Anime at a Glance: Orange

Outside the fence for the soccer field back in middle school, everyone gathers around the time capsule. Left 10 years ago from when they were 16 years old, they pull out their letters and divvy them out to themselves to see what sort of outrageous goals they all had. Naho Takamiya reads her letter, thinking back to all of the memories from high school.

“I have so many regrets.”

Rushing to get out the front door, 16-year-old Naho grabs her bag and slips on her shoes, noticing a letter fall to the floor as she is leaving. The letter is addressed to her, but the letter is signed by her as well. “Naho, are you going to make it?” her mother reminds her that she’s late for her first day of class.

During the first period at school she pulls the letter out of her bag and opens it up, curious to see what the letter says. A new student is announced to be in the class as she opens the letter and reads through the first page. “My second-year high school self. How are you? I’m writing this 10 years in your future. Why am I writing to you in high school? I need you to do me a huge favor.” “Don’t repeat my mistakes.”

Reading through the first bit was a little odd until she gets to the list of events. It describes how she forgot to set her alarm and she overslept for the first time in her life. It describes that there is a transfer student that arrives that day and is assigned to the seat next to her by the name of Kakeru Naruse.

As the student walks in, the teacher writes his name on the blackboard and introduces him. Stunned in silence, “How does it know?” How is it even possible?

She looks on to the next part as class is ending. “Kakeru turns down the invitation to walk home together. This is the one day I don’t want you to invite him.” As Naho reads this note, Suwa yells at him Kakeru to walk home with everyone and they all get him to come along. He eventually gives in and sends an email off his phone quickly before they leave. During the walk Suwa introduces everyone to Kakeru. Everyone starts talking and having a blast, making Kakeru laugh and feel welcome. “I’m glad we invited him, we’re having a great time.” After a wild afternoon cruising around the parks they all head their separate ways to  for the weekend.

Monday morning comes and Kakeru’s seat next to her was empty. It stayed empty for a few weeks and the note didn’t have anything about the reason for his absence. When the school gathers for sporting events, Naho and the other girls see Kakeru with the guys and he says he was ditching class the whole time. She sits down and talks to him, complains that her shoes are too small and hurt her feet before going to her softball game. Her next note is about refusing to go up to bat after the opposing team switches their pitcher in the softball game, her next regret. Her friend goes up instead and they strike out, losing the game. She refuses to bat because of her feet hurting and Kakeru helps her decline. She changes her mind this time and goes up to bat. She hits a home run and her class wins the game.

Afterwards, Kakeru comes and treats her blistered feet. “This is the day I fell in love with Kakeru Naruse.”

That night, reading through the day’s letter she reads the last part of that page.

“Ten years in your future, Kakeru is no longer with us. Don’t lose what’s important to you. Please keep a close eye on Kakeru.”

Premonitions, paradoxes, prophecies, time manipulation, and time travel. These are things that most of us end up being drawn to as a concept because we all wish we could change things in our past or be able to know some things about our futures. Time travel can be a fickle element of a show that can take the show to new heights, or sink it to the bottom of the charts. It won’t be until the end of the series that we would typically find out for certain.

I’ve seen a lot of different shows and it isn’t surprising to me that a slice of life teen romance can turn into something a little bit more interesting. Some people won’t like the mystery of the time travel, some people won’t like the high school element, so it’s obvious to say that the show won’t make its mark for all of us, but I do recommend the first few episodes to give it a chance. It’s still a little unclear what happened to Kakeru at this point, but the implication is that there was an accident and he died, though it may not have been an accident.

It reminds me of a show from the previous season called “Erased” but with the obvious differences like gender for the main character and it isn’t really a murder mystery show, Naho also doesn’t time travel herself but she obviously was able to at least guarantee when her letter arrived.

It airs Sundays on Crunchyroll.

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