Orange is the perfect series for those who love to emotionally torture themselves. Lucky for me, I love most things that are claimed to be emotionally manipulative – but it’s even better when you know your feelings are being toyed with and you can’t help but accept (and enjoy) the impeding misery. As this goes on, I keep getting flashback to Ano Hana – my favourite anime. There are differences, for sure, from the age of the main characters suffering from their regrets to the level of supernatural spirits or time travelling letters involves, down to the directing quirks; but I get that seem feeling of unease that I so relish. Perhaps I’m just a morbid individual who thrives from tragedies? All I can be sure of is that knowing the eventual fate of poor Kakeru makes each passing episode even more enthralling and upsetting.
As with the previous episodes, we got most of our content from the past (or is the present?) and a little seasoning from the present (or future). The scenes with the cast in their 20s provided to be an emotional outburst, as they all uncovered a time capsule that told so much about their teenage selves. It was amusing that all their dreams and ambitions proved too ambitious – from becoming a doctor to finding a rich boyfriend. It made me smile, until it came to Kakeru. As we know, in that version of events he is dead from an “accident” that occurred when he was 17, so this group of friends (who are apparently not as close as they were in their high school days) coming together to uncover his unspoken words was powerful to say the least. I wasn’t quite crying with them, but I felt their pain, especially as it seems more obvious that Kakeru knew there would never be a future for him, and there was no need to write a letter. His prediction makes it seem like his accident perhaps wasn’t unintentional after all. And if that’s the case then we’re on a quest to prevent the suicide of Kakeru, which is going to make things even more painful.
Back in high school, Naho is still getting letters and in a surprising turn of events, things aren’t turning exactly as they predict. Kakeru joins the soccer club without her intervention, which seems like a small change, but it’s a hint that Naho’s actions in this new version of the present could mean that the letters are no longer a reliable source of forewarning. It shall be interesting to see how things develop the more Naho urges herself to prevent her newfound love’s eventual demise. She’s more proactive in this episode, but not fast enough to prevent the confession from Ueda Rio (Sakura Ayane), who seems like a harmless girl who simply likes another boy, and that boy happens to like her enough back. But knowing that she may in some way play into his death makes the whole thing seem rotten and cruel.
Poor Naho is going to have to suffer this emotional torture if she’s to change things for the better. This feels like a missed oppertunity on her part, but the fact that she replied to his question could be enough to alter the future that is about to unravel. As things in the present shift from the smaller changes, it will be interesting to see what the future Naho and her friends uncover along the way. It appears the story they had been told perhaps wasn’t the truth. The death of Kakeru is likely much more grim than they could imagine, and I expect that to translate into some more emotional pain for us viewers.