Orange

Orange

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During the spring of her second year of high school, Naho receives a letter. Its sender is herself from ten years in the future. Naho thinks it’s a prank at first, but when the things written in the letter start to come true one by one, she realizes that the letter is telling her events that will happen in her future. It tells her that she’ll fall in love with Kakeru, a new student who transfers to her school, and that he’ll die in the winter of his 17th year. After learning the regrets and wishes of the 26-year-old Naho following Kakeru’s death, what can the 16-year-old Naho do differently?

I didn’t need to know too much about this anime beforehand to know instinctively that it was going to be bringing the feels. Time travel communication to save the life of your teenage love? Was it going to be bringing anything else?

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Naho from the future is counting on teenage Naho to save Kakeru from an accident that she couldn’t prevent. She sends pieces of information via letter to guide her past self, all the while encouraging her to do things that she regretted not doing, such as helping out the softball team and making Kakeru a lunch. She wants her teenaged self to ‘live with no regrets’.

The first thing I noticed about Orange was how truly stunning the artwork is. Things have a picturesque, realistic turn to them that you can’t help but notice and marvel at. The detail in the characters’ faces, the breadth of their expressions, is amazing. Just a look from Kakeru, Naho or even Suwa at the perfect moment could set your heart to breaking point.

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You can tell that there’s more going on than first meets the eye. Everytime teenage Naho does something different than her future self, things start to change. She learns more about Kakeru and why he made the decisions he did. As a result, she gets closer to him and unknowingly impacts on his choices and decisions. A lot of information is kept hidden from the viewer at first. We just know that Kakeru dies in an accident when he’s 17. Things slowly reveal themselves to the viewer, but at the same time things are changing. What are facts for the older Naho are now becoming more malleable probabilities for the younger Naho. And through deliberately trying to change things for Kakeru, she is beginning to change things for those around her – and more important, she is unconsciously changing herself. She is becoming bolder, more forward and more confident. And more reckless. Little does Naho know that she is part of a love triangle that involves her future husband, Suwa. But as her efforts are focusing on getting to know Kakeru and making him happy, what will become of her relationship with Suwa in the future?

a8e71820-4174-4735-b4dd-5819793ceb1d.jpgWe also see that following simple instructions in order to try to change the events of time isn’t as easy as one would think. When Kakeru starts dating Ueda-sempai, future Naho urges herself not to avoid him, like she did first time around. But teenage Naho, hurt and upset, can’t help but do just that. Simple things end up passing her by due to her indecision or nervousness, so you are almost rooting for the shy, gentle Naho at times. Orange shows us that following simple instructions is always more difficult when feelings are involved, even if you know that doing them would change a person’s life for the better. Things start getting more complex when Naho discovers that another member of the group has been receiving letters from the future. Will this help bolster her efforts or will this make things more difficult for her?

img_5007.jpgThe music is great here, it’s noticeable by its difference to normal anime music. There’s plenty of piano playing a number of scores with changing tempos plus a great acoustic guitar that makes things seem real and relaxed, which is a nice change for an anime with a supernatural element – it keeps things relaxed and gives it an everyday feel with just a touch of romance.

img_5004.jpgOrange has been brilliant so far. One of the strongest anime of this season: beautiful, honest and bittersweet. I’m hoping for a bit of a twist in the later episodes – I think I can feel one coming on. I feel like something bad’s going to happen, but a part of me hopes that it doesn’t. I have my theories on what the later half of this emotional romance has in store, so I will sit back and see if I am right.