Orange – Preview
Original Air Dates: July 2nd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Naho Takamiya is late to school on the first day she’s ever overslept. Before leaving the house, she grabs a letter addressed to her from– herself? Naho discovers throughout the day that this letter, purporting to be from a future version of herself, knows the day’s events and predicts them spot on. The letter informs Naho of a new transfer student, Naruse Kakeru joining her class and urges Naho to take a different path than she did. It implores Naho to keep an eye on Kakeru, whom it cryptically suggests won’t be around in the future.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Orange is a pretty famous manga in its own right so if you’re someone who has never heard of it, then here’s what you need to know. Even though it’s labelled as a sci-fi, it has a lot more of slice of life and teen drama than you’d assume. The sci-fi in the story seems to be relegated to the fact that we have a time travelling letter, at least for now. Barring the letter, you could describe it as a slice of life with high school kids in a small town setting where a new kid transferring in is the catalyst to the story. The episode does start in the future, (or would that make it the present?) and then jumps back in time to the present and continues to go back and forth, albeit in much smaller doses so that it’s never confusing or overwhelming. There’s also a lot of mystery in the story as even though we know from the start that Naho has to keep an eye on Kakeru, we don’t know exactly why or what happens that needs her to do so.
Tom: In all honesty, I found Orange’s first episode a little slow, entirely engrossed in set up. I suppose my issue stems from Naho’s seeming disinterest in the letter, as it takes her a majority of the episode to really come around to listening to it and taking it seriously. I did enjoy the mild dark undertone that courses through the episode and culminates in the reveal for where the series will be going and why the letter was ultimately sent in the first place. I like that Orange doesn’t come right out and say what bad events Naho is aiming to avoid, keeping it subtle, allowing Orange to have a melancholy feel rather than an outright depressing tone. However, I found it perhaps a little silly that as Naho realizes how true the letter is (it predicts a number of unpredictable events and yet she doesn’t seem to really pay it much mind) there’s never any question of how it came into the past in the first place. Seeing as Orange doesn’t address this question even once, I feel it’ll probably remain a mystery as much as Erased’s sci-fi mechanics did.
Linny: Naru’s extremely calm and muted responses to the letter’s correct predictions was definitely frustrating to watch. Not that I wanted her to be jumping and screaming in shock but it felt like it took far too long for her to show any reaction to the strange situation she had found herself in, especially since she is the sole focus of the episode. I get that she is a timid and hesitant person but her reactions to the correct predictions even in the privacy of her room seemed extremely subdued. Her group of friends aren’t really explored in this episode but from what we get, it’s easy to assume that they’re your average group of close knit friends who I’m also going to assume, given the tone of the show, have secrets of their own. But for now, they’re just a fun group of friends who enjoy goofing off together.
Tom: It really does bug me how blase Naho is concerning this whole letter from the future. She starts looking it over shortly after she gets to school and despite its ability to predict the new transfer student, his name, and that he’ll be taking the seat right next to her she doesn’t give it all that much thought before we reach the climax of the episode. I can’t help but feel that isn’t very realistic, as it seems once the letter got those events true, she’d be inclined to read further and it would consume her thoughts all day.
Linny: Something else that bothered me throughout the show was the visual style and the way the characters were designed. It’s not ugly by any means, in fact it has this subtle style where it incorporates the popular anime aesthetics while doing a few things different enough to give the art its own personality. However in certain shots Naho would look particularly creepy to me especially when she was staring towards the camera. Maybe it’s her pupils..or maybe it’s her lips. I couldn’t nail it down at once but I’d be curious if anyone else felt it. Other than that, Orange the anime has a few other differences from the manga. Some events are shown in a different order or given a little more exposition but nothing that vastly changes the main story. Naho’s behaviour also seems a lot more muted in the show than the manga but that could just be my own personal impression. The show inserts these somewhat comedic and super sped up original scenes and images, like a montage of the kids exploring the town with Kakeru, and a random bakery logo visual gag.
Tom: I’m a little mixed on Orange, although in the end I think I’m leaning towards the Recommended end of the scale. I’m bothered by Naho’s disinterest in the letter despite how accurate it was. I also find the animation slightly distracting with the odd eyes and teeth certain characters have. Overall though, I find the story sweet enough and melancholic in atmosphere that I want to keep watching and see exactly what Naho will do now that she’s decided to take the letter seriously.
Linny: As someone who has read the manga, I don’t think the anime adds anything extra or special enough for readers to watch the anime unless they actually want to relive the story. It does do a good job of bringing the characters to life and watching the gang interact onscreen feels even more endearing and amusing than it did on a page. It’s still a perfect medium for those who prefer anime over manga to experience the melancholic story of Orange.
Orange is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com