IRODUKU: The World in Colors
Episode 4

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 4 of
IRODUKU: The World in Colors ?

Grandma Kohaku returns to Japan this week, possibly because her parents have told her about her granddaughter Hitomi living with them. Since her mother is surprised to see Kohaku home from England (obligatory studying-at-Hogwarts joke here), that implies that she cut her exchange program short – and given Kohaku's personality, the lure of Hitomi really would have been too much for her to resist. She's as outgoing as Hitomi is retiring, a girl who perhaps doesn't seek attention, but revels in it when she receives it nonetheless. Although given that she came back armed with at least one shop's entire tea stock as gifts for people at school, she may actually be trying to be center stage. It's definitely a reputation she's earned, regardless – just about every single person she encounters at school says something about not doing anything that requires an apology letter.

Hitomi herself doesn't seem too taken aback by Kohaku's antics, possibly because she grew up hearing about them. But she also doesn't seem thrilled to have her granny back, which is an interesting piece of information. Granted, Hitomi really doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve, but most of her interactions with Kohaku are more cautious than anything. It does make sense, because this boisterous girl hasn't grown into the grandmother she remembers, even if her hugs are just the same, and if there's one thing Hitomi doesn't quite know how to deal with, it's gregarious people. Kohaku does encourage Hitomi to be more open with her new friends – and the way she says that it seems like a good time to tell them about Hitomi's time travel implies that she had always intended for them to know – but to what end is as yet uncertain. Odds are that she simply sees Hitomi's arrival as another part of her own grand life adventure.

We do get another possibility as to why Hitomi has been sent back in time this week, when Yuito's mother reveals that she found his plans to get a job right after graduation rather than go on to art school. Yuito mumbles something about never having really wanted to be an artist anyway, but that doesn't quite ring true, especially given what we've seen. Could Hitomi have been sent back to stop him from making a mistake on that front? Kohaku may well have kept in touch with kids from her high school class who could have given her the idea, and her own memories of Yuito may have indicated that Hitomi would be someone who could help him. It's a stretch, perhaps, but given Kohaku's boundless enthusiasm (and the fact that she's been saving up the required magical energy for sixty years to accomplish this), it could be that this time Hitomi is here to break a detrimental time loop.

Whatever the reason, Yuito remains interested in Hitomi, although finding out that she wasn't lying about the whole time-travel thing does appear to startle him more than the others in the group. In fact, the lack of reaction on everyone else's part is more striking than Yuito's clear discomfort. It isn't as if magic is commonly used for this sort of thing; at least one person makes a remark to that effect. But maybe only Yuito is really thinking about the implications of the thing, that Hitomi might not stick around forever and what that could mean for him if he continues to be interested in her. There's definitely the potential for tragedy here if Hitomi turns out not to be stuck back in time, and that's even without considering that her sixty-years-ago crush could turn out to be her grandfather. (Unlikely, because obviously she'd have known at least his name, but the basic point stands.)

How everyone reacts from here on out may determine the character relationships going forward. At the moment, the plot seems more interested in Hitomi's latent magical talent and the fact that she truly doesn't seem to understand that it's there. Kohaku's youth in this time period may provide the peer boost Hitomi needs to see the worth in herself and what she can do, but it really does seem inextricably tied to Yuito's art and the mysterious fish she sees leaping from his tablet as if it swam in its depths. This very mysticism and uncertainty is a large part of what makes this series intriguing and appealing. Let's see where it can take us next.

Rating: B

IRODUKU: The World in Colors is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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