The question I want to ask is – who sends letters these days? Who would send a handwritten letter that you could just easily send as an instant message in this modern age? And who would send them ten years in the future? Well, the answer is everyone in Orange, apparently.
One day, Naho Takamiya receives a letter from her future self. As she reads it, she realises that the letter recites the exact events of the day, including the transfer of her new classmate, Kakeru Naruse. This is because the future Naho has many regrets and wants to fix these by making sure the Naho from the past can make the right decisions, particularly with regards to Kakeru.
Honestly, this anime is an emotional rollercoaster and it’s why I love it. At times, it’s cute and happy. At times, it’s heart-breaking to watch and you will shout your own thoughts at the screen, before you remind yourself that these are animated characters that cannot hear you, no matter how loud you shout.
The characters in this show are quite well-planned, despite them being mere ‘troupes’ when you write them all down on paper. You have Naho, the shy, quiet protagonist. You have Kakeru, the quiet but quite confident love interest. There’s Suwa who’s the confident best friend of Naho. Saku, not outgoing or charismatic, but certainly intelligent and has great determination. Azusa, the confident and bubbly girl who seems like she wants to help Naho in the best way she can. And then there’s Takako who, quite frankly, is your typical anime girl who has long, black hair. It’s not really all that simple, though…
It is revealed that Kakeru has depression and, before you roll your eyes and sigh, this is described pretty much perfectly. That isn’t just my opinion, either. It’s also the opinion of Tony Yao over at MangaTherapy who says, “If you want to see how a depressed and suicidal person behaves and the common reactions to their behaviour, this is the best example.” I honestly believe that this is such an important series, for this reason alone. From my perspective, it was interesting to see how the other characters tried to help Kakeru and how they all got to realise how his depression was. I could go on about this all day, I really could, but I should probably move on…
The romance in Orange is so incredibly sweet, even if there are so many possibilities. Without a doubt, this is a show where you could talk about your pairings, the majority of them being somewhat validated and no-one could really argue about your point. I’ll stray away from that as not to delve into spoiler territory, but it’s just so good how it does that. I believe the romance in the show can also be relatable, particularly when it concerns Naho. She’s quite oblivious – bless her. :’)
The animation style of Orange is really nice. The colours have been toned down, the ‘neutrality’ of them making a nice change from other anime. The realism in the OP’s animation is also really nice to see – mixed with the sound of the guitar, it’s relaxing, almost serene. Personally, I like how the eyes are drawn; there’s something quite nice about being able to see the twinkles in the characters’ eyes. The eyes in particular are drawn in the same style as the manga, which is quite nice to see – it carries on the charm of the manga into the anime adaptation quite nicely, unlike some anime adaptations where the manga’s charm is sometimes lost in the decisions regarding the animation style.
The acoustic guitar mentioned in the previous paragraph is a prominent feature of the entire soundtrack. The first track, aptly titled “Orange”, includes the acoustic guitar which fitted quite nicely with a very slow drumbeat that accompanied a group of orchestral instruments. The track sets up the tones of the anime quite nicely; the orchestral instruments connoting the drama, the acoustic guitar and woodwind instruments connoting the innocence within the series. These tones are quite regular within the soundtrack, with only a few tracks that connotes something quite different – fun. The first of these is “10-nengo kara Tegami” due to the more upbeat tempo set by the drums, the chant-like clapping, the quite often fast melody of the piano, and the almost country vibe that the violins give off. Secondly, there’s “Tenkousei” which, although connotes fun, connotes mischief as well, due to the pizzicato style of playing that is very prominent throughout the track. “Curry Pan” is also a fun track, with the acoustic guitar now in the background of an electric one, the tempo being incredibly quick and there’s a brilliant glissando performed on the piano just before a drum solo – this is definitely one you could skip along to! I must admit, though, my favourite track from the entire soundtrack, without a doubt, is “Kouyasai”. It sounds so much more exotic than the other tracks, arguably due to the maracas in the background, but it’s certainly one of the unique tracks from the entire collection. Overall, the soundtrack is worthwhile listening to, regardless of whether you watch the actual series or not – it’s beautiful!
So, to conclude, if you want an anime that has a perfect soundtrack, a great variety of characters as well as having a prominent, and quite important storyline, Orange is definitely the show for you. It’s my favourite show from the Fall 2016 season and I wholeheartedly recommend it, even if you don’t necessarily like slice-of-life shows. Orange, for me, has become one of those shows that I believe everyone has to watch at least once.
6 thoughts on ““To My Past Self”: ‘Orange’ Review”
Yes…a fellow fan 😀 I loved this series as well, it has also been one of my favorites for this year. I could totally relate with the character of Naho, because quite honestly I am someone who defintely behaves like her at times when it comes down to the shyness. Also, the emotional aspect of the show had me right from the start. It was very powerful, and very well written. Needless to say, I loved this series as well, and enjoyed reading your review😀
Seeing as you liked Orange so much, you might also want to check out Erased. It has a similar vibe to it, and it was my favorite Anime for this year 😀
I know what you mean about relating to Naho. I believe I’m a lot like Naho myself, particularly in similar situations (not that I’ve ever received a letter from my future self!). The emotional aspect of the show was spectacular, was it not?
As for ‘Erased’, I’ve already seen it! It was another good series, I will admit, and definitely one that sticks out in my mind when I think about the anime that have aired this year. Thanks for the suggestion, though! ^-^
Yes it really was, it was what drew me into this series. It’s just one of those shows that just feels right after watching a minute of it. Haha, no I have not received any future letters either. But yes I could relate to Naho so very much. I have acted a couple of times like that in similar situations (and afterwards I would kick myself lol 😂). Great that you have already seen Erased. It sas definitely one of my favorite shows this past year 😀