Orange Series Review

Overview:

Ten years ago Kakeru committed suicide. Now his friends, feeling regret, send letters to their past selves in an effort to save him.

I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here.

Review:

For those following week to week, it is no surprise that there are definitely aspects of this show that annoyed me. That said, it is actually quite a nice drama and if you are into teen romance between emotionally stunted characters with possible mental health issues you will probably find a truly touching story to follow. That said, I’m probably not the intended audience which might be why I became progressively more annoyed with the characters and plot.

My main issue will always be Naho and Kakeru themselves. You can argue that they are supposed to be flawed characters suffering from various issues (depression, social anxiety, etc) but that doesn’t stop them being irritating to watch. One or the other may have been fine on their own as an exploration into characters with mental health problems but the two together, dominating the screen time, are hard to take and mostly you just want to slam their heads together and tell them to hurry things along. Or maybe that’s just me being callous but the issue is that these two are not engaging to watch (for me at least). Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke has a similar mentality to Naho but I never found her to be quite this frustrating and possibly that was because she was partnered with someone significantly more outgoing (even if he did have his own issues to deal with).

The second issue that comes between me and actually enjoying Orange is the plot. The time travel explanation is rubbish and I still fail to see why (if you could send a letter to the past) you would openly work to undermine the life you have (especially in Suwa’s case). you could argue they are being selfless or maybe we could argue that the characters don’t believe it will affect them because any changes will occur in a parallel world but they don’t know that. It is a theory and speculation. They gambled the life of their future child on a theory that could not be proven ahead of time. The more they discuss and explain time travel (particularly in the last couple of episodes) the clearer it makes it that they did not know what the consequence would be but decided to do it anyway.

My final issue will always be the lack of development for any character outside of Naho and Kakeru. The friends exist to be friends. And while they all get to show up smiley and happy in the pictures, the bottom line is it always comes back to Naho and Kakeru while everyone else put everything on hold.

With those issues on the table I do want to point out some positives.

The story is complete in and of itself. No looking for answers elsewhere, no wondering about the outcome. They have a goal established in episode 1 and they work towards it until episode 13 and then the situation is resolved (whether you like the resolution or not it is resolved).

Neither Kakeru nor Naho actually do a complete 180 and are magically cured of their issues by the power of friendship or through sheer determination. You know what, they aren’t just going to get over it. They are going to slowly take steps forward and backward and may or may not eventually move on or maybe they are going to deal with issues their whole life. I actually liked that they treated their issues with this sort of respect. You can’t get over social anxiety just because you want to. And Kakeru isn’t just going to get over his guilt and subsequent depression just because he has friends and a few good times. While these characters may not be good together, individually it was great to see both of these characters and the way they were dealt with by the narrative.

Visually, Orange is a mixed bag of soft and pretty followed by some occasionally terrible animation. Don’t look too closely at background characters and mostly it won’t bother you. Thematically the story works well and while I’m still annoyed at the time travel treatment there isn’t a lot more you could ask for in thirteen episodes.

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Recommendation: For those into drama and romance that aren’t put off by slow moving stories or awkward characters. I’m not the biggest fan of the show but I can see why it appeals to others. And I can see why it would be irritating to some.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Orange Series Review

  1. I actually read the manga first and I really enjoyed the story. I thought the plot was reasonable and I loved how they addressed the issue of suicide and depression.

    However, when I tried watching a few episodes of Orange when it aired, I saw the flaws that surprisingly hadn’t bothered me in the manga. I totally agree with what you said about Naho and the characters. And the fact that Suwa just gave up in his future was utterly ridiculous. I understood why he did it, but come on.

    1. I really found it odd that Naho never questioned that changing things was right. She didn’t actually know what her future life was like and yet was willing to trust that changing things would make it better. So weird.

      1. I guess she was caught up with the fact of Kakeru’s possible death/suicide. She didn’t want him to go and the letter she received was pretty depressing. But, yeah I agree, I felt like they should have thought it over more. But then again, I’m really glad they helped Kakeru. It’s a controversial thing for me, haha.

  2. Yet another series that got me all hyped and then failed to deliver. I’ve rarely seen characters more irritating than Naho and Kakeru and, honestly, watching Suwa being all he had to be was the sad part, not the main characters’ romance.

    1. Suwa was definitely the character to watch in this series but I still question his logic at stepping out of Naho’s life on the basis that another version of him would still be happy. That makes no sense to me.

  3. Orange was the first only romance series I saw in a long time, I mean a real long time. But what left me hanging was the crying scenes. I couldn’t understand they all had to cry at some point of EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of the series. But yeah, the review you did was great.

    1. There actually was a lot of crying. Now I really want ot know if they cry in every single episode. I don’t think that’s quite enough to make me watch it again but I’m really curious.

  4. My friend told me to watch Orange for the feels and I finally did. I was mostly annoyed by Naho and the decisions she made because she’s so dense and the way she handled some of the situations were just stupid. But in the end, I still enjoyed it because I’m such a sucker for romance.

  5. That picture at the end is great 😛

    Definitely more suited toward people who like slow moving drama and don’t mind the back and forth between Naho and Kakeru that never seemed to get anywhere. It might be better as a binge rather than the week to week in that sense, but it wasn’t like the end of each episode left you really excited for the next one, so I don’t know.

    This is a great assessment of the series in any case, with a lot of points to consider. In general I think people with depression are hard to deal with, and maybe this series was an exercise in that, though I’m reluctant to give it that much intellectual credit. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’ve been on the fence about checking this one out, but if it’s dealing with potentially emotionally unstable characters with a dash of romance it might be up my alley.

    The time travel thing seems a little tacked on, and from the small amount I’ve seen of the show I can’t say I’ll be much into the characters myself, but the core themes and general idea seems interesting.

    Guess I’ll move onto this after I catch up with Bungou Stray Dogs. Really enjoyed this review!

    1. Lots of people really enjoyed Orange and there reasons for liking it are pretty sound. That said, I won’t be going for another watch anytime soon because it didn’t work that well for me.

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