IRODUKU: The World in Colors
Episode 9

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 9 of
IRODUKU: The World in Colors ?

It's easy to brush off teenage love confessions and emotions as something the characters have plenty of time to get over. But in the moment they're very real, and that's what's at the heart of this week's episode of IRODUKU. I've had my suspicions about Sho having a thing for Hitomi since the beginning of the series, and that proves to be true now as Sho decides to use Hitomi's request for photography instruction as the moment to confess his feelings for her and ask her out. Hitomi never saw it coming, and Sho's confession freaks her right out to the point where she runs away from him.

Perhaps Hitomi and Sho were the only two who didn't see how this was going to play out. Asagi, who has been in love with Sho for a long time, was definitely dreading the moment but doing her best to ignore the hints, such as the fact that in all of the pictures from the club's last outing, Sho is looking at Hitomi rather than anything he might be photographing. She likes Sho so much that she quickly assumes that Hitomi is going to end up accepting Sho's confession, although her use of the past tense and mad dash away from Hitomi at the end of the episode could just as easily be interpreted as her recognizing that Sho doesn't like her that way and she should move on.

It's difficult to say if Sho truly wasn't anticipating that Hitomi would turn him down. I suspect that a piece of him knew that she and Yuito like each other even if, as Mark Twain once put it, neither party was aware of the fact perhaps. (The American Claimant if you're wondering.) When Hitomi does finally speak to him at the end of the episode and then Yuito finds him depressed on the roof, Sho doesn't say anything about Hitomi liking someone else, but it's clear that he knows who she means. It's one of the rare moments we get to see Sho act less than perfectly mature – not only does he scream out his anger and sadness, but he also doesn't tell Yuito his suspicions, which is significant because Sho did warn his friend ahead of time that he was going to ask Hitomi out. It's nice to see him be a little childish, because it lets us know that he's a real person underneath it all, and that his feelings for Hitomi were strong enough that this is not a sting he's going to get over just like that.

The most significant moment, however, is when Hitomi tells her friends that she doesn't feel like she deserves to love or be loved. There's no context given for that, and it could be for any number of reasons, from depression to bullying to her struggles with her magic. Most likely it is some combination of all three things, because Hitomi was so unhappy in the future and has no desire to go back. She was alone, not just lonely – a person set apart from everyone else, whether intentionally or not. Here, as she tells Sho, she has friends and can be the person she wants to be, feeling safe in her surroundings and in her own skin for the first time. And just maybe that means that she deserves affection in her life as well.

I am a big believer in being able to love yourself before you can truly love others, and that seems to have been Hitomi's journey thus far. Kohaku has been instrumental in it, in part because she's so perceptive and attuned to Hitomi, but also because she simply believes in her. The solution to Hitomi's magic issues may lie within Hitomi herself, but Kohaku holds at least part of the key to truly unlocking them – and it seems likely that Yuito has the rest of it. Even if he can't admit to himself that he likes Hitomi (whether out of a fear of her returning to the future or something else), it's becoming increasingly obvious that he really does, from his reaction to his mother's teasing to his screw-up at work when he realizes that Hitomi is skipping club. Whether or not the two of them manage to work things out will likely be the focus of the final three episodes, and while these symbols of love, magic, and color could end up being pretty cheesy, it will also hopefully be worth it in the end.

Rating: B

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

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