Hitomi Tsukishiro is a teenager living in the year 2078. She descended from a long line of magicians, but her heritage has come at a cost – she has gradually lost the ability to see colors, and her world is now lifeless shades of gray. Her grandmother, Kohaku, uses powerful magic to send Hitomi back in time so that they may meet in the past.
When Hitomi awakens in 2018, she seeks out her family’s magic shop, and encounters her grandmother’s high school classmates. Knowing the power of magic, her great and great-great-grandparents are happy to help her, though her grandmother is abroad. In the meantime, Hitomi tries to find a lost earring, missing since her time jump. In her search, she finds a boy whose drawings give her the first glimpse of color she’s seen in years.
The first thing that struck me about Irozuku: The World in Colors was how quickly it got through its own plot setup. In under a minute, we’ve established Hitomi’s condition, and in just over five, her grandmother has magic’d her into the past.
There’s no big history lesson on how magic came to be, or dumb ranking system for wizards and witches, just one family with magic powers that everyone seems pretty cool with. It’s refreshing to see a show that’s so confident in its premise and trusts that its audience can get on board without an elaborate backstory.
On the other hand, Grandma Gandalf just showing up to send Hitomi on a time-traveling adventure does feel abrupt when we’ve barely had a chance to meet either of them and establish their relationship. The same goes for the majority of the people we’re introduced to. We meet a number of Kohaku’s classmates and family in 2018, but it looks like the plan is to handle introductions quickly with the promise of greater depth to come. I can get behind that, even if it leaves me with little to go on character-wise to start.
I appreciate how Hitomi’s condition is treated from the get-go. It’s clear that it upsets her and that she in part blames magic for it, but it’s not treated as some terrible curse. Her reaction to briefly seeing colors again is energizing and entertaining, though her response to time travel is decidedly more laid back. I suppose coming from a family if mages would make you less likely to freak out over such things, but since it seems like most magic is relatively minor (spells to find lost objects, charms for luck and so on), the jump from parlor tricks to chronomancy is pretty far.
The setup does offer plenty of potential. I look forward to seeing how Hitomi interacts with her family in the past, as well as Kohaku and her friends. The fact that they all know about magic, and that it’s considered normal (if not typical) is pretty cool, and could lead to some fun blending of interpersonal drama and magical shenanigans. If it leads to more visuals like the ones that happen when Hitomi’s vision is temporarily restored, I’m certainly up for it.
On that note, the visuals in the show are pretty good overall. The backgrounds are colorful and lively, but mixed with more simple environments so they’re not overwhelming. The vibrance is also a good nod to what Hitomi misses about the world. The characters look fine and match well with the backgrounds for the most part, but there’s something a little iffy about their faces. In several scenes, all of the teenagers seem to have the same face, with unnaturally wide-set eyes. It’s a minor thing, but with such striking backgrounds, I hope that character animation pulls together to match.
My first impressions of Irozuku (or Iroduku, depending on who you ask) are quite positive. Its premise is a bit contrived, but keeps the pace moving along and avoids clogging up the first episode with exposition. The world is grounded, but the general acceptance of magic give it a lot of room to break expectations. My hope is that the show will weave its solid worldbuilding into a deeper exploration of its characters.
The Con Artists’ experience with P.A. Works other shows has been mixed. Speaking only for myself, I enjoyed their work on Angel Beats! and Shirobako, but jumped ship on Charlotte and was underwhelmed by Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea. Nagi-Asu also boasted an intriguing premise, but got bogged down with tons of plot threads and backstory. I’m hopeful that Irozuku will end up as a more compelling story and characters. If you’re not already following along, you can find the show on Amazon Prime Video.