Nikku is an indie game developer, a freelance translator, and an avid anime viewer.
This week’s episode was weird. If I had to describe it in one word, I’d say it was “off.”
Despite having some very important scenes, this episode was unable to pull me in emotionally, and instead only succeeded in distracting me the entire time. What makes it even more disappointing is that these distractions were largely unnecessary. As I have much more to say about this in the comments section, I’ll keep this week’s summary a little shorter than usual.
— TVアニメ「orange」 (@AnimationOrange) August 12, 2016
This episode continues where we left off with Suwa revealing that he’s also received a letter from the future. Naho and Suwa share information about their letters, and agree to work together to help save Kakeru. I was hoping we’d find out if any of the other friends have also received letters, but so far it’s just them two (although Azu and Takako have been a bit suspicious these last several episodes).
The first course of action is to celebrate Kakeru’s birthday, which their future selves weren’t able to do. Suwa gives Kakeru flowers as a present, which Kakeru in turn gives to Naho. He then takes this opportunity to confesses his feelings to her, albeit in an indirect way. It takes until the end of the episode, but Naho also tells Kakeru how she feels.
The last scene of this episode is arguably the most important scene so far, and I think the first tangible step towards saving Kakeru. Both Suwa and Naho learn from their letters that Kakeru will make his first attempt at committing suicide after hanging out with his old friends from Tokyo. Naho tries to confront Kakeru about this, but as usual, her approach is not very effective. Suwa then steps in and directly asks Kakeru if he’s thought of committing suicide before. Suwa is able to get Kakeru to open up about his troubles and then he comforts him.
Although I certainly don’t think Kakeru’s problems have been resolved, I do think they were able to relieve some of the weight he feels. I’m also glad to see Suwa more active in helping Kakeru, since Naho’s personality has so far prevented her from being very effective. Since the beginning of the series, I’ve felt that Naho and Kakeru just going out wouldn’t be sufficient to save him, and that his bond with his friends, particularly Suwa, would need to play an important role.
— TVアニメ「orange」 (@AnimationOrange) August 14, 2016
I should have been emotionally drawn into the story because of the last scene, but instead, all the distractions that littered this episode prevented me from doing so. This episode threw me off from the beginning to the end, and I can’t help but wonder why the staff chose to make it this way.
Most of these distractions happened because of a large drop in art quality. Character models, particularly their faces, were off throughout the episode, and even during the important last scene. A drop in quality is an unfortunate but inevitable reality for most anime series, and so this aspect bothered me the least out of all the distractions. However, I do wonder why they didn’t move the budget around to have the drop in quality occur in a less important earlier episode, and save some to have the last scene of this episode at least be consistent.
I also felt that a lot of the expressions and reactions of the characters were off this episode in terms of art, writing, and voice. Since this is more intentional, unlike the drop in art quality, I found this to be even more distracting. There were times throughout this episode that I felt like I was watching a different series, or the same series made by an entirely different staff.
I think a good example of this is the scene where Azu and Takako defend Naho from Ueda. After Ueda makes a remark about not needing Kakeru, she sticks out her tongue in a very childish manner and leaves. I felt that her line was consistent with her character, but sticking out her tongue was not. Also, right after this, Hagita pops out from the side of the screen to comment on how scary girls are. I felt that his body language, expression, and voice were all very inconsistent with how Hagita’s character had been used for comedic effect so far in this series. All these things added up and distracted me from the more important things that were occurring in this episode.
The last of these distractions, and the worst offender I think given how intentional it was, was the weird faces Suwa and Naho made when there were asking about Kakeru’s birthday. I get that this was supposed to be comedic, but I found it to be much more strange than funny. These faces were completely out of place, and they felt like they belonged to a different series entirely. Not only did they come out of nowhere, with no precedent in this series so far (and I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing similar happens again), but they were completely inconsistent with the art style, comedic style, and tone of the series.
I just found many of the decisions made for this episode to be really strange.
What do you think? Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below.
starting from the July 3, 2016