“Hanging in there, living, is the toughest thing there is”
Trigger Warning: Suicide
Orange is a slice-of-life romance series set in Matsumoto. Naho Takamiya, a second year high school student, receives letters sent from herself 10 years into the future. Her future self asks her to prevent her “biggest regrets”, which has something to do with the new transfer student from Tokyo, a boy named Kakeru Naruse. At first skeptical, Naho begins to believe the letters as they accurately predict events. Naho learns from the letters that in the future Kakeru is dead, having passed away by suicide around Valentine’s Day in the same school year in which he enrolled. Later, Azusa, and Hagita, and Chino admit they have received similar letters. They all agree that though they may not be able to change the fate of their future selves, they may create a parallel universe where Kakeru is still alive. On the night of Kakeru’s supposed death, the friends’ plan to meet up is interrupted as Kakeru does not arrive on time. The five search throughout Matsumoto and manage to stop him from getting hit by a truck. Kakeru apologizes, telling them that he had been thinking of suicide, but at the last second decided not to after realizing that doing so would mean that he would never see his friends again.
Review: / 5
Suicide is a topic we frequently see in anime dramas. However, usually it’s referenced as backstory for a character and few animes decide to bring the theme center-stage as Orange does. To do so requires skill, and a will to engage with topic– to transcend the using it as a mere explanation for why a character is the way they are. Kudos! This anime explores suicide with a great deal of sensitivity and realism. Kakeru’s struggle with depression in the wake of his mother’s suicide and his guilt for believing he is the cause of it is painfully authentic. This is true to its brand: a romance anime filled with drama, love triangles and high-stakes. I binged it in a day, easily.
Something I really appreciated in this anime was its realistic pacing, both in terms of plot and characters. It takes its time and doesn’t rush into the romance. Instead, it slowly makes room for individuals’ personalities to become more distinct and likeable. This was particularly enjoyable for me. However, I think it might be the root cause for one of the problems in show: our lead lovers.
The main relationship between Naho and Kakeru is rather tepid and oftentimes I found myself more interested in other couples. I think a large part of this is due to the fact it was underwhelming and the romantic affection rather week. Personally, I viewed them as more platonic, their love more philia than eros.
Additionally, I think it’s important to look at the animation quality. We start out with the first three episodes, and I’m blown away: it’s art style is what I want to call realistic, specifically in regards to the beautifully detailed backgrounds. I wish I could say it stayed this way. Starting about halfway through the series, the animation begins to look forced and rushed, which was a real let down.
Ultimately this anime was good. Pretty okay. Decent. There are plenty of people who swear by it–I’m just not one of them. If the romance had been more believable and animation quality hadn’t plummeted, it would have easily been a four. If you enjoyed this, you would probably enjoy Blue Spring Ride or Citrus.
Let me know what you think!
Watch on, Annieme-niac!