly conveys that P.A. Works cares to make its characters plausible. The fundamentally different communication strategies means that men and women approach problem-solving quite differently, and I imagine that sufficiently seasoned readers could probably tell if a guy or girl wrote a blog post even if the author’s real name were not known.

  • For Kohaku, this is less of a farewell and more of a parting of ways for the present. Finally, it is Yuito’s turn: he struggles to say something, and for the sake of avoiding a protracted, painful farewell, decides to keep it short. However, in doing so, Hitomi feels that there was something he’s longed to say, and is unwilling to fully return to the future until they’ve been forward with one another.

  • A few days ago, a transformer in New York malfunctioned and discharged electricity into the air, energising atoms in the atmosphere and prompted them to glow. Initially, residents were unsure as to what was happening and imagined it to be Independence Day or some sort of paranormal activity. The New York Police Department immediately stepped in to social media and clarified that no ghosts or aliens were attacking: this was merely a transformer malfunction.

  • Unconsciously suppressing the time spell, Hitomi causes energy buildup to produce a similar phenomenon, and I’m sure that thoughts of Independence Day might come to mind, as well. The energy is strong enough to push Kohaku back, who realises that she’s unable to do anything while this is happening. Sending Hitomi back was not going to go without a hitch, and this acts to create a bit of suspense.

  • In the end, Yuito decides that he must be honest with his feelings about Hitomi: this is something that guys may have difficulty with, and a part of any relationship is for guys to be able to listen to the girls, who like to express their thoughts as a means of regrouping, as well as figure out how to articulate their feelings better. The buildup of magic pushes Yuito into another space, where he finds Hitomi and is able to convey how he feels.

  • Although he was not initially aware of it, Yuito began to see himself in Hitomi, having long kept his distance from others. Seeing Hitomi connecting with the others, and making an effort to master her magic, as well as her yearning to see his drawings, lead him to want to draw for someone, as well. When he sees Hitomi’s past, and offers the younger Hitomi advice, he realises that the same could very well apply to him; he grows as a result of his time with Hitomi, and for this, Yuito is very grateful to have met her, promising to never forget her.

  • This is what Hitomi was looking to wrap up before truly returning to her time, and with her heart at ease, she is finally ready to return to her time. Kohaku prepares the spells again, and Hitomi is sent forwards in time again. In the end, time magic was merely a device for the narrative, and a casual loop was utilised to keep things as simple as possible. A causal loop is best visualised as a stationary ball enters a time machine, but emerges in a way as to knock its past self into the time machine.

  • In The World in Colours, Kohaku sends Hitomi into the past, knowing that she’d done it before and therefore does have the ability to do it, rather similarly to how Harry was able to conjure a corporeal Patronus in The Prisoner of Azkaban despite only having summoned wisps before. None of Hitomi’s actions impact her existence because Kohaku was present in the future to send her back to begin with, and so, with the mechanics of time travel kept at the most simple level, The World in Colours is able to focus on the narrative, rather than diverting unnecessary time to work out how the time travel worked to begin with.

  • This was apparent immediately in the first episode: Chigusa and the others seem perfectly unperturbed that someone from the future is around, and consequently, it is not the point of focus. Here, Kohaku receives a message through time from her future self, indicating that Hitomi is safely returned to the future. She smiles and turns to join up with her friends, knowing that in sixty years’ time, she will be able to see what Hitomi has gained.

  • The new Hitomi is more confident and able to see a joke now: she bids the bus driver farewell and drops into the clouds below, returning to her time. I note that my final assessment of The World in Colours is a positive one, but this assessment is not shared by everyone. Some feel it to be pedestrian (we have entered the realm of fancy artistic criticisms lingo) for not doing more with magic or romance, and for “meandering”. My counterargument is that The World in Colours was never meant to deal with romance or magic; Hitomi’s returning to the past was intended to help her rediscover happiness.

  • In its ending, The World in Colours delivers precisely what it set out to do: last week, I felt that the ending this series needed (and ended up getting) was that Hitomi would be shown back in her own time as being much happier and open to new experiences. She is the focus of the story, and the choice to leave everyone’s fates undisclosed serves to suggest that life is not 十全十美 (jyutping sap6 cyun4 sap6 mei5, “perfect”) like in stories. People go their own ways, disperse and pursue their own futures, but their memories will live on in Hitomi. While it would have been nice to see everyone’s futures, The World in Colours does not suffer for the path it ended up taking.

  • I’ve had a similar screenshot from my first impressions discussion: the comparison between this and the first image is obvious, with the same scene having less fade and more saturation. The simple choice of colours in a scene does much to convey the difference between the Hitomi that left, and the Hitomi that came back. Kohaku admits here that despite her love of magic, she was unsuccessful in helping Hitomi’s mother find happiness.

  • With the sum of her experiences, Hitomi hugs Kohaku; although Kohaku might have let Hitomi’s mother down, she’s atoned in helping Hitomi rediscover happiness. The precise fate of Hitomi’s mother is left unknown, similarly to the fates of the other members in the Magic-Photography-Arts Club, but as per my opinion previously, leaving this open is a mirror of life, where people do not necessarily know the details about everyone they’ve met or befriended after parting ways.

  • In my books, The World in Colours exceeds expectations, as it succeeds where Glasslip failed, weaving magic into the narrative and properly using it to drive the story forwards. Glasslip chose to leave these elements out; the so-called “fragments of the future” were never adequately explained when the show clearly indicated that a supernatural connection would play on Kakeru and Touko’s meeting. Glasslip made it clear that magic would have a role to play, and so, this cannot be chalked up to mere imagination or wabi-sabi. By comparison, The World in Colours plainly defines the extent and limits of magic; audiences come to expect that the presence of magic would impact the narrative in a meaningful way, and the anime delivers.

  • Existing discussions that are widely-accepted have not sat well with me because they either made massive subjective leaps and focused on minor details with no relevance to Glasslip, or else repeatedly emphasised that the reader was lacking for not understanding the show as they did. A good analysis never opens up by undermining the reader or presupposing that they are missing something. By comparison, I always aim to be fair, and comprehensive: everything that I present is intended to give readers a new perspective on things, or help clarify to them how I reached my conclusion.

  • After returning home, Kohaku retrieves a time capsule containing photo albums of their time spent together, as well as a picture book that Yuito had written. Hitomi comes to realise that this was the one book that she could always see in colour, and with this knowledge, audiences conclude that Yuito had a role in helping Hitomi recover. Hitomi’s returning to the past impacted Yuito and helped him rediscover his inspiration, so when he published the book, his feelings were captured in his drawings. Thus, when Hitomi returned back in time, his earlier craft would be familiar to Hitomi, accounting for why his drawings were in colour for her even when the remainder of the world was in black and white.

  • Today is New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2018, and it’s been one interesting year with its ups and downs. Like my previous The World in Colours post, I’m publishing this before I head off for work; it’s a half day today, but my afternoon is packed, so I figured I would get this out sooner. In the last Friday of 2018, I found time to watch a sunrise over the city, and later, I stepped out for lunch and had the biggest fish and chips I’d seen: the fish was piping hot, tender and flaked apart in my fork, going great with tartar sauce.

  • On Saturday, I attended the Flames game which saw us square off against the Vancouver Canucks. A thrilling and close game, the Flames would lose 3-2 in overtime, although I hold that one goal that was discounted during a power play should have been allowed. Had this been the case, we would have won that game. Then, yesterday was our annual 打邊爐 (jyutping daa2 bin1 lou4): although the weather this year was nowhere near as cold as it was last year, a good hot pot is always welcome. After an hour and a half of beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp, oysters, squid, fish, cabbage, lettuce, lo baak and yi mien, I certainly was feeling much warmer, having spent a good chunk of the day writing this post and tending to things around the house.

  • Reading the picture book again, and seeing Yuito as the author allows Hitomi to put two and two together, the causal loop of The World in Colours is a simple one, and its design prevents any paradoxes from arising. Because of the nature of The World in Colours, no issues arise to the same extent as seen in Futurama, where Fry inadvertently makes himself his own grandfather; the nature of The World in Colours precludes such wild antics from occurring.

  • The story that Yuito has written is a parallel of what Hitomi had experienced during her time with Kohaku; it follows a shy penguin whose animal friends show up to dramatically break up the monotony in her day. Bit by bit, the penguin accepts these adventures and becomes all the happier for it, mirroring Hitomi opening up to everyone. Children’s picture books are joys to read, featuring a straightforward narrative with appealing artwork.

  • I am not fond of making massive subjective leaps in my discussions, but since virtually all of the discussions I’ve frequented skip over the golden fish seen in Yuito’s drawings, I will take a stab at guessing its contribution to The World in Colours: unlike the seabirds of Glasslip, which incidentally have no contribution to the story in any way and are merely part of the scenery, the golden fish is prominently featured. I imagine that it is derived from the Buddhist symbol with the pair of golden fish, which denotes happiness: fish have freedom to swim about as they please, and so, a golden fish swimming freely through the world represents the freedom Yuito seeks, to create and draw worlds as he so chooses.

  • This time around, the folks of Tango-Victor-Tango have been much more disciplined in their discussions compared to those found elsewhere: the former are uncertain as to whose tombstone Hitomi is visiting, and the latter speculate that it is Yuito’s grave without providing a justification for why this is the case beyond “artists tend to die alone quickly” (which, incidentally, one cannot reasonably expect me to accept on virtue of that individual’s reputation alone: I expect facts and figures backing that up). One longstanding goal I have is to never make a claim without providing some sort of explanation for why I believe said claim to hold true, and I am of the mind that making claims without rationalising it is to expect others to accept it without a second thought.

  • I never expect my readers to buy what I say: readers are free to make their own judgement on what I say and decide whether it works or not. If my intent is to convince readers of something, then I am expected to put an effort into explaining why it holds true. As such, low effort explanations are something I am quick to dismiss; if someone wants me to believe them, they had better work for it. Here, I’ve got a screenshot of Hitomi’s high school; the building of 2078 is more or less the same, with several upgrades to the facility that indicate expansion has occurred to modernise it. Those who remark the school “looks way too similar to how it was in the past”, then, seem unaware of how old buildings work: buildings in Calgary hailing back to the 1920s still look as they once did, albeit modernised to accommodate their present function.

  • On the way to school, Hitomi encounters the two girls who’d asked her to watch the fireworks from the previous evening and, with her newfound confidence, greets them. It’s a profound change from her personality at The World in Colours‘ opening, and for me, this was the singular joy of The World in Colours: Hitomi’s come out far stronger than she entered, more open and sociable. Glasslip‘s characters never undergo similar changes, and so, that series ended up being quite unsuccessful in portraying the journey within a story that compels viewers to follow it.

  • When Hitomi first went back in time, the digital apparatus she’s wearing indicates that it is unable to lock onto a signal and update itself. Returning to her time, the device immediately reconnects and updates its clock. Attention to details in The World in Colours has been one of the series’ great strengths, and shows that a great deal of care was placed into crafting each of the moments.

  • Hitomi is shown returning to the same classroom where she’d once spent many a day with Kohaku’s classmates as a member of the Magic-Photography-Arts Club. She is shown to be a knowledgeable member of the club, providing instruction to fellow students, and even manages to bring back the magic into the club as Kohaku once did. Seeing all of the changes in Hitomi makes it clear just how much occurred over the course of The World in Colours.

  • It would be a surprise to me if standalone cameras were still in widespread use come sixty years from now: the advent of high resolution digital cameras built into smartphones, and even AI-assisted cameras have increasingly rendered point-and-shoot devices obsolete. Having said this, dedicated DSLR cameras for professional and enthusiast usage continue to endure. I expect that future cameras will likely have increased on-board storage, wireless connectivity and the processing power to handle image processing and machine learning, allowing their users to shoot more vivid, exciting photographs.

  • Hitomi’s newfound friends are seen visiting the shop that she works at, and it is apparent that Hitomi’s come to embrace her abilities with magic once again. She feels very much at home in the magic shop and with magic itself now. Moments such as these serve to remind audiences that Hitomi’s life has definitely turned around for the better, and per her promise to Yuito, she is definitely going to make the most of her future and walk it with confidence.

  • The question of who Hitomi’s grandfather (and Kohaku’s husband) is was answered in the finale; it is indeed the bookstore’s keeper. Romance was, while present in The World in Colours, never its focus, and so, the tensions that had arisen with relationships was always swiftly dealt with. Some folks longed to see a more substantial romantic component, but this would have detracted from the messages of The World in Colours; dealing with tumultuous feelings on top of trying to rediscover happiness would have yielded a very chaotic, turbulent story that could not have easily been told in thirteen episodes.

  • I understand that I appear focused on the positives of The World in Colours, doling out praises where others might see criticisms. The reality is that The World in Colours gets many things right, far more than the things it gets wrong. A little bit of acceptance is how I moved past the series’ shortcomings; it is understandable that not everything in life is so cut-and-dried. Relationships in high school, for instance, may not endure as one grows older, and so, questions of things like whether or not Shō ends up with Asagi are largely irrelevant.

  • There is a single reason why I tend to focus on the positives of something: life is short, and focusing on negativity has never done any favours for anyone. I would much rather focus on the things in whatever I do that I enjoyed, and the things that work for me; this lets me be much more authentic and genuine in how I present content to readers. While I will offer the occasional critique here and there, the objective of a given post is not to tear down a work for whatever reason that motivates people to tear stuff down.

  • The World in Colours was by no means flawless; personally, I would’ve preferred a bit more time to flesh everyone out further and have them each spend more time with Hitomi, further augmenting the sense that she’s become an integral member of the Magic-Photography-Arts Club. In addition, the epilogue would have done better to have Hitomi catch up with and visit everyone to see what they’re like. With this being said, if the two girls that Hitomi befriended are grandchildren of Asagi and Kurumi, that would make my day.

  • The Nagasaki of 2078 has more skyscrapers and admittedly, resembles Victoria Harbour by nightfall. During the day, a number of changes can be seen: the buildings are more futuristic, and some unusual-looking hovercraft are present in the harbour. However, the Megami Bridge remains as it once did: bridges that are well-maintained can have a lifespan of a century, and so, it is not surprising to see that this cable-stayed bridge remains a prominent part of Nagasaki’s skyline.

  • If we accept the assertion that this golden fish is to represent freedom, then The World in Colours is telling audiences that after everything that has occurred, Hitomi is free to pursue her future without being weighted down with her past. The brilliant skies of day are more vivid than any other point in the anime, signifying endless possibility now that the colour has returned to Hitomi’s world.

  • The final moment in The World in Colours is one of Hitomi smiling, a very pleasant sight to behold. With the whole of The World in Colours in the books, my final verdict is a recommendation, and a score of nine out of ten (A grade, 4.0 on a four-point scale): The World in Colours has much going for it, using magic in a creative fashion to explore the impact of friendship and how the attendant shifts in perspective can help people understand their pasts to embrace their future. Together with P.A. Works’ signature high visual quality, with both animation and artwork, as well as a superior soundtrack, The World in Colours is a treat to watch.

  • Since Glasslip, P.A. Works has done several excellent coming-of-age stories, and in my books, they’ve more than found their redemption from Glasslip. Straightforward, captivating and earnest, The World in Colours was the one anime I consistently looked forwards to each and every Friday, and with the finale now past, the time has come to look at the upcoming winter season. A few series have caught my eye, but I don’t think any of them motivate my writing about them for the present. This is going to be the final post for 2018; I am going to be returning in the New Year to write about Little Forest and Anima Yell!, and until then, take it easy!

While stories of self-discovery and friendship are a familiar, well-explored one, The World in Colours manages to present a sufficiently unique take on things to create a compelling narrative that audiences can invest into. Over time, viewers come to care for Hitomi and Kohaku, as well as each of Yuito, Asagi, Kurumi, Shō and Chigusa. Their aspirations and challenges mirror aspects of the viewers’ own experiences, and so, one cannot help but wonder how solutions might be found for the different problems and doubts everyone faces. This is the magic in The World in Colours, a series that manages to make the most of its setup to create a fun and meaningful journey for Hitomi. I have no trouble in saying that The World in Colours is what Glasslip should have been: with magic built out in a meaningful manner, its applications serve to make The World in Colours even more colourful. Logically applied and well-developed, the magic of The World in Colours serves to bolster the anime, showing that P.A. Works can indeed work supernatural forces into its stories without leaving them vague and convoluted. The World in Colours is indeed what Glasslip should have been, presenting a remarkably enjoyable story that covers a considerable amount of ground about youth, reminding viewers about the freedoms of days past. Overall, I enjoyed The World in Colours – I recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching coming-of-age stories and is looking for something similar to Tari Tari. This series certainly helped me relax with its atmosphere and story, and for the past three months, provided me with something to look forwards to every Friday evening.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours): Review and Reflection After Twelve

“Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered and your time is short.” —The Ancient One, Doctor Strange

Feeling that Asagi’s become distant, Hitomi tries to speak with her, and the two come to terms with one another, deciding that the blame lies with Shō for being quite unaware of the feelings of those around him. With the culture festival coming up, the Magic-Photography-Arts Club decide to do an exhibit that combines all three club’s specialities together: Kohaku and Hitomi will bring one of Yuito’s drawings to life and allow visitors to explore the world within. Kohaku trains Hitomi in the magic required to make this possible, and she is able to take the Magic-Photography-Arts Club on a successful test run. During this trial, Yuito encounters a younger Hitomi, and later learns that Hitomi’s mother left her after discovering Hitomi had latent magical abilities. Devastated, Hitomi developed a dislike for magic; in the present, she feels that sharing the story with Yuito was helpful. As the culture festival draws near, Hitomi begins vanishing from the world, prompting a worried Kohaku to expedite sending Hitomi back to her original time before she is lost. Because the endeavour requires more power than anything she’d done previously, Kohaku asks her friends to help her, as well. Meanwhile, Hitomi rushes out into the night to meet Yuito, fearing that her time with him is limited now that she’s heading back into the future. When the culture festival finally arrives, all fo the club members put on a solid showing to impress their visitors. Hitomi prepares herself to return to the future, and on the final day of the culture festival, uses her magic alongside Kohaku’s to put on a stunning fireworks display. For a brief moment, Hitomi is able to resolve colours again and cries tears of joy for the memories she’s made alongside Kohaku and the others. They return to the park and prepare to perform the tricky bit of magic that will send Hitomi sixty years forward in time.

The World in Colours rapidly consigns the love triangle to history, swiftly resolving it and pushes ahead to the lingering question of getting Hitomi back into her time before the manifesting adverse effects, in the form of disappearing momentarily, can worsen. In choosing to utilise the limitation of time magic as a plot device, The World in Colours cleverly displays to audiences the nature and limitations of magic in their world, as well as provides a sense of urgency in bringing Hitomi back that further forces Hitomi to treasure her experiences in Kohaku’s time. Culminating with a culture festival, Hitomi has evidently become an integral part of the Magic-Photography-Arts Club, helping out with a range of activities and even developing the confidence to use her magic again. Because of this, Hitomi is very close to each member in the Magic-Photography-Arts Club. Consequently, she finds it difficult to part ways, but with the risk of flickering out of existence, Hitomi has no choice but to return to her own time. This hangs over her head, and once her disappearances slow down, she becomes determined to make the most of her time left in this period, helping out everyone as best as she can and also giving them thanks. With the culture festival past, Hitomi discovers her happiness: although she has yet to put it into words, what makes her happy is to be able to bring others happiness with her magic. This is why her colour vision was impaired: it is not the act of falling in love, but being at peace with who she is, that will bring back her colour vision. In the episodes leading up to the finale, The World in Colours shows that, even more so than companionship and support, the fear of losing this will compel individuals to live life to the fullest and come to understand their own desires more strongly than before.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As it turns out, Asagi and Hitomi’s conflict regarding Shō is resolved quickly, leaving The World in Colour‘s final quarter to prioritise the narrative over unnecessary drama. It’s a solid decision, and it typifies The World in Colour‘s ability to incorporate a wide range of matters into its story without having any secondary aspect dominate the story. This post has the usual thirty screenshots, but I remark that it took a considerable amount of effort to trim down the number.

  • The entire Magic-Photography-Arts Club look to Yuito to produce a drawing worthy of exploration. While the Yuito of old may have declined, he has also opened up with the passage of time as Hitomi did. Character growth in The World in Colours is very subtle, but tangible — the gradual development of characters feels very natural, and so, when I say that The World in Colours is similar to Tari Tari, this is a compliment.

  • Ahead of the actual event, Hitomi practises her magic to bring objects into a drawing and then retrieve them some time later. While her magic is not as overt as Kohaku’s, Hitomi nonetheless is exhibiting superior control over her magic than before. As she develops increasing confidence and mastery of the techniques required, Kohaku decides to give things a test run, sending the Magic-Photography-Arts Club into the drawing.

  • After entering the drawing, the students disperse into groups and begin exploring. Hitomi and Yuito visit an underwater village reminiscent of Nagi no Asukara‘s Shioshishio. Readers may have noticed that I’ve written about my share of P.A. Works’ titles, and for my extensive coverage, I’ve never written anything for Angel Beats! or Nagi no Asukara. Both series were superbly enjoyable and merit writing about, but I’ve not found the time to write about them as of yet. There will come a point in the future where I will be writing about both.

  • After Yuito ventures into a part of the drawing with a younger Hitomi drawing grim-looking images, he attempts to help the doppelgänger open up. Once they exit the drawing, Hitomi explains her past to Yuito, clarifying to viewers why she came to despise magic: her experiences led her to conclude that magic drives people apart, and she distanced herself from it, hoping to avoid further pain. While Hitomi shares this with Yuito, they do so under curiously faded skies, which convey to audiences that the moment is a difficult one for Hitomi.

  • While Yuito apologises for prying, Hitomi feels glad to have shared this with him, explaining that it was a good release for her. This is mirrored in the saturation returning to normal shortly afterwards. Seeing Hitomi open up to Yuito was quite telling: even though the two do not interact directly with a great frequency, there is an interesting connection between the two. When Hitomi and Yuito do interact, it is in pivotal moments that bring the two closer together.

  • Watching The World in Colours weekly has been a superb experience; for me, things proceeded very naturally and fluidly, never feeling forced anywhere. I know that elsewhere, opinions of The World in Colours have been less-than-forgiving, and to this, I remark that I am actively and deliberately looking for the things I am enjoying from this series. Because my impressions are that The World in Colours intended to present a similar coming-of-age story as did Tari Tari while integrating magic into things, my long-standing expectation for The World in Colours is primarily to see if the series could use that magic effectively.

  • Tari Tari continues to endure as one of the most memorable titles from P.A. Works for me because I watched it the same summer I took the MCAT. Watching Wakana, Konatsu and the others persist with their goals of making their final year of high school meaningful, experiencing a plethora of things in the process, was something that invigorated me. If the K-On! movie helped me relax, then Tari Tari provided me the motivation to push on through, and seeing the cast succeed, as I did with my MCAT, was very rewarding.

  • The fellow here is the owner of a used book store and while not exhibiting any magical talents himself, appears to be knowledgeable about magical resources, in addition to being well-connected to other magic wielders. He is able to connect Kohaku with the people who can create a special apparatus for time magic, when Kohaku begins to wonder more about time magic itself. The difficulties of time magic have been foreshadowed with Kohaku’s earlier experiments with the rose, and the consequences of this magic make a return as the final quarter progresses.

  • Disturbances to the natural order, as they are called in Doctor Stange, begin occurring in The World in Colours as Hitomi vanishes from existence for short periods of time. She seemingly disappears in front of Asagi’s eyes, but initially, this is chalked up to a fluke. The others brush it off, but Kohaku is more worried. I am still of the mind that it is quite unnecessary to attempt any sort of analysis on how exactly things work in The World in Colours: there are natural forces at play to prevent disruptions to causality that work sufficiently well within the context of the anime, similar to how the Time Stone is used in Doctor Strange – improperly wielded, the Time Stone can trap a user in a time loop or wipe them from existence.

  • I’ve long had a liking for the room Hitomi that lodges in during her stay with Kohaku and her family. The lack of artificial lighting in this scene, in conjunction with the soft lights from the moon and the star sand, gives the space a gentle tranquility. It’s a very cozy space, and since Hitomi only spends time with Kohaku here, it’s also representative of Hitomi’s private world, a place far removed from the energy that her friends bring to the table.

  • The disappearance phenomenon manifests again when Yuito is walking with Hitomi after classes on a rainy day: she suddenly vanishes without a trace, leaving her umbrella behind. While preparations for the culture festival are under way, a typhoon enters the area and prompts the staff to send students home for safety. Rain storms in P.A. Works’ series have always been beautifully rendered, and like Tari TariThe World in Colours takes the effort to show the reflection of surroundings on the wet surfaces. Here, the movement of objects are also reflected, a subtle improvement from even the effects of Tari Tari.

  • After a frantic search around the school grounds, the club deduces that Hitomi is likely still where she was last seen, and sure enough, she’s found sleeping in a flower bed. Flickering in and out of existence takes its toll on Hitomi, and she takes a few days away from classes to recuperate and rest up.

  • Time magic is now evidently something that Kohaku has little confidence in: presented as someone superbly assured in her own magical abilities at the beginning of The World in Colours, Kohaku’s credibility as a character is established with her doubts about time magic. With a tangible weakness, Kohaku is made to rely on her friends when her own resourcefulness falls short, and this makes her much more relatable.

  • Being pushed up against a time limit, Hitomi decides to make her feelings known to Yuito, using a series of paper airplanes to convey her messages to him. This is an unexpectedly romantic way to communicate: even though it is 2018 in The World in Colours, with modern tools like Facebook, SMS, iMessage, Line and WhatsApp available, that the two choose to use these old-fashioned tricks gives their interactions a nostalgic sense.

  • Hitomi’s magic on her last paper airplane begins fading with time, and she rushes out into the night, hoping that Yuito will receive it. It’s the boldest we’ve seen Hitomi all season, and for good reason – the prospect of departure and separation will drive people out of the comfort zone in pursuit of something new. I say this with confidence because this is precisely what happened with me some years back; the individual I held feelings for was set to study abroad for a semester, and circumstance precluded our meeting in person. With summer running out, and the window closing, I threw caution to the wind.

  • Hence, in The World in Colours, seeing Hitomi pushed to do something she would otherwise not do with more time is a very plausible outcome. She and Yuito meet in a spot overlooking Nagasaki, and a single street lamp provides a warm glow on an otherwise cool-looking night. There is no dialogue here, but the message is abundantly clear with the embrace the two share: they have grown very close to one another, and the prospect of Hitomi leaving is one that pains both.

  • The page quote for this The World in Colours review is, again, sourced from Doctor Strange: it is quite curious that so many of the themes and concepts in Doctor Strange can apply to The World in Colours so well, even if their contexts and stakes are completely different. I felt this line from the Ancient One to describe what one might reasonably say to Hitomi: it is precisely because treasured things are finite that make them precious. Having fallen in love with Yuito, Hitomi does not want to go back.

  • Hitomi is excited for the culture festival and admires the MSB shirt Kurumi has ordered for everyone. Standing for the Mahou Sashin Bijutsu Club (Magic-Photography-Arts), the shirt has a deliberately tacky feel to it. It is a fantastic coincidence that both Japanese (魔法) and English forms of magic begin with the character ‘m’, making the abbreviation work out with its first character. The root “魔” (literally “Devil” in Chinese: this character has 鬼 within, which is Chinese for “ghost”) in Cantonese is also read as jyutping mo1. Translated word-per-word in Chinese, 魔法 is “Devil Arts”, likely a consequence of the Chinese viewing magic as being unnatural. Following the English term magic back to the Old Persian word maguš, wherein magu has roots to “being able to” in Proto-Indo-European. The roots are vastly different, hence my remarks about the coincidence being a curious one.

  • Asagi summons up the courage to sell her rabbit photographs to visitors and is successful. She becomes quite animated afterwards, displaying pure joy that others like her photographs. For me, I am now inclined to say that rabbits are likely the pet of choice for me should I ever choose to get a pet: rabbits have a long life and can live upwards of twelve years, are very clean and are adorable beyond words: despite my interest in shooters and military history, I love small, soft animals.

  • The particle effects used when Hitomi and Kohaku send their guests into the drawing are identical to those used in Glasslip whenever Tōko peered through glass beads and gazed into the future to see the things that could come to pass. The commonalities here are likely a consequence of P.A. Works reusing an existing asset to convey magic, but for me, it’s also a sign that The World in Colours is Glasslip as it should have been. That magic creates a glow implies the emission of photons, which occurs when an electron moves from a high energy orbit to a low energy orbit, with the energy difference manifesting as electromagnetic radiation. Magic in The World in Colours, then, is probably drawn from control of energy, similar to the magic of Harry Potter, even if the effects are quite different.

  • The first day of the culture festival ended up being a great success, and I’m particularly fond of this still, which really captures the Magic-Photography-Arts Club in its full glory. It is great to see everyone together as friends now: while they were once the Photography club who accepted Yuito to make their numbers work, the club is now a lively, full-fledged group able to explore the realms of photography, drawing and magic together. Like Tari Tari‘s Choir-and-sometimes-Badminton Club, having a bit of everything enriches everyone’s experiences far more than a dedicated club could.

  • P.A. Works’ use of these multi-disciplinary clubs is meant to show that youth is about exploration. Other anime (e.g. K-On! and Yuru Camp△) have succeeded by focusing on a particular area, such as music or camping, so the clubs of The World in Colours and Tari Tari can seem indecisive on paper. In practise, things work very neatly and allow these series to explore a spectrum of topics. Here, Hitomi and Kohaku hold hands walking back home; my intuition tells me that with the time phenomenon and Hitomi’s eventual return back to her time, Kohaku does not want to see her go.

  • With Hitomi’s departure imminent, the Magic-Photography-Arts Club decide to give Yuito and Hitomi some time together. While both appear to reciprocate the others’ feelings, their impending separation means that neither are willing to really get any closer for fear of getting hurt. One of my biggest doubts, attesting to how captivating the story in The World in Colours for me was, was worrying that Hitomi would vanish again mid-festival.

  • With the second day drawing to an end, Kohaku’s parents and grandmother swing by for a visit, as well, saying farewell to Hitomi. The students assemble on the grounds for a finale show: bonfires have traditionally been a major part of culture festivals, but in The World in Colours, the presence of magic allows for a magic-powered fireworks display. At this point in time, Hitomi’s magic has seen enough improvement to the point where she can cast spells alongside Kohaku, and on the school rooftop, they ready their finale.

  • With nothing but sky above, tears well in Hitomi’s eyes as she watches the fireworks: far more beautiful than any fireworks she’d previously seen in life, she feels a sense of warmth and realises that the fireworks are in colour. With the sum of everything that’s happened in The World in Colours so far, I am inclined to say that Hitomi’s ability to discern colour is impacted by her happiness in the long term, rather than anything to do with relationships. Yuito’s drawings made her happy, so she could see colours in them, and similarly, when he promises to show her his works, having something to look forwards to also gave her happiness.

  • The fireworks display seen in The World in Colours rivals even the likes of Gandalf’s fireworks in terms of grandeur and scale: Kohaku and Hitomi do not have Narya, the Ring of Fire, which enhanced Gandalf’s willpower and control over fire. Instead, it is the strength of their feelings for classmates, friends and one another that drive their magic. The fireworks that fill the sky represent both Hitomi and Kohaku’s gratefulness for everything that has happened over the course of The World in Colours.

  • It is no coincidence that Hitomi is set to return on a New Moon following a fireworks display, the same circumstances that had been present prior to Kohaku sending her back sixty years later. In a quiet park far removed from the school, the club prepare to help Kohaku send Hitomi back. Kohaku produces the same device she used to send Hitomi back, and the others ready themselves for a difficult goodbye with a cherished friend. Hitomi herself does not wish to return, but has little choice in the matter.

  • The finale is to be titled “The World in Colours”, and Hitomi will be regaining her ability to see in colours once more. I have little doubt that the magic sending her back will succeed, and in particular, the preview indicates that Hitomi will make it back no problem. In this case, the finale will largely focus on the dénouement to illustrate that the sum of her experiences has a tangible, long term impact on her, allowing Hitomi to open up with and spend time with those around her as she did with the Magic-Photography-Arts Club.

As we enter the finale, set to air in a few days, The World in Colours has delivered a consistently enjoyable series whose strong suit is a cast of characters audiences can empathise with. However, not all of the problems that members in the Magic-Photography-Arts Club face are overwhelming or insurmountable: smaller issues and doubts are promptly sorted out, leaving no lingering negative impact on the rhythm and flow in The World in Colours‘ story. Asagi’s jealousy of Hitomi is maturely addressed, and this leaves the story to focus on magic, as well as the feelings associated with an imminent departure and the attendant desire to not depart. Hitomi has clearly made the most of her time in The World in Colours‘ final few episodes, having come out of Kohaku’s time transformed. More confident, optimistic and above all, accepting of her magic, Hitomi’s come a long way since her quiet, reserved self during the series’ beginning. I am impressed with how The World in Colours handled everyday life, romance and magic; the series strikes a balance that allows all three elements to shine, giving the anime a very multi-layered sense that brings Hitomi’s world to life. Looking ahead, I am curious to see what impediments await the process of sending Hitomi back, and also how Hitomi will interact with those around her once she returns to the future; the finale is set for release at the end of the week. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I cannot guarantee that I will be on time with my posts, given that there are various Christmas festivities to partake in and enjoy. Having said this, I will be coming back to write about The World in Colours one last time for the finale: this is a series that has captivated me from episode one.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours): Review and Reflection at the ¾ mark

“Pain’s an old friend.” —Steven Strange, Doctor Strange

Hitomi’s ability to see in colour is short-lived, and her world reverts to a monochromatic one. Kurumi begins preparations for her entrance exams into post-secondary, and with both her and Shō graduating, the Magic-Photography-Arts Club begin transitioning to a new leader. Asagi is selected for this role and is tasked with organising the club’s summer camp event. While studying at the park, Kurumi’s older sister comes to pick her up and encourages Karumi to choose the future she desires. During the summer camp, the Magic-Photography-Arts Club’s members partake in photography, and Chigusa expresses a want to take a melancholy image from the Megami Bridge. Kurumi shares with Hitomi her doubts for the future, saying that she isn’t particularly passionate about anything in particular. Later in the evening, the club misses the last ferry, but are treated with a beautiful nightscape of Nagasaki. When Hitomi reveals to Kohaku that her colour vision briefly manifested, Kohaku begins to wonder if there’s something about Yuito that could help her out. After conducting a series of experiments, Kohaku is unsuccessful and also begins delving into time magic, feeling that she’ll need to master it if she is to send Hitomi back sixty years later. She is able to briefly bring a rose back to life and restore Asagi’s camera, but her magic’s effects are short-lived. However, as Hitomi begins settling into life at the Magic-Photography-Arts Club, Kohaku wonders if it’s a good idea to send her back into the future, now that Hitomi’s made friends she can confide in. In particular, Shō has developed feelings for Hitomi, and asks her to join him in a photography session. He later attempts to make his feelings known to her, but Hitomi panics and runs off. After advice from both Kohaku and Asagi, Hitomi expresses that she does not see Shō in a romantic manner. Meanwhile, Asagi is devastated to learn that Shō’s eyes have been on someone else after all this time.

Although everyday life remains at the forefront of The World in Colours, it was only a matter of time before lingering matters of magic and romance would begin making their presence felt. With Hitomi now much more expressive and comfortable around her friends, a new status quo has been established. Because nothing lasts indefinitely, and all moments, both good and bad, are finite, The World in Colours begins to explore the topics that have naturally and gradually begun to appear in The World in Colours. The matter of sending Hitomi back into the future is the first of these elements; as a forward-thinking mage, Kohaku is always seeking to expand and better her craft. Time magic proves immensely complex, and while she takes up studying it to help Hitomi, her resolve is diminished when she sees how close Hitomi’s become with everyone, coming to understand that magic cannot bring about happiness per se, but rather, the intent and circumstance of its application. Kohaku realises that she cannot simply use magic to create fabrications. However, even the things that arise naturally can be disrupted: as a result of their time together, Shō begins to connect with Hitomi and develops feelings for her. Although there is nothing forcible about his approach, things nonetheless fail simply because Hitomi does not view Shō in a romantic light. Magic or not, this is the reality of things, and in the aftermath of his unsuccessful kokuhaku, there will be a bit of a distance amongst the Magic-Photography-Arts Club’s members that even Kohaku and her magic will be hard-pressed to solve: Kohaku understands that magic is not the end all, and will likely be conflicted in choosing whether or not she can apply it as a solution to help her friends.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Like Tari Tari, questions of the future are never too far from the forefront of the characters’ thoughts. While a well-tread path for any work concerning youth, to the point of exhaustion for some, coming-of-age stories continue to endure because they remind us of the halcyon days of our youth, when our concerns primarily focused around our studies and relationships. While without the same freedoms of adulthood, youth entails a different sort of freedom, as they needn’t deal with matters such as looking after bills and dependents.

  • For me, the joy of these coming-of-age stories stem from seeing the different journeys everyone takes towards their own futures. This forms the basis for my interest in slice-of-life stories, and seeing how folks deal with problems in fiction is to gain insight into what authors themselves have experienced, or else what the authors feel is an appropriate approach towards handling the challenges in life.

  • A pâtissier, Kurumi’s older sister deviated against their parents’ wishes, but with application of effort and perseverance, has come to make considerable in her career. A major part of growing up is to ascertain precisely what one would do with their life, and at Kurumi’s age, I remained undecided. I ended up doing a health sciences degree that was essentially a double major in biological sciences and computer science. I’m still not sure whether or not my indecision as a high school student has any sort of impact on my current career choices and skill set, but I can say that with enough effort, one could make their decisions work out in a reasonable manner.

  • On the day of their camping trip, the skies are pleasant, and under Asagi’s direction, camp is off to a fine start. Kurumi and Chigusa share a conversation here about her future plans; the two are often seen teasing one another, and here, Kurumi decides to ask Chigusa to help with the cooking because he’s proficient with it. The course of their conversation shows that Kurumi feels as though she’s living in her sister’s shadow.

  • I’ve lost count of how many shows I’ve seen that featured grilled meats and vegetables now: pre-made skewers can be found at the local supermarket and would only require a grill to prepare fully. The weather around my side of the world is only really conducive for barbecue for a few short months of the year, with the remainder being too cold and snowy for such activities, but I’ve long learned to figure out ways of keeping warm and also, to enjoy what is around me. Today, I volunteered to be a judge at my dōjō‘s kata tournament, watching younger students showcase their kata, and it was a remarkably fun learning experience for me, as I sought to look for the details that I count a part of a good kata.

  • While the circumstances are indubitably different, I relate to Kurumi’s situation: she feels left behind by her friends, each of whom have become very focused about their futures. Of my friends, I often feel that I am floundering about, lacking the drive to take charge and improve my situation. In the past two months, I realised that I needed a job change. Because of my unusual background, my data structures and algorithm skills were weaker, so I returned to my books and implemented common data structures like binary search trees and hash tables in Swift, all the while touching up on design patterns and interviewing essentials.

  • This is why my posting for the last month has dropped off: I’ve been consumed with the job search process. We’ve now entered December, and I’ll be starting a new position in a week. What this means for this blog is that I will continue to write as I have (i.e. whenever I find the time to do so, when there are things to talk about). The reason why I relate this story is because life is filled with unknowns, and with this in mind, one cannot begrudge Kurumi for being a little uncertain about her future.

  • Kohaku, on the other hand, is confident about her future. The World in Colours presents mages as being a profession that, despite seemingly being far removed from other occupations, is one that requires an inquisitive mindset and entrepreneurial skills. Kohaku certainly has enough of both attributes to spare, and here, she remarks that she’d love to be able to capture the feelings of this moment and then relive it again in the future.

  • Realising the hour is late, and the ferry is approaching, Chigusa and the others run out onto Megami Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge that was finished in 2005 and has a span of 280 metres. They miss the ferry, and Chigusa’s efforts to capture a melancholy image of a girl looking over the harbour is lost. However, the Magic-Photography-Art Club share yet another memorable moment together, and gazing out over the harbour, everyone is treated to another spectacular view of Nagasaki.

  • In contrast with the view from the school rooftop, this particular cityscape is more colourful and has a richer palette. In particular, the inclusion of purples, oranges and yellows create a warmer colour that could signify Hitomi’s increasing closeness to everyone else in the Magic-Photography-Art Club. Fewer stars are visible in this sky, as well. Despite only seeing a monochromatic view here, Hitomi is curious to learn of what everyone else thinks of the cityscape here.

  • Questions of who Hitomi’s grandfather (and therefore, Kohaku’s husband) is have long troubled discussions of The World in Colours, with some speculating that the clerk at this bookstore might be the individual in question. That Kohaku never seems to be concerned about things indicates to me that who she meets is not of great relevance to The World in Colours in the same way that causality and paradoxes arising from time travel are not particularly important to The World in Colours.

  • Back at the clubroom, images from their photo shoots are collected and digitally enhanced. In particular, Hitomi’s photography has begun improving, as she is finding ways to use lighting and subjects to create a more compelling shot. These improvements impress Shō, who begins developing feelings for Hitomi upon seeing her seize the initiative. Besides having an easygoing demeanour and serious aspiration for a career in professional photography, not much about Shō is known.

  • When Kohaku learns that Hitomi’s colour vision faded, she’s intrigued to learn what might’ve brought it back, and that given Hitomi’s unconscious use of magic, believes that Hitomi might have experienced something strong enough for her to begin fighting the effects of this spell. Once Hitomi mentions Yuito as being present when her colour vision returned, Kohaku decides to use this as the starting point to see if Yuito himself might be sufficient to instigate a response from Hitomi.

  • All of Kohaku’s experiments end up being inconclusive – Shō and Kurumi walk in on Yuito and Hitomi amidst one of Kohaku’s tests. Par the course for a club activity, the Magic-Photography-Art Club’s activities are set after classes, late in the day when the sky grows a golden colour and shadows lengthen. Sunset in Nagasaki is around 17:14 JST during the winter and 19:32 JST by summer: ideally placed to coincide with the club activities, the colours of sunrise create a melancholy feeling of ending as the light fades away.

  • I’ve not been to a library with a decent selection of books for upwards of a decade: with the rise of tablets and e-Readers, physical books have been on the decline in my area. Commonly used as study spaces for their quiet, the one thing about libraries that have not changed is the presence of students who capitalise on their environment to study, and here, Kohaku decides to setup a situation designed to increase Hitomi’s heart rate, in the hopes of seeing Hitomi’s colour vision come back. Despite her use of magic to accelerate the process, Kohaku only succeeds in irritating Hitomi.

  • Kohaku believes that she’ll need to be able to send Hitomi back into the future and also, must learn time magic if she is able to send Hitomi back in the first place. She begins practising time magic, using it in a limited capacity to bring a wilted rose back to life and reverse the flow of sand grains in a timer. Time magic is seen in Harry Potter with the Time-Turners, and their usage is restricted to prevent temporal paradoxes. Similarly, when the Time Stone was first introduced in Doctor Strange, it is explained that Agamotto, the first wielder of the stone, forbade Masters of the Mystic Arts from using the Time Stone directly for fear that it would disrupt the natural order.

  • Owing to the casual nature of magic in The World in Colours, no such equivalents exist, and moreover, it would appear that Kohaku is breaking into new grounds with her magic. In between her experiments, Kohaku spends time with the club, who are out on another outing around the area. In particular, Hitomi has really come to appreciate the time she’s spending with the others and has begun expanding the range of subjects for her photography, desiring to capture these memories forever.

  • After Shō overhears Hitomi and Kohaku discussing Hitomi’s eventual need to return to the future, he becomes more worried about being able to be with her, and quite separately, Asagi is not certain whether or not she can overcome her doubts to make her feelings known to Shō. Before anything can occur, Kohaku uses magic to bring a group of cats together for the club’s photography.

  • Much as how the Time Stone can be used to locally revert time, Kohaku uses her magic to restore Asagi’s camera. Her magic is still unlearned at this point in time, and she cannot use magic as effectively as Dr. Strange or Thanos, with the latter utilising the Time Stone to reassemble the Mind Stone after Wanda Maximoff destroyed it at Vision’s request. However, Kohaku is initially unaware of this, and only learns that her skill with time magic is limited when she gets home, when her grandmother remarks that the rose is wilted again.

  • While running across an overpass, a bit of the scenery in Nagasaki can be seen. The World in Colours definitely captures Nagasaki’s reputation as having one of the best night views in all of Japan, standing alongside Kobe and Hakodate. Occasionally venturing into the realm of photorealism, P.A. Works’ series are always a visual treat to watch; if I were to roll this part of The World in Colours a few frames back, one would not immediately be able to tell whether or not this was a photograph or not.

  • Kohaku is normally confident and forward, but when her magic fails, she becomes taken aback. Realising that Asagi’s camera may have suffered the same fate as the rose, she rushes out into the night to confirm that this is indeed the case: Kohaku’s greatest fear is letting people down with her magic. Kohaku and Dr. Strange therefore share similar perspectives, looking out for others and constantly striving to learn more about the magic that they respectively possess.

  • While sharing their photographs from the previous day, and seeing that Hitomi’s found herself at home among the Magic-Photography-Art Club, Kohaku feels that using her magic alone might not be sufficient to bring happiness to others: while she’d been working on time magic, she suddenly finds herself at a juncture. Seeing a more pensive Kohaku shows that even the most confident of individuals may occasionally have their doubts, improving her plausibility as a character.

  • Hitomi’s dislike for magic appears to have diminished over time, and she’s seen helping around the shop without much resistance. The ninth episode predominantly deals with the impact she’s had on the Magic-Photography-Art Club, especially on Shō, who’d found himself drawn to Hitomi’s persistence and mystique. When hearing about Hitomi’s plans, Kohaku is supportive, but also surprised, having long felt that Yuito would be the person Hitomi would find to be most interesting.

  • Shō decides to take Hitomi out for a photography session, something that is a date in all but name. Taking her around more scenic spots in Nagasaki, Chigusa and Kurumi run into Shō and Hitomi from a distance and decide not to meet them. Although they don’t feel the two spending time together to be a date, Kurumi feels it’s better if news of this did not reach Asagi’s ears. A love triangle has developed in The World in Colours, one involving multiple actors, and while I’m curious to see how things will turn out, others have been more hasty to conclude that this turn of events is “bland”.

  • I never take anyone who uses the word “bland” seriously, primarily because it’s a stock term indicative of a lazy thought process. In the case of The World in Colours, I further counter-argue that the unique presence of magic in conjunction with a love triangle could have some interesting implications on the story, especially with respect to how the challenges are resolved. Magic cannot be wantonly used to rectify things, but it could also lead to the development of a more stable solution in the long-term if used correctly. In addition, The World in Colours remains very concrete about what it intends to present to audiences: there is no need for the unlearned to step in and convince others of an untrue theme as some had done for Glasslip.

  • Shō’s kokuhaku is timed at the end of the day; having spent it building things up, he decides now is the time to see if Hitomi will reciprocate his feelings. Taken aback, Hitomi runs off into the night, leaving Shō uncertain as to what just occurred. The outcome of this particular love confession is not particularly surprising, and is what motivates the page quote: rejections and their attendant pain are familiar to me, and so, I know precisely how Shō feels here. In my case, I was not afforded the pleasantries of a direct and courteous rejection as Shō was.

  • The next day, Hitomi is thoroughly depressed, feeling that with her circumstances, she isn’t someone who could deserve a relationship. Kohaku’s first recommendation is to discuss things elsewhere, having drawn the attention of their fellow classmates, including a few guys who immediately burst into tears after learning Hitomi might not be the most eligible bachelorette anymore.

  • When Hitomi asks Kohaku about her situation, Kohaku remarks she’s unsure as to what to do here, having never dealt with a kokuhaku before. While Kohaku is my favourite character of everyone, it’s not difficult to see her as being unapproachable, given her boisterous and outgoing manner. The choice to deliberately present Kohaku as a free spirit who is not committed to or concerned with relationships at this stage in her life is deliberate, so as not to create any expectations for who is to eventually become her husband and Hitomi’s grandfather.

  • Hitomi seeks Asagi’s counsel, and ultimately resolves to at least give Shō a truthful answer. However, Hitomi unwittingly has a picture of a special spot on her camera, revealing to Asagi that Shō’s got feelings for Hitomi. Putting two and two together, Asagi is devastated. Relationships are a desperately tricky topic, and I find that the most mature perspectives on relationships are from those who take a more open-minded approach to things, who accept that there are pluses and minuses, winners and losers.

  • When Hitomi turns Shō down, he takes it stoically and expresses a desire to remain friends. After Hitomi leaves, he allows frustration to flow through him and vents on the rooftops, to the surprise of a woodwinds and brass club practising. Moving into The World in Colours‘ final quarter, much needs to be resolved as things pick up. I’m looking forwards to this: depending on how The World in Colours unfolds, I will have at least one, and at most two more posts about this series. These posts are still a ways off, and now that we’re into December, a few things need to be clarified. First, my schedule is still a little hectic, but as it will stablise, my resolve to write for this blog has returned. I have a few posts planned out between now and when The World in Colours‘ finale airs, including a revisitation of K-On! The MovieCLANNAD ~After Story~ and a pair of posts on Little Forest.

Life is turbulent and chaotic, and as Kohaku has come to accept, there are no magic bullets that can singularly act as the solution to all of the challenges that one encounters in life. Instead, the answer to the problems in life must come by a different road. With this in mind, I am looking forwards to seeing the impacts of Shō’s kokuhaku and how the dynamics among the Magic-Photography-Arts Club shifts with the events from these past few episodes. Traditionally, conflict in fiction leaves the characters far stronger than when they were previously, and it is likely that what happens next will set in motion the occurrences that help Hitomi recover her colour vision. In addition, Kohaku will also likely need to deal with her own conflicts in order to help Hitomi out, as well as affirm her abilities with magic. Nine episodes into The World in Colours, I am optimistic that this series will remain focused and not delve into the realm of abstract, unexplained phenomenon: now that we are three-quarters of the way into The World in Colours, it is with conviction that I can say that this series is Tari Tari with a stronger emphasis on romance and a touch of supernatural to explore the aspects of love more viscerally, as well as to indicate that problems people encountered are not so easily solved with short cuts. The journey to the end is therefore an exciting one, and for having compelled me to sit down and watch it each and every week so far, The World in Colours has been solid insofar: I’m very much hoping The World in Colours will stick its landing in this final quarter to show that magic and everyday life can co-exist with youth who are working their hardest to figure out their place in the sun.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours): Review and Reflections At The Halfway Point

“You cannot beat a river into submission; you have to surrender to its current, and use its power as your own.” –The Ancient One, Doctor Strange

Kohaku arrives back in Nagasaki from her travels abroad, and her classmates itch for her to demonstrate her magic. Kohaku asks Hitomi to aid her, creating an illusion resembling the English school she studied at. However, when Hitomi unconsciously injects her own magic into Kohaku’s spell, a steam train passes through and covers the classroom in smoke. While surprised to learn that Hitomi is her granddaughter, Kohaku nonetheless sets out to help Hitomi; she agrees to join the Photography and Arts Club, on the condition that it be rebranded as the Magic-Photograph-and-Arts Club. To give Hitomi a better sense of monochrome photography, the club decides to visit the school at night and photograph the Nagasaki cityscape. Later, Asagi is disappointed to learn that her feelings for Shō are not reciprocated when Kohaku tells her fortune, and when Yuito appears at the magic shop in search of something that might help him overcome a slump, Hitomi struggles to find something suitable. At Kohaku’s suggestion, she decides to craft her own star-sand for him. Later, Magic-Photograph-and-Arts Club gather to celebrate their status as a club, where Hitomi manages to give Yuito her star-sand. The club go on an outing for photography, and here, Hitomi manages to enter one of Yuito’s drawings, being frightened by a black figure attempting to capture the golden fish that she’d previously seen in his drawings. Upon reawakening, Hitomi tries to question Yuito about this, but he storms off. Speaking with her friends, she attempts to muster the courage to talk to him again. Hitomi and Kohaku find Yuito at Sanami Asakawa’s art exhibition. Sanami is Yuito’s senior and Yuito is seeking her counsel. When Hitomi spots Yuito, she runs off, but with encouragement from Kohaku, Yuito gives chase. He catches up to Hitomi and promises to draw something that he’ll show her when finished. Moved, Hitomi begins seeing the world in colour again.

That Hitomi recovers her ability to resolve colour again at The World in Colours‘ halfway point was somewhat unexpected, but is also unsurprising owing to P.A. Works’ propensity for advancing the narrative quickly. At this point in time, the explanation for why Yuito’s drawings alone are unique for Hitomi remain unexplored, and with her colour vision returning in full, audiences are expected to conclude that there is, without any doubt, something special about Yuito and his drawings. That she ended up in his house in the first episode, and sees her first bit of colour in his drawings, are indicators that Yuito is going to be instrumental in helping Hitomi find what she was seeking when returning to the world sixty years previously. At this point in time, however, what Hitomi is seeking has become more open-ended – I imagine that colour vision is ancillary to the root cause of why Hitomi lost her sense of colour to begin with. This root cause will doubtlessly be the underlying aspect of the episodes remaining in The World in Colours. For the time being, Kohaku’s arrival into The World in Colours has certainly given the anime new colour; forward, outgoing and a people-person, Kohaku disrupts the dynamic and creates newfound energy in the series to spur the characters forward. However, it is also shown that Kohaku is someone who is often caught up in the moment and does not stop to consider the consequences of her actions. She is, in short, the perfect foil to the reserved Hitomi, whose personality is dominated by reservation and reluctance. Much as how Kohaku pushes Hitomi out of her comfort zone, Hitomi’s slower approach to things could influence Kohaku to be more considerate before acting. With all of the major players on stage, The World in Colours has taken off, and halfway in, is providing a solid display thus far.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The visual aspect of The World in Colours are doubtlessly impressive, and present a very vivid image of Nagasaki that is as magical as the magic the Witches themselves produce. At its best, P.A. Works have created incredibly detailed worlds and environments that contribute much to the story-telling: like Kyoto Animation, CoMix Wave and Studio Ghibli, subtle details in lighting and colour are masterfully used to augment emotions conveyed by dialogue and sound.

  • Even at the halfway point, I am inclined to dismiss discussions of causality and any disruptions introduced by time travel for the simple fact that The World in Colours is not about time travel, but rather, uses time travel to accommodate the story. The World in Colours treats time travel similarly to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, which sees the time traveler explore future societies and discover that class conflicts endured, as well as how faith in progress is a hubris present in humanity. How the time machine itself works in The Time Machine is secondary to its use in fleshing out these themes, and because time travel is not used again in The World in Colour, there is little reason to write a treatise on how it works here.

  • Upon returning, Kohaku gifts her classmates tea from her travels abroad, before proceeding to demonstrate some magic. While Kohaku’s magic is very much considered to be bombastic and even destructive, her classmates have an interest in its effects and gather in anticipation. Kohaku is shown to be in control of her magic, being able to use it with proficiency and conviction; this stands in contrast with Hitomi, who has less control and like the children with magical abilities, can produce magic unconsciously.

  • The World in Colours utilises a familiar mechanic to drive Hitomi’s development: while her time with the Photography and Arts Club could have introduced changes in how she approached things, this would have been a very gradual change. Kohaku, on the other hand, has the potential to introduce changes in a shorter time frame: this is an appropriate choice considering that The World in Colours only has thirteen episodes.

  • While Hitomi’s initial adjustments to contemporary society were noticeable, the series places a lesser emphasis on her inexperience with some present-day implements. Matt Groening’s Futurama initially had Phillip Fry doing the same, but the writers knew that the “fish out of water” jokes stemming from Fry’s immersion into a society a thousand years from now were limited. While amusing, Futurama really began excelling once it began exploring the eccentricities of a future world, and in later episodes, utilise the time separation to create very meaningful and moving stories.

  • By evening, the Photography and Arts Club return to the school to photograph the cityscape from the rooftop. Present-day Nagasaki is a lot more reserved and low-key than the portrayal of its cityscape sixty years into the future, creating a gentle, quite backdrop for the club’s activities. In its use of blue lighting, the cityscape that P.A. Works crafts ends up having both a ethereal and cold feeling, creating a sense of detachment and distance. It is both beautiful and wistful.

  • One of the longstanding challenges with night photography is that the lower lighting (and corresponding number of photons impacting the CCD chips in a camera) is that images can turn out to be quite noisy or blurry. The noise comes from the CCD chip: daytime photos do not have this issue because there is enough light coming into the camera so as not to require any amplification, but when it is dark, the chip will amplify the signals, which results in noise. This can be manually tuned in better cameras, and photography guides recommend lowering the ISO and increasing exposure to improve image quality for night photography.

  • Their journey is a simple one, but Kurumi ends up being scared stiff by the prospects of their school being haunted. While the others head up top, she insists on staying behind on the ground, and Chigusa accompanies her until Kohaku uses her magic to create a “ghost” that frightens the pair through the school, allowing everyone to bet together again. The moment is peaceful, and the club activities subsequently go into full swing afterwards.

  • Hitomi manages to cast a magical train into the night sky with her magic, creating a memorable moment for the others. It is apparent in this screenshot that there are a vast number of stars in the sky, and while creating a magical moment, P.A. Works’ choice to do so also comes at the cost to realism: light pollution charts show that on the Bortle Scale, Nagasaki is a 7-8. This corresponds with a grey sky by night, and magnitude 4 stars are the faintest stars that can be seen. In my area, substantial efforts have been made to curb light pollution, and we’ve gone from a Bortle Scale of 6 back to a 5 with the installation of ground-facing LED lights.

  • When Kohaku joins the Photography and Arts Club, she rebrands it the Magic-Photography-and-Arts Club, bringing to mind the Choir-and-sometimes-Badminton Club of Tari Tari. Themes of self-discovery also make a return, and romance is subtly present, being a natural part of the characters rather than occupying the foreground. Here, a variation of Kanagawa-oki nami ura (“The Great Wave off Kanagawa”) can be seen in the clubroom: it’s a famous, immediately-recognisable painting created by Katsushika Hokusai as a part of his Thiry-Six Views of Mt. Fuji.

  • While I’m inclined to place my faith in sciences and the concrete, I admit that there can be a bit of fun in things like fortune-telling. For instance, looking through my Chinese horoscopes for this year, it was interesting to see how much actually holds true (although the real science behind a horoscope is that it’s vague enough so everything is technically true). In The World in Colours, Kohaku tells Asagi’s fortune pertaining romance and finds that Asagi’s luck is roughly equivalent to that of mine.

  • The different varieties of Star Sand look absolutely beautiful, and I would not begrudge anyone for wanting to keep a vial of Star Sand as a gentle light source of sorts. The properties of Star Sand are such that they can capture magic for later use, and depending on what magic is placed into the sand, the effects will vary. Here, Hitomi speaks to Kohaku’s grandmother, and is asked to look after the shop, and later encounters Yuito, who is seeking a Star Sand to motivate his drawing.

  • Ever the go-getter, Kohaku suggests that Hitomi create her own Star Sand. The circular opening in their rooms here is an interesting visual representation of connectivity: Hitomi and Kohaku peek through it from time to time to communicate with one another, and the opening in the wall is meant to signify that for the two, both are always right there for one another if need be.

  • Spurred on, Hitomi ends up giving Kohaku’s suggestion a go, and burns through several batches of Star Sand before succeeding in creating the Star Sand. Hitomi’s grasp of magic and Kohaku’s suggestions to her are mirrored in the page quote: her reluctance now appears to be her biggest limitation, and while Kohaku has not formally mentored Hitomi in magic, I imagine that spending time with Kohaku and the club members will help Hitomi build the confidence she needs to embrace her magic.

  • Looking back on the calendar, I’ve actually only got one other post for November, and we’re very nearly halfway into the month. During the Remembrance Day long weekend, I took advantage of the pleasant weather to take a hike in the nearby Grassi Lakes trail, which branches into an easy and difficult path. The difficult path takes one along a cliffside with a good view of Canmore below, but at this time of year, it’s also more dangerous, since the cold weather and streams create ice patches. However, the hike was worthwhile, and the Grassi Lakes themselves are beautiful.

  • We pushed further on up a rocky area towards Whitemans Pond, and then made the difficult descent back down to the trail-head. Per our usual custom, a Montréal Smoked Meat Poutine with bacon, mushrooms and sautéed onions at 514 Poutine followed: on a cool day after a hike, a hearty and flavourful poutine with a refreshing Spruce Beer is exactly what one needs to unwind after a walk. The remainder of the afternoon was spent doing a much easier walk along the spur line trail at the heart of Canmore, before heading back home and gearing up for a raclette party. Back in The World in Colours, Asagi and Hitomi look at the food Shō has brought, including fried chicken, katsu and fries: he deliberately chose so as a courtesy to Hitomi.

  • Hitomi expresses to Kohaku that she’d like to give Yuito the Star Sand she’d made, and Kohaku creates an opening, sending the two off to pick up drinks. Asagi later speaks with Kohaku about her feelings for Shō, admitting that she wanted to help Hitomi out because it she saw a bit of herself in Hitomi. Worried that a more outgoing Hitomi might captivate Shō, Asagi is conflicted by her friendship with Hitomi and a longing to have Shō see her as more than an ordinary friend.

  • Under a swift sunset, Hitomi gives Yuito the Star Sand, and he promises to give it a go. Hitomi reveals to Yuito that his drawings are special to her, and in this moment, the colours of Nagasaki are faded away, giving the scene a dream-like quality.

  • Asagi’s doubts are reinforced when she hears Shō speak of Hitomi and worrying about her ability to adapt to life sixty years before her time. Insofar, I’ve not seen any indicators that Shō has feelings for Hitomi; his concern and actions stem from worrying about her as a friend, although Asagi’s worries about losing Shō come to the foreground. She later speaks with Kohaku, who reminds her that fortunes are not absolute.

  • For having directed Hitomi towards using the high quality Star Sand, Kohaku lands herself in hot water and is made to clean up the ruined sand, suggesting that the sand itself can reused in some conditions and likely will have a weaker effect than using good quality sand.

  • A quick glance ahead into the future shows that The World in Colours‘ soundtrack will release on February 2, 2019 and retail for 15120 Yen (176 CAD at present exchange rates). The tracklist and number of tracks is not yet known, but the soundtrack is quite compelling and adds depth to an already impressive series. On the other hand, The World in Colours‘ opening and ending songs have been released for quite some time. Haruka to Miyuki’s “17-sai” is the opening song, and Yanagi Nagi performs the ending song, “Mimei no Kimi to Hakumei no Mahō”.

  • As Yuito’s artwork takes on increasing prominence in The World in Colours, some folks are beginning to wonder if artistic symbolism might be necessary to appreciate the anime in full. I would expect that even in the absence of a complete understanding, The World in Colours should remain quite comprehensible to viewers. Hopefully, any “analysis” akin to the sort seen during the days of Glasslip will not manifest: I’m getting to be a little old to be dispelling any untruths about shows of this sort from folks who excel at little more than purple prose.

  • If memory serves, Sakura Quest was as detailed and pleasing to the eyes to watch as The World in Colours, as was Hanasaku IrohaTari Tari, Nagi no Asukara and Angel Beats!. It suddenly strikes me that I’ve never actually done a proper review of Angel Beats! before, and when I stop to consider where this blog is headed for the future, a future that will likely see me rolling back posting frequency, I think it makes sense for me to go back and write about those series that really set the standard for what I’ve come to look for in series that I watch.

  • It was quite fun to see the Magic-Photography-and-Arts Club go on an excursion where they dress up in Victorian-style outfits for the camera. The whole club enjoys their outing, and it’s a chance to simply watch the club amidst their activities. A part of the joy in these clubs with more than one focus is that there’s always something new to be exploring. In my experience, being multidisciplinary means being able to apply problem-solving methodologies from one discipline into another to create novel, and sometimes even more effective solutions. In the case of anime, it means there is never a dull moment.

  • Asagi later returns to her preferred subjects for photography after the group disperses and pursues their own activities. Looking ahead into The World in Colour, I anticipate that while this series will not be quite as sincere as Tari Tari or as relatable as Sakura Quest, it will continue to strike that balance between the fantastical and ordinary, and in doing so, succeed in telling its story. In retrospect, Glasslip‘s limitation was not exploring and making use of the glass beads in a greater capacity: the penultimate episode’s focus on an alternate reality should have been replaced by a full episode dealing with the glass beads much earlier in the season to motivate their significance.

  • Hitomi finds Yuito drawing again, and this time, she manages to enter his drawing: a richly-coloured world that slowly transitions from a fantastical cityscape to a barren desert. Hitomi wonders what the meaning of the black shadow is, and when she recounts her thoughts to Yuito, Yuito grows angry and leaves, feeling that she is intruding into something private. Later that evening, a rainfall covers the area, mirroring the mood that Hitomi is in. I found the visuals to be very impressive. Whether it be the lens flare or reflection of light from wet surfaces, P.A. Works’ rainy scenes are particularly well done, having a photo-realistic quality to them.

  • While Hitomi is now saddened that Yuito is unhappy with her, Kohaku sees it differently; she tells Hitomi that fighting with friends is a natural occurrence and imagines that the two will patch things up in no time at all.  Kohaku astutely likens life to being like a hedgehog: these mammals are covered with defensive spines to prevent predation, and as pets, they can be tricky to care for. Kohaku mentions that they inadvertently hurt those who care for them, but this won’t change the fact that their owners love them.

  • Sanami Asakawa is Yuito’s senior, someone that Yuito looks up to and likely was someone who inspired Yuito to take up drawing. Lacking the inspiration to continue his own drawings, Yuito seeks her help to see what motivates her, and Sanami mentions that she’s nervous about the future, drawing only to stay focused. I know this feeling very well, and remark that some days, it commands one’s full efforts to take things one step at a time because of how uncertain the future is.

  • Upon seeing Hitomi, Yuito takes off after her, promising to draw something to show her. In this instant, Hitomi finally begins resolving the world in colour again. I’ve seen very little discussion on The World in Colours out there, and of those few, at least one has hastily concluded that the return of colour is meant to indicate that Hitomi is falling in love with Yuito. While it is the case that colour is used as a framing device, there is very little to otherwise suggest this is the case for now.

  • While I was doing my utmost to remain optimistic about Glasslip when its halfway point was reached, The World in Colour has had no trouble keeping me engaged and positive. For my readers, who’ve doubtlessly noticed the low post count here, things have been a little rough on my end to be scheduling posts with the same frequency that I once had, so I’m going to roll back my blogging so that I’ll write when I have the time to. With this being said, I am going to be writing about Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana o Kazarō, “Let’s Decorate the Promised Flowers in the Morning of Farewells” in English and Sayoasa for brevity) in full before November is out.

The World in Colours is another installment in a long line of titles from P.A. Works that inherit elements from its predecessors. In this case, The World in Colours draws from Tari Tari’s focus on the desire to discover oneself during a busy youth, and uses magic in a much more open manner than Glasslip, to accommodate its narrative. Having more visceral magic works to The World in Colours‘ favour – rather than standing in as a sometimes-obscure symbol of various meanings, the magic acts as a tool for influencing the narrative, both providing the unique setup that sent Hitomi back six decades, and also in driving the humour and drama within the series. Magic is regarded as just another discipline in The World in Colours, and so, while the precise nature of what Hitomi seeks might not have been explored yet, I could hazard a guess that The World in Colours is meant to tell a story of discovery and appreciation for one’s background, attained by way of a life-changing adventure with good company. Whether or not this holds true after all thirteen episodes is up for discussion; as more episodes are aired, the directions The World in Colours will take will become clearer. For the present, what is immediately clear is that The World in Colours has put up a top-tier visual and aural performance, adding additional incentive to keep up with and watch what is turning out to be an excellent offering: in more common terms, I showed up for the artwork and stayed for the story.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours): Review and Reflections After Three, and Applying Lessons from Glasslip

“I once stood in your place, and I, too, was disrespectful. So, might I offer you some advice? Forget everything you think you know.” –Baron Mordo, Doctor Strange

Hitomi Tsukishiro is a high school girl who comes from a family of magicians. Suffering from achromatopsia as people important to her departed, Hitomi lost much of her enjoyment of the world around her and is perpetually alone. On the night of the summer fireworks, Kohaku, her grandmother, decides to send Hitomi back sixty years into the past so Hitomi can meet her younger self and learn about the colourful nature of youth. When Hitomi arrives in the world sixty years previously, she finds herself in Yuito Aoi’s house, and causes a minor ruckus when attempting to escape. She meets with Kohaku’s grandmother and mother, who runs a magic shop, and transfers into the same high school as Kohaku. While Kohaku is abroad, she meets Asagi Kazeno, Kurumi Kawai, Shō Yamabuki and Chigusa Fukasawa, members of the high school’s photography club. She also comes across Yuito for the first time while locating her jewel, she discovers that his artwork is vividly colourful and grows intrigued with him. While Hitomi attempts to hide her magic at school, her newfound friends express a willingness to accept her and manage to recruit her into the photography club. Meanwhile, Hitomi aims to improve her magic and show Yuito again. A journey of acceptance and self-discovery, Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (From the Colour-Changing World’s Tomorrow, or The World in Colours for brevity) is the latest of P.A. Works’ projects. Featuring thirteen episodes, The World in Colours is off to a solid start in creating a sense of intrigue with its premise. As the lead, Hitomi struggles to connect with those around her, bringing to mind Wakana Sakai of Tari Tari, who was similarly distant until she met Konatsu and Sawa. Over time, Wakana became more expressive and warm, helping her friends around her while rediscovering her own love for music and overcoming her regrets in not giving her mother a proper farewell. While Hitomi’s story remains open for exploration in The World in Colours, her initial personality, and the small spark of friendship’s potential for development after three episode means that this anime is one that commands intrigue.

The last time P.A. Works dealt with a narrative set in a real world with magical elements was 2014’s Glasslip, which ended up being counted as a disaster for being unclear, incoherent and vague with its themes. At its core, Glasslip was intended to showcase the uncertainty of youthful love by suggesting that even with supernatural intervention, love is too complex to predict and will run its course naturally. However, ill execution caused the series to lose most of its viewers, and of those who insisted otherwise, numerous falsehoods were construed and propagated like wildfire. By comparison, The World in Colours is very clear from the onset as to what it intends to accomplish; by putting the reserved and stoic Hitomi with the boisterous and forward Kohaku, and with a supportive group of friends who genuinely care, The World in Colours demonstrates that about people first and foremost. Magic, only subtly present through the glass beads and “fragments of the future” in Glasslip, is very visible in The World in Colours – this deliberate choice is to make it clear that while some things can only begin with supernatural intervention, it is ultimately the people around her, and Hitomi’s own decisions, that will have a tangible outcome on her life and world-views. While still early in the season, there are signs that The World in Colours has definitely taken lessons learned from the debacle that was Glasslip and applied them here. Magic is much more prominent, and the characters’ way forward is much more visible. The expected outcome of this is a series whose message and corresponding enjoyment factor will be quite enjoyable: should the writing remain solid and consistent as The World in Colours continues running, I anticipate that viewers will find this series much more palatable than the likes of Glasslip.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Set in Nagasaki, Kyushu, The World in Colour presents the Nagasaki of 2078 as a vibrant, Hong Kong-like city. Indeed, anyone in Tsim Sha Tsui during either the New Year’s or National Day would be treated to a spectacular sight of fireworks over Hong Kong Harbour and Central. Hitomi, however, sees none of the hues that we do: she’s afflicted with achromatopsia, more commonly known as total colour blindness, and she describes it as something that occurred over time. While this is attributable to damage in the thalamus resulting from tumours, The World in Colour presents this as being a psychological response to stress.

  • Magic, however, is an integral part of The World in Colour, so we may suspend our disbelief and accept that, for all intents and purposes, Hitomi is an ordinary girl with some magical abilities and a lack of colour vision. Even within the anime’s first five minutes, the atmosphere is established with a variety of shots, from wide scenes of the summer festival, to close-ups of the glass planet ornaments a vendor is selling. While some feel that P.A. Works’ close-ups are intended to have symbolic meaning, it is more likely that these are used as establishing shots to convince audiences that there is depth in the world being presented.

  • Kohaku is Hitomi’s grandmother and a skilled Master of the Mystic Arts magician. Concerned for her granddaughter’s well-being, Kohaku meets up with a solitary Hitomi on a hill overlooking Nagasaki, where the fireworks is most visible. While Hitomi’s monologues has her frequently reassuring herself that she’s alright when alone, the reality is that no person is an island, and so, audiences are given that Hitomi is longing for company, but lacks the motivation to pursue it.

  • At the age of 77, Kohaku is an impressive magician comparable to the likes of Dr. Strange, if she is able to construct something that is quite similar to the Time Stone: time travel appears to strictly be a plot device in The World in Colour, and using powerful time spells seem to have no effect on causality as of yet. While fans of the specifics usually enjoy pouring over the implications of time travel on things like causality, works of fiction may alternatively use it simply to drive the narrative.

  • In the case of The World in Colour, Hitomi’s growth is more critical than the specifics of time travel, and as such, the anime has elected to abstract out the precise mechanisms. For the most part, the remainder of discussions currently on The World in Colour have not strayed into the realm of details: it is a good sign that the anime has made this clear to audiences. By comparison, Glasslip left in its wake numerous discussions where there was no clear consensus on that the series had been about, and a limited few attempted to analyse the series to prove otherwise. The most prominent of Glasslip‘s proponents include one Helene Kolpakova, who goes by the handle “Soulelle”. As it turns out, Kolpakova’s less-than-stellar OPSEC led one of my readers to discover the name behind the analysis.

  • I think that for future discussions, it will be easier to refer to my nemesis by name, and the page quote was, incidentally, chosen as a bit of advice for Kolpakova. Returning to The World in Colours, after arriving in Nagasaki sixty years early, Hitomi finds herself trapped in Yuito’s room and hides to escape detection, before escaping through the window. Yuito’s peers notice this and immediately jump to the conclusion that she’s a hidden lover of sorts. Once she enters the open, she gazes upon the world sixty years previously and finds Nagasaki to be a quieter town where the scenery has remained largely the same as she knew it.

  • To put things in perspective, sixty years ago, the University of Calgary (back then, known as the University of Alberta, Calgary Campus, or UAC) was just undergoing construction, and there was around 200000 residents in Calgary. In Hong Kong, the population surged to two million as instability in China led people to immigrate, and after the Shek Kip Mei fire, the government mandated that residents be accommodated in high rise buildings. We are overlooking Nagasaki Bay here, and as P.A. Works is wont to do, this spot is based off a real location.

  • Hitomi is described as being dazzling to behold, and she stands out from other characters in The World in Colour, having violet-grey hair and eyes of gold. This is likely by design, to make her stand out in an environment that audiences are accustomed to, and while the world largely remains the same in customs, minor differences in technology result in Hitomi struggling to work locks, paper-based documents and cameras.

  • It is not surprising that the first group of people who run into and speak with Hitomi will come to play a much larger role in the series: running into members of the Photography and Art Club (the combined club brings back memories of Tari Tari‘s Choir-and-sometimes-Badminton Club), Hitomi learns that high school students of this age have different uniforms. While Kurumi comes across as a bit too enthusiastic for Hitomi, Asagi is much more considerate and notices that Hitomi’s scraped her knees.

  • I’ve noticed that out there, reception to The World in Colour is quite mixed, with some folks immediately dismissing the series for its inclusion of magic and for generally not writing the show to their manner of liking; at least one individual claims that the first episode should have entirely been in monochrome to help audiences relate to Hitomi and that Kurumi and the others were introduced too early. I counter that introducing characters on early creates an expectation that they will be more relevant later on, and if one were so desperate as to watch an anime in monochrome, I suggest running After Effects or an equivalent tool on this anime before watching it.

  • Others hold it to be intriguing and meritorious of continued watching: P.A. Works has traditionally packed a great deal into their best works, tying all of the different aspects together under a single unifying theme. Angel Beats! was about acceptance of life, but also dealt with guilt, expectations, and a determination to move forwards, while Sakura Quest explored social issues facing small towns in Japan, but also followed Yoshino’s discoveries over the course of a year as she comes to embrace her role as Manoyama’s “Queen”. Tari Tari followed a group of disparate high school students who come together to make a big finish prior to graduation, but was also about how friendship played a role in helping Wakana come to terms with her past.

  • The interior of the magic shop is absolutely stunning, and I love the colours in the jars of magical powder on the back shelf. In The World in Colour, magic can be distilled into sand and then spread for a variety of effects, or else concentrated into an artifact. Masters of the Mystic Arts Magicians are able to channel their innate abilities and create these effects, or else capture them into sand. So far, with magic clearly being a part of The World in Colour and given adequate explanation, there is no question that it will be an integral part of the story, standing in contrast with Glasslip, where the “fragments of the future” were never sufficiently explored or utilised to drive things forward.

  • Existing “explanations” of Glasslip are woefully inadequate in providing a satisfactory account of why the story progressed in the manner that it did: there are two perspectives out there that claim to be this magic bullet. One argues that the show is about a longing for finding a home and that the chickens were critical, while another attempts to claim that wabi sabi is important in describing the transience of various feelings. Both are wrong, because the presence of the “fragments of the future” demands inclusion, and both perspectives choose to discard them. Glasslip was really about the uncertainty of love, characterised by visual distortion when viewing the future through glass beads, and meant to say that nothing ever is certain.

  • For Hitomi, the turning point that leads her to develop an interest in the world sixty years previously is when she speaks with Yuito for the first time while in search of her brooch, which contains a magical crystal and also acts as a Jarvis of sorts. When she glances at Yuito’s tablet, she is able to see colour again for the first time. The sight captivates her, and she longs to look upon it forever. That Hitomi can see the colours here suggests that her achromatopsia does not have a physiological basis, again reiterating that magic is very much at play in a world that is very similar and very different to our own.

  • After the visual spectacle of the first episode, The World in Colour returns to a more ordinary depiction of things, although even here, the artwork is certainly of a good quality. There is a distance between Yuito and Hitomi: the visuals in The World in Colour use both light and objects in the environment to clarify this, and this sets the expectation that as things progress, Hitomi will become closer to those in the Photography and Art Club. For now, she resembles Wakana: taciturn and struggling with her internal conflicts, appearing aloof to her peers.

  • As we hurtle through October, the days are beginning to shorten, although after the miserable weather throughout September that persisted into early October, we’ve had some pleasant weather now, and things have slowed down for the weekend, enough for me to sit down after a warm dinner of fried chicken and write my thousand-and-first post out during the calm of an Saturday evening. Here, Hitomi speaks with Kohaku’s family, who agree to look after her.

  • I would not mind if The World in Colour really is about taking the lessons of Glasslip to create a superior series. Back in The World in Colour, when word spreads that Hitomi is also a magician, her classmates are eager to see what she can do. Kohaku, a skilled magician, is infamous around campus for causing destruction with her magic, likely a sign of her outgoing personality, and so, her classmates come to be intimidated by her. On the other hand, the hesitant and reluctant Hitomi can only summon stars with her magic, disappointing her classmates.

  • P.A. Works draws upon very similar thematic elements in many of their anime, and some wonder how The World in Colour will differentiate itself from its predecessors, especially Glasslip, which was similarly set in the real world and incorporates supernatural aspects to a degree. Elements from Tari Tari are also quite visible, and it is not implausible to suppose that The World in Colour will likely follow the path Tari Tari used. If this is the case, then The World in Colour might be seen as a second shot at making an anime that Glasslip should have been, incorporating magic and everyday life into a story to suggest that magic or not, it is ultimately people that make the difference.

  • Out of the gates, I find that the Photography and Art Club’s photographers to be amicable, likable folk: Kurumi, Asagi and Chigusa are approachable and inviting, doing their best to convince Hitomi to join their club. While motivated by funds and a need for new members, their intrigue in Hitomi also translates to a concern for her, feeling that she might need a friend in her circumstances.

  • Yuito is rather unsociable and prefers drawing to hanging out with others. In a manner of speaking, he resembles the aloof and difficult-to-read Kakeru of Glasslip. P.A. Works occasionally reuses old characters’ appearances and personalities as the basis for some of their new characters: Tōko Fukami and Manaka Mukaido share commonalities, as do Yoshino Koharu and Aoi Miyamori, for instance. The end result of this decision, deliberate or not, is to create a character that viewers are familiar with, and for the most part, P.A. Works’ series have noteworthy, interesting characters, too.

  • When Yuito consents to allow Hitomi one more glimpse of his artwork, Hitomi takes it in and gazes on the colours with profound appreciation. All of this is set under a swift sunset, and the moment is free of visual clutter to indicate the liberating feeling she experiences when viewing colour. The friendship between Hitomi and Yuito will be an interesting one as it develops, although at this point in The World in Colour, where things go remain quite open.

  • While I am looking forwards to seeing where The World in Colour is going, I am not expecting a top-tier anime rivaling the likes of Angel Beats!Hanasaku IrohaTari TariShirobako or Sakura Quest in levels of impact. Of the lot, Angel Beats! stood out for creating complex characters whose circumstances and motivations were deeply moving, while Sakura Quest and Tari Tari both excel at covering a variety of thematic elements without ever diminishing their respective series’ main message. Wherever magic is involved, P.A. Works has fared a little less gracefully in the past, so for The World in Colour, I am going to have to see how the series unfolds before making any sort of judgement on it.

  • The main draw to The World in Colour right now is the prospect of watching Hitomi mature as she spends more time with the Photography and Art club, as well as the sort of (mis)adventures that will unfurl once Kohaku joins the party in full. Coupled with beautiful artwork, this is sufficient for me to stick around for the duration of the season.

  • Hitomi is introduced to the sort of photography the club does, and also does a painting while Yuito watches. Here, Yuito deduces that Hitomi has achromatopsia, seeing the bold and unusual colour choices she makes while painting. One of the items that is mentioned briefly is that the photographers in the club also do monochromatic photographs. While it’s only one remark, I imagine that once the others learn of Hitomi’s condition, they will begin doing more monochromatic photography to understand the world as Hitomi sees it.

  • In three episodes, the Photography and Art Club’s members are given some exposition. Kurumi is outgoing and practical-minded, Chigusa seems to be friendly but prone to being swept along by the club’s schemes, and Asagi is kind-hearted. The club’s leader, Shō, is confident and easy-going. Interacting amongst themselves, they can be a rowdy bunch, generating a great deal of positive energy already and slowly spur Hitomi to be more open. Because Kohaku’s unseen antics suggest she is even more boisterous than they are, I think that the Photography Club will end up being the midpoint between Hitomi and Kohaku, dialing back the latter’s wildness while driving Hitomi forwards.

  • For a photography demonstration, Kurumi has Hitomi walk across the pool as observers try to photograph her. While Hitomi uses the wrong vial of magical sand, her innate magical talents manifest and she is able to walk across the water surface. However, she is distracted and plunges into the pool. Yuito apologises on behalf of the group, but Hitomi is more worried about having troubled the others for not speaking up earlier.

  • Hitomi is given lodgings where Kohaku is staying and is afforded with a beautiful view of the night sky here. The Nagasaki of 2018 evidently has reduced light pollution compared to that of 2078, although this isn’t saying much: light pollution maps show the Nagasaki area as being very bright, and even accounting for localised variation, it is probably difficult to see many stars easily.

  • The next day, Hitomi appears to be avoiding the others, but is actually worried about meeting up with them for having caused them some trouble earlier. She finds them at the pool, where the Photography and Art Club are cleaning as a punishment for entering the water without authorisation. Hitomi decides to join them, feeling responsible for having set these events in motion, and when monochromatic photography is brought up, her interest is piqued. Coupled with a desire to learn more about Yuito’s drawings, she agrees to join the club.

  • When Hitomi joins the Photography and Art Club, an overjoyed Kurumi hugs her, eliciting the first real smile we’d seen out of Hitomi all season. The third episode is titled “No Rain, No rainbow”, which foreshadows that without challenge, there is no reward, either. Elsewhere, discussions have largely focused on aspects that The World in Colour will not cover, including the precise mechanic of how magic works, the hereditary traits of magic and whether or not causality will become a problem the same way Fry became his own grandfather in Futurama.

  • I am concerned with none of these things for the present: P.A. Works has traditionally introduced mechanics later in a series if they are relevant to the narrative, and discussions can be more complete if those items do end up being important. What is relevant, is that Kohaku is now returning from her travels abroad. Her stance suggests a very powerful character, someone who is bold and accustomed to doing her own thing without concern for others’ judgement. I am curious to see how she mixes things up once she meets Hitomi here; after three episodes, The World in Colour is shaping up to be an interesting series, so far showing much more promise than Glasslip did. This motivates the page quote, which is sourced from 2016’s Doctor Strange: while Glasslip comparisons are only natural, I would suggest not focusing too much on attempting to port the analysis from Glasslip over into The World in Colour and simply watch the series with a fresh outlook.

With its beautiful artwork, a captivating premise and the promise of a journey that will be quite unique in its own right, The World in Colours has definitely held my attention. P.A. Works has consistently produced series with exceptional artwork, rivalling the likes of Kyoto Animation in quality. At their best, P.A. Works creates masterpieces that use strong artwork and animation to bring fictional worlds to life: Angel Beats!, Hanasaku Iroha, Tari Tari and Sakura Quest stand P.A. Works’ strongest titles to date, telling compelling stories through their authenticity and emotional impact. The World in Colours is dealing with a range of elements, from magic to everyday life at school – life is rarely so straightforwards, and going ahead, the anime does have quite a bit to deal with. All of these elements, if balanced well with Hitomi’s growth, will contribute to creating a rich, detailed world for her to rediscover magic and its positives. I am looking forwards to what lies ahead for The World in Colours, and because there is be quite a bit to cover in conjunction with a general lack of interest (understandable, considering the mess Glasslip left in its wake), I am inclined to write about this one every three episodes to consider some of the more interesting points The World in Colours looks to bring out.