Last year, I wrote a post reviewing Orange and how I felt that this was a show that was important. Today, I’m going to be talking about why I still think this show is as important as ever and its incredible relevance to modern society.
Please Note: This post may contain some spoilers! The post may also contain disucssion material that may upset some readers.
Orange follows the story of Naho Takamiya and her friends as they receive letters from their future selves. These letters tell the exact events of the days ahead of them, as well as giving vital advice for them to change the course of fate for their newest friend, Kakeru – a transfer student – erasing any regret they had whilst doing so.
The show itself has been quite controversial. It broadcasted in Summer 2016, the cinematic sequel – Orange: Mirai – being released the season after in Fall 2016. A year on, people have developed many opinions on this – what it did well and what it didn’t do so well. This is as divisive, admittedly, as the ratings that people give it. Those who, like the user Captain220 on MyAnimeList, gave it a low rating such as a 3/10, may claim that the show contains “God-awful melodrama and a false perception on serious subjects like depression and suicide”. On the other hand, those who gave it a high rating like tigermaskshinobi (another MAL user) did such as a 9/10, may claim that the way Telecom display the trauma of a person in Kakeru’s situation was indeed enough to deem it “a masterpiece”.
Personally, I gave it an 8/10. But this wasn’t entirely because I thought the show was good. As I mention in my review, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s often heartbreaking to watch and I shouted at my laptop screen quite a few times whilst watching it. Some may disagree with me on that rating and claim that the characters are just filling in tropes and the inclusion of the Bermuda Triangle was cringeworthy to say the least and, well, I agree. Especially after recently watching Mirai. Orange definitely has it’s flaws, I’m not going to deny that. What I do take into account in my rating, however, is its boldness and bravery with its inclusion of topics such as depression and suicide.
Sure, there are other examples that you could name which deal with similar themes. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Welcome to the NHK, Colorful, are all good examples of shows and movies that have strong themes of depression and suicide. All of these are shows and movies that leave an impact on the viewer. But I still firmly believe that Orange handles it perfectly. Sure, it’s a little unorthodox in its methods, but that’s what makes it so bold. I appreciate that it’s not the protagonist who’s in the position of feeling suicidal. I appreciate that it’s realistic (forgetting the whole Bermuda Triangle aspect) in that they don’t completely initially realise the extent of Kakeru’s depression – a prominent problem even in the real world.
And not only that, it also addresses the issue that Asia as a whole has of having depression as a taboo topic. Statistics show that depression is said to affect 86 million people in Southeast Asia alone with the World Health Organisation pointing to suicide as the second biggest cause of death among 15-29 year olds in the region. It’s an issue that has come to light very recently with the passing of Kim Jonghyun, the lead vocalist in the Korean pop group, SHINee. With this news, many are calling for change within Korea’s entertainment industries and discussions are taking place internationally in an attempt to explain why depression is such a taboo topic in Asia, why cultural conventions have made it so such feelings are being suppressed.
Regardless, Orange has more to it than a “basic shoujo”. It serves as a reminder of the troubles that some people go through on a daily basis – a reminder for those in high school, those in university, the young adults everywhere that looking out for one another is important. Consider what you say, what you do. Offer support and help when your friend needs it. Let us consider the dates of the other shows that came to mind when this Reddit thread was created. Neon Genesis Evangelion – broadcasted in 1995 and 1996. Welcome to the NHK – broadcasted in 2006. Colorful – released in 2010. Orange serves a great reminder that some people really are suffering, making it in the long run, for me, such an important show, especially for today’s youth.
This post was written as the eighth installment in my #12DaysOfAnime posts! #12DaysOfAnime is a challenge taken on by loads of anime bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and other people on many different platforms. We just have to post twelve consecutive posts about anything anime-related for the twelve days leading up to Christmas!
Keep an eye out for my other posts that will be a part of the #12DaysOfAnime Challenge! These will cover a variety of topics such as anime reviews, conventions and much more, so there’s going to be something a little different every day!
Hope to see you around!
The art used in the featured image was created by EzraScarletRivaille on DeviantArt. You check them out here!