IRODUKU: The World in Colors
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
IRODUKU: The World in Colors ?
Even for a show that plays with symbolism on a weekly basis, this episode of IRODUKU is laden with symbolic imagery. That it can do so without feeling heavy-handed is definitely a point in its favor, and while moments of this episode do veer in that direction, it largely works to further the story's potential goals. Given that this marks the halfway point of the series, that's a good sign.
The most important piece of the series' visuals, symbolic or otherwise, has consistently been the golden fish Hitomi has seen swimming in and out of Yuito's works. As it turns out, it is both a fish that he drew and one that she summoned: the gold fish (not a goldfish, a potentially important semantic distinction) was the subject of the first picture he drew that won an award, way back in elementary school. Arguably, therefore, even though he has not been drawing it lately, it lurks in the background of all of his current pieces, the foundation upon which his art is built. That Hitomi's latent magical abilities (or perhaps her unacknowledged powers would be a better way to say it) brought the fish out of his art could therefore be read not only as her magic rearing its head, but also of the symbiotic relationship between the two.
We can perhaps best see this when Hitomi accidentally magics herself into Yuito's art this week. (The stone on her earring is glowing when the fish initially appears, if you missed it.) Once there she not only wanders through his recent artistic landscape, but soon finds herself in a desert of artistic block. Crumbling pieces of his pictures sink into the sand, and a giant, brown fish lies motionless in the dunes. Eventually she reaches a muddy pond made up of mixed colors where a black shadow man is catching golden fish, turning them brown when he approaches them. This is a visual representation of where Yuito is creatively – chasing inspiration so hard that he can't bring it to life the way he wants to, killing it where it begins. Why this is happening isn't clear, although Sho's brief mention of Yuito's dad may have a lot to do with it. But Yuito doesn't want to hear anything Hitomi has to say on the subject, accusing her of using her magic just to please herself.
While that's kind of a rotten thing to say, it's also something that Hitomi can't really answer. She might be, simply based on the fact that she likes Yuito and his pictures are the only way for her to see colors. But it's equally likely that she's unconsciously using magic in order to help him. Her trip back in time seems fueled by the statement Kohaku makes this week about how she really feels like the two of them are good together (however she means it) – without Hitomi, Yuito's creativity dries up and without Yuito, Hitomi never learns to appreciate, or even use, her powers. They may not be two halves of a whole, strictly speaking, but it's hard to deny that they compliment each other and help to make their respective arts work. Given that in Buddhism golden fish are typically shown in pairs and are symbolic of unity and happiness, and I think that Hitomi getting her colors back when she and Yuito make up is a good sign.
IRODUKU: The World in Colors is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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