Anime original by P.A. Works
Streaming on Amazon
Tsukishiro Hitomi is lonely. She lives with her grandmother and reminisces about the time she used to spend with her mother, and when she was able to see the world in colour. While watching the fireworks she used to love, her grandmother uses time magic to send her into the past, to meet when they are both the same age.
Euri’s verdict: Not the usual magic show. Yet.
If nothing else, this show is absolutely gorgeous. The way in which the episode begins, introducing the festival and a little about our protagonist, is very much like what we’ve come to expect from recent anime movies, and the visuals themselves are on par with that. Which is good, considering this show has quite a large focus on colour, as we quickly find out that Hitomi is colour blind. We don’t get too many details about it, but one important note is that she wasn’t always colour blind, as she mentions that she used to enjoy watching the fireworks with her mother. No specifics on what the cause was.
The future they show at the start, some fifty years ahead from when the show will be spending most of its time, is quite a curious one. People have a small glowing orb that floats by their heads, seemingly some kind of magic or technology that’s replaced smart phones as the most useful tool to carry around. We see Hitomi use it to contact her grandmother when arranging to meet her at the festival, and later on when inquiring about the date and her current location. I have to assume that it’s mostly a tech thing, given how it can’t operate once she’s gone back in time.
But yes, this show is all about magic. I’ll admit that I was a little deflated once the show confirmed it early on, but not of its own fault – it’s just very easy to assume that a show with magic in it will quickly deteriorate and start falling over the same light novel tropes with come to know and loathe. But we don’t go there, not yet at least. In fact, the way that magic is presented is genuinely intriguing. In Hitomi’s present day, she talks about hating magic, yet you only see it in things like the fireworks. There are some floating vehicles and fancy holograms too, but they seem more future-tech than magic, to me at least.
When she’s sent into the past, magic is not apparent at all. The year is 2018, people are using smart phones and all of that fancy tech we saw before is nowhere to be seen. But when she goes looking for her currently 17 year old grandmother and walks into a magic shop, it’s very apparent. But I kinda love that – we don’t have magic stuffed down our throats with people whizzing around on broomsticks and making otherwise-inanimate objects move about the place. It’s there, it’s used but it’s not so well-used that it’s impossible not to run into it. It reminds me a little of Flying Witch, except magic isn’t some well-kept secret.
We soon meet most of the Photography Arts club, who appear to be the people Hitomi will now be spending most of her time with. Not present is a guy called Aoi, another member of the group who we briefly learn about when Hitomi arrives in the past, as she winds up hiding from him in his own bedroom. She escapes without him finding her, but not before one of the Photography Arts members sticks a video of her leaving through a window online. We don’t see much of Aoi, but the show does seem to be setting him and Hitomi up, which is interesting given the circumstances. If she ends up in a romance fifty odd years in the past, does she just stay there? Or is she forced to break that relationship in a heart-wrenching scene at the end of the series when she’s forced back to her original time? Let’s hope it’s not quite that cliche, at the very least.
It’s a stellar first episode, that much I can say for sure. However, as the show is about to settle in with a new cast of characters, highschoolers no less, we’ll have to wait a few more to see whether the show ends up bogged down with the usual school-based antics. They did manage to introduce magic in a way that doesn’t dive into uninspired anime tropes though, so I have to admit that I’m cautiously optimistic.
Iro’s verdict: Beautifully Disjointed
There’s potential here, but the setup is so convoluted that it’s hard for me to really be sure. It feels as though two out of three of this show’s main elements are totally superfluous; I don’t see how Hitomi being A) from the future or B) a magus would have any meaningful bearing on the plot when she could just be a normal kid in 2018 with clinical depression. Given the circumstances, Grandma seems incredibly cruel, sending her granddaughter 60 years into the past – irreversibly, the show states – without her consent. and apparently without trying to find a therapist first. Production-wise, the show is P.A. Works doing what they do best – the color sequence towards the end is excellent – but I can’t shake the feeling that this would all make more sense if she was just a sheltered transfer student trying to meet her cousin or something. We’ll see.