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「LETTER 09」

Ouch, that was painful. Not only to my heart, but to my eyes (in fact, mainly to my eyes). Let’s get that massive elephant out the room: this episode looked atrocious. My screencaps may not convey the intensity of the terrible art and animation present in this episode, but I have tried to pick the best-looking scenes (of which there are a few) and focus on them rather the many cringeworthy moments. We’ve seen some lesser art and dips in quality in previous weeks, but nothing to this extreme. It’s a shame, because this is the result of the industry environment and the amount of workload these animators have to produce in so little time. If you’ve watched SHIROBAKO, then you’re sure to have learned a bit of that, but once you dip into the real world examples it makes watching these episodes even more depressing.

What’s worse is that we’ve got a brilliant staff but just not enough forward planning to produce the adaptation that orange deserves. While I think they’ve captured what makes the manga so special – and have adopted their own style rather than the bubbly shoujo one present in the source material – it sucks that they can’t keep up that quality until the end. I had heard there were scheduling difficulties from the very first episode, so this sudden dip almost seems like an inevitability. But it’s happened before in more popular shows and they’ve bounced back to their original quality, so I hope the remaining episodes of orange return to form.

As for what actually happened this week, it was another turbulent ride. After last week’s positive affair, it seemed likely things would start going wrong despite Naho and everyone’s best efforts – and that is turning out to be the case. We got a shift of point of view; seeing things from Azu’s perspective was neat, and allowed for some cute little drawings that were much nicer to look at than majority of the episode. It seems the others have similar details to Naho’s letters, though I suspect Naho’s go more in-depth going by how much more she knows than her friends. The moments with Azu and Hagita being the old married couple they’re destined to be are adorable, and the sweeter moments with Naho and Kakeru were pleasant… until things started going wrong.

Early on in my posts I suspected that perhaps Kakeru’s fate is already sealed, and no matter what they do, they won’t be able to rescue him. Maybe it won’t happen on the same day, but it will be tough to keep the act going until he reaches peace of mind. Now it looks like he’s becoming consumed by these spiralling depressing thoughts, even when things are going much better for him in this timeline. It doesn’t help that Naho is oblivious to his romantic intentions, but there were plenty of scenes where he seemed to spiral further down until the final moment of the episode. I hope Kakeru recovers from his depression and suicidal thoughts, and I hope the quality of the final three episodes are at the level that orange deserves. I want things to end on a high note, in more ways than one.

August 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm
11 comments »
  • August 31, 2016 at 4:02 pmdanny

    Ugh, this is where I’m starting to hate Kakeru. This is edging into emotional abuse. All 5 of these kids are entirely focused on trying to help a guy who doesn’t want to be helped and he’s being an ass about it, too.

    It’s time these kids burn the letters and get some concerned adults involved.

    Okay, I know that won’t happen. But it’s awful to watch Kakeru tell Naho, in front of all their friends, that he won’t date her. Then he turns around to silently and sulkily expect her to behave like a girlfriend. He pouts and gets sullen because she’s respecting what he said.

    What?

    Knock that off, jerk!

    And for everyone who thinks it’s Naho who’s behaving weird and dense for not “getting it”, remember, he said he just wanted to stay friends. So she’s been treating him the same way she’d treat the other guys such as being awkward getting physically close. Not getting the hand holding thing, ect. She wouldn’t hold hands with either of the other guys so why should she “get” what he isn’t asking for and said he doesn’t want from her? She doesn’t understand a middle ground and it’s horrible for him to try dragging her into one.

    And while I know many youngins may think it’s “sweet” that Kakeru doesn’t want to date Naho because he’s afraid of hurting her, well, that’s one of the most self-centered reasons a person could have. He never gives Naho a choice; he made it for her and then turns it against her. If he were truly thinking about anything other than himself, he’d ask her if she were willing to take a risk. Instead he’s focused on himself and dismissed her own feelings beyond what they mean for him. He doesn’t seem to care what she wants, he just wants her to hold his hand because it’s what HE wants.

    In the first ep, I was impressed by Kakeru recognizing something subtle in Naho. He seemed sensitive and aware. Now he seems too sensitive, in a bad way. That 1st ep guy needs to return and if he doesn’t return soon, I’ll be rooting for Suwa no matter what that means for Kakeru. Actually, I’m rooting for Suwa anyway, he’s a rare quality guy. Suwa’s gentle confidence is a better balance for Naho’s timid insecurity.

    The depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts are not a good excuse for treating others badly and Naho is the most vulnerable girl he could have picked to play them out on.

    TL;DR: Kakeru is too insecure to go for what he wants but too arrogant to be ok with not getting it. Go Suwa!

  • August 31, 2016 at 5:33 pmCrunchie

    Clearly they used this week’s budget last week and just forgot there are more episodes to be made.

    • August 31, 2016 at 9:53 pmMisk

      Where did they use it, last week’s episode had a lot of terrible shots too. :(

  • August 31, 2016 at 7:51 pmET

    The animation hasn’t quite reached Denpa Kyoushi or Sousei no Onmyouji’s levels but it’s slowly getting there. I’m worried.

  • August 31, 2016 at 8:19 pmAnonymous

    Animation aside, this episode seemed nice. I hope that the remaining episodes are more up to par. Ultimately, while the animation was distracting, I hope the story remains great. I’m reading the manga alongside the anime, and I like how you described the difference between the anime and the manga. The manga is definitely more bubbly, but that doesn’t make the anime any less great. I’ve been trying to describe the differences between the two, and bubbly just fits.

    Honestly, regarding Kakeru and his choices, while I can see how how he’s being arrogant, but if I were in his situation, I’d probably feel the same, depression or not. Love like this is really tricky to navigate, and I guess he hasn’t really talked to anyone about this, well, no one but Suwa. In many ways, men are idiots when it comes to love, especially during your teenage years. I’d probably feel that I’m doing the right thing in a situation like this, and no one would really call me out since this is an awkward topic, and I probably won’t talk to anyone.

  • August 31, 2016 at 11:08 pmzztop

    In regard to quality drops, I’m wondering how some anime studios like Kyoani are still able to produce their episodes on time without sacrificing quality like what’s happening with Orange here. Is it because of their bigger budget, or better planning?

    • September 1, 2016 at 4:22 amNikki

      Kyoani doesn’t pay their workers a dollar for each frame, instead, they get a salary. They’re the only company that pays their animators reasonably. Happy animators mean more consistent work. Plus, they mostly work on one project at a time. Most other studios have two or four productions each year, some may produce that many shows each season.

    • September 1, 2016 at 12:23 pmMicheleuno

      Besides what Nikki said, i think the keyword here is planning, i’d heard that those studios start many months before the first episode air.

    • September 2, 2016 at 11:10 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Try to watch videos from Digibro and TheCanipaEffect on Youtube, they managed to find enough information to be able to explain the general company structure and methodology of the studios they’re talking about.

      And also, Kyouto Animation produces all of its anime via vertical integration, they almost never outsource, with the exceptions being guest animators and perhaps directors. Also, since ChuuNiKoi, they’ve mostly produced works that they partly or fully own, but sometimes they purchase licenses for some source material.

  • September 2, 2016 at 3:29 amichigo

    「「LETTER 08」」

    Just wanted to let you know the episode number was wrong.

    Thank you for the coverage though, Samu!

  • September 3, 2016 at 7:56 pminfo600

    Just a question to those that are hating on Kakeru atm: would you hate yourself if you found out that you have indirectly killed your own mother?

    Also, he’s sensitive to having other people intruding on his problems, and in a similar sense to Naho’s “bluntness to interacting with others” (…I’m just as blunt here >.>), needs time to not fall back into the hole as often.

    …and I think I gave too much away for the rest of the adaptation…
    ps. we’re up to the end of chapter 14 now, while last week was chapters 11 & 12.