Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara, (lit. “From the Color-Changing World’s Tomorrow”)
/Iroduku: The World in Colors. Studio P.A.Works, Fall 2018, 13 episodes
The Nagasaki of Irozuku in the year 2078 is much like the Nagasaki of today, except that the cell phones are way better. The small amount of magic left in the world is about the same and troubled anime teen girls still either withdraw from their emotional
lives or …
Guess I’ll have to wait for a sequel to find out how a 2078 small-amount-of-magic-remains Japanese Yankee girl would act out. Hoverbike? I insist on to-the-ankles pleated uniform skirts; they are way kewl and their appeal is severely underrated.
17 year old Hitomi Tsukishiro clearly needs an intervention and her great mage grandma has just the thing for the job. I’m sure she is confident in her treatment plan’s success because she remembers helping to jolt her granddaughter back to life some 60 years hence – which is why she then started work on the absorb-60-years-of-moonlight Star-sand clock thingy needed to spirit Hitomi back to when she also was a teenage girl.
Besides setting up a neato temporal loop that can avoid paradoxing, PA Works gets to draw out the back streets of Nagasaki in soft, gentle lines and then slowly play with the Hue knob to mute and then pump the settings with gorgeous colors. They have in effect turned the city into a Iyashikei and reverse Isekai tale location at the same time. (1)
Bonus! It is also good that witch clans keep to the old ways of welcoming and making a place for distant relatives – even future distant relatives and that a spare room was available at great-grandmother’s (and great-great-grandmother’s) magic shop.
Hitomi and her presently 17-year old obaacha Kohaku even have the requisite Isekai magic powers but they are both limited and when not, somewhat difficult to control. We are closer to the world-mood of Kiki’s Delivery Service and Flying Witch than any magical girl world; gentle pace, sympathetic people and small wonders.
Add that there isn’t too much service (again with the too short school uniform skirts, jeesh! – although in this case Hitomi’s might also serve to mark her as immature relative to her new peer group) and we are not going to get too much foregrounded high-school crush stuff because someone has to get back to 2078 and should not flirt with their grandpa.
Which only leaves the problem of the magic boy.
Or the boy and his magic digital drawing tablet. Or the magic fish.
The fish is an excellent touch. Its later permutations hint at some disappointment or shock or even trauma that Aoi Yuito went through that is making it hard for him to keep drawing. Without his problem, the entire tale would descend to ‘magic boy cures all what ills girl’. If the story can somehow make his problems somewhat paralel to whatever monochromed Hitomi, then she can heal herself by helping someone else heal. And she is making progress; her color has abrubtly returned by the end of episode six, although she has no idea how or why. This is not a viable solution.
“Oh, I fell on my bum in my dream of his drawing and my colors came back; whew! Glad that’s done. Now how do I get back to my time?”
I suspect the next 6 episodes will need more magic drawing mutual psychotherapy to work out all the kinks, while incidentally setting Hitomi on the path to her future magic-using speciality. Something like Paprika, only without the scary, dangerous chaos.
Meanwhile Irozuku is just plain beautiful to watch. At a time when folks (incl. moi meme) might be overwhelmed with IRL fight-flight bullshit goings on, something like Irozuku with its quiet moments and beautiful colors remind us to take a deep breath and look around. The leaves are turning…
The world remains beautiful.
- For more details on Irozuku’s locations, please visit: Weekly Review of Transit, Place and Culture in Anime 289 by MICHAEL, Like a Fish in Water (blog), Oct 17, 2018