“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 strong recommendation, and a perfect score of ten out of ten (A+ grade, 4.0 on a four-point scale): I cried during the finale, and altogether, 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, an essential experience for anyone who watches anime.
- 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.