We’ve all had regrets and felt guilty about many things, haven’t we? But what if the things we’ve done, or haven’t done, caused us to lose someone we love forever? Would we be able to carry our regrets for the rest of our lives? Orange is about just that.
Orange is a story of friendship, love, and regrets. Takamiya Naho, an incoming sophomore, receives a letter claiming to be from herself ten years in the future. It listed things that will happen during her new school year, mostly involving her, her friends, and their new classmate, Naruse Kakeru. She didn’t pay attention to it at first, but when the events listed in the letter start happening exactly as it said, she finally believes it, especially since it involves Kakeru’s fate in the future.
I think one of the things that make Orange unique is how it had that peaceful tone despite handling serious issues. It gave the idea that, while the world is revolving calmly, some people are facing storms. It’s exactly what happened to Kakeru – he was always smiling on the outside, but he was actually really depressed inside.
Speaking of depression, it’s common for anime to focus on friends and how strong their bonds are, isn’t it? They usually face battles against a common enemy, or join forces to pursue a common goal. Here with Orange it’s the same thing, but also quite different. Naho, Suwa, Hagita, Takako and Azusa were not battling supernatural things. They helped Kakeru fight against things many people are experiencing right now: depression and losing the will to live. Cause of this, many people including me, could relate quite well to the message the story was trying to convey.
The characters didn’t really stand out that much compared to your usual anime characters. It sounds like a bad thing, but I think it’s also fine. The show’s tone is peaceful; it would’ve been different if every single one of our main characters had really weird personalities. I think Hagita being the comic relief was enough, plus his usual antics with Azusa already made the show a bit livelier. Meanwhile, Suwa’s support for Kakeru and Naho took the generic ‘other guy’ shoujo trope to the next level. He’s definitely the best guy! Takako was the one who stood out the less for me, but not completely. The way she just calmly and silently looked out for her friends, like the ‘mom’ of the group, was her charming point for me!
I’m glad to say that there was character development too, especially for Naho and Kakeru. Most especially for Kakeru, cause if he didn’t have that, well, the show would’ve ended badly, right? Naho’s growth as a character was the most notable for me, even though it was really slow. I was really glad she finally stood up for what she wanted in the end.
Another thing to note is the slow pacing. To some, it could be something unlikeable, but I personally thought it was just right, given the calm tone it set. Plus, it’s of the drama genre. Most dramas are slow-paced, aren’t they? It needs just enough time to set all the plot devices in place, then let all the feelings explode.
Overall, Orange’s story was just an amazing treat. I’ve been a fan of its manga long before the anime came out, so it was a really lovely experience to see my favorite scenes come to life on screen!
Art & Music
The story was great, but when it came to the art, I was sorely disappointed. During the first episode, as a fan, I felt proud to see the show I’ve been looking forward to have such a movie-like quality. From the second episode onward, it slowly became a train-wreck. Whether the production worked with a limited budget or their time-frame was ruined I’m not sure, but it was just really disappointing. As I kept mentioning in my episode reviews, Orange’s beautiful story did not deserve to have such ugly art. I think the episode that had the worst quality was Episode 09, the start of the sports festival. I cringed every time I saw off-model drawings and derpy in-betweens! It was just horrible.
The way the scenes were directed were so-so. Some parts were alright, some were excellently giving depth to the emotions, while some were just plain lacking. I feel that one of the aspects that made or broke the scenario was the background music. During the emotionally critical events, either they were bland or absent. Plus, due to the awkward drawings, the viewers get distracted so the moment gets ruined.
The only things that were gorgeous in this show were the voice-acting, and the backgrounds. From start to finish the background arts were consistently appealing to the eye. The colors used were cool and a bit desaturated, but they added exactly that ambience the story needed.
Themes & Trivia
Depression – A lot of people are treating depression as something that people make up. But the truth is it’s a real mental illness. The flashback about future Kakeru’s point of view perfectly depicted what goes on in the mind of a depressed person. As J.K. Rowling said, ‘Depression isn’t just being a bit sad. It’s feeling nothing. It’s not wanting to be alive anymore.’
Friendship – Orange makes us realize that friendship is not all fun and games. Our friends all have their own troubles, so we’re called to be there and support them no matter what.
Live like it’s your last day – Or better yet, like it’s everyone’s last day. This just means, never take anything for granted, especially the people you love. Future Naho kept on saying it multiple times – that she was only a high school student then and didn’t know any better, so she and her friends thought they had all the time in the world to spend with Kakeru. Kakeru also thought that his mom would be just fine without him, but she wasn’t.
Regret – We can move on from small regrets after some time. But for things that ended up having grave consequences, will we ever be able to move on? Can we find the courage to forgive ourselves?
Time Travel – This is one of the most common plot devices in stories, but Orange handled it a bit differently, in that only the letters went back in time. The method to bring the letters to the past was also a hit-and-miss, as the characters only hoped for a miracle that the black hole time travel theory was true.
To be honest, I would only recommend Orange to people who won’t mind the derpy drawings. I’ve actually heard a few people say they gave up midway because they couldn’t stand the quality. I would have too, since I’m quite meticulous about the art and animation of shows. The only reason I didn’t drop this is because of my love for Orange’s manga! I just really adored the story and really wanted to experience it a second time in animated form. Hopefully a handful of people share my sentiments as well.
And the rating is…
When Kakeru was opening up to Suwa and Naho (I really teared up then!).
The cute drawing sequence of Azusa’s plan on her birthday.
How Kakeru was animated and voiced while he was explaining the reason for his attempted suicide.
The ugly, inconsistent art.
Mediocre direction of important dramatic scenes.
How about you guys? Do you agree with my review and rating of Orange? I would love to hear your personal opinions of the show! Please do leave a comment below and let’s share our views about it!