Monday, October 7, 2019

Missed It Monday - Iroduku: The world in colors (anime review)

two school girls sit on a bridge in misty backlight
Missed it Monday is the ongoing column where I review anime and manga that I missed when they first came out.

Iroduku: The world in colors - 5.5/10

Let me be blunt. "Iroduku: The world in colors" was an overwrought, under developed, and exceedingly boring anime. I also think it served mostly as a vehicle for male fantasy. In short. I didn't really like it.

Hitomi lives in 2078. She is a high-school student in a world where some people can use magic and that is a normal part of society (in some ways, like a huge rip off of the Someday's Dreamers series of manga and anime - a far far better series). For whatever reason, and we'll come back to this later, she cannot see colors. She is also sad (oh so sad) and her grandmother decides to send her back in time 60 years without warning.

Arriving in 2018, she meets a bunch of other high-school students including her grandmother, who is now the same age. They form friendship and a club focused on all their interests: photography, art, and magic. They take a lot of pictures and her grandmother has to figure out how to send Hitomi back to the correct time. And from the audience perspective, we know that resolving Hitomi's color blindness must be the key. You know, because anime.

Naturally, Hitomi meets a young man whose own art she can see in color. Etc... etc... pining  for each other but not admitting it or even being aware of it, etc...

Let's talk about Hitomi though. She is beautiful and a powerful mage (but can't really use it consciously yet). She has a seemingly supportive family back in her time. But she's sad, and somehow that is linked to her color blindness. As someone who suffers from depression, and whose daughter also suffers from extreme depression, I fully understand that despite all her privilege that she might really be depressed. Fine, if that were actually the case.

We also get a strange sequence that hints that there might be something troubling between her and her mother in the past, or it could also be interpreted as a barrier between how she sees herself and who she could be. Either way, we are really given no backstory or understanding of why she's so sad and distant and can't make friends back home, etc...

If this were an anime about depression, and there have been some amazing ones, then fine. But it doesn't seem to be. Instead, it hints that there are reasons for Hitomi being so sad, but it doesn't give us any explanation. So instead, she comes off as needlessly mopey. At one point, in episode 5, she more or less says something to the effect of: "I've spent so long not seeing colors, I've just given up on everything." Um, wow, dramatic much? She even withholds the information about being color-blind from her friends as if they would give a damn. She turns it into this big secret. Who the hell cares?

Making it worse, she's depicted, and voiced, as a very very meek person. I am so tired of the beautiful but meek girl who is sad and needs the love of some boy to draw her out of herself. This is what I meant early on when I said this is a male fantasy. There are four beautiful girls and the boys who love them, and our lead girl is saved by the love she experiences from the boy whose art she can see. Gag me.

The entire production is so hell-bent on being deep and emotional but there is absolutely nothing of substance that occurs throughout, and we really don't like any of the characters on their own. Perhaps with the exception of Kohaku, her grandmother, who is actually slightly interesting. However, much of what made Kohaku interesting (her reckless use of magic) is forgotten after the first few episodes.

The animation is beautiful with very detailed and vivid backgrounds and solid character animation. But that attention to detail is wasted on a non-plot with a character we don't really like because she's somewhere between a door-mat and a door-mouse. Let us be clear. This isn't shoujo with a strong plucky heroine. This is probably a seinen/shounen-type show, targeted at "sensitive" boys who really just have a savoir complex towards women.

Further, the photography club is insufferable in its attempts to add some technical components into conversation. I hate when an anime that isn't actually about something, tries to act like it knows what it's talking about. Photography is actually incidental to the story, it could have been a club about anything, so the attempts to get technical with their random photography conversations just comes off as banal pseudo-mansplaining.

There are a ton of other problems with the show from over exposition (but not about anything of consequence), to lack of any forward momentum, to all sorts of lose ends. Its pretty much a hot mess of overly dramatic nothingness with characters we don't care about. I struggle to even give it a 5.5/10.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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