Christian artist and gamer. Crazy about ducks and the color purple.
Orange’s recent episode was just so heartwarming! It was quite a huge leap from the gloomy atmosphere (and bad drawings, if I may say so) of last week’s episode, where Kakeru missed the presence of his mother during the athletic meet, and felt jealous of Suwa and Naho. The five friends have already teamed up together to save Kakeru, but no one could stop him from feeling this way and from keeping things from them. At the end, Suwa said that things are heading off into the right direction, and judging from this episode, I guess he was right! Let’s see why!
— TVアニメ「orange」 (@AnimationOrange) September 4, 2016
I was surprised at how lightheartedly the episode started, especially since last week’s ended with Kakeru storming off. But I guess things had calmed down somewhere in between, and the friends were having fun again! The girls were showing off their cute cheerleader uniforms, and the boys were feeling too bashful to say otherwise. As a girl I would’ve appreciated being called cute too, though I guess it was just too embarrassing, even for close friends. It was nice seeing Kakeru laugh again though, but he immediately stopped after remembering something.
The gang noticed his strangeness, and immediately got worried. I have to commend the girls for doing their cheer dance routine to cheer Kakeru. It’s definitely hard to dance without focusing on the steps, but they still managed to pull it off. Even Hagita and Suwa were doing their best to cheer him up from the sidelines. Then, Hagita noticed something he discussed with the others. Apparently, Kakeru injured his ankle from the pole toppling contest. It was even mentioned in Hagita’s letter, so it must’ve been the reason he tripped and lost the relay in the future.
While the four were talking about it, Naho and Kakeru were asked to run an errand. The teacher did a great job asking the two students to carry a very heavy mattress. Things were still quite awkward between the two as well, so it couldn’t have been better.
The mattress scene was actually a very good metaphor, and my favorite part of this episode! The mattress was too heavy for only two people to carry, and even when his sprained ankle hurt, Kakeru feigned being okay. That’s what he had been doing all this time; he was carrying his guilt all by himself and he was making other think he was alright. Naho has been always there for him though, but she too had been carrying the burden of saving him by herself.
Suwa, Hagita, Azusa, and Takako helped them carry the mattress, and metaphorically, their burdens! Not only that, but they also managed to coax him into telling the truth about his mother. He didn’t think he had the right to have fun because his mother might be watching. However, everyone told him it’s exactly why he should be having fun, because if his mother saw him like that, she would have been worried. They also convinced him to get his ankle treated and let them carry the mattress. With five of them lifting it it wouldn’t be a problem, just like how his burdens could lighten if Kakeru shared them with his friends.
Another problem arose though: Kakeru ankle was really sprained, and it might get worse if he runs in the relay. But of course, this boy won’t let himself be a bother to others, plus he was looking forward to the relay. He said he’ll still run, and he won’t ever regret it. Hearing it was a huge relief.
And so the much awaited race finally came! From the audience’s point of view, Class 6’s dramatic pass-the-message might seem like a huge “What” moment, but for us who’ve been watching over the gang from the beginning, it’s a wonderful scene! It gave me goosebumps! I was just so proud of them! All their feelings went into their effort to run and pass their messages to Kakeru. Hagita, who was supposed to be the slowest among everyone, managed to pass someone! And Kakeru, despite his aching foot, won first place by an inch, literally! It was just so touching! The race became more than just a competition, it was a sign of their support to him.
The five friends have been trying their hardest to follow the letter. According to it, first, they should have brought Kakeru’s grandmother to the meet; second, their red team lost; third, they should have made sure Kakeru had fun and didn’t feel like crying. Now, the letter was partly wrong and partly correct because their red team won. Kakeru still cried, but only happy tears. They managed to change the future with the letter’s help but also with their own efforts. Naho and Kakeru’s relationship even moved a step further because of this! Kakeru was finally honest with his feelings, and even boldly redeemed his reward from Naho. Too bad that kiss was too subtly staged, huh? It was still cute, nonetheless, and I was genuinely happy for them!
I’m just super amazed at how they handled this episode. It’s the turning point of the story, so it was critical that it flowed smoothly. It’s also important to let the viewers be sucked into the feelings of the scenes so the conclusion will be believable. They managed to do all of that properly, which is a huge thing! After all of the slip-ups the past episodes had, I’m incredibly relieved this important episode didn’t become a blunder.
I was also satisfied with the art, thank goodness! I mean, it could’ve been better at some points, but just having the drawings not distract me from what was going on was already a feat on its own with this anime.
Everything will be much easier on the gang from this point on, since Kakeru finally opened up to them. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. In stories, you never know what’s going to happen, so there might be something coming up that will put Kakeru’s fate back on the bad track. It’s still only October in the story after all and we have three more episodes to go. We’re not out of the woods yet!
Currently airing. Started on July 3, 2016