Iroduku: The World in Color
Series in a Sentence
Hitomi, a young witch who cannot see colors, is sent back in time by her grandmother, Kohaku, in order to regain what she has lost.
What I liked
Thinking back on the series that I’ve watched with some sort of recency, it’s hard to remember how many dealt with the idea of self-discovery through the “fish-out-of-water” plot that this series was so focused on: The fact that it isn’t a commonly used trope in recent memory made this series. For example, seeing little things that really leaned into that trope, like Hitomi comment on how the school uniforms have changed or trying to use a vending machine to get a drink that went out of production, made it easy to get invested in our era-spanning cast. The trope also made the drama and romances feel that more dramatic and romantic knowing that Hitomi would eventually be separated from the rest of the characters. Here, things like Sho’s confession to Hitomi and Yuito’ budding relationship were given more weight and opened the door for their own character development. Hitomi, then, was definitely a solid catalyst for change in the rest of the cast and I can appreciate a main character being used for the sake of the supporting cast. Furthermore, concerning Hitomi, the difference in her character and Kohaku’s character was refreshing. Where other characters were elevated by Hitomi, Hitomi was elevated by Kohaku and this development, especially considering that the elderly Kohaku was the cause of Hitomi’s time travel, felt like a solid irony of sorts. In the end, I came for the promise of the feel-good plot but stayed for the more bittersweet and dramatic relationships.
What I Didn’t Like
I could excuse Hitomi’s/Yuito’s more vanilla personalities because they were meant to be that way and grow over time but I cannot excuse how rushed their “relationship” felt. In a way, their sudden confessions for each other mirrored Hitomi’s whirlwind adventure in the past and yes, there was setup by having Yuito’s paintings be the only thing she could see in color, but there were very wide swathes of time where they never even interacted. Even when Hitomi did things to show interest in Yuito, they came across more of a one-sided thing than anything. Yuito’s sudden change of heart, or acceptance of his feelings I guess you can say, just felt a bit rushed. And then there is the ending: I both liked and didn’t like it and for that reason it goes in this section. With Hitomi returning to the future, you would think that some form of meetup with the elderly would happen (especially since they all knew of her return date and Kohaku was still alive) but there was nothing of the sort. It was even left ambiguous if they were alive or not, just as the fate of Hitomi’s mother was left somewhat ambiguous. I’ve read a lot of theories about the ending, especially concerning who’s grave she was visiting at the end, and I understand that it really hammered home the bittersweet feeling surrounding regaining her enjoyment of life in exchange for having to leave those that helped her find it, but all in all it fell flat.
Iroduku was a series filled with every intention to deliver a certain bittersweet emotional experience and to a certain extent it did that. However, as I said in my spoiler-free review, nothing truly stood out as fantastic: the series was just fine. Coupled with an ending that didn’t quite resonate with me (thanks in part to ambiguity and a failure to deliver on expectations), the potential that this series had was never fully reached. Don’t take my thoughts the wrong way, it was a good show: It’s just that a few other series that try the same thing execute it better. Closing yourself off to others closes yourself off from the world.