Orange by Ichigo Takano
Publication: January 26th 2016 by Seven Seas
Format: eBook Pages: 768 (Volumes 1+2)
ISBN13: 9781626923027 (Volume 1) 9781626922716 (Volume 2)
A Plea From the Future
On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan! – Goodreads.
Orange is the reason I love Goodreads Choice Awards because that’s how I was introduced to this beautiful series.
One of the main themes in the storyline is time travel, considering the letter our protagonist, Naho, receives is from the future. However, that’s only one of the themes. Orange is heavily focused on mental health, something I didn’t expect at all. I was impressed by Ichigo Takano’s portrayal of depression, suicide, and feelings. You know, those pesky things a lot of us have problems with? Orange is about unending sorrow, depression, feeling guilty to the extent that you don’t feel like you deserve to be happy, all mingled in with love and friendship, and their importance in helping someone. The emphasis is on helping, not curing – a lesson some of our characters have to learn. The way these feelings were described and shown through the expressive artwork made it hard not to get swept up in a wave of emotions. I went from feeling like my heart had been wrenched out to feeling all soppy and gooey because of the cute scenes between some of the characters. Some excursions into the mind of a particular character may be triggering for some readers, so please go into this series knowing you will be exposed to raw and honest thoughts coming from a character with severe depression.
One of my favourite things about this manga was the characters. I liked the way Naho’s character developed and changed into someone more confident and capable of exploring and expressing her feelings. Kakero was complex and so damn relatable sometimes, his character felt real because everything about him, from the way he behaved to the way he thought, was believable. Suwa was amazing, his character made me simultaneously happy and heartbroken for him, he’s also the character whose actions made me tear up a bit. I loved Naho’s girlfriends, Azusa and Takako, the friendship between the three of them was sweet and caring and Hagita’s constant bickering with Azusa was hilarious. I didn’t expect this manga to be so heart shattering, but the combination of the mental health theme with the amazing characters made it hard not to get caught up in all the feels.
There are a lot of cliff-hangers which make you want to keep reading – one of the reasons why I finished all five volumes in a day. I didn’t want to stop reading. The ending was a bit abrupt for my liking, I had an ‘eh?’ moment, but I was happy with the manga overall. I can see why it was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards!