There’s still eight more episodes of this? I’m already sweating from an overdose of emotions. We’re now at the point where I basically remember nothing of what’s to come, but each passing episode has made these characters more likeable and heartbreaking, and from what I’ve been told the second half of the series is even better than the first. All things considered, Orange is at a pretty good place right now – especially if you’re an anime fan who loves to be emotionally manipulated in the most heartbreaking ways possible (aka me).
This episode carries on the tradition of seeing snippets of Naho in the future before jumping back into the dramatic events of the present. This time her, Suwa, and the rest of their friends head off to visit Kakeru’s grandmother. It’s a shorter scene than I was expecting, but it confirms that Naho and Suwa are indeed married in this timeline, and the child always in Naho’s arms is theirs. It was obvious, but felt like a scandalous confession now that they’ve said it out loud, especially since the results of this timeline appear wildly different from the one we’re following in Naho’s high school days. There’s no clear connection to the present and future and how the letters are being sent (or when exactly), but I expect that will come eventually. If not, I’ll live with it. It’s a detail that doesn’t necessarily need to be explained, but with the diverging events thanks to Naho’s new actions I’m wondering if both timelines will co-exist with one another when that time comes.
This was another episode of montages, easygoing conversations, and whole lot of tension. It’s a shame the artwork is not as polished as it was in the premiere, but even if the visuals were shoddy stickmen it’d still have that emotional drama to keep us content. I’m still not used to the choppy editing, but I don’t dislike it either; it’s just a shame that we don’t have stellar artwork this week to keep that from becoming a distraction. Thankfully though, that’s a little quibble compared to what this episode did offer. All those slow conversations and that build-up paid off wonderfully – or at least it felt like it did. Knowing that Kakeru is going through some personal struggles right now, yet masks it with his easygoing smile, is enough to make me weary. I’m not letting my guard down that easy… especially after only four episodes.
Another interesting development that could occur soon is the discovery of Naho’s letters. Her friends are noticing that she’s acting different from usual, which is to be expected when she’s being told the tragic events ahead of her and she’s focused on trying to prevent them. This entire episode it felt like Naho was barely present in the conversations – while her friends were enjoying themselves (even without Kakeru’s company), Naho seemed like she was in another world. If her secrets letters are discovered that would present some curious possibilities.
The first comparison that comes to mind (again) is Ano Hana, where Jinta is the only one who is aware of Menma at first, before his childhood friends eventually believe him and work together to get to the bottom of their drama. We could be in for a similar situation in Orange, which would allow Naho to not get so worried and bottle up her true feelings – but what would that mean for her relationship with Suwa and the events of the future? It may not even happen, but it would make for a welcomed dramatic shift. Either way, whatever does come next, I’m sure it won’t be sunshine and rainbows. I can’t wait!