The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: From the Color-Changing World’s Tomorrow

Revisiting the Tsukishiro Residence and Finding Metaphors For Growth In The World in Colours’ Architectural Choices

“Architecture is shaped by human emotions and desires, and then becomes a setting for further emotions and desires. It goes from the animate and inanimate and back again. For this reason it is always incomplete, or rather is only completed by the lives in and around it.” –Rowan Moore, Why We Build

Hitomi Tsukishiro had found herself in an unfamiliar world after her grandmother, Kohaku, had sent her back sixty years to meet her younger self. Although she initially finds herself disoriented, Hitomi ends up at the Tsukishiro residence thanks to help from Asagi, Kurumi and Shō, members of the Photography Club who are familiar with Kohaku. While Kohaku is absent, her grandmother (Hitomi’s great great grandmother) prepares a room for her and mentions that this home, located near the family-run magic shop, had been built recently. Hitomi indicates that it’s a familiar spot for her; Kohaku used to read to her up in this cozy space. Not much more is mentioned about the Tsukishiro residence, and the significance of this spot becomes eclipsed by The World in Colour’s touching story, but the interior architecture of Kohaku’s home ends up being a superbly well-written metaphor for Hitomi’s own developments throughout the course of The World in Colours, foreshadowing the elements that would guide Hitomi forwards back onto a path where she can appreciate the colours of her world. In particular, two design choices inside Hitomi’s attic room are of importance. The first of this is shown within moments of her setting foot inside the attic – there’s a small, circular door separating her space from the adjacent space, which belongs to Kohaku. In a home, the bedroom is often counted as the most private of spaces. The notion of the bedroom acting as a sanctuary is a relatively recent thought, and following the Industrial Revolution, as hygiene became ever important, society began favouring homes that allowed people to sleep in a space of their own. Having one’s own room thus became a symbol of success, and of decency. Over the years, bedrooms would become a sacred space, a place of self-expression, and a place where it’s okay to be vulnerable. With this in mind, The World in Colours‘ focus on Hitomi’s bedroom space during the series’ first episode was meant to accentuate the fact that, although she might be having some difficulties of her own, at the Tsukishiro residence, she will always have a place to call her own. Given Hitomi’s personality, there was always the possibility she would just retreat into this space, unwilling to open up to others. To this end, the Tsukishiro’s attic was engineered to give Hitomi a balance between openness and privacy.

The little wooden door separating Hitomi’s space from Kohaku’s ends up being a piece of architectural genius in this regard. As a door, it can be open or closed; Hitomi can be given privacy and time to herself as required, but having the door also allows Kohaku to freely visit her without having to step out into the hallway and knock on the main door. In this way, the wooden door symbolises how with family, there is always the opportunity to be connect to someone and voice one’s concerns. The World in Colours uses this interior fixture in an incremental fashion; initially, Kohaku is content to open the door and speak with Hitomi, but gradually, Hitomi uses the door and takes the initiative to talk to Kohaku. Eventually, Hitomi becomes okay with Kohaku coming all the way through the door and hanging out on her side of the space. This acts as an expressive metaphor for how it takes time for people to open up, even to their own families. While this process can’t be rushed, when allowed to progress naturally, it does eventually help Hitomi to come to terms with her own complicated relationship with magic, as well as gaining the courage to befriend Kohaku’s friends. The use of this door parallels Hitomi’s own opening up to the world around her. Early on, it takes a catalyst from the outside to start things (i.e. Kohaku starting the conversation), but as Hitomi gains more confidence, she lets Kohaku into her room, symbolising how she’s also allowed Kohaku into her heart. Accepting her grandmother’s knowledge and spirit in turn helps Hitomi to grow. To show the extent of this growth, the skylight in Hitomi’s room is used to great effect. This skylight represents the link between Hitomi and the outside world. Offering a beautiful view of Nagasaki Harbour and the night sky, Hitomi gazes longingly out this window throughout The World in Colour, showing an increasing desire to open up to others to a greater extent. On the eve of the culture festival, Hitomi’s feelings finally spurs her on: she creates a magic-infused paper airplane, opens the window and sends the plane to Yuito. This is a milestone moment in The World in Colour – for the first time, Hitomi has taken the initiative of opening herself up to the world, and this is mirrored in her act of opening the skylight window so she can send something to Yuito. From this point on, it becomes clear that Hitomi has gained the very thing Kohaku had intended her to experience when the latter had arranged for Hitomi to be sent back.

Additional Thoughts and Remarks

  • I’ve long held an interest in interior architecture at a casual level; back when I was a middle and secondary school student, I was always fond of borrowing interior architecture books from the local library and reading them in my spare time. The interiors that always appealed to me most were those that made extensive use of glass and creatively divided spaces to increase functionality, and this influenced how I laid out the furniture after my move. The end result is that my place is filled with natural light during the day, making for a much more welcoming, well-lit space.

  • The Tsukishiro residence seems quite ordinary at first glance: Kohaku’s grandmother (and Hitomi’s great great grandmother) mentions that their house was completed in 2017. Being only a year old when Hitomi is returned to 2018, the house is still new enough for Hitomi to notice a “new house” smell to it, and all of the surfaces are still shiny. One clever touch in The World in Colours‘ opening episode is actually seen right at the beginning: the wood has a more faded, worn quality to it, befiting of a home that’s stood for six decades.

  • However, even though the anime chooses not to actively show the space off just yet, it is clear that the Tsukishiro residence in 2078 has been a lovingly-looked after home: Kohaku’s filled the attic space with her work, and uses it as a sanctuary of sorts. However, in 2018, the space remains largely unused, so Hitomi has no trouble in moving into this part of the house. While aging buildings normally fills one with a sense of melancholy, to see the old room still being in active use is a hint to viewers that the Tsukishiros look after what’s dear to them.

  • Despite appearing unremarkable at first glance, this little circular doorway is the star of this discussion. While it’s not particularly practical from a real-world standpoint because by reflex, people would prefer to stand up and walk over to an adjacent room, versus getting down on the hands and feet and crawling, the doorway has metaphoric significance in the context of The World in Colours. Architectural choices like these would not be found in the typical home, and I imagine that the Tsukishiro residence was therefore tailor-made to the family’s specifications.

  • Although it is never mentioned, then, the fact that Kohaku and her family live in a custom home suggests that their business as magicians is going well enough. Small details like these, when properly attended to, can speak volumes about the characters and provide exposition without needing to employ more time-consuming aspects, like flashbacks or through dialogue. Over the years, P.A. Works has masterfully fit anime into the single-cour format, doing more with less: this trend began with 2012’s Tari Tari, and while I had been skeptical that 13 episodes was enough to tell a compelling tale, Tari Tari had me proven wrong.

  • The World in Colours kicks into high gear once Kohaku returns from her studies abroad. The dynamic between Kohaku and Hitomi in The World in Colours had been reproduced in The Aquatope on White Sand, with Fūka being equivalent to Hitomi, and Kukuru occupying Kohaku’s role. P.A. Works is fond of recycling character archetypes (Tari Tari‘s Konatsu, Wakana and Sawa are modelled after Hanasaku Iroha‘s Ohana, Minko and Nako, respectively, while Glasslip‘s Tōko was derived from Nagi no Asukara‘s Manaka, and Aoi from Shirobako inspires the design for Sakura Quest‘s Yoshino), but by using different contexts, character growth happens in a completely novel manner, resulting in distinct, memorable stories.

  • The uncluttered interior space in Hitomi’s room is meant to signify the fact that she’s not going to remain in 2018 indefinitely: there will come a point where she will need to return to 2078. In anime, visual clutter is a deliberate choice, meant to show that a space is lived-in, and two of the strongest examples of this are found in Studio Ghibli’s films, as well as anything from Makoto Shinkai. Looking at objects and how they’re arranged in a room speak volumes to the characters, and a space with clutter may indicate anything from its frequent usage, to the inhabitant’s personality.

  • For me, I’ve always been fond of keeping a clean environment in my living space. In my day-to-day, this simply means putting stuff away when I’m done with it, and making it a point to always wash the dishes after a meal. I have a schedule for tasks like cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping the floors, and while cleaning house can be a chore, I let my mind wander when doing any sort of housekeeping; in fact, I draft out blog posts in my head during this time, and this has also helped me to maintain this blog post-move.

  • The design of the Tsukishiro residence is one of the reasons why I’d been so disappointed in the fact that no official guidebook for The World in Colours was released. These guidebooks provide concept art for the settings and characters, cast interviews and all of the promotional artwork for a given anime, on top of episode summaries. Some artbooks will go as far as providing the floor plans and interior sketches for a space, as well as a commentary on why spaces were designed the way that they were. Insight like this greatly enhances one’s enjoyment of a work.

  • A year ago, I noticed that The Aquatope on White Sand was getting an artbook of sorts, and I had been surprised to see it sell out within minutes of becoming available. Although I tried to acquire a copy through CD Japan’s proxy shipping service, the exorbitant cost (about 90 CAD) meant I ended up standing down. Someone who bought the artbook indicated that, rather than the content from a typical official guidebook, the book consisted of drawings from the staff and interviews with the cast. With this information, my disappointment in being unable to pick this artbook up has waned.

  • One evening, after an outing with the Magic-Photography Club, Hitomi feels downtrodden that Yuito isn’t willing to open up to her, Kohaku ends up hearing Hitomi out. Despite being the same age at this point, there’s a weight to Kohaku’s words: she feels that at least Yuito is responding to Hitomi, and this beats being ignored. One interesting point that comes out of this conversation is that Kohaku mentions the Hedgehog’s Dilemma (if two hedgehogs are cold and wish to seek warmth, they cannot close the distance without barbing one another), in which people can hurt one unintentionally another if they’re close, but will be lonely otherwise.

  • This concept comes from Arthur Schopenhauer’s 1851 essay, and while anime fans use the concept to explain isolation, it was quite bold of The World in Colours to both define the concept and offer a solution (Kohaku indicates that moderation is key). In anime, fans enjoy ambiguity whenever philosophy is concerned because it allows them to interpret things in their own manner of choosing, so when a series actively indicates it’s got a specific interpretation of a philosophical model, fans tend to ignore it rather than trying to understand why the writers incorporated the concept into a given work. For me, I prefer it when works do this, since it tells me precisely what the creators think of an idea.

  • In The World in Colours, Kohaku’s comments indicate that the Hedgehog’s Dilemma isn’t as much of a dilemma as people make it out to be, and can be addressed by giving people space. By offering viewers with one potential answer, The World in Colours demonstrates that philosophical quandaries can still have solutions even if they appear difficult. Indeed, this is where the series excels, and over time, Kohaku visits Hitomi with greater frequency. Kohaku’s casual posture here shows that Hitomi has accepted and opened up to her.

  • A look around Hitomi’s room finds jars of Star-Sand and a small number of personal effects. The Star-Sand is one of my favourite aspects of The World in Colours because they emanate a gentle glow of their own, and seeing the jars of Star-Sand in the Tsukishiro shop gave it a very distinct appearance. Star-Sand is used as a conduit for magic in The World in Colours: after being infused with magic from a Witch, the magic is stablised and can be stored for later usage. It was a clever concept, and although the magic in The World in Colours is a bit more fantastical than that of either Glasslip or The Aquatope on White Sand, it was utilised extremely well to drive character growth.

  • The other aspect of Hitomi’s room that I found important to The World in Colours was the skylight window. On a clear night, Hitomi is afforded with an unparalleled view of the night sky, and the window’s placement means that she could lie in bed and see the stars. In reality, the light pollution in Nagasaki is ranked as a Class 6 on the Bortle Scale. Only magnitude 5.0 or brighter stars are visible with the naked eye. However, to put things in perspective, my home city’s skies are a Class 7, and the maximum magnitude visible is 4.5, speaking to how Nagasaki has better control of their light pollution than my home town: despite the transition to LED street lamps years earlier, the sheer sprawl of the city means that the night sky is degraded to the point where, even on a clear night, it’s a light grey rather than pitch black.

  • The sight of Hitomi gazing out, longingly, over the city of Nagasaki is a common scene in The World in Colours, and if the Tsukishiro residence represents the world Hitomi is comfortable opening up to, then the rest of the world corresponds to the people around her. Throughout The World in Colours, although Hitomi gets along with Kohaku, she still struggles to open up to the others. Mirroring this, the skylight window remains closed: Hitomi can see out the window and longs for a connection, and the latch is inside, show that ultimately, it’s up to her as to when she’ll open it.

  • According to the blog archives, the last I wrote about The World in Colours was back in December 2018; although I briefly mentioned this series and its influences on The Aquatope on White Sand, I’ve not otherwise had a chance to revisit the series in writing since then. I remember that December well: I’d just started a new position, and was working out of the downtown core. In the time that has passed, I now work with a different organisation, and on Wednesday, my last workday of 2022, I decided to ride the bus downtown after work and take in the Christmas lights. While the world today is dramatically different than it’d been four years earlier, the view from my old bus stop still looks like it did when I boarded my bus here previously. However, with the iPhone 14 Pro’s Photonic Engine, the photos of the same spot look much sharper than they had previously.

  • When I was watching The Aquatope on White Sand a year earlier, the similarities between Hitomi and Fūka only held in the first few episodes; as Fūka found her footing, she became increasingly confident and was able to guide Kukuru through a few rough spots, whereas here in The World in Colours, Hitomi leans on Kukuru for the most part. However, towards the end of The World in Colours, Hitomi does begin to make several strides, taking the initiative to better learn and control her magic. With support from the Magic and Photography Club, Hitomi slowly improves her control over her magic and eventually is able to make her own decisions.

  • Thus, when Hitomi opens the window to the skylight for the first time, it’s symbolic of a season’s worth of progress: this action had been her call alone, and this shows that Hitomi is now more honest about what she’d wanted. With her time in 2018 limited, she ultimately returns to her own time with more confidence, and she’s able to befriend two of her classmates, who are presumably Asagi and Kurumi’s grandchildren. The World in Colours had ended on an exceptional note, and entering 2019, I was feeling happier than I had in the years following graduate school.

  • Overall, The World in Colours is one of P.A. Works’ more underappreciated anime; it took concepts from Glasslip and presented them in a more mature fashion, ultimately creating a moving tale that also set the stage for last year’s The Aquatope on White Sand. I would like to remark that this one did take some effort to write out: the idea of writing about the circular wooden door in Hitomi’s room had been in my mind for the past two years, and it was only now I’ve managed to put out something coherent about the topic. With this post now in the books, and with only a week left until Christmas, I am now officially on winter break, so there will be some time for me to unwind in the next few weeks.

The World in Colours had done a fantastic job of conveying its themes to viewers, with great clarity – the metaphor of colour made it unambiguous as to what the anime had intended to accomplish. However, to accentuate its messages, P.A. Works had taken their game one step further, and utilises architecture to provide one more avenue of highlighting pivotal moments in Hitomi’s development throughout the series. Interior spaces and lighting can be employed to further give viewers insight into how characters might be feeling in a given moment, and while such details can be subtle, they remain highly valuable to the story. Use of architecture allows P.A. Works to enrich a given story’s clarity and meaning without needing to use any additional dialogue, and this allows a scene to kill two birds with one stone; while the spaces the characters occupy can be used to denote their progress, the conversations characters share while using these spaces can be focused on advancing the story. For instance, when Hitomi asks Kohaku about the Star-Sand, the moment itself brings Hitomi one step closer to thanking Yuito and expressing how she feels, but at the same time, the space allows The World in Colours to also remind viewers that Hitomi is being gently nudged to take a step forward, and she’s now at a stage where she can take the initiative to start something. It is quite understandable that details like these can be overlooked when one is going through an anime: all eyes are on the main story and how well its intentions are conveyed. However, the merits of a re-watch become apparent; small details that were missed the first time around suddenly become more apparent, and this creates a much richer, deeper connection to a given work and its messages. Although it’s been four years since The World in Colours aired, this work remains one of P.A. Works’ most impactful titles, and it is the studio’s use of every appropriate tool that contributes to this enjoyability. Moments like these, of rediscovering something like the clever use of interior architecture in The World in Colours, is what makes rewatching anime a worthwhile task; since there are no more surprises or twists, the mind is allowed to freely explore other facets of an anime, and the results can be fulfilling.

Anime and Real Life, Finding The Colours of Nagasaki: An Oculus-Powered Armchair Journey of Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara

“Without black, no colour has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real.” –Amy Grant

Fireworks fill the sky of Nagasaki in August 2078 – it’s a beautiful evening, and the skyline below is barely recognisable from its 2018 counterpart. However, Hitomi Tsukishiro is about to head back sixty years with help from her grandmother, Kohaku. After Hitomi developed achromatopsia, she became unable to see the world in colours and fell into a depression. Kohaku believes her teenaged self will be able to help Hitomi find happiness anew and so, has opted to send her back in time using magic, a power which runs in the Tsukishiro family. When Hitomi opens her eyes, she finds herself in a world sixty years earlier. While nowhere nearly as well-developed as she knows it, Hitomi finds that the Nagasaki of 2018 is a bustling city of around four hundred thousand people. In this older time, Hitomi ends up befriending members of the photography and art club, along with her grandmother; sharing time with each of the younger Kohaku, Yuito, Asagi, Kurumi, Shō and Chigusa helps Hitomi to rediscover the magic in her life, allowing her to find colours in her world anew. It is in Nagasaki that the events of 2018’s Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (The World in Colours from here on out) are set. Nagasaki sports the unfortunate distinction being one of two cities in the world to have ever been devastated by an atomic attack in 1945. On August 9, the plutonium bomb was detonated over the city, instantly killing some thirty-five thousand people. Nagasaki was slowly rebuilt after the Second World War. Reconstruction only really began a year after the bombings, with a particular emphasis on transforming the former military city into a centre of commercial ship-building, trade and fishing. By 1949, redevelopment accelerated with the passing of the Nagasaki International Culture City Reconstruction Law, and thanks to the efforts directed towards reconstruction, the Nagaski we know forms the backdrop for Hitomi’s own journey. It is here that magic and the mundane intertwine – in The World in Colours, the ability to control magic is a trait that women in the Tsukishiro family share, and Hitomi had shut her powers away after her mother had left the family. Unlike P.A. Works’ previous anime, The World in Colours places magic at the series forefront, treating it as another skill that can create joy for others, rather than something that brings about miracles. While Nagasaki isn’t a particularly magical city (being better known for its temples and museums), The World in Colours‘ commitment to realism means that the anime is able to tell a particularly compelling story: bringing Nagasaki to life means being able to convince viewers that magic is very much a reality, even if it cannot manifest as the phenomenon that Kohaku and Hitomi can master.

  • Because The World in Colours is a story filled with magic and witchcraft, it makes sense to open the post with a virtual visit to the Forest Witch Café, which forms the inspiration for the Tsukishiro magic shop that Hitomi lodges at. In reality, the Forest Witch Café is located some twenty-seven kilometres away from the heart of Nagasaki. The restaurant is named for its location in the forest. The owners take pride in using home-grown ingredients in their dishes: vegetables come straight from their garden, and their curry is a favourite amongst patrons.

  • A quick glance at Forest Witch Café’s menu finds a wonderful variety of dishes: their lunch special is only 1650 Yen, featuring a salad fresh from their garden and homemade chicken confit, soup, a choice of house curry or pasta and a dessert, plus coffee. This is only available with a reservation. For visitors looking to do dinner, courses start at 3500 Yen. Similarly, there’s also a handful of coffees and sweets available for those seeking a pit stop. Besides this delightful café, which forms the backdrop for the Tsukishiro magic shop, Forest Witch Café also does tarot fortune telling, as well. In real life, there’s also a small shop behind the café that sells Witch-themed trinkets and goods: Owing to its location, visitors will need to take a few buses or rent a car to reach this café, which, compared to the rest of the locations in this post, is quite out-of-the way.

  • In The World in Colours, the house behind the magic shop is where the Tsukishiros live. Hitomi has numerous memories of spending time with Kohaku here, and According to Kohaku’s grandmother, their house was built in 2017 (the same year my new place was built) Inspection of satellite imagery finds that the Tsukishiro residence looks nothing like its counterpart in The World in Colours, but this is unsurprising, since actual character residences are usually custom-designed to fit with the story’s requirements.

  • Back when The World in Colours was airing, the one location I had confidence in locating was Megami Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge that takes route 51 over Nagasaki Bay. Completed in 2005, the bridge’s main span is 480 metres in length, and is beautifully illuminated by nightfall. The World in Colours had the Magic-Photography-and-Art Club attempt to catch a ferry passing underneath for a unique photo, and while they fail, the evening is a memorable one, typifying the journey that this anime had sought to convey.

  • Being the only cable-stayed bridge in the immediate area, finding Megami Bridge alone didn’t offer me with much to write about. However, last September, I was looking to do a location hunt for The World in Colours after utilising the Oculus Quest to identify and share locations within the anime that I’d previously watched. The premise behind these location hunts is simple enough: I can’t put boots on the ground right now owing to the global health crisis, but Google Street View is extensive enough for me to visit mundane, ordinary spots such as these.

  • Armed with a combination of 3D photogrammetry data and full immersion offered by a powerful VR headset, I found that it was possible to locate things with a much greater confidence than before, since the VR environment allowed me to quickly look around and orient myself. BY comparison, using Street View on a desktop computer or tablet is more limiting. In this way, I was able to make progress in finding the same streets that Hitomi and Kohaku hit during their time together in The World in Colours: by looking around for landmarks, I was able to define a starting point. This spot, for instance, was located after I found Izumokinrin Park and began looking for landmarks like Ōura Elementary School, which is visible on the hill in the right hand side.

  • To start off such a journey, I began by using Google Maps’ 3D photogrammetry data to explore areas near Megami Bridge, and in a curious turn of fate, one location caught my eye: Mount Nabekanmuri Park. This is the spot Hitomi visits in 2078 during the finale, being the place she and Yuito shared thoughts together away from the more rowdy and energetic crowd that is the Magic-Photography-and-Arts Club. To my surprise, just across the valley is the spot where Yuito shares his drawings with a curious Hitomi: Izumokinrin Park. Closer inspection of the park finds the same pavilion and amphitheater that forms the site of where Kohaku performs the complex bit of magic to send Hitomi back into the future.

  • A search for high schools in the area, near Izumokinrin Park, finds exactly one candidate whose exterior matches the high school Hitomi and Kohaku attend perfectly: this is Nagasaki Minami High School, which is only a stone’s throw from Izumokinrin Park. True to reality, the school seen in The World in Colours has the same statue and clock near its front. The World in Colours shows the high school both as it appeared in 2018, as well as again in 2078 – the school itself was opened in 1961, so by the events of The World in Colours, the school would’ve likely undergone several renovations to remain in full operations even a full 117 years later.

  • Nagasaki Minami High School can be seen on the hill here:  tracing the path the Magic-Photography-Arts Club take, I was able to find this spot without too much trouble. I’m always fond of still like these: the mirror, railings, yellow house and utility pole in both the anime and real-life versions match up pretty closely. While such spots are easy enough to find after locating the landmark, The World in Colours presented me with another challenge. Kohaku and the others are fond of taking side routes down flights of stairs that line the hills of Nagasaki.

  • There are a lot of narrow streets in Nagasaki, and even more stairwells cutting up and down the steep slopes, but Google Street View doesn’t go down these paths, so the steps that everyone uses as shortcuts are something that I wasn’t able to replicate in my Oculus-powered travels – as one would reasonably expect, the Oculus Quest is not the magic bullet solution for replacing travel outright. However, owing to current circumstance, the ability to almost wander the streets of Nagasaki with the same freedom as I would in reality is a welcome one.

  • To my great surprise, the park that the Magic-Photography-and-Art Club visit during The World in Colours‘ sixth episode is actually within walking distance of their high school. This is Glover Garden, an open-air museum that showcases Nagasaki’s western-style buildings. The most famous of these is the Former Glover House, which belonged to Scottish merchant Thomas Glover, who would later play a role in overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate, kicking off the Meiji Restoration. Glover Garden most closely resembles Calgary’s Heritage Park in that many of the buildings here were relocated from other parts of the city, and there’s a 620 Yen admission fee to the site.

  • Yuito is shown to be working at the Jiyu-tei Café and Teahouse, which is located in Glover Garden’s grounds. Open from 0930 to 1715, Jiyu-tei Café and Teahouse is known for its ambience and Castella, a Japanese sponge cake that Nagasaki is particularly well-known for. According to their website, Jiyu-tei offers Castella sets with seasonal drinks, although they do have cake and ice cream on their menu, along with a solid selection of hot and iced teas and coffees. Visitors report friendly service and love the ambience: altogether, one would probably find this to be a fantastic place to take someone on a date.

  • It suddenly strikes me that as a result of location hunting for anime, and as a result of looking around town for restaurants, I’ve amassed a reasonable knowledge of places nearby, including those that could prove quite romantic. In Nagasaki, Glover Park seems like a great place for a first date. The bridge that Kohaku crosses near Nagasaki Seaside Park, on the other hand, is a little more mundane, being something seen en route to a date – there are actually a pair of these bridges, and the one Kohaku crosses is the further one from Route 499, whereas here, I’m only able to see the first of the bridges. This is a case of “close enough”, since I wasn’t able to find a way of getting closer, but fortunately, the bridges are similar enough so that readers should be convinced that P.A. Works also replicated this spot with their usual attention to detail.

  • This particular spot offers an unparalleled view of Nagasaki’s skyline: it is located near Ōura Elementary School, not more than a quarter-kilometre from the Glover Garden. The stunning nightscape reminds me a great deal of the hill where Stuttgart’s House R128 is located: this house is well-known for being a modernist home capable of fulfilling its energy requirements and possesses an open floor concept: the only closed rooms in the house are the bathrooms. I’ve long had a fascination with this style of living: the open concept exposes the house to nature, and by night, the Stuttgart cityscape can be seen.

  • When I first finished watching The World in Colours, I had no idea as to where the walkway that Kohaku was running along was located: I still recall how in a similar frame during one of my The World in Colours posts, I only remarked that the site looked photorealistic. This time around, because I had found numerous of the landmarks in Nagasaki for, I was able to determine that this walkway is a part of Glover Sky Road, which consists of a covered escalator similar to Central Mid-Level escalators in Hong Kong, which is the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator.

  • Glover Sky Road is the best way to reach Glover Garden if one were approaching from the east end, and this escalator system is something that locals also appreciate, making it much easier to get around: this project was built to increase accessibility in Nagasaki, and was the first of its kind in Nagasaki. Like Hong Kong’s Central Mid-Level Escalator, Glover Sky Road has since become something of a local attraction, offering visitors with a brilliant view of Nagasaki’s cityscape.

  • Here at the intersection where Hitomi and Yuito see one another off, the Former Mitsubishi No. 2 Dock House can be seen to the left. Featuring high ceilings, coal-fired fireplaces and large windows, this building was constructed in 1896 as a dormitory for sailors. In 1972, it was relocated to its current site, and presently houses an exhibit on Nagasaki’s shipyards; shipbuilding has been an integral part of Nagasaki’s economy, alongside heavy industry.

  • After Hitomi and Yuito part ways, Hitomi prepares to make her way down Glover Sky Road and return home. The Tsukishiro home and magic shop is a central location in The World in Colour, and were such a site to be real, it would certainly be worth visiting: the magic shop is filled with luminescent jars of star-sand that exude a gentle, calming glow, and the Tsukishiro residence is smartly designed. In particular, Hitomi and Kohaku’s rooms are separated by a circular opening, allowing the two to open up to one another without exposing themselves wholly, mirroring how Kohaku takes things with Hitomi one step at a time.

  • There’s also a skylight in the Tsukishiro residence that gives Hitomi a beautiful view of Nagsaki’s nightscape and harbour. Initially, this spot comes to act as a refuge of sorts for Hitomi, representing a distant vantage point that emphasises her removal from the world. As Hitomi grows closer to the Magic-Photography-Art Club, she begins to tread the streets of Nagasaki with the others, signifying a better connection to the world around her. Here, Yuito and Hitomi head down Ringer Street, adjacent to Ōura Elementary School.

  • This intersection is located down Oda-Kaigan Dori near Nagasaki Seaside Park. Owing to the lack of Street View coverage down here, I wasn’t able to capture the places where Hitomi and Shō visited together; while ostensibly for club activities, Shō had taken a liking to Hitomi and this was a bit of a date of sorts. Chigusa and Kurumi also spend time together here while Kurumi waits for her older sister to arrive. Despite lacking the imagery, given that The World in Colour faithfully renders things like the intersection, it is not inconceivable that P.A. Works would’ve taken the time to ensure the park in The World in Colours was true to its real-world counterpart, as well.

  • A little further down the road, the Nagasaki Harbour Medical Centre can be seen, along with line 5 of the Nagasaki Electric Tramway. The tramway has a lengthy history and was opened in 1915 and is the only tramway in Japan to have retained all of its original lines: despite an adult fare of 130 Yen, the company remains profitable, and The World in Colour has the Magic-Photography-Arts Club utilising public transit quite frequently, allowing me to follow it and locate other areas of interest.

  • One such spot is Oranda Bridge crossing a tributary of the Nakashima River, where Kohaku wonders if feelings for Yuito might be the cause of Hitomi’s colour vision intermittently returning. To the right, the Juhachiginko Head Office building can be seen, and the building on the left houses Gibraltar Life Insurance. The Nagasaki Electric Tramway Line 1 runs along this road, so following it using VR allowed me to find this spot. While other sites, such as Like a Fish in Water, utilise Japanese social media and bloggers from Hatena to do the heavy lifting for them, my location hunt posts depend entirely on the technology available to me.

  • As such, finding a spot entails locating landmarks, putting the Oculus Quest headset on and “walking” around until I locate the area of interest, based purely on my estimates of where something is using hints from the anime. The process is quite tiring, and in order to avoid eyestrain, I limit my sessions to a quarter-hour at a time. For this post, locations were a ways more obscure than usual, so it took a lot of wandering over a lot of hours to find everything, such as this spot in a quiet neighbourhood near Shiiko Park. Altogether, it took around 20 hours spaced out since September to actually locate enough spots of interest, which is why this post is only out now.

  • The last spot I’ll cover in this location hunt is the observation platform at Mount Nabekanmuri Park: because The World in Colours had Yuito and Hitomi visit an observation point where the Megami Bridge was visible, I ended up doing a search to see which places in Nagasaki would offer such a view. This was the spot I would use as a starting point for my location hunt using the Oculus Quest, and I decided to save it for last because the views up here are spectacular. Although the ascent can be a little difficult for some, visitors generally report that it is well worth it.

  • With this VR-powered location hunt in the books, I’m glad to have taken the effort of treading through The World in Colours‘ locations. While certainly all of the locations possible, being able to nonetheless see iconic spots in The World in Colours using the Oculus Quest and Wander, without having to board a plane and put boots on the ground, speaks volumes to what’s possible with this technology. With the location hunt for one of director Toshiya Shinohara’s signature anime in the books, I remark that I’ve got another location hunt coming up in under a week while I’m on a roll with finding places in anime.

The World in Colours represented a very unique challenge with respect to location hunting – previously, I’d used the Oculus Quest in rural areas with great success, but urban areas were intimidating because the sheer amount of streets and structures would make it considerably more difficult to locate points of interest. This is because when location hunting, I typically start with a landmark, and then use the characters’ preferred modes of transportation to determine where other sites are. If characters typically walk, I’ll know to determine which streets provide the easiest path to their next destination. Similarly, characters taking the train means seeking out their destination station and then exploring nearby areas. In rural areas, like those of Yamanashi, or smaller urban areas like Kawagoe, this isn’t a challenge because the search area is smaller. Google Maps has improved dramatically over the years, and an increasing amount of regions on Earth now have 3D data available, so using a combination of 3D photogrammetry data and the Oculus Quest is usually sufficient to pinpoint the spots seen in an anime. However, after a city becomes large enough, these techniques become more time-consuming, and limitations in map data also preclude certain areas from being visited. In The World in Colours, for instance, Hitomi and the others often take narrow stairwells connecting streets together, and these paths are simply inaccessible in the Oculus Quest. However, on the flipside, even in a city as large as Nagasaki, the old techniques still work: locating the park where Kohaku and the others prepared to send Hitomi back to 2078 was the breakthrough moment, and after this game-changer, I determined that most of the areas of interest would likely be walkable (i.e. within 3 kilometres). From this point onwards, I ended up identifying several key areas seen in the anime simply by strolling the streets using the Oculus Quest, and ultimately, I accumulated enough spots to do a discussion on the locations seen in The World in Colours. In this way, the combination of sophisticated technology, prior experience in location hunting and a little bit of patience has allowed me to identify the same spots that Hitomi visits with the Magic-Photography-and-Arts Club during her time in 2018. The end result is that, should I ever decide to plan a trip to Nagasaki in the future, I wouldn’t have much trouble in finding the locations to an anime that had deeply moved me when I’d first watched it. However, for the time being, any trip to Nagasaki (or Japan, for that matter) remains a hypothetical, and consequently, I am glad that we are at a point where it is possible to do the next best thing from the comfort of an armchair – walk the virtual streets of Nagasaki using the Oculus Quest.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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