In the year 2078, Hitomi, a descendant of mages, finds herself watching fireworks… with no interest, as she had lost her ability to see color at some point. Her grandmother, Kohaku, then decides to use time magic to send her 60 years into the past, to a much more familiar 2018, albeit one where her family has already been practicing magic. She’s supposed to meet with her “grandmother”, but she seems to be studying magic abroad, so the family takes her in. Lost in a colorless and unfamiliar world, to say nothing of how she ended up in a random boy’s room upon first arriving in this era, she goes to find him as she dropped a magical earring in his room… but she finds him drawing something very colorful–the first time in a long while that she saw anything in color.
Here it is, the latest P.A. Works original series. That’s a pedigree that has given us a lot of beloved titles like Hanasaku Iroha, Nagi no Asukara, Shirobako, and Sakura Quest… and Glasslip too, I guess? Okay, so it’s not an infallible pedigree, but right away Iroduku: The World in Colors (Japanese title: Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara) looks like it can easily be another winner. First of all, P.A. Works is known for high animation quality, and true to form, this episode looks drop-dead gorgeous. It kind of has to, for a show all about finding the color in the world around us, and it definitely delivers; while the futuristic part looks suitably stunning, even the modern-era parts make a good point of emphasizing how colorful our world already is, with switches to monochrome to show how it looks in Hitomi’s eyes. Story-wise, not a lot is told yet; we know that Hitomi could not see color and is supposed to meet with her grandmother’s younger self, and we meet some other characters who will likely play major roles in the story, but we are only given just enough to know that this is a story about how Hitomi rediscovers color, while leaving the rest unknown to keep our interest. And all of this leads up to the climatic scene of the episode, which is both visually and emotionally breathtaking, as it feels like a door to something wonderful has opened. This was an amazing premiere, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead in what is quite possibly the show I look forward to watching most this season.
TWWK: That last scene was stunning. Wow. That scene is enough to give anyone, I would think, a desire to watch more, but even without it, the first episode was really solid. I especially liked all the unique flourishes—ultimately, this seems to be a story about finding yourself, but the time travel, futuristic devices, inability for Hitomi to see in color, and the use of magic in this world bring vibrancy to a regular tale (feels very Nagi-Asu in that way). Of course, when all that is stripped away, I’m looking for heart and interesting characterization and writing, and P.A. has let me down time and time again. I’m not a fan of the studio—I feel like they take the longest, most winding, and often more boring route to get to an end that often isn’t a strong enough payoff. The only show I’ve seen that bucks the trend is SHIROBAKO, but then again, no other P.A. Works opening episode has captivated me like Iroduku…so I’ll be back again, hoping this series is more SHIROBAKO for me than Hanasaku Iroha.
Iroduku: The World in Colors is streaming on Amazon Prime.