Have you ever thought about changing one thing about your past? That sci-fi scenario of “If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would you say?” This is the premise of Orange. It’s a shoujo anime with a heavy dose of drama, romance and that splash of sci-fi. They take hold of the veteran science class experiment, time capsules.
Orange follows the narrative of Naho Takamiya, a second year high school student. One day she receives letters from herself 10 years in the future. Future Naho asks present Naho to make right of all the regrets she had with the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse. Of course she’s very skeptical about the letter but she soon finds that everything she read in it is extremely accurate. Naho has a small group of close friends and they attempt to invite Kakeru to join them. Her letter instructed that she be adamant about him joining them but she thought against it. The consequences ensued after and Kakeru didn’t show up at school for two weeks. Fearing the larger consequences that might occur, Naho chooses to follow the orders of the letters. She plays softball to win the game for their class, persuades Kakeru to join the soccer club and so on.
Then we find out why these were sent in the first place. Naho reads on and learns that Kakeru will die soon. Future Naho wrote these letters in an attempt to save him because she didn’t want the present Naho to experience the same tragedy. We find out later that while not being able to save Kakeru is her biggest regret, her current life isn’t bad at all. She knew that even if these letters worked, she had no way of knowing because it would just turn into its own timeline. She had wanted to hope for Kakeru’s future more than anything.
It’s unusual for me to watch a shoujo anime, seeing as it’s meant for young women and I am a male. I did find it difficult getting through this at times, possibly because I couldn’t connect with the main character. I also hated Naho’s guts at one point because it was really infuriating that the letter told her to do something but she’s too stupid to follow through. I won’t rant more than I need to, I feel like you can judge her for yourself. I watched this show on a whim and thought it would be a good change of pace from my other shows.
My final thoughts on this show, although the story is unique with its time travel aspect, it didn’t hit home for me. Orange kept pace well with typical high school drama with the added darkness of Kakeru’s unstable and unpredictable future. There comes a time where things in the letter differed a little from what happens in present life because of the butterfly effect. This was a great idea to influence how the story unfolded but it felt poorly executed. I had a generally feeling of “thank god it’s over” when I finished the series. I mentioned that I got frustrated at the characters (or just Naho) for being incompetent. I think the staff purposely spun it this way to bring out your emotions. Although they had some missteps along the way, Orange wasn’t a terrible series. Kakeru was without a doubt the best in terms of character development and how his actions swayed the direction of the show (more so than Naho, imo). If you’re looking for drama, you’ve found it in Orange but don’t expect to be blown away. Don’t let my review dissuade you from giving it a shot, if you think it’s interesting. These are just my opinions and every one has their own taste. I prefer the taste of real citrus oranges though.