Series: Orange, #1
Translator: Amber Tamosaitis
Publisher: Seven Seas
Pub. Date: 2012, 2016
Genres: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Shoujo Manga
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
If you received a letter from your future self and it told you what was going to happen to you that day, what would you do? That’s the premise of Ichigo Takano’s Orange. Takamiya Naho runs late to school for the first time in her life and receives a letter telling her how her day is going to run and what she should do. Everything is true, and it centers around the new student, Naruse Kakeru. To make sure she has no regrets, Naho does her best to follow the letters and to befriend Kakeru. Orange: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 is a shoujo manga about changing the future and learning to live without regrets.
Some time last autumn, I watched a couple of Japanese movies with subtitles on YouTube, and I saw a recommendation for Orange, the live action movie. I googled it to find out more, so I know how it’s going to end. I didn’t watch the movie, but that’s okay since I found the manga at the library.
While I love the entire friend group, the main focus is on Naho, Kakeru, and Suwa Hiroto. Naho likes to make people happy, sometimes to her own suffering. Kakeru has some moments where it is unclear what is going on in his head from the other characters’ perspectives, but he is a caring person. Their developing relationship is sweet. Suwa is a sweetheart, and he shows that he is a good friend to Naho and Kakeru. Their future adult selves add an interesting component to foreshadowing and revealing information about what is to come for their past selves.
I love the rest of the people in Naho and Kakeru’s friend group, and I like how they handle trouble. They’re wonderfully protective, and they also tease each other like you would expect friends to do. Also, the primary antagonist is an expected and good one, considering most of the story takes place in the present in a high school. She makes it all the more challenging to follow the letters.
The cover is beautiful, and so is the artwork inside. The detail, particularly on the characters’ faces, show great emotion and make it simple telling the characters apart. I like how even on the page showed to the right that characters’ expressions and what they’re looking at are shown so well. The girl who is smacked here now looks nervous and angry at the other’s hand or just the other girl. Each page is carefully thought out, and the characters tell the story.
This collection encompasses the first three original volumes of the series. As I think about why this might have been done since it has previously been released in serials and shorter volumes, I think this makes the overarching themes Kakeru’s happiness and realizing the reach of these letters from the future.
For a speculative fiction manga, this is a sweet story. If you like stories that focus on friendship and living life to the fullest, this is a story worth reading.