THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. MUSHY, GUSHY SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Episodes: 13 + an upcoming movie (yay Suwa!)
Synopsis: A high school student receives a letter from her future self, instructing her on how to change the past to save the new boy who has just joined her class. She and her friends work together to change their futures and erase their regrets.
Last night I buckled down to watch the finale of the anime Orange, based off the manga series of the same title by Ichigo Takano. I had intended to read the manga before finishing the series but, eh, beggers can’t be choosers.
Also, I’m moving and the last thing I need is more books. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
It also might have to do with how expensive the combined volumes are omg
I have been back and forth about how I felt about Orange since midway through the season and even now feel a bit iffy about whether or not I am satisfied with the ending. Kakeru was saved by the power of friendship and love, and yet I still felt that Suwa’s story and emotions for Naho were left drastically untouched.
For how long everyone tried to get Naho to come forward about her letter and how hard they all pushed to get the truth of Kakeru’s suicidal emotions out, it just doesn’t feel right that they chose to keep the future they erased where Suwa and Naho were married a secret. Especially since Suwa had photos.
It’s also strange to me that Naho’s future self left the fact that she and Suwa were married so vague– and the part about Suwa confessing was completely out of her letter. Either Naho in the future really did love Kakeru more or she really believed that she had to be honest about her feelings and could not have any other distractions in the way because it would steer her off her course.
Also, Azusa and Hagita are totally getting married in this new future. There is no way that’s not happening.
What were the strong points for me? I liked that in the future, their friendships fell apart because they lost someone that deep down they knew they could saved. It was their guilt that tore them apart. They were in denial over Kakeru’s death being a suicide, but in their hearts they always knew there was a darkness that was keeping him from them and that they did nothing breech it for the wrong reasons. They wanted to fix it and they found a way– in a parallel universe– to do so. And they did– and as much as they did it for themselves, they did it for Kakeru too.
Also, parallel universe? Nice save, Takano. Now the Suwa/Naho shippers can be happy and the Kakeru/Naho shippers can be happy because both outcomes happened, but in different worlds. Never mind the fact that the one where Suwa and Naho are married is the one where Kakeru died. I’m hoping that there are other futures out there for them where Kakeru didn’t have to die for Suwa and Naho to be happy together. That just seems like such a bad and unfair outcome for Suwa.
Seriously. He can either confess to the girl he loves that he loves her and have his best friend commit suicide, or he can watch his best friend have the girl and he can live. Props to you, Suwa, for being satisfied enough with a future you yourself will never experience.
Ouch, man. That’s a serious friend, though.
But still. Ouch.
And it was so achingly annoying to me watching how Naho could never just come out and say what she felt. Good lord. Also, not realizing Kakeru wanted to hold hands? Naho is way too smart to be that dense. That was an insult to Naho’s character and to Kakeru. How many times was Naho’s letter correct and how many times did she ignore the one thing her future self kept saying– to be honest about her feelings?
All the way up to the last episode, obviously.
I would like to think that the one event of Naho confessing was not what changed things for Kakeru– I’d like to think it was the efforts of all the friends (including MVP Hagita, destroying the bike and thus buying them time to find Kakeru) that changed his mind in the end. Suicide and depression are difficult things, and harboring the guilt of your mother’s death– and feeling as if you do not deserve to live because of it– are real things and to me explain much of Kakeru’s character and actions throughout the series.
It would have been nice, though, if he had felt he deserved the future his mother’s last message said he did just by knowing that was what she was trying to do for him. But then again depression is not logical. That is a big weight to carry, knowing someone died because they wanted to free you from their overbearing nature and let you spread your wings and fly.
Cute things: The episodes are called Letter 1, Letter 2, etc– nice touch. Every time Azu and Hagita argued. Suwa cheering Naho on and at the same time trying to provoke Kakeru into action. The fireworks scene.
Did I cry? No, but I did tear up a heck of a lot. Nothing fell though.
I was not crying. YOU were crying.
Overall, on a scale of one to 10, Orange earns a solid 7. It’s a series I will remember for sure.