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.