Review Visual Novel

Irotoridori no Sekai – The Colorful World – Review

Irotoridori no Sekai is a visual novel developed by FAVORITE which was originally released in Japan in 2011. Now, it’s finally available to Western fans via an English translation courtesy of NekoNyan. Irotoridori no Sekai is a dramatic romance visual novel that follows the story of Kanoue Yuuma, a young student with a mysterious power, and a slate of equally unusual heroines. This is a lengthy one, with the average playtime clocking in at 45 hours according to VNDB (and 33 hours personally). So, is it worth the time investment?

Irotoridori no Sekai - Background Art

Narrative Open

Our protagonist is Kanoue Yuuma, a young man living in the rural port town of Kazatsugahama. Early on we’re introduced to Yuuma’s early life, as he attends school, banters with his childhood friend, and communicates with a mysterious girl that only he can see, who lives inside of him. So, of course, Yuuma isn’t an ordinary student. He has a power that allows him to heal any bodily injury, at the cost of some of his memories. He has this power on account of Shinku, a girl, perhaps most easily described as a spirit, who is attached to him.

Yuuma doesn’t have any memory of his life before Shinku was there, she’s been a constant fixture in his life. The two have a friendly relationship; Shinku doesn’t appear to be a burden to Yuuma at all, despite the odd nature of her existence. There is one thing nagging at Yuuma though. Every night he has the same dream of a world where white feathers fall from the sky, and a voice calls out to him asking to be saved. He wants to one day reach this mysterious place from his dream, and perhaps answer that call.

Irotoridori no Sekai’s narrative plays out in a familiar way. We’re first taken through the common route, where some layers of mystery are peeled back, and others layered on. And of course, we meet the full cast of characters and heroines that Yuuma will be spending his time with. I’ll talk more about the heroine’s introductions in the common route in their respective sections, but overall I found it to be a cohesive, enjoyable setup that gave me a solid grasp on the world and its characters.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Suzu

Characters General

The cast of Irotoridori no Sekai does a lot of narrative heavy lifting. The story’s most dramatic, emotional moments simply wouldn’t work without first building the reader’s attachment to the characters. Thankfully, with some sharp comedic writing, and a commitment to character consistency, Irotoridori no Sekai’s cast bursts to life. The narrative has an excellent command of pace in the common route too. There is very little downtime, every scene feels meaningful and gives you some new insight into the world, the characters, or the various mysteries of the plot.

Before I dive into the heroines of Irotoridori no Sekai, I want to talk a bit about both our protagonist and the supporting cast. First of all, Yuuma definitely took some getting used to. The nature of his power, and the shakiness of his memory, leads to him being a bit difficult to read even when you’re literally reading his thoughts. There were moments where he’d act in a distant manner to his friends, and it irked me somewhat. I’m happy to say he grew on me though. As I got deeper into the story, learned more about his circumstances, and developed an understanding of his feelings, I came to feel very attached to Yuuma. There’s a powerful sense of loss surrounding him, and the weight of his power and the consequences attached to it have a lot of impact.

Outside of Irotoridori no Sekai’s main heroines, there is a small but important cast of secondary characters. Some, like Natsume Suzu, are indispensable to the overall plot and appear consistently regardless of the route you take. It’s a bit tricky to talk about the broader cast of Irotoridori no Sekai without getting too in the weeds, and whilst avoiding spoilers. What I can say is I greatly appreciated that every single character had meaningful narrative weight. Even the non-heroine characters are fully developed, with intricate histories, motivations, and relationships. I was impressed as I progressed through different routes and saw these characters take on important roles, and have their stories tie into the overall narrative.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Tsukasa


Of Irotoridori no Sekai’s five heroines, I’m compelled to begin by discussing Tsukasa. She was, for me, the least interesting of the bunch. Both in the common route and in her own, Tsukasa felt like something of a loose end. That isn’t to say her route was bad exactly, but it just lacks the narrative weight of some of the routes I’ll talk about later. Tsukasa is a young, energetic girl. A perpetual busybody and a perpetual klutz. Tsukasa somewhat fills the role of a comedic sidekick to Yuuma in many scenes, and whilst that is a lot of fun, I think it’s also responsible for some of the weakness in her route.

Going into Tsukasa’s route, I didn’t feel much attachment to her as a character. Whilst she was a lot of fun in scenes, there wasn’t a particularly strong emotional core to her character. The story of her route is perfectly adequate, and it provides some interesting contextual information for other characters, but I don’t think it elevates Tsukasa from her position as a comic relief character that she fills in the common route. It’s difficult to establish any romantic connection between Tsukasa and Yuuma when much of her dialogue is obfuscated by multiple layers of comedic exaggeration.

I think a lot of the weakness in Tsukasa’s route can be put down to its length. It’s noticeably shorter than the routes of the more important, plot relevant heroines. There is another route that’s on the shorter end, and it rather conveniently pairs well with Tsukasa’s route. One of the more interesting, compelling elements of her route is how it connects with our next heroine, Shikishima Kyou.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Kyou


Kyou is, I suspect, a character that many of those who pick up Irotoridori no Sekai will find endearing in some way. She’s an eroge obsessed shut-in with a, perhaps unhealthy, fixation on brother-sister relationships. Much like Tsukasa, she brings a lot of comedic value to scenes she appears in. Kyou never goes more than ten lines without dropping some kind of innuendo, or outright unhinged, eroge-brained statement. And I loved that.

Kyou’s route is about as short as Tsukasa’s, but I think it does a better job of constructing an emotional core for the reader to attach to. Kyou is also just more plot relevant, with her background providing important information for understanding the world of Irotoridori no Sekai. Kyou also directly improves Tsukasa’s route via her presence, as there is a focus in both their routes on the friendship between them. That friendship feels inherently more meaningful from Kyou’s perspective given her otherwise lonely life as a shut-in.

I think the relationship between Kyou and Yuuma is a lot more believable, even considering her position as a persistent one-liner machine. I never felt that Kyou’s humor detracted from the believability of the romance. You could put this down to personal preference on my part, and that could be fair. I’d argue though that Kyou’s off-beat jokes and innuendo are just one feature of her character, as opposed to humor being all Tsukasa has to work with. Regardless, I enjoyed Kyou’s route. It is definitely still on the lighter side, but it contains some interesting world-building elements and Kyou is a lot of fun to spend time with.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Mio


With Kana and Tsukasa out of the way, we’re now onto the routes that I consider to be Irotoridori no Sekai’s strongest. Beginning with Mio, the classic tsundere childhood friend. A character archetype that I assume is legally mandated to appear in every visual novel. Whilst this is well-trodden ground, I think Irotoridori no Sekai takes Mio’s route and character in a really interesting direction and delivers on the premise of a childhood friend better than most.

Mio is terribly earnest, she scolds Yuuma out of a desire to see him improve himself. She tempers the worst of her tsundere tendencies with genuine affection. For me, she was the most interesting character in the common route from a romance perspective. Mio is, relative to the other heroines, a predictable grounding rod. It isn’t that I disliked the eccentricities of the other heroines, but I appreciated how Mio filled a uniquely calm, familiar role amongst all of the chaos. Irotoridori no Sekai took the predictability of the childhood friend archetype and turned it into a strength.

The specifics of Mio’s route were interesting. As I said, it takes the childhood friend idea in an unexpected direction that elevates the trope somewhat. The romance element is also a lot stronger here than in the aforementioned routes. My only complaint is that, towards the end of the route things begin to get a little bit convoluted. Her route is definitely somewhat overwritten, and some of the more intense emotional shots feel a little bit overwrought and unnatural. Overall though, a great heroine and route, and it also ties nicely into Irotoridori no Sekai’s broader narrative.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Kana


Our next heroine, Kana, has a route that feels to me like the main route before the main route. It’s a bit tough to explain that statement without getting into spoilers. Essentially, it feels like, before you unlock the final route which we’ll discuss shortly, Irotoridori no Sekai is pushing you towards Kana. She is a heroine who falls from the sky, albeit in a less mystical way than that usually implies. She seems to know Yuuma more than he knows himself, and she pushes herself onto him with great persistence and earnestness.

Kana behaves similarly to an enthusiastic puppy. She is determined to become a girl Yuuma would fall in love with, and she preemptively declares herself to be his wife before any other girl could swoop in. She’s a lot of fun, though some may find her a tad overbearing. Her route though, is stellar I think, regardless of your personal tolerance for the enthusiastic airhead.

I have some difficulty talking about Kana’s route in an objective way, for whatever that would be worth. Our experiences of stories are always going to be impacted by our individual perspectives and circumstances. I played Irotoridori no Sekai at a time in my life where Kana’s route felt incredibly personal, and it hit hard. I was more emotionally invested than I otherwise may have been.

So, what is that worth for this review? Whilst I don’t know if my personal experience will translate for everyone playing Kana’s route, I do think the impact it had speaks to a great strength of Irotoridori no Sekai, that being its earnestness. There is very little cynicism to be found in the narrative, it has a wealth of ground it wants to cover thematically and it does so in a competent, human way. There are many mysterious, inhuman elements to the narrative, but the script always returns back to the understandable human impact. It is more concerned with how the characters it wants you to love are affected by events, rather than the events themselves.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Shinku


That brings us nicely onto our final heroine, Shinku. The most important of Irotoridori no Sekai’s heroines, and also the most difficult to discuss without spoiling anything. Shinku’s route is only unlocked after finishing the four previous routes, and there’s a good reason for that. Shinku’s route is the synthesis of everything the player experiences through those routes. It ties Irotoridori no Sekai’s narrative together, and resolves all the remaining elements of mystery. I’d say it’s unambiguously worth the investment too.

Shinku is an ever-present force in Irotoridori no Sekai. As she lives in Yuuma’s mind, she is always there. If Yuuma had no one else, he would at least have Shinku. She’s a kind of bastion against loneliness for him. The common route, and the four heroine routes, consistently build on Yuuma’s attachment to Shinku. Her route is then the culmination of all that build. It’s uplifting and tragic in equal measure, and by resolving the remaining mysteries of Irotoridori no Sekai’s world it reframes all previous routes in a way that elevates them even after you’ve experienced them.

I don’t want to just gush with abstract praise for Shinku’s route, but I’m not sure what else I can say without ruining its impact. Not to give away my conclusion early, but you should read Irotoridori no Sekai. Read it for Shinku. If you appreciate genuine, earnest expressions of friendly, familial, and romantic love then you’ll be perfectly satisfied by the payoff of Irotoridori no Sekai found in Shinku’s route.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Embarrassed Shinku

Narrative Close

Outside of narrative specifics, themes, and feelings, we have the technical elements of Irotoridori no Sekai’s storytelling. The script is excellent for the most part. There are some issues with repetition of ideas and concepts, but it’s not too severe. Some of the character’s dialogue can go off the rails fairly often. This is particularly bad with Tsukasa. What any other character might say in one line, Tsukasa says in four. Again though, this issue isn’t too severe. It’s a small issue overall.

What I appreciated most about the script is the careful effort made to give every scene some meaningful development. In some visual novels I find that the slice-of-life sections that serve to develop your attachment to the characters can feel somewhat disconnected from the narrative. Irotoridori no Sekai excels in keeping a consistent narrative throughline in every scene. There is always a sense that the story is building towards something, and there are scarcely any scenes that feel as though they could have been cut. This also contributes to a great feeling of pace. I never found that Irotoridori no Sekai got off pace, the narrative slowed and sped up in a natural way that kept me hooked throughout.

I think the localization deserves a mention here too. Irotoridori no Sekai’s characters are varied and unique in personality, and I think it’s a testament to the strength of the localization team that those personalities come through so clearly in the script. Take away the sprites and colored text, and I’m confident I could still identify which character is speaking solely by how they’re written. That’s a significant achievement I think. It’s also worth praising, I think, the ability to translate Kyou’s constant quips and innuendo in a way that feels natural and funny.

Irotoridori no Sekai - Mio Gaming


Underpinning Irotoridori no Sekai’s narrative strength are some beautiful visuals. There’s an undeniable sense of quality present. From sharp, clean menus and text, to beautiful, vibrant CGs, it’s a feast for the eyes. Irotoridori no Sekai’s use of color is impressive. Character sprites are vibrant, and with some excellent use of light and shading, they pop out perfectly against the deliberately less saturated backgrounds.

On a design level there’s some great work here too. Whilst Kana’s maid uniform might be out there as casual wear, it fits her character’s eccentricity so well that it’s honestly more noticeable when she’s dressed normally. Shinku’s oversized lab coat hanging from her shoulders is a great representation of the contrast between her maturity and more childish behaviors. Kyou’s refined, demure image serves to elevate the impact of her bizarre, perverted dialogue. I could go on for a while here.

In terms of scene to scene variety, Irotoridori no Sekai has a good variation of sprite poses and expressions, with Kyou having some particularly endearing sprites. There is a substantial amount of CGs, and they’re used well to elevate heavier, emotional scenes, but they’re also frequently used in the more relaxed moments of character bonding.

Irotoridori no Sekai is an eroge, so there are of course also h-scenes to discuss. There are 10 h-scenes in total, each using multiple CGs. These CGs are uncensored, without mosaics. These scenes are used well in the context of the story, and they’re pleasantly vanilla. They’re used in a similar way to the classic ‘confession’ scenes of more safe-for-work romance media. They represent the resolution of the romantic build-up, and provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship between Yuuma and the heroine. My one complaint with them would be some questionable anatomy. The wonderful character art starts to get a bit off-model when the clothes come off and the need arises to draw them in less standard positions. It’s unfortunate, but the overall quality of the art is so strong that I wasn’t terribly bothered.


Irotoridori no Sekai’s musical selection is strong, and well used throughout. There are two versions of the OST available, the HD remaster and the original. I found the HD OST to be the better option here. The mix is a lot stronger, aside from some tracks being a bit on the loud side. In terms of favorite tracks, it’s tough to choose just one, but I would like to make specific mention of “The World as Seen Through Her Red Eyes (Arrange ver.)”, a particularly beautiful piano track, and “For I Will Always Love Eroge!”, a track whose name contrasts quite dramatically with its tone.

Irotoridori no Sekai features full Japanese voice acting, with the exception of the protagonist, as is standard. What isn’t standard is how great it is. I sometimes struggle to talk much about VA work when it’s only serviceable, luckily Irotoridori no Sekai’s cast goes above and beyond. The two examples I want to highlight are Kyou and Shinku. Kyou’s VA does such a fantastic job delivering her dialogue that it ties the whole character together. Shinku’s VA meanwhile just has a perfect tone for the character, particularly shining when communicating Shinku’s curiosity and desire to connect with others. Across the board, excellent VA work.


After finishing Irotoridori no Sekai, particularly having finished Shinku’s route, I am confident in recommending it. Going in, my interest mostly stemmed from some of the beautiful artwork I’d seen, and whilst it certainly delivered on that, it also delivered a compelling, emotional narrative that I’m happy to have experienced for myself. There are some issues of course, a couple of less interesting routes and a bit of unnecessary complexity at times. But I think that messiness is often an unavoidable side effect of earnestness. And that’s my favorite part of Irotoridori no Sekai, you can tell it is bursting with a desire to communicate its story, its characters, and its world to you.


Platforms: PC
Walkthrough/Guide: Click Here
Purchase: JAST USA

If you are looking for another visual novel, you may enjoy Baldr Sky. We have covered a wide variety of visual novels both original to English and localized from Japanese, which you can check out here.

Thank you to NekoNyan for providing a Steam review code for Irotoridori no Sekai.

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