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Orange: The anime, manga and novels

What are some of the things that you regret for life? If you have a chance to set things right again, to erase regrets, what would you do? Is it really so easy to take a different path, to make a different decision?

These are some of the questions that Orange tries to answer, and it does it with depth and sensitivity. Naho, a 16 year-old high school student, receives a letter one day from her 26 year-old self, asking for her help to erase her regrets in life and in the letter, the adult Naho spells out exactly some of the key incidents in the future and how she would like the younger Naho to do things differently.

While it may appear easy to follow a set of instructions to avoid regrets in life, we come to realise that a lot of times, it still takes huge courage to step out of our comfort zone and make a different decision, and personality cannot be changed so easily. It’s one thing to know “what to do”, and another to “actually do it”. It’s also a reflection of life. There are many moments in life where we know what is the better decision, but somehow we cannot stop ourselves from doing otherwise, whether it’s due to our own personality, lack of courage, or other reasons.

Friendship is a huge theme in Orange and I love that despite personality differences, the six of them make it a point (in their own way) to look out and care for one another. The show also made me realise that a lot of times, we just need that one person to gently guide us through a difficult time and having company and understanding is so important. Then again, not all “friends” are the same, and there are also times where friendship is nothing but people being brought together in the same space at the same time and being able to only share fun but not the tough.

There’s a lot of little moments in the story that speaks to me. When Kakeru told Naho to stop enduring and to speak out, I thought it was a poignant moment, and I loved it even more when Naho told Kakeru to do the same for himself. It’s often hard to do the right thing (despite knowing it deep down) and it just takes a friend to keep each other in check and to offer support and a reminder at the right moment.

我慢ばっかりしてたら、自分が損するよ。

It’s been a long time since I last watch an anime that made me feel so much. I had seen the Orange manga in the bookstore a couple of years back and told myself that I needed to watch the anime (something about the cover art just appealed to me), and I’m glad that I finally did it. I don’t buy manga normally (because expensive and too many volumes), but I caved in for Orange and bought the 6-volume set. It helps that it’s not a 20-volume set because I would have to think thrice about it hahaha. I also caved in and bought the 3-volume light novel set.

The last two times I was SO into an anime was 神様はじめました and NANA. I have part of the 神様 manga set (hahaha yup I never finished collecting) and for NANA, I don’t know if I want to get the DVD or a second-hand manga set one day. NANA is one of those stories that rocked me to the core, and I wonder if I have the courage to go through the same raw pain again. I watched it in my 20s, and perhaps it’s time to revisit the story in my 30s.

I’m about halfway through the first volume of the light novel and I’ll share more about it next time!

Till the next post.

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