Nikku is an indie game developer, a freelance translator, and an avid anime viewer.
It took a little while to get here, but I’m finally starting to enjoy this series. I was complaining about this at the end of my last review, but this episode does manage to delve a little deeper. It had more tension, emotion, and most importantly, uncertainty.
The plot device of having something from the future containing information can sometimes be a double-edged sword. It can be an interesting element of a story that helps propel it forward, but it also runs the risk of dampening interest by spelling out future events and simply laying them before you. I was afraid this series was headed for the later, which is why I’m happy to see a hint of uncertainty work its way back into the story.
It only took a few minutes for this week’s episode to pique my interest again. It starts out with Naho reflecting on a new portion of the letter from the future; this time concerning Kakeru and the soccer club. The letter states that Kakeru practices with them for a week, but in the end, decides not to join. The letter urges Naho to convince Kakeru to join the club because that’s probably what he really wants to do.
Determined to do this, Naho returns from her thoughts and awkwardly falls back into her conversation with Azu and Takako. Kakeru walks into the class, followed shortly after by an excited Suwa. Suwa gathers everyone’s attention, and then announces that Kakeru has officially joined the soccer club. I found this to be a subtle, but important scene. This isn’t how things were written in the letter. Kakeru’s future has been altered (most likely due to their conversation at the park), and unintentionally at that. Even if not everything detailed in the letter can be changed, the actions Naho takes can alter the future for good or bad. This gives Naho hope, and for us the audience, a sense of unpredictability for the story.
And it’s with this newfound hope that Naho tries to take on the big challenge of this week’s episode. There’s a female upperclassmen named Ueda that has been hanging around the soccer team and watching their practices (you might have noticed her briefly in the previous episode). It turns out she has a thing for Kakeru. The letter mentions this, and states that they will eventually start to go out.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Naho, and after worrying about it for a short while, she decides to try and change this part of the future too. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out so well. Ueda approaches Kakeru while he’s out buying drinks for everyone, and asks him to go out with her. Unsure about it, Kakeru tells her that he’ll give his answer after they come back from break. I think this might’ve lured Naho into thinking she had some time to deal with this.
At the beginning of their next class, Naho lets Kakeru borrow a pencil and eraser. As mentioned in the letter, Kakeru leaves a small note in the eraser’s cover when he returns it to her. In it, he asks Naho if she thinks it’s okay for him to go out with Ueda. She writes her answer, “だめ” (dame, or no in this case) on a piece of paper, and unfortunately, due her nature and possibly a false sense of security, she places it in Kakeru’s shoe box instead of handing it to him directly. Before he has a chance to see her response, Ueda rushes an answer out of Kakeru and he agrees to go out with her. Naho learns of this and is heartbroken for the remainder of the episode. Kakeru does see Naho’s note as he leaves to go home though, so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to it next week.
Before the episode closes, it shifts to the future for a touching and longer than usual scene. We’re back with the group digging up their time capsule, but this time they read the letters they buried. Suwa also reads Kakeru’s letter out loud. In it, Kakeru writes of his fondness and the strong points of each of his friends, but oddly, he writes nothing about himself. Almost as if he didn’t see himself being around in ten years time. This is tough for the group to absorb. It also spreads a cloud of uncertainty over Kakeru’s death, which just last week I was worried might have been overly simplified.
Like I mentioned at the top, I enjoyed this week’s episode. It feels like this series is starting to kick into gear. But more importantly than that, I have to ask the most pressing question this episode raises… What exactly was Hagita doing on Kakeru’s desk during their break? It appeared he was explaining something, but what, I have no idea. It was certainly strange and funny though. Just as I had pegged him, Hagita is a man strange in his ways.
To end this, I want to bring up something that I thought of last week, but ended up cutting from my review due to its length. And that’s with regards to the title, Orange. I like this title, and oddly, I find it suits the series well even without a particular reason to think so. As I was watching last week’s episode though, I wondered if this title held any deeper meaning within the story. Not that every title needs to have some meaning, it could just be a well chosen word, but I’m curious to see if this title will, and just what that meaning might be.
starting from the July 3, 2016