Orange has picked up the pace and finally reached the point where things are getting serious – or at least more serious than they already were. This episode gave us so much new information that it’s hard to know what to discuss first, but I think Kakeru’s impending suicide is most relevant in shaping the rest of the episode and how we can view Kakeru’s character from here on out. It was easy to suspect that Kakeru’s “accident” wasn’t what it seemed, and when Naho went ahead and read the future letters she found out the truth of the matter. Not only does this frame Kakeru’s words, actions, and intentions in a different light, but it also confirms that Naho hasn’t been receiving these letters periodically like I initially presumed. Her holding off on reading later dates is believable enough and it means they won’t have to get further into the time travel mechanics since it was all delivered in one pile.
When Kakeru says things like “this was a good day”, it now sounds a hundred times more painful than those words should allow. Now that we know this is a young boy who kills himself out of grief and regret in the coming months, there’s a finality to his words; something that wouldn’t seem out-of-place unless you knew he was going to end his life. Naho of the future would probably never have guessed Kakeru was suffering as much as he truly is because like many suicidal people, he does a convincing job of wrapping up his depression and pretending everything is fine. Anyone who has experienced these thoughts or knows someone who has taken their own life or wanted to will know that it’s not as easy to detect as you’d expect. Sure, some people are obvious in their grief, but there’s always those who suffer in silence until it all becomes too much and they’re gone without anyone expecting it.
Naho gets plenty of hate hurled at her, but I think she’s handling this scenario as well as any one could. If you were told that your new friend (who you have fallen in love with) is going to kill himself, and he’s doing everything he can to avoid showing his true feelings, what would you do? Naho being blunt about his mother – asking over again until Kakeru spilled the beans – was an awkward and risky move; it could help him clear his mind by expressing his feelings aloud, but it could also send him into further depression. And with him going missing in the final minutes of this episode it seems more likely that he’s not taken Naho’s questioning well. It’s painful for everyone involved because these kids are all decent people who don’t deserve this suffering. The moment where Kakeru tears up when thinking about his mother, and then explaining exactly what happened, was the most heartbreaking scene of the series thus far. I was already crying at that point, and I suspect that won’t be the last time.
The other major revelation this week was that Suwa has also received a letter. I can actually remember this scene from the manga but completely forget about it was adapted, so I was surprised when it happened so suddenly (and then surprised that I forgot about it in the first place – then again my memory of the manga got hazy an episode or two ago). This was pretty unexpected, but it makes complete sense. Everyone has noted how selfless Suwa has been with Kakeru, and now that we know he’s aware of the future as well, it all adds up. Suwa’s self sacrifices have been working out well so far, I’d say; I suspect in the original timeline Suwa was more obvious about his feelings for Naho, but the fact he’s willing to put them aside to save Kakeru is testament to his character. Now we’ll have to see if the other three friends are aware of the letters and whether they received them from themselves or all from Naho.
Not only was the final reveal a game changer, and Kakeru’s eventual suicide an emotional punch to the gut, but the little scenes with Hagita, Azusa, and Takako were also top-notch. Takako’s hatred for Ueda is amusing, though I hope we see more from her character in future weeks; meanwhile, Hagita and Azusa are adorable together and I agree with Suwa that they should definitely hurry up and date each other! Both halves of this episode showed how likeable these characters are and reinforced how much I’m rooting for them all to be happy. It’s going to be a difficult ride, but I’m ready for more turbulent emotions that await.