Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn't take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be from her twenty-seven-year-old self, her life is suddenly thrown into flux. The letter tells her that a new transfer student by the name of Naruse Kakeru will be joining her class, and to keep her eye on him. But why? Naho must decide what to make of the letter and its cryptic warning, and what it means not only for her future, but for Kakeru's as well.
Source: Seven Seas
Story: At times, I seem to have a weird love-hate relationship with the shoujo genre. The genre tends to have to balance a handful of tropes quite delicately – for example, creating romance that evolves and faces hardships without being melodramatic – and as such carries a very “hit-or-miss” feel to many series. Series that balance complcated romance-drama parallels, such as Just Because, tend to step out of the shoujo mold despite carrying a wide range of overlapping concepts and themes, which leaves the genre as a whole in a weird state where it struggles to balance serious drama versus lighthearted romance. Perhaps what makes Orange so troubling to evaluate is my struggle to pin down whether it made that hit or that miss in its delivery. Drawing a corollary to the thematically-similar AnoHana seems a most appropriate way to summarize the show, as the story is fundamentally about a group of six friends who lose one of the group during their childhood years to a tragic accident. The caveat for Orange is that many of AnoHana’s fundamental flaws are aptly addressed, and the series as a whole is far more serious with stronger base characters. Ostensibly, the story revolves around a high school girl named Naho who receives a letter from her future self that coincides with the arrival of a new student in her class. It chronicles a series of tragic events that are about to befall her and the newcomer, and asks her to take a series of steps to try to fix them. Not particularly original to be sure, but the premise is written fairly well and there are a few sprinkled twists thrown into the story to keep it interesting. Naturally, as Naho chooses to either accept or reject recommendations in the letter, its accuracy begins to wane, and the story takes off drawing parallels in a sort of half-delivered present-and-future timeline juxtaposition. All this is well and good, but Orange rolls along like a car that started a journey with half a tank of gas, and as the tank empties a great deal of sputtering occurs in the middle stretch. Though it attempts to tackle some heavy topics, particularly that of suicide, the story intends to be a romance first and a drama second. This generates a weird pacing problem where the romance needs to constantly pump the brakes to make it through a full thirteen episode run while maintaining an overall somber tone. Inevitably, the stalling of the romance starts to make the gas run out rather quickly, and as the story is about to crumble it shifts gears to go full-bore on the drama for the ending stretch. The problem with this is the mood never really gets too serious, and as a result the underlying drama just seems to flop. Admittedly it does close nicely, but a great number of events in the interim feel very forced with outcomes that don't seem to impact one scene to the next. The underlying love triangle also adds a very strange vibe to the story, as it presents a weird confliction between the characters of the present and future. All that said, I did enjoy the series generally, even if it felt extremely script-based in how the events unfolded. Still, the ending, though satisfactory, leaves a bit of a “so what?” feeling to the majority of the drama that unfolds beforehand, and the show never really breaks free of the mold it establishes for itself rather early on. While the themes were delivered nicely and the commentary on Kakeru’s suicidal tendencies felt decently presented, the writing as a whole never left me with that emotional kick that it clearly was striving to deliver. Animation: This is one of the categories that gets harder and harder to evaluate the more anime I watch as the years go by. Shoujo is notorious for low-budget production, and I think the animators did well with what they had to work with. It’s functional and fitting, but certainly no award-winning production here. Sound: The musical score of Orange was probably its strongest category which, while not the most pointed composition, hit most of the nails on the head when needed. The last two episodes, in particular, really come to together with an array of very beautiful and melancholic piano and violin pieces. In the process the composers even throw in some electric guitar compositions as well, and do a good job harmonizing the large instrumentation variety. Though I had my misgivings about the pacing of the show, the ending musical arrangement brought the target mood into place to close the story out properly. Voice acting was also good. While no performance stood out to me as particularly noteworthy, the seiyuu performed their roles solidly and felt like they genuinely cared about delivering a dramatic performance. Characters: As with the story, I have a bag of mixed feelings when it comes to the characters. There are two versions of each character presented – the present version, which the majority of the show spends narrating, and a future version which still are given a fair amount of screen time. Naho is an interesting female lead, even if a bit generic, though her excessive timidity seems to drag the story along more than push it forward. I suppose her foil between present and future serves to balance this out, as it highlights her future self as a very realistic and pragmatic woman compared to the flittering, indecisive teenager. What makes her work so well, though, is that Suwa stands out as an exceptional male lead to complement her, and the future pair of him with Naho felt to me the strongest characterization in the show. The future Suwa’s conflictions make very real sense in the context of their relationship, and it’s particularly nice to see that, despite their losses, all the adults involved moved on with their lives productively and didn’t simply shut down indefinitely. With that in mind, the present Suwa worked well, but felt a bit too idealistic for me to buy off as genuine. His unwavering devotion to the pairing of Kakeru and Naho leaves little room for a deeper exploration of his character; simply put, for someone who went through the series of steps that resulted in the outcome of the future Suwa presented in the show, the emotions portrayed by his present self just does not jive. Especially for a teenager with no romantic experience prior, the actions he takes would leave him enormously hurt and jealousy would be no small feat to overcome, and yet he seems to not so much as bat an eye as he helps set up the girl he’s been infatuated with for years develop a relationship with the newcomer transfer student. A more realistic Suwa would have been emotionally crushed by the events of the story. All this inevitably brings us to Kakeru, the central male lead of the show in the same vein as Menma is to AnoHana. While a far better and much more realistic character than Menma, I could never quite bring myself to like how he was written. His reactions to most of the scenes in the show just seem very fake – not that they are not believable in the context of a real person, but that the sequencing of all the events together does not present itself authentically. As a result, Kakeru comes across as a pawn to the story’s whims, and this really throws a large wrench into the aforementioned romance that’s the fundamental crux of the story. While he is not bad in a vacuum, he was a difficult character to connect and sympathize with because of this. Had the romance been sped up a bit or the drama more focused, his character could have been fleshed out much better. As is, he just ends up decidedly average in his role. Overall: As with most of my reviews, I started penning down my general thoughts around three episodes prior to finishing the show, and then revisited and modified them upon reaching the conclusion. Prior to the ending I was rather harsh, but the rarity of a very good ending to a story brought much of my critique to keel. Still, the problem remains of having to get to said conclusion to make the show feel satisfying. As a completed work, I generally recommend Orange as a well-composed shoujo, but the journey there is rocky at times and certainly has its missteps. A markedly “good” show, but one that falls several steps shy of “great.”
Anime like this one make me question people. I genuinely dont understand why this anime is so widely beloved among most common viewers. Have people never seen at least one shoujo anime before? Ok for starters, lets talk about the story. Its fucking boring. Nothing really happens in this show, its really just a circlejerk about saving edgy teen bishounen number 10,872 from his imminent suicide. Apart from constantly saying kakeru's name, this anime is about melodrama. Its all stuff you've seen before somewhere else, its completely unoriginal, i dont really care about whats happening and bam- another episode is over and I feel like hanging myself. The only thing i can say about this show is that it has a decent premise, but its execution is completely illogical and awful. Animation. at times, it looks okay, at times, all it is is derp faces. I pretty much hate how everything looks in the show and it has far too many major problems and points where it looks like a face is lopsided or the characters look awful because they decided to zoom out for a while. Theres just nothing to really say about the aesthetic because its only "good" occasionally, which should NEVER be the case now. It looks horrid compared to most other shows coming out currently, I really cant rant about this enough. Sound. Its always too fucking loud and playing over the charaters, all the tracks suck, and the op and ed make me want to tear my ears out. Its completely generic at best. Theres nothing left about the sound, i just hate it. You know apart from glasses-kun I would EASILY give this section a 0. all the characters are generic and can be summarized in a sentence or two. The best part is, i really dont know anything about most of the characters, and i also dont care for them at all. I actually started the ninth episode, but couldnt stand hearing their voices any longer and quit it. Anyway, lets dissect these idiots. Naho Sue- she's a pretty standard main character in the shoujo genre. She's into the new edgy teenage bishounen who transferred into class recently. She likes cooking and will probably fall back on friend zone man when edgy teenage bishounen-kun kills himself. KAKUFUCKINGRU aka edgy teenage bishounen-kun- kakeru's name is said in every line of the show, i think. just rewatch an episode. anyway, he's the new tranfer student who wants to kill himself because he has mommy issues. The part of this that is relatable to most people is that he exists and has a mom. bishie-kun lacks any traits other than his archetype of being a generally succinct bishounen. Hes good at sports because a guy being good at sports is pretty fucking cute, right ladies? Everyone thinks hes god or something. I think the author has a crush or some sort of fixation on him. Suwa aka friend zone man- He's a generally good guy. will probably evolve into "Shoulder to cry on Man" at level 16. Is into naho because she is a mary sue and she exists. glasses-kun- funniest character in the entire show, although i dont know his name. He has a tendency to not exist, but thats okay because his 2 funny moments left more of an impression on me than any other character in the cast. long black hair girl?- i think shes naho's friend? Im pretty sure shes supposed to be a tomboy, from what ive heard. Whatever, shes completely fucking boring and doesnt leave any impression. blonde pony tail girl-glasses-kun's love interest. I dont know anything else about her, she doesnt really have other traits. violent "hot" girl who preys on naho- not really hot at all, despite what the people in the show seem to believe. I think shes a main enough character? She loses kakeru to naho because naho is naho and she hates and bullys naho because naho is naho. WOWO what a villain-let me go drink some bleach, brb to this review soon. Anyway, now im back i guess thats my review of this piece of garbage. Kakeru's name is like a black hole, while his name gets said infinite times, all the other characters completely fade away. the time mechanic is shit and barely used at all, in fact its used in such a vapid way i forgot it was even a part of the plotline. The characters are boring, the storyline is boring, I hate kakeru, i forgot the names of the other cast members, and the aesthetic and sound make me want to stop watching this show even to hate on it. I don't get it, theres nothing good about this anime! why the hell do people rate this so highly? Its terrible!
Can I just say that this is not an anime for everyone, if you a young male otaku, you won't like it because you just don't get it. I'm just sick of all those fat guy otakus sitting here and being like 'worsth anime ever' because it is not, and futhermore there is no need to downrate it just because you think it is overrated. Whether it is hyped or not has nothing to do with the quality of the anime. It's same stuff everytime when anime gets hyped - people wants to give it 0s because they decided to watch an anime that is not of their liked genre. I could also go ahead and watch a shounen and give it 0s when every fat otaku guy said it is a 10/10. I could go on and on about anime I couldn't even make it to episode 4 because it was clearly male genre-biased, just like this one is. I personally liked the anime, it was missing some action but overall it wasn't a typical story because of the time-twist. I liked the conversations and characters, and felt like many more animes lacked this sort of character development. I mean, even Golden Time I couldn't stand as it simply wasn't deep enough like it was suppose to. They would have a problem and then next second they were fine. In this anime, problems and feelings of the characters developed in a natural way that we would have expected them to. Of course, it had it's own bit of cheesenes which was a bit dissapointing at times but then again I use to be a very familiar character to Naho back in school, and so I understand the fears that she has (this is why I am saying guys won't get it unless they use to be shy etc.) I would probably discredit this anime for being just too sweet and loving at times, but then it showed them as real people more than it did as just another anime character, which is nice. Sadly, I have to say that mental illness is not an issue you can just get rid of like that, and hope that those who have previously felt like this seek help and notice other people would miss them like these friends did. It was sad to hear Kakeru say all these sad things to himself like ''they could just go back to being a five and laugh again''... it is really a deep wound when a friend passes away and you just never get over it. Sorry that this ain't a proper review. I just wanted people to know that there is much to love and much to hate in every anime, so you have to just find yourself in what you like to enjoy it.
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