It has been a VERY long time since I’ve screamed at my tv as I watched something. But that’s exactly what I did when I was half way through episode 2. Watching Orange is like eating the world’s greatest piece of cake except it has glass in it. The taste is fantastic but it hurts so damn much. I wrote about the first episode in my Summer first impressions, but I’ll give a quick run down. The series follows high school student Naho, who has received a letter from herself 10 years in the future. The letter specifically mentions what happens during each day, and what she can do to change the future, especially surrounding that of Naruse. But getting 16 year old Naho to do what needs to be done is a completely different challenge in itself.
In episode 2, we learn that Naruse doesn’t bring any lunch to school, and future Naho asks past Naho to cook him lunch. Sounds easy enough right? Apparently not, Naho spends the first half of the episode freaking out whether she should make the lunch or not, then the second half deciding if she should give it to him. Episode 3 and 4 deal with a far more complicated task – Naho has to deal with Naruse and a potential love interest, a beautiful senpai. Naho struggles even more with this, trying to come to terms with her own feelings for Naruse as well as uncertainty of Naruse’s own.
Naho is often too late, waiting till the last possible moment to make her decision. She’s a frustrating character to watch in a series which focuses on the importance of action. A single decision can take her half an episode to make, and the second half of to actually carry out. If I had received a letter from my future saying that I needed to do these certain actions to prevent myself from feeling regret, I would do them ASAP. It’s not that she questions the actions, but it’s that she doesn’t have the self-confidence to do them. If the actions were morally ambiguous then I could understand her feelings, but they’re not.
Naho is also the very stereotypical ‘shoujo’ character. She’s cute, doesn’t speak up and, I kid you not, her hobby is to clean the house. I find her incredibly difficult to relate to. From episode 1 right to episode 4, there has been no character development on her part. Even basic aspects such as asking a friend to buy her a drink she struggles with. This series would be a lot more enticing to watch if there was a more assertive protagonist.
In these episodes we also have the opportunity to learn about the future.We learn some key details, that past Naho is unaware of, that change the way we view the letter. For example we know that Naho and Suwa eventually become married and have a child. We also learn that the group, 10 years on have not fulfilled any of their dreams/ambitions and also have lost contact. The most significant revelation of the last few episodes is that Naruse will die at the end of the year. We find out that this death, originally thought to be an accident, may have been a suicide. This revelation increases audience’s tension – we know exactly what is at stack if Naho fails. With every action that Naho takes we unravel the pain that Naruse is going through, especially following the suicide death of his mother. We desperately want Naho not to repeat the past, and hope that the letter guides Naho to a better future.
While I am really struggling with Naho as a character, I am enjoying the story. I’m still excited to see how the series will play out. I’m hoping in the next few episodes we see Naho develop a bit more, she’s currently a very bland character. I am also interested in the other friends, actually, most of the characters right now are very one-dimensional. Fingers crossed for a tad less character frustration in the next episodes!
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