Well, that was certainly an episode of orange – dramatic, tense, silly, and insightful. For the first time, we get the story from Kakeru’s point of view, which makes all the difference in understanding what he’s going through. It pains me that so many viewers cannot empathise or understand what someone in his position is going through. It’s a struggle to watch his crushing teenage years flash by in the first half of this episode, but I sincerely hope it affects people in such a way that they’ll learn to be less judgemental and hateful towards someone suffering from severe depression and who is plagued with suicidal thoughts. His issues are real, and people in the real world are often looked down on or ignored when they go through similar struggles. When I see those attitudes reflected in the comments I can’t help but be taken aback. I sure hope the people who have no sympathy for Kakeru’s feelings wouldn’t act how they say they would to someone in real life. I’ve tried not to get to personal in my point of view, but as someone who suffered with suicidal thoughts in the past and attempted to take my own life in my early teens, I am 100% on Kakeru’s side here and the way his struggles are conveyed in orange feel authentic and true to life.
When Kakeru says the words: “To keep on living is the most painful thing”, my heart breaks. I’ve always thought Takano Ichigo knew what she was talking about, but this episode cements that she either was directly affected with suicide in the past or has done extensive research on the topic. When you see the unfortunate events of Kakeru’s high school life piling on him one after another, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be in his position. He blames himself for his mother’s death due to his blunt words, he puts his grandmother through stress, he loses the relay race, his high school love is confessed to by his best friend and he doesn’t have the energy to fight back, his old friends from Tokyo laugh off his depression, he attempts his own life to the secret of his new friends, and they trample on his feelings after being unable to tell them what he’s been thinking this entire time.
This is all in the previous timeline of course, but this episode highlighted how lonely Kakeru truly was. Naho was right to point out so many individual moments that stood out in her memory, because even if he did a convincing job of masking his inner demons, it’s clear that he struggled every step of the way, right up until he found his mother’s unsent message before she took her own life. That’s what pushed him over the edge. He had already given up by that point, and now we can see why his death came as a complete shock to them all. Without context, they would never have known.
But that was then, and now there’s another timeline. I could pick apart the absurd explanation for the new timeline, but I liked most of what this episode offered, so I’m not going to get bogged down in the iffy details. I think it would have been best to not have a concrete explanation for the letters being sent back in time; this one is just… dumb. But it set-up this great story that’s unfolded before our eyes, and finally, Naho is being the proactive protagonist that many have been hoping for. After her crude words last week, she goes out of her way to make sure history doesn’t repeat herself – that Kakeru doesn’t go down in a spiral after this point just like before. She tries so hard, and Kakeru is refusing her with equal force. You’ve got to give her credit for not backing down, as her friends watch on with nothing much else to add.
Is Kakeru a lost cause at this point? We’ve got one episode left to find out, and it’s been revealed it will be an hour-long special, so you can expect plenty of tears, drama, and revelations to come. I’m curious to see whether she or Suwa or any of the group will come clean about the letters and explain that Kakeru of the other world killed himself not long after now. It’s a tricky situation they’re all in, and Naho has a lot to consider if she’s to win Kakeru over and convince him that life is worth living when everything until now has convinced him otherwise.