This episode of Iroduku is somewhat odd in that I feel that it both wastes a fair chunk of time while also accomplishing a lot anyway. The whole bit where the Magic Photography Arts Club plays dress up at a public garden is pretty much filler. It’s admittedly directed very well; I particularly enjoy the photo montage that sneaks in some monochromatic pictures taken by Hitomi. As far as advancing the plot though, I can’t think of any purpose this scene has. I think the production crew just really wanted these characters in Victorian London attires for some reason…they do look pretty snazzy though.
Nevertheless, you still get some huge progress between Hitomi and Aoi. Finally, some explanation is provided about the golden fish. Apparently, it was the very first thing Aoi drew for a competition and the award he earned from it compelled him to keep drawing. The significance there is obvious and it also explains why it’s a recurring trademark in Aoi’s most recent efforts. It’s the connection that it seems to have to Hitomi that I find a little bit more abstract and intriguing. Maybe it simply represents her fascination with the drawings and the fact she can see it colors. Maybe it serves to parallel Aoi’s interest in the arts with Hitomi’s on and off investment in her magical training. There’s a number of ways to look at how the fish represents the relationship between its creator and its observer.
Technically, we the audience already know that Aoi has artist’s block but Hitomi hasn’t and how she finds out makes for a very engaging scene. Goodness, that pastel aesthetic for whenever Aoi’s drawings come to life is stunning, even by the standards PA Works has set with Iroduku. The imagery has a point too. The visions start off as a bright and colorful depiction of a city before degrading into a bleak wasteland where Aoi’s golden fish lies on the ground as a mere carcass. A shadowy figure soon appears at a lake, trying to catch a fish with a net. It’s safe to assume that the figure is meant to be Aoi and the metaphor at play is that Aoi is desperately trying to reclaim his artistic spark and complete a new drawing he can be proud of before he finally decides to call it quits.
To go along with that scene, you do get some confirmation that Hitomi has unknowingly been using her magic to “enter” Aoi’s drawings and peak into his inner feelings. I had a feeling that would be the case since back in Episode 4, she did a similar thing where she subconsciously summons a train from a picture when Kohaku recreated her school in London via a spell. The only other explanation that could possibly make sense is that Hitomi got high and boy would that not have fit within Iroduku‘s narrative. That she has been using magic creates some tension between her and Aoi, the latter seeing it as an invasion of privacy and help that he didn’t ask for.
Thankfully, the drama only lasts by the end of the episode. Kohaku once again channels her future granny self (and proves that she’s Best Girl) by helping Hitomi think of the tension between her and Aoi as proof that the two of them must care for each other. And when Hitomi tries running away upon bumping into Aoi, Kohaku attempts to use wind magic to stop her and let the two make up. Aoi, meanwhile, cools off at an artist’s exhibition (the artist happens to be a friend of his) and readily admits that he was being a dick. That bit where he tells Hitomi he’ll draw and let her see the product intrigues me. Was it spur of the moment and simply his way of reconciling with Hitomi? Or has Aoi started to look at Hitomi, the one person who has been so interested in his art, as a new source of motivation to keep drawing?
What’s really throwing me on a loop though is Hitomi regaining her ability to see colors after Aoi’s declaration. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a stunning scene; there’s no denying that PA Works absolutely captures the awe Hitomi must feel at the world literally becoming more colorful. What I am trying to figure out though is what such a change will have on the rest of the story. Now that Hitomi can see colors again, how invested would she still be in Aoi’s drawings if they no longer give exclusive access to colors? While this could undermine that hook, I can see what benefit this change might have on the story. Perhaps this is meant to have Hitomi realize that her interest in Aoi has extended beyond just seeing colors and more about how she feels about Aoi himself.
- Oh my God, Shou. Take a goddamn hint already! At least Asagi isn’t settling for head pats anymore.
- The bit where Kurumi keeps all the depressing photos taken at the club trip has a surprising amount of truth to it. I completely get her thinking that they make for good reminiscing and that photography shouldn’t just be about the happy moments.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Iroduku: The World in Colors on Amazon