When the Orange manga was first recommended to me, I was hesitant. I’ve stayed away from shoujo manga and anime due to my growing personal frustration with it. The insipid storytelling based on years upon years of tropes coupled with often insidious messages for young women found in most shoujo romances is still far more difficult for me to ignore than routine sexual fanservice aimed at men. I approached Orange with trepidation, but came away rewarded with a strong story that skirts around these expectations by focusing primarily on regret and the premature loss of a friend.
Orange is less about romance — despite the ever-present tropes — and more about dealing with the death of a loved one.
Due to the well-worn nature of its subject matter, the second episode of Orange is grating, especially to those who have seen a large amount of shoujo anime — perhaps only one was enough, considering that gifting food to a romantic interest is so common of a cliché that it appears in nearly every shoujo romance. Throughout the majority of Episode 2, I wanted to shake Naho Takamiya by the shoulders and yell at her to give Kakeru Naruse the lunch she prepared.
In fact, Orange could easily fall into the trap of becoming just another shoujo series — and there are a few more clichés to come — although I have confidence that it won’t for two major reasons. One is a source material spoiler from the original manga around which I’ll try to tread lightly. The other is the deft visual touch of director Hiroshi Hamasaki.
A new season means a new series to cover over at Crunchyroll. Previously I blogged Kiznaiver, which was a series that caught my attention thanks to its subject matter, visual direction, and attention to floral details.
For the 2016 summer season, I’m happy to say that I’m going to be blogging Orange weekly. I picked up the Orange manga earlier this year due to several recommendations from friends and have written about it previously in relation to Erased (major spoilers for both in that post). My episodic entries for Orange will include letters to my sixteen year-old self — also general high school/early college-aged self — regarding personal regrets or past mistakes. Hopefully they’ll be as enjoyable to read as they are to write.
The first day of my college orientation, we were instructed to write letters to ourselves four years from then, presumably when we would be days away from graduating. Looking around my orientation group, most seemed to struggle with what to say, gazing off into the middle distance or staring blankly at the small sheet of paper provided.