I’m not as big of a reader as I used to be when I was younger, however, the last few seasons of anime have not held much to capture my interests, and being single again I find myself with too much spare time. So this past year I’ve been reading a lot of manga! One of my favorites, which is available to read for free on Crunchyroll, is “Orange” — and a few days ago Crunchyroll announced they will be simul-casting the new anime based on the manga as well! I thought that makes it a good time to share my love of this series. I’m so excited about the anime adaptation! This review is for the manga version 🙂
There may be some slight spoiler for the first volume – I have tried to avoid them and keep this as brief and condensed as possible but if you’re worried, I’d recommend reading or watching the series first before going any further.
Author: Ichigo Takano
Genre: Shoujo / Slice of Life / Mystery / Time Travel / Scifi / Romance
Release Date: 2012
Where to Read (for Free): www.crunchyroll.com/comics/manga/orange/volumes
Where to Purchase (For Your Collection):
Geeky: 4/5 – due to the mystery of the time travel and suspense of life and death circumstances this series could easily be enjoyed by geeks regardless of their genders. However, the shoujo elements are strong, and there’s not much “action” aside from the time travel bits. So if you don’t enjoy slice of life, you likely won’t like this either.
Sweetie: 5/5 – A very sweet love story here with a lot of heart and emotion and great character growth continuously throughout the series.
Overall: 41/50 82% B- “Very Good Manga for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 The manga revolves around a young girl named Naho who one day receives a mysterious letter claiming to have been sent by her “future self”. It forewarns Naho that a new student is going to be transferring to their school and that this student will plan to commit suicide by the end of the school year and tries to give her advice on how to help save her “friend”. Naho works closely with her classmates, at first unable to tell them about the letter but gradually opening up to them as they enjoy their normal highschool life and Naho finds herself falling in love with the new student who she’s set out to save.
Story: 6/10 – I love the story (which I’ve outlined above without spoiling too much for you). However, the story ends with a rather “open” ending, and doesn’t resolve some of the questions I have. I can’t tell you more, obviously without spoiling it, but it was just not a very satisfactory ending to me. I also often wondered what became of the future Naho in the original “timeline” – because she was in love with and married to someone else and even had a child by him (this is all revealed pretty early (first chapter before she sends the letter to her “past self”) so it’s only a minor spoiler so don’t freak too much. — But if she saves Kakeru — would that then lead to Naho and Kakeru getting together, and how would that impact her child/relationship with the other person? — I wondered about that throughout the entire manga… I felt badly for this other person who really loves Naho. That slightly diminished my liking of Naho and Kakeru a little bit.
Characters: 8/10 Naho is the stereotypical heroine we always see in shoujo novels. She’s naive, afraid of her feelings, afraid of messing things up with her love interest, and pretty dense and oblivious to what seems obvious (about the relationship) to everyone else. She has a good group of friends who act as comic support, as well as love rivals, and this is all really common mundane stuff here. The most interesting character, by far, is Kakeru… he is one hot mess…. he blames himself for something that happens to his family at home (I won’t spoil it for you). He refuses to talk to anyone about his guilt/shame/feelings/fears and they eat away at him, which in the original time line leads to his committing suicide. Naho’s determination slowly begins to change Kakeru and get him to finally trust and open up to her and their other friends, however, it also frightens Kakeru, and we see him regress over and over and withdraw back into his depressing little shell. You don’t realize up until the very end if he will go through with suicide again or choose to live a happy life. I liked the suspense and drama. I liked even the dull mundane bits, and the comedy and humor along the way, and yes, even though I felt bad for some of the love rivals, I really did hope for Naho and Kakeru to get together. You can really feel their love and emotions for one another. You can also feel how awkward they are, and how they continue to inadvertently hurt eachother and struggle and fumble through their relationship.
Artwork: 8/10 – The art style is cute, and yet, distinctive. This is a relatively newer mangaka without many hits out there yet – I’m pretty sure this is their first novel to get picked up for an anime adaptation. I loved how each character looked very unique and different. Every single one is a different height and different body build. Naho is kinda short, and a little “pudgy” even with rounder cheeks, etc. This gives her a sweet soft innocent look that makes her a very likeable character for kawaii-ness alone. The boys of course are all absolute hotties :). My favorite thing is the multitude of different facial expressions – this artist has a very expressive style to their drawings.
Overall: 41/50 82% B- “Very Good Manga for Girls”
Animenewsnetwork.com provides the following information about the upcoming anime adaptation. I think most interesting to note, it’s being written by the same writer as Stein’s Gate, which is very fitting for a time travel anime. I do not see mention anywhere of the original mangaka’s hand touching the anime adaptation. Can we expect to see some changes in the story? I’m excited to find out.
The anime’s cast includes:
Kana Hanazawa as Naho Takamiya
Seiichirō Yamashita as Kakeru Naruse
Kazuyuki Okitsu as Saku Hagita
Makoto Furukawa as Hiroto Suwa
Natsumi Takamori as Azusa Murasaka
Rika Kinugawa as Takako Chino