「LETTER 03」

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.

19 Comments

  1. I told a friend about this episode and she asked me if it is already the mid portion of orange. I am amused by the level of story going on in this show. I felt bad loving it because our poor Naho is suffering though.

    Screw it, I don’t need my heart anyway. Go on and destroy it orange.

    PS: 2016 in Anime is weird. It’s either the past (Rakugo, ERASED, orange) or time travel that gets the acclaim. Well, there’s also Rezero. Is that the new good in anime?

    1. I read in ANN a few weeks ago that there is a novel writing contest in Japan who will reject any stories with plot about time-travel or alternative world. So yeah, it’s been popular…
      Does this mean (Japanese) people with regrets and rejection of the world have grown in number? ._.

      Murasaki Hiruza
      1. You are reading too much into it. When a show becomes popular, people want to see more of its best tropes so other authors start making stories with the same tropes. It lasts until there are enough popular shows, based on different tropes that is, to take the audience’s interests in other directions.

        Nayrael
      2. I think the LN trends are more to do with what’s popular right now and what’s easy to attract an audience rather than it being a reflection of Japanese society as a whole. I don’t think that has anything to do with Orange either, since the manga was published several years ago now.

        Samu
  2. This show already presents us with some interesting dilemmas:
    – new decisions don’t necessarily mean better decisions. Naho has been doing a good job until now, but I’m sure she will create new regrets for her (new) future self to carry;
    – happiness to some is sadness to others. Suwa might be the one who has the most to lose in this new reality.

    I’m expecting the events from the letters to become increasingly more different from the new reality. If that happens, Naho will be able to assess how much her actions changed the future.

    So, I’m really looking forward to the remaining 10 episodes! I’m even considering stop watching right now, just to binge-watch everything when the show ends. 😛

    scampjot
  3. 3 episodes in and I honestly am questioning whether I’m strong enough to keep going.
    3 episodes in a row I’ve left tearing up.
    3 episodes in and I want a hug from everyone.
    3 episodes in and I dunno if I want to keep watching anymore. I’m gonna be real honest, I’m weak.

    I am weak. My family is weak. I will not survive the winter if I have to endure the emotional hellstorm this anime is stirring in my soul.
    And it appears to be delving into themes of addressing depression and isolation? Oh this anime is going to be iconic at this rate.

    I hurt everywhere.

    Kabble
    1. I have faith, that 10 episodes from now, we’ll all be shedding tears of joy and satisfaction once this is all over (after having cried for 12 episodes straight).

      JayDrink
      1. I suppose this could either be a good ending or an unfortunate one. Right now I think it may end in sadness… but it could go either way! So long as there’s no spoilers in the comments, I’ll be a content viewer 🙂

        Samu
  4. I’m confused about which way they’re going to go with this. It seems like the time where Naho has the letters has already branched off from the future time. In the future they mention the fact that Kakeru says in his letter that he didn’t join the soccer team but in the past with the letters he had. So at least at this point, the letters have changed the present but not the future.

    Bear
    1. That was my first thought as well, although it could be that they left the future scene in just to hint at the fact that Kakeru may or may not have committed suicide. As in, they’ll leave a short scene from the future at the end of each episode that’ll make us go “whoa” and view the present time-line differently. Despite the fact that that particular future is no longer relevant what with Kakeru having joined the soccer team as you said.

      JayDrink
  5. i wish they didnt reveal that he will die or atleast not this early because no matter how cute or happy these moments are i end up crying by the end of each episode and that ending song is not helping at all since it fits the story so well that makes me cry more T__T

    laila703
  6. I think the mistake Naho made was that, while she did find and respond to Kakeru’s message that was revealed in the letter, the letter also did advise Naho to also tell Kakeru how she really felt, but all she put in her response was big “NO” and nothing else.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  7. It really questions how strong your self-doubt is, even if it’s from yourself. Many times I have wondered if I would obediently listen to the words of my older self, or vice versa from my younger self.

    While it’s not apparent that there’s a time travel element in this series (yet), I like the pacing of both timelines as even the future still has much to discover about a fact that has seemingly passed.

    P.S – Anyone knows the title of the song that plays in the first 30 seconds of this episode?

    Azsurance
  8. https://randomc.net/image/orange/orange%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2032.jpg
    https://randomc.net/image/orange/orange%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2033.jpg
    https://randomc.net/image/orange/orange%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    Heh…Pity, Really pity too look aren’t they?!

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Namaewoinai

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