The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Reflections on 2018, Welcoming 2019 with the Girls und Panzer 2019 Calendar

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” –Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Depending on one’s perspective, the rapid passage of time is either a blessing or a curse – for better or worse, 2018 is in the books now, being a very eventful year that saw the 2018 Winter Games, a partial thawing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, amongst others. Back home, Cannabis became legalised, and the nation remained quite divided over the future of energy. Looking closer still, it was a busy year for me personally, as well, culminating in a job change. Life continues to throw unexpected surprises as it always has, and with the past year’s experiences, I can reaffirm that the only real absolute in life is that there are no absolutes. 2018 was a similarly difficult year as 2017 was, but a persistence and determination to make things happen, in conjunction with friends and family, allowed me to endure and build out a solution. As such, 2018 was a vivid reminder that no man is an island: with support, I knew that with an honest effort and grit, there would be a dawn to look forwards to. Life is full of surprises, and things can change in a heartbeat after long periods of effort and little to show for it. The Calgary Flames have certainly shown this to be true: during a match against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 12, the Flames were down 5-3 in the third period. In the last two minutes, Andersson and Monahan managed to score, bringing the game to a tie and forcing overtime. Gaudreau would score 35 seconds into overtime, giving the Flames another comeback win. The lesson here is that until it is truly over, the worth of each drop of sweat cannot be understated, and that one really must keep the pressure on until the end. The Flames certainly did, and were rewarded with their seventh comeback win of the season. This sort of mindset has been helpful for me in the final months of 2018, and entering 2019, I am considerably more optimistic about where things are headed.

I’m going to keep doing everything I did last year, but better. I will continue to make the most of whatever happens, and further to this, I will take responsibility for what happens.

This was the resolution that I made entering 2018, and in retrospect, I fulfilled this. I needed a change of scenery and then took the initiative to realise this wish. During my business trips with my previous company, I put in my best effort to deliver precisely what was asked of me, and for my troubles, got an opportunity to travel a little, as well. With this in mind, for 2019, I aim to approach everything I do with a full and complete effort, putting my best foot forwards each and every time. Time passes by very quickly, and I firmly believe that life is very short, to the point of where positivism and effort is the most enjoyable (and for me, proper) way to make the most of things. Finally, for The Infinite Mirai, a blog that now has seven years of history, my goal will be to continue running this programme even as things get busier and even if I post with a reduced frequency; being able to write and reach others is something I enjoy doing, as it gives an opportunity for the community to really connect and share. I am very happy to be a part of the positive, insightful and energetic community of WordPress Anime Bloggers. Having said this, whether you, the reader, are a part of that wonderful community, or a passerby, I would like to wish you all the best and a Happy New Year 2019. It’s a blank slate again – let’s go exploring!

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.

Christmas Camp and Mount Fuji: A Yuru Camp△ Christmas

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” —Bob Hope

Once the Outdoors Activity Club is fully established, they decide to camp together over the Christmas break. Meeting at the Asagiri Plateau, the girls set up camp, play with fellow campers. Once evening sets in, they don Santa outfits and prepare their evening meal. Rin heads off to purchase propane when they run out of gas and recalls Ena’s remarks about the joys of camping in groups. The girls spend the remainder of their evening watching shows on Chiaki’s tablet before turning in. Christmas is a magical time of year, characterised by spending time with family and friends, partaking in good food and great times. Traditionally, the word Christmas evokes imagery of a fresh snowfall, sipping hot chocolate by a fireplace and sledding. Yuru Camp△, however, has Rin and her friends celebrate their Christmas in a unique manner in a camp site on the plains adjacent to Mount Fuji. It seems quite far removed from the Christmas festivities that I am familiar with, but watching Nadeshiko and the others camp find that this is only a prima facie observation: as the sun sets and the girls begin preparing their Christmas dinner, it turns out there is a considerable overlap in what they do while camping, and what I traditionally do for Christmas. After working together to prepare dinner and decking themselves in Santa outfits to channel the holiday spirit, the girls savour a warm meal under the evening skies, before breaking out Chiaki’s subscription to the Japanese equivalent of Netflix. Their manner of celebration may differ, but at its heart, the girls are sharing time together, resulting in a treasured memory of Christmas that particularly stands out for Rin, who spends Christmas together with her friends doing something that she’s long loved – Christmas is a season of togetherness, and as such, I’ve found that so as long as people are together, the notion of a Christmas spirit will continue to endure.

The meaning of Christmas is two-fold: it is a winter celebration of Jesus Christ’ birth, and is a season to spend with family and friends. Although its precise origin is unclear, Christmas was not widely celebrated until the ninth century, and prior to the spread of Christmas, European nations with a pegan culture had long been celebrating the Winter Solstice. By the Middle Ages, Christmas festivities were much more common, and concerns about Christmas as an avenue for commercialism and excesses began arising. As early as the seventeenth century, Christmas was banned in England for resulting in drunkenness and rowdy citizens. In the early twentieth century, Coca-Cola modernised the image of Santa Claus and this led to the view that Christmas was a time of gifts, of materials. Charles M. Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas captures this concern, having Charlie Brown discover the meaning of Christmas while those around him concern themselves with a big, commercial Christmas, filled with expensive gifts, cash and aluminium Christmas trees. While attempting to direct a play, he picks up a shaggy tree that his peers mocks. But, upon learning from Linus that the original meaning of Christmas is not forgotten, Charlie Brown attempts to give the tree another chance. His peers later reappear to properly give the little tree love, and their animosities set aside, perform Hark! The Herald Angels Sing together. In the years following, while it may certainly seem that commercialism and consumerism permeates the Christmas holidays (in Canada, retailers aggressively advertise for Christmas on November 12), the true meanings of Christmas have continued to endure; the holidays continue to be a time of goodwill and togetherness for people.

Screenshots and Additional Commentary

  • Consider this a Christmas gift from me to the readers; I’ve been incredibly busy for the past while, and my posting frequency has been dramatically reduced as a result, but Christmas Day means down time, a chance to sleep in and really rest up. This is my favourite Christmas gift: the chance to sleep in and wake up feeling really refreshed is incomparable. As such, I am sufficiently motivated to write a Christmas post for Yuru Camp△.

  • The last time I wrote about Yuru Camp△ was back during the summer, and I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the Survival Camp OVA was not particularly well-received. OVAs are usually intended to deviate from the style and approach of a season proper, hence the differences, so to see people not accept this was rather off-putting. This year, I chose to go with a Yuru Camp△ Christmas talk because its portrayal of Christmas is as unique and enjoyable as that of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s Christmas.

  • It continues to impress me just how tasty a prime rib roast can be despite its simplicity of preparation: black pepper, salt, olive oil and oregano is rubbed generously onto the meat, which is then cooked for 25 minutes at 500ºF (260ºC). After 25 minutes, the heat is turned off, and the roast is then allowed to warm in the oven for two hours. Since Rin and the others don’t have access to a 2400 Watt power supply, making a roast on the plains of Mount Fuji is not feasible, and so, they make nabe with fancy meat that melts in the girls’ mouths..

  • For me, 打邊爐 (jyutping daa2 bin1 lou4, the Cantonese equivalent of nabe) is a New Year’s Eve tradition: this time year is typically quite cold, and there’s nothing like the rush of eating something hot on a chilly night. Unusually, this year’s been remarkably warm, and this is the first Brown Christmas I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s only -3ºC out there at the time of writing, and overcast; I’m hoping we could get some snowfall today.

  • If Christmas Eves are a time for food and company, then Christmas Day for me is a quiet day spent relaxing. After the exchange of gifts with family by morning, I spend the afternoon taking hikes, reading books or gaming; because it’s overcast right now, my inclination to walk has diminished, and I think that I will enjoy some of that tea I got with a good book or movie later…provided that I am not gaming.

  • The rush of eating too much is a familiar nemesis during the holidays: after the girls down their first pot, Aoi reveals that she’s also got a tomato broth and more meat. The girls reluctantly agree to continue with their Christmas dinner and eventually hit a food wall, although Nadeshiko is fine and is okay even when noodles are brought out. On my end, we still have the leftover prime rib beef bones from the prime rib, so tonight’s dinner will invariably include that.

  • Yuru Camp△ was one of the strongest slice-of-life anime of the past year, and was met with near-universal acclaim. Sales figures for the series were solid, so it is no surprise that second season and series of shorts was announced a ways back. With its occasional instructions for camping and a generally relaxing atmosphere, Yuru Camp△ took a familiar concept, applied it to camping and then showcased the joys of exploration very well, making it particularly standout.

  • Yuru Camp△‘s portrayal of Christmas is, like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s, a highly enjoyable and distinct one. Far from using the holiday as the basis for jokes or even fanservice, the story in both is tailored to say something specific about the Christmas spirit. Besides this, I admit that Yuru Camp△ made a fine choice for a blog post because I had a pile of screenshots that I never got to use in my earlier posts.

  • Even working on the basis that I would not duplicate screenshots, I had no difficulty in picking out the screenshots for this post: my approach for picking screenshots is to take far more than a post requires, and then from this set, trim it down to the moments I can find something to say something about.

  • After Rin returns from her trip to pick up additional propane, she returns to find the others speculating about the future. The use of space and lighting in this scene create a sense of warmth amongst the group and convey to viewers that the girls themselves represent light and warmth in an otherwise dark cold world. The night scenes of Yuru Camp△ are incredibly well done, and throughout the season, audiences are treated to spectacular night views.

  • One aspect of Yuru Camp△ that I am very fond of, but have to made a particular mention of, are the voices. Soft and gentle, they contribute to the relaxing tone of the series; for the most part, I have no objection to what are colloquially referred to as “squeaky anime voices”.

  • A classic question that is invariably asked around Christmas is whether or not one believes in Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a modernisation of Saint Nicolas, a wealthy bishop who was known for his generosity. However, after reforms, the concept fell out of popularity, even though gift-giving, especially to children, endured: Victorian writers rekindled interest in Saint Nicolas, and Clement Clarke Moore really sparked off the modern incarnation of Santa Claus that we know, with his 1823 poem “T’was The Night Before Christmas”.

  • Santa Claus as we know him, with his flying reindeer and ability to visit several billion households over the course of 24 hours, remains relegated to the realm of fantasy. Some engineers working for The City of Calgary’s department of building codes set out to mathematically indicate Santa’s existence is implausible assuming conformance with macroscopic physics (i.e. the speed Santa needs to move at to accomplish his feat would have him burn up into a carbon cinder before he finished visiting his third house), but of late, folks studying quantum mechanics suggest that this field might allow Santa to exist.

  • As the evening wears on, Nadeshiko and the others exchange their Santa outfits for something more comfortable amidst the falling evening temperatures: at the time of writing, the temperature at Asagiri Plateau also happens to be -3ºC; it can get quite chilly here in the winter, necessitating the proper gear in order for one to keep warm.

  • The smiles in Yuru Camp△ are some of the most adorable I’ve seen in any slice-of-life anime, and believe you me, I have seen a non-trivial number of these shows, so I can make such a claim with confidence. Seeing these smiles is equivalent to hugging a large stuffed animal, and if it were not evident already, I have a fondness for all things adorable despite my profound love for first person shooters.

  • Christmas is a fantastic time to sit back and watch shows; Chiaki’s brought a tablet and subscription to a media services provider. As the evening winds down, the girls kick back and watch shows before turning in. A miniature Christmas tree adorns the table: traditional trees are eight to ten feet in height and take an entire morning to properly decorate, whereas the smaller, desktop-sized trees can be put together in under ten minutes. I plan on using these small trees for Christmas until such a time as I need a larger tree to house Christmas gifts under.

  • Nearing the end of this post, my mind turns towards wondering what a second season of Yuru Camp△ could entail; the first season was about Nadeshiko’s discovery of camping and its attendant joys, as well as Rin’s newfound perspective on group camping. One wonders where precisely a second season could go: the introduction of more members or new camping locations is likely to be the case.

  • Regardless of what a continuation entails, I would be more than happy to watch it: Yuru Camp△ was consistently relaxing and enjoyable throughout its run. With solid visuals and an excellent soundtrack, every element in Yuru Camp△‘s adaptation was able to bring the manga to life.

  • I’ve decided to wrap up with another angle of Rin and the others enjoying the sunrise by breakfast: this post has a “mere” twenty screenshots for ease of reading (and also because it’s faster to write). For all of my readers and visitors, Merry Christmas! I will be returning to wrap up The World in Colours before the end of the year, but until then, have a good one, and take it easy 🙂

Consequently, watching the girls of Yuru Camp△ celebrate Christmas in their own unique fashion, without expensive gifts or highly intricate parties; their best gift to one another is a memorable camping experience spent together with everyone for the first time. Having spent the majority of Yuru Camp△ trying to convince the solo camper Rin into the joys of group camping, Yuru Camp△ frames Rin’s acceptance of Nadeshiko’s invitation as the surest sign of change in her character. For Nadeshiko, this is a Christmas miracle of sorts, and so, creates an additional magic for Yuru Camp△, an already solid and enjoyable series. For me, camping on Christmas day with my friends seems quite difficult to fathom: my Christmases are characterised by spending the day with family and taking some down time from my usual obligations and responsibilities. Christmas Eves see a dinner with family, and the Christmas Day is about relaxing at home. There is one exception: four years ago, I spent Christmas Day on the observation deck at Taipei 101 overlooking the capital of Taiwan, and then Boxing Day was marked with a drive from the Monster Village to Kaohsuing City along the plains of Western Taiwan. While far removed from my usual hot chocolate and quiet mornings, that Christmas was still spent with family, doing something exciting; I imagine that since it is commonly accepted that Christmas is about togetherness and people, concerns about consumerism displacing the true meaning of Christmas are likely to not be as severe as some might be inclined to think. As long as there is this goodwill and togetherness, the meaning of Christmas will continue to endure into the future.

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.

Beginnings and Promises on that Sloped Road: Revisiting The Road to Graduation in CLANNAD ~After Story~ At The Ten Year Anniversary

“Life can bring lots of hardships, but it’s always important to keep in mind that there are people around you who care for you, and are willing to help you through whatever you’re dealing with.” –Nagisa Furukawa

After helping Yukine resolve a long-standing feud with gangs in town, graduation for Tomoya and the others near. Kyou aspires to be a kindergarten teacher, while Ryou decides to become a nurse. Kotomi plans on studying abroad, and Youhei aims to be a model. However, Tomoya is uncertain about his future. When Nagisa falls ill during Christmas Eve, he spends time with her. After graduation, Tomoya takes a job with the Furukawa bakery, and Nagisa returns to school. He moves out into an apartment with Nagisa, and accepts a new job as an electrician. Determined to prove his worth, Tomoya works diligently with Yusuke, who promises to withhold that Tomoya has a shoulder injury. While Tomoya earns the respect of his coworkers with his effort, he also begins to spend less time with Nagisa, missing most of the day at the school’s Founder’s Festival. One day, while working with Yusuke, Tomoya learns from him that he was once a songwriter who descended into depression. He returned home and encountered Kouko again, regretting giving up his dreams of singing for her. Back in the present, Tomoya has been presented with a new job offer, but this is rescinded when Tomoya’s father is arrested. Tomoya is consumed with frustration that his past is inescapable, but Nagisa intervenes and calms him down. In the aftermath, Tomoya proposes to Nagisa under a hot summer’s day, who accepts. From his final days in high school to the transition point where he becomes a full-fledged member of society, Tomoya’s journey has been a tumultuous one. His kind heart dominates his apathy, and spurred on by friends, Tomoya’s closes off one chapter of his life, moving onwards in the world ahead. However, as he learns, the real world is not forgiving; lacking any direction, Tomoya initially decides to regroup and occupy his time by working at the Furukawa bakery, keeping himself from idling. Despite not having a clear plan for the future, Tomoya has always been skillful at making the most of things. Keeping busy while he works out a plan, Tomoya eventually becomes an electrician and finds it a job he enjoys.

However, in taking up a new job, Tomoya is faced with the task of proving his worth, and so, struggles to find his work-life balance. This becomes evident when he begins dozing off during dinner, and later, misses his promise to be with Nagisa at the Founder’s Festival. Spending time with loved ones is a vital part of life, and of late, work-life balance has been discussed more widely, since working too diligently has been attributed with a decrease in performance at one’s job. There is another cost in one’s personal relationships; working more means spending less time with the important people in one’s life, and this is evidently has taken a toll on Tomoya, whose time with Nagisa has been decreasing. In the real world, this can be a point of contention amongst couples, and the couples that are similar to Tomoya and Nagisa, who are willing to accept one another and work things out, are usually those that end up sharing their futures together; Nagisa is very understanding of Tomoya and does her best to accommodate him. By presenting Nagisa as patient and accepting, ~After Story~ makes it clear that Nagisa is the person for Tomoya, being a gentle and compassionate foil to his energy and determination, constantly looking out for him even when things become difficult. After learning his offer to work at a larger company was rescinded because his father was arrested, Tomoya’s reaction is a forceful one, and Nagisa’s actions here, to physically stop Tomoya from injuring himself, show that she’s willing to do what it takes for Tomoya’s interest. Realising that Nagisa has gone to these lengths for him, Tomoya decides here to propose to her. While the moment is not likely to be counted as the most romantic proposal of all time, it’s certainly moving and fitting for the challenges the two have survived thus far.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Originally, I was thinking to write about ~After Story~ earlier this month, following Tomoya’s graduation, but it felt more appropriate to showcase his graduation, the transition into society from high school and then his decision to propose to Nagisa in a single post. Before we can get there, however, there’s also Yukine’s arc. The caretaker for the reference room, Tomoya and Youhei visited here after Tomoya dropped by to find resources for Nagisa. Yukine was originally intended to be a primary character, but difficulties in writing her story led her to be reassigned.

  • It turns out that Yukine is well-acquainted with delinquents in opposing gangs because her brother, Kazuto, had been a part of one of the gangs. Yukine later finds a young boy who worries about his older sister’s association with such individuals and decides to help him out. Tomoya and Nagisa join in, learning that the delinquents that Yukine knew were kindly individuals even if they were rough around the edges.

  • Eventually, the violence between the gangs escalated, and with the threat of law enforcement intervening, the gangs agree to settle things in a mano a mano with Kazuto squaring off against the opposing gang’s leaders. Not knowing that Kazuto’s been dead for some time, and worrying about the consequences associated with this, Tomoya agrees to step in. He shows incredible resilience in the fight, enduring for hours until Yukine appears and attempts to stop the fight.

  • Because Kazuto’s death is known, the gangs agree to set aside their animosity and pay their respects to Kazuto. A globe of light appears and floats into the sky afterwards. Having long established that Tomoya is willing to go to great lengths to see things through, his role in helping Yukine is not particularly useful in providing more insights into Tomoya’s character. However, the arc does establish that the town Tomoya lives in has its share of problems as well, and that the right person, in the right place, can help set things right without escalating the conflicts.

  • For me, Yukine’s arc was a side story that I would consider to be the weakest in ~After Story~, and after revisiting things, my thoughts have not changed dramatically. This is why discussions on the arc is so short: we move swiftly into Tomoya’s final days as a high school student, where he struggles to determine what to do with his future upon graduation. The remainder of his friends have concrete aspirations, and even the unreliable Youhei has decided that he wishes to be a model. Back in high school, picking a future and sticking with it was always a challenge for me: this has come back to haunt me occasionally, but I’ve found that with my experiences in university, I’ve finally found something I enjoy doing.

  • Nagisa’s birthday is on Christmas Eve, and her friends swing by to visit, lightening the mood up. Tomoya gifts to her Dango plushies that she takes an immediate liking to; the Dango Daikazoku have a much smaller presence in ~After Story~ owing to the fact that there is no drama club to re-establish, but their reappearance here shows that Tomoya’s not forgotten what Nagisa is fond of. Subtle but meaningful, these elements contribute much to the human aspects of ~After Story~.

  • The Dango Daikazoku song is one of the most famous songs from CLANNAD, being immediately recognisable to those who hear it, and is also the subject of numerous remixes and covers. Its magic comes from a combination of its lullaby-like composition and association with CLANNAD. The forward lyrics indicates Nagisa’s innocence and belief in good; while a naïveté, Nagisa’s persistence in finding the positives in everything ultimately describes CLANNAD‘s message.

  • Through the events of CLANNAD, Nagisa and Tomoya have gained lifelong friends: the strength of their friendship is so that even after Nagisa and Tomoya become a couple, Kotomi, Ryou and Kyou do not seem bothered and openly support them as friends would. It’s a different reaction than what I’ve known: in every case after someone rejected me, they also chose to burn bridges, as well. I move on fairly quickly and aren’t really bothered, but being less versed in these sorts of things, I turn to the reader to see if there’s an explanation for why this occurs.

  • Nagisa has an illness of an indeterminate nature, and while some folks at Tango-Victor-Tango were quick to diagnose her with a viral autoimmune disorder, then proceeded to argue that since CLANNAD is set in the nineties, such a disease would not be well-characterised, hence why it cannot be identified. The reality is that the virus responsible for this disorder was identified in 1983 (whereas CLANNAD is set in the early 2000s) and there are antibody tests that can be done; further to this, other observations in CLANNAD quickly dispel that it’s an autoimmune disorder. I won’t bother directing more time towards this discussion, since the precise nature of Nagisa’s illness is irrelevant to the story.

  • Graduation ceremonies from high school in Japan are not so different than the ones here in Canada, although we tend to have a celebration in addition to the ceremony. It’s a major turning point in people’s lives as they transition into adulthood, a time to be excited about seizing the future. That Tomoya and Youhei have reached this point despite their prior challenges speaks volumes about the impact that friendship has had on them: to support others and be supported have allowed the two former delinquents to get their game together and embrace the future.

  • After graduation, Tomoya spends time with Nagisa on a walk, hand-in-hand. My previous experiences with graduation was a nice dinner after the ceremony, as well as farewells with peers and instructors alike. Representing the true turning point in life, graduation in ~After Story~ is where the story truly turns from a great one to one that is unparalleled. Most stories end with high school, leaving characters’ fates open as they step into the future, but ~After Story~ presents what futures may hold with honesty – it is not “happily ever after”, but a world filled with both new promise and difficulties.

  • Nagisa’s illness eventually causes her to miss enough classes to be held back another year. Tomoya pushes ahead in his life, while Nagisa is left to continue high school on her own now that everyone’s graduated. The very prospect of this is immediately melancholy to viewers, but at the same time, Nagisa’s also become far more motivated than before. Even if Tomoya and the others are not in her corner physically, their time together gives Nagisa the resolve to continue with the drama club.

  • Tomoya’s past with the Furukawas allow him to earn a position here to help out. While not exactly a career with a bright path ahead, working somewhere allows Tomoya to have focus. Idling in high school was what led to his days of unprofitable boredom, so his seizing the opportunity to do something while working out his future shows that with the right people in his corner, Tomoya is motivated and determined.

  • Nagisa’s time in high school is marked with her making few friends and being unsuccessful in continuing the drama club. Her difficulties are mirrored in the composition of this still: Nagisa is not the central subject and is alone in the drama room under lengthen shadows of a sunset. Being alone on school grounds after hours creates a sense of melancholy. I recall those days on campus during the summers after research, when I would walk around the grounds to relax: empty halls and classrooms elicit a sense of loneliness.

  • Tomoya rushes out to meet Yusuke and entreats him for a job as an electrician. While ~After Story~ deals with the world outside of school in a highly detailed manner, its focus means that some aspects are passed over: I’m certain that getting a job is not as simple as asking a friend as a referral, since there are still formalities that must be dealt with, for instance. With this being said, ~After Story~ is about family, not the job search; since Tomoya finding a job is integral to the story, audiences accept that he is able to find work and have an income, allowing the story to focus on other things.

  • Tomoya decides to move out, and with a suggestion from Ryou, finds a place nearby with low rent. Tomoya’s apartment was based off an apartment in Suita, Osaka, which was demolished the same year that CLANNAD was aired. CLANNAD itself is set in a location inspired by Mizuho, Tokyo, and while the anime is not a hundred percent faithful to the real world locations, the similarities are quite visible. I imagine that this location is near the Tama River.

  • Tomoya is offered a job with the company that Yusuke works for, and immediately sets about learning the ropes of being an electrician. I’m not sure how it works in Japan, but back home, there’s a four-year apprenticeship program that one must take, then complete the Journeyman Certificate programme and work under an employee. Some institutes offer programs, but high school students in my province can be hired into a company as an apprentice after graduation, as well, taking the same route that Tomoya takes.

  • Early in his career, Tomoya would make just enough to support moving out and living independently, and after his first day of work, he comes home to a home-cooked dinner Nagisa’s made.

  • When I think about it, I see in an ideal partner someone whose priorities are trust, commitment and honesty, someone who accepts handling tough times together and accepts that not every step of our journey together is going to be sunshine and rainbows. In the knowledge of this, they’d be willing to stick it out. I grew up with old-fashioned values, and it seems that this is largely incompatible with what most people expect.

  • Nagisa embodies the sort of mindset that I’ve come to value and respect – no matter how tough things get for Tomoya, she continues to see the good and support him. For these two, an evening stroll together is as enjoyable and meaningful as a couple’s vacation overseas; the former might not be an Instagram-worthy moment, but that doesn’t stop it from being a good way to relax.

  • While Tomoya might be working hard to support his new family, things with the Furukawas are still as much as they once were: one particularly memorable prank involves a lizard that Akio’s acquired from a shop owner after a fierce toy lightsabre duel. Unlike Tomoya, who’s working his rear off, the Furukawas have managed to find that work-life balance in their lives, and here, the cost of their prank is a heavy one: Sanae tackles both Tomoya and Akio on her way out of the shop in a panic.

  • Getting used to a new job is a challenge; when I first watched CLANNAD ~After Story~, I did not have the experiences to really appreciate what Tomoya was experiencing. With this being said, I knew that there would come a day when I would finish the MCAT and graduate, so I wondered what working would feel like. I can now honestly say that it is a world apart from being a student, and that Tomoya’s effort to excel at his work is very real as he strives to prove his worth to his new employer.

  • For me, an honest effort to do the best job possible, and the humility to ask for help are two of the most vital traits in someone worth working with. On the topic of transitions in life, it takes about a two weeks to adjust to a new environment, and then a month to settle down and make the most of the routine. This first while is always the trickiest, and the closest analogy I have is trades in sports teams like in the NHL: although one might be wearing a different jersey, they are still playing the same sport, and so, once one adjusts to their new team, things become more routine and familiar with time.

  • Tomoya’s initial efforts come at the expense of his relationship with Nagisa; he ends up missing most of the Founder’s Festival and arrives late, but Nagisa does not mind, understanding Tomoya’s effort to earn his keep. It’s one of the surest signs that make Tomoya and Nagisa such a good couple: every couple I know that is in a strong, healthy relationship understands that relationships are give and take, about weathering tough times together as much as enjoying good times together.

  • By talking it out, Nagisa and Tomoya reach a proper understanding with one another: although Nagisa has always tacitly supported Tomoya with his career, their communicating with one another means that nothing is left unspoken. Even though they are still a couple at this point, ~After Story~ uses the subtle to convey how close the two are. It is not often that things like trust, commitment and compromise are used in fiction to portray a strong, healthy relationship – more often than not, romantic gestures and dates are used. While more visceral for fiction, the reality is that in a good relationship, there is more communication than there is kissing, despite what social media might otherwise suggest.

  • When Tomoya is offered a new position at a larger company, he is conflicted as to whether or not he should take the offer. Yusuke recounts his past as a musician to Tomoya, explaining that he was once a musician who was unable to keep up with his work, and fell into despair after one of his fans committed a crime. Losing sight of why he wanted to perform, Yusuke turned to substance abuse and hit rock bottom. He returned home and met Kyouko, realising that she was his reason for performing. Although no longer a musician, Yusuke learned that as long as one has a focus in life, they will make things work out.

  • Tomoya decides to take on this new position, feeling it to be a path to the future. Life is ever-changing, and to pass on opportunity may come with a cost. Youth is a time for exploring new avenues, and Tomoya is excited about the change of scenery. However, at the worst possible time, Tomoya learns that his father’s been incarcerated for possession of controlled substances, and this causes his offer to become rescinded. Feeling his home town is nothing but a place of suffering, Tomoya asks Nagisa if she’d leave with him and make a fresh start elsewhere. Nagisa feels that this town remains special because they’d met here, and it’s how they handle the future that matters, more so than the past.

  • Visiting the correctional facility where his father is, Tomoya has no words and mirroring his sense of loss, the scenes are a faded out grey: even with Nagisa by his side, it seems as though there is no colour and hope in the world, where the past continues to haunt him despite his best efforts to break free.

  • It might’ve been a beautiful summer day, but Tomoya sees none of this. He finally lashes out and strikes a wall in frustration, but before he seriously injures himself, Nagisa stops him. Another couple passes by, wondering what on earth happened. Besides the sound of cicadas, the scene is quiet until The Place Where Wishes Come True begins playing. A sense of calm is injected into the moment, and here, after seeing Nagisa exert herself to protect him, he comes to realise that his feelings for Nagisa warrant an 愛してる, the strongest expression of love in Japan.

  • Again, ~After Story~ defies convention: Tomoya’s proposal to Nagisa is done without a ring, in one of the most unromantic locations possible, but nonetheless creates one of the strongest impacts in an anime. It continues to underline that the ordinary can be extraordinary, and that there is a magic in the everyday. For me, it makes sense to put a way-point here; it marks the beginning of another journey for Tomoya and Nagisa, and a glance at the calendar shows that I will be returning at the end of January for the next post on ~After Story~. I steel myself for this particular post, knowing it will be a difficult one to write for.

It is here in ~After Story~ that the narrative takes a shift from high school to that of adulthood, of a world marked with responsibility and challenges. Immediately relatable is Tomoya’s resolve to keep active even while working out what he wishes to do with his future, and then the struggle Tomoya encounters in finding work-life balance during the early days of his work. By stepping out of school and into the real world, ~After Story~ ventures into a new direction that shows just how uncertain and uncomfortable being an adult is. However, for these difficulties, adulthood also comes with its own joys, as well. Effort in one’s career is rewarded, and people come to appreciate one another’s company even more strongly. In its portrayal of Tomoya and Nagisa, ~After Story~ means to suggest that, far more than romantic gestures and activities associated with relationships, the endgame of the most meaningful relationships is that one finds a partner to stay by their side, acting as a source of support and confidant, while simultaneously, also be someone that one can support and confide in. No matter how difficult things get, knowing that there will be someone reliably in one’s corner is a major boost to one’s morale, and ~After Story~ shows that with the right partner, almost any seemingly-insurmountable problem can be addressed. Seeing all of these things progress, from that day where Nagisa and Tomoya first met, to the present, creates incredibly human characters that audiences empathise and connect with. As they mature, Tomoya and Nagisa seem more life-like, prompting viewers begin to invest more into their story and hope for their happiness as they face the future together. This is what compelled players to continue with CLANNAD‘s visual novel, and why so many became engrossed with CLANNAD‘s animated adaptation.