I had no real expectations for this show when I first read the description on Anichart , the story had been done before and has been taken in almost every direction it could be , except ( before Orange ) through the sub-genre of Shoujo, I do not regularly indulge in shoujo anime and manga so this didn’t particularly get me fired up , however I still found it to be a fun exploration of a common theme and a base introduction to the sub-genre.
“One day, Naho Takamiya receives a letter written to herself from ten years in the future. As Naho reads on, the letter recites the exact events of the day, including the transfer of a new student into her class named Kakeru Naruse.
The Naho from ten years later repeatedly states that she has many regrets, and she wants to fix these by making sure the Naho from the past can make the right decisions—especially regarding Kakeru. What's more shocking is that she discovers that ten years later, Kakeru will no longer be with them. Future Naho asks her to watch over him closely.”
As I said before the premise has been done before in almost every stretch of the imagination , Mirai Nikki - action , ReLife - comedy, Steins ; Gate - drama and now Orange can claim the theme for shoujo. Now I’m not saying in anyway that it is in particular a bad theme , communicating with the future and past leads to interesting world building , character development plenty of intrigue and the ability to see the world develop according to the choices our characters have made.
So what sets Orange apart in the way it handles the theme is the way it looks at , while Mirai Nikki relished in high action fight scenes Orange makes it about a far more human element in particular friendship and relationships in the ever-present setting of a high school. All of that sounds well and good but the main problems set in when the show goes full shoujo. The writing is incredibly sappy and every is just shiny and happy and has a bright sunshine smiling over it.Dialogue and character interactions are always just unfiltered happiness filled with quirks and friendship you can see all that from one glance at the poster Besides the fact that it doesn’t appeal to me. From a critical standpoint , the contrast this type of world has when the actual drama kicks in is way to sheer and at times can be comedic. It’s hard to mix a world of BFF’s with suicide , maybe this is standard shoujo practice , again I wouldn’t know , but it seems like a bad handling of tone more than anything else.
My problem with the VA’s and their deliveries isn’t really a problem I have with the VA’s and their delivery it all stems from how sappy and bubbly the dialogue is in a world where people become best friends in a school day it’s hard to convey any emotional weight. I’m sure the cast of Orange are all highly talented , in fact I know that for a fact looking at their prevous roles , but when I listen to them I don’t hear characters I hear anime voice actors. Every line is just too exaggerated and in a way too full of character , in a way that they feel too much like a 2d drawing.
The OP is bouncy and happy with standard visuals and sequences but with nice composition nonetheless.
I can’t fault Orange on the lack of detail in it’s animation since it’s a character driven drama and not a shoujo fight manga I can look past the general absence of movement and excess of screen wipes and freeze frames especially when the freeze frames are all beautifully drawn and coloured and great translations of the manga.
I do have a complaint to bring up with the standard of how the lighting is done. I feel some person in the post effects department just rammed up all the the light saturation to full and left it at that. In some scenes the sunlight is so glaring that it makes the backgrounds seem all fuzzy and bleached out.
The characters are all what you could expect from a shoujo , large lips , exaggerated eyelashes covering dazzling eyes that sparkle at every turn. Whether you enjoy it or not is up to personal preference. Although they are all extremely photogenic and in keeping with style of world there could be a case made for them not being very recognizable.
As I mentioned in my dialogue critique the chemistry between the characters is far too sappy too be believable and I can’t meet any of the attempts at tugging at my heart seriously. Everyone is just a radiant ball of quirky joy until the drama unfolds of course, this is of course entirely objective and you might be able to just sit back and enjoy this type of architecture. Viewed from the category of anime and not shoujo-anime they’re all unbearable , within shoujo well that’s up to preference.
If you’ve read this article from start to finish then you’ll see that I can’t exactly hand out a yes or no answer , from the standard of a shoujo fan then you’ll have to answer that yourself for someone that wants in on the sub-genre then with it’s above par art quality and comfortable story-line you’ll find Orange to be a perfect choice , if you’re neither of those and don’t have an infatuation with shoujo then I’d say , no , Orange is pure shoujo and for me the bubblegum aesthetic was too much.
Seeing how the story wrapped itself up neatly with little in the way of loose threads that could be exploited into sequels and the live action adaptation was released years prior I’d say that Orange has little in the way of a future.