Orange

May 7, 2017

Imagine if you received a letter from yourself from the future telling you to do certain tasks that will change the future you have yet to experience. I guess this means your future must be real screwed if there is a need for your future self to do this. Of course at this age and era, one might easily brush this off as a prank. I mean, do you still believe in chain letter curses? Oh, right. Many gullible people still do. Anyway, Orange has this premise as a high school girl one day receives such letters instructing her to take action that will avert events that would lead to a friend’s depression and ultimate his death.

Episode 1
Naho Takamiya narrates she just turned 26 years old. But her life is full of regrets. We go back 10 years in time when she was still in high school. She mysteriously receives a letter from herself supposedly from 10 years in the future! At first she was sceptical but soon as she reads the letter, every content it stated started turning true. Like how today there will be a new transfer student into her class, Kakeru Naruse. The letter is trying to help her avoid the mistakes she will make and thus will chronicle events that are about to happen and the choices her future self wants her to make. Kakeru easily fits in with Naho’s group that includes Hiroto Suwa, Saku Hagita, Azusa Murasaka and Takako Chino. They chat, laugh and eat together like as though they’ve been friends for many years. There are a few days Kakeru didn’t turn up for school and the letter didn’t state it. Naho’s first letter request is when the class will play a softball tournament and she wants her to be the pinch hitter request. She regretted greatly when she refused. It is the same day she fell in love with him. That day comes and surprisingly Kakeru comes back since the guys in her class are also in their own football tournament. Naho now has to decide when her classmates comes requesting her to be the pinch hitter since the opponent changed theirs the last minute. Naho remains unconfident. However they back down when Kakeru tells them her foot is hurt. Azusa takes the job and this makes Naho think seriously. The pain in her foot will go away but the regret won’t. She then steps up to take the batter. Miraculously she hits home run. They win. Adding to the good news, the guys too win their football game. Naho hopes her future self will have 1 less regret. Kakeru treats Naho’s foot later and he praises how cool she is. He hopes to play football next year to be cool like Suwa. Back to the future, Naho is married to Suwa and has a beautiful baby. She narrates to her past self that she has got lots of happiness and joy before her. She doesn’t want her to carry that burden of regret for the rest of her life. The letter indicates that Kakeru is no longer with them 10 years in the future.

Episode 2
Suwa tries to bug Kakeru to come to football practice because he heard from Naho he claims he is better than him at the game. Suwa’s loose shirt button comes off and luckily Naho has brought her sewing kit to sew it back. The girls watch the guys practice football. Naho sees how cool Kakeru is. At the end of the match, Suwa begs Kakeru to join the club. It took him 10 minutes to give an answer. He’ll join but on a provisional basis. The letter states on a certain day, she wants her to give Kakeru her homemade lunch. Naho makes the necessary preparations and of course her parents are suspicious. Found someone, eh? Finally? However at school she has the jitters and couldn’t give it to him. Even when he nudges her, she gets a bit jumpy. He understood and said no more and immediately leaves. Naho blames the letter for making her conscious about it and wished she never read about it. Another chance meeting with him subsequently, she decided to run but Kakeru calls out to her and wants to walk home with her. She agrees but is stumped on what to do next as this wasn’t stated in the letter. They talk about a few things and when Naho asks why he is reluctant to join the football club because he is good in it, that is when Kakeru replies his mom died. She committed suicide on the day of the opening ceremony, that’s why he was absent for a stretch for the funeral and the move. He promised his mom he wouldn’t join a club. Naho realizes the implication because the letter stated she shouldn’t invite him on the opening ceremony but she did anyway. She realizes the importance of the letter was to erase her regrets. She needs to be there for Kakeru when he is down. Naho then gives Kakeru her homemade lunch. It makes him happy and Naho promises to make him lunch every day. He jokes she is like his mom. At least he is smiling. In the future, Naho meets up with her friends to go somewhere that has to do with Kakeru. The letter adds Kakeru died in an accident and everyone regretted the fact knowing he could be saved.

Episode 3
The letter states she wants Naho to make Kakeru join the football club even if she has to force him. Because a week later he quit. But it looks like she doesn’t need to lift a finger because Suwa has bugged him so many times that Kakeru finally relents. As Kakeru has joined the football club, he enlists Naho’s help for a wakeup call for certain mornings. At 5am. Everyone notices that their senior, Rio Ueda has been trying to talk with Kakeru numerous times. The letter stated Ueda will confess to Kakeru. One day Kakeru asks Naho if there is someone she likes. She had to say no. Then she asks him back. None either. What about Ueda? Well, he likes her looks. Is that an answer you’re looking for? When Kakeru lost a bet and has to go buy drinks for his friends, they see Ueda coming up to him to talk. They can tell she is trying to ask him out so when he comes back they pester him for the details. All Kakeru says is that he’ll give his answer after the break. As Naho continues to ponder about this, she remembers the letter saying Kakeru slipped a secret message inside the eraser’s cover she lent to him. Had she noticed it, the future might have turned out differently. Naho is about to take off the cover but she got distracted by cleaning duties. After she is done, she remembers it and resumes. She sees the message of Kakeru asking if he should go out with Ueda. Noticing there is still time, she quickly writes a response and rushes down to put the message in his shoe locker. Safe, right? Unfortunately when she returns to class, her friends are witnessing Ueda talking to Kakeru. He must have gave some sort of answer that made her feel very happy. Naho leaves dejected and Suwa can tell she is in love with Kakeru. When Kakeru returns to his shoe locker, he sees Naho’s reply. “No!”. Oh dear… Naho returns home reeling with regret. In the future, the friends are at the site where they buried their posterior letters of what they want to be when they grow up. Let’s say they aimed too high and didn’t come close. Suwa reads Kakeru’s letter on his behalf but all it states are messages for his friends. None about himself. Everyone feels sad thinking Kakeru perhaps have known he himself had no future. They regret had they watched him more closely, they could have saved him. If Naho could redo the past, she’d definitely run straight to him.

Episode 4
The friends are visiting Kakeru’s grandma whom he lives with. She knows them all despite this is only their second meeting (the first was at his funeral). That’s because Kakeru always talked about them especially Naho. With Kakeru dating Ueda, the friends hang out by themselves. On the next school day, Kakeru wonders why Naho didn’t wake him up. She thought he already has a girlfriend and it won’t be right for her to do that. Also, she didn’t make him lunch. He thanks her for all that she has done. Ueda seems to love clinging to Kakeru whenever she gets the chance. Like as though she is trying to tell the whole world they’re an item. Naho is in a dilemma as she reads the future letter. It tells her to answer to Kakeru when he calls her and to talk to him instead of waiting around. Of course Naho feels she can’t do that. Then when Kakeru calls her, Naho feels the need to respond but seeing Ueda in the picture, she runs away. Like the letter, Naho continues to avoid Kakeru. And another one comes true when Kakeru after saying goodbye to her, he gets into a fight with Ueda. When Naho responded to his goodbye, Ueda accidentally bumps into her. As she was unapologetic, Kakeru helped Naho up. This made Ueda mad. She screams at the top of the voice like as though she wants the whole world to know that she doesn’t want him to speak to other girls. He ignores her and Ueda runs away crying. It’s the same for Naho too. She runs away crying. But she soon bumps into Suwa. This isn’t in the letter so is the future changing? He tells her to stop running away. She blames herself about them fighting and maybe she shouldn’t talk to him like they used to. Suwa replies they are friends so what is wrong with that. Kakeru wants to talk to her too but if she is running away, how can he? It made Naho realizes so she rushes to catch up with him to talk. Kakeru thinks of breaking up with Ueda. After dating her, he realizes there is someone else he likes more. Although he says it is a secret, I think we can guess who that person is.

Episode 5
Naho realizes the future might be changing as some contents in the letter doesn’t happen. Like when all of them supposed to walk home, this time only Kakeru walks home with her. They hang out more often like studying at the library. Although Kakeru has broken up with Ueda, he is still on friend terms with Naho. After the teacher hands back their test results and since some of them barely made the average, he explains about time travelling because his advice (or was it joke) for them was to go back in time to study more. I wonder if those students can understand his rocket scientist theories he put forth. When Hagita counters it with his own, the teacher explains another conclusion that will somewhat satisfy it: Parallel worlds. This has Naho thinking because if so far if the letters have been predicting what is happening despite she took corrective steps, does it mean her future won’t change? Naho’s last text to Kakeru before he passed away was to thank him. She wonders if he read it. There is that cultural festival promise they made that never happened although the letter did state that there are some memories she wants to retain like watching the fireworks. So Naho sums up her courage to invite him and he agrees. Azusa and Takako make it clear to Suwa that they are supporting Naho to be with Kakeru. He agrees but didn’t say he would also help them out. During the cultural festival as Naho and co clean the pool, Naho takes a break but Ueda wants to speak with her. She confirms Naho isn’t dating Kakeru. Noticing the nice hairpin she has (Kakeru gave it to her), she wants to have a look but Naho won’t allow. Ueda’s groupies then corner her. Luckily Suwa as around so he quickly takes Naho away. He brings her back to Kakeru who then puts some band aids on her hand (those bullies tried to get rough with her). He knew because Suwa told him. Naho remembers the letter stating to thank Suwa whenever she had the chance because he is a dear person who saved her heart. She couldn’t be happier doing so when the chance calls for it.

Episode 6
Kakeru asks Naho among them, whom she would date. She couldn’t answer. But when Azusa asks back the same question, he can’t tell. While Ueda won the popularity contest, I am not sure how the boys’ one works because Hagita won with just 1 vote courtesy of Azusa. Naho is supposed to meet up with Kakeru for the fireworks but Ueda and her groupies force her to do some work or else show her the hairpin. What’s a poor girl got to do but some menial labour. Luckily Azusa and Takako were nearby and take over. Ueda thought she could take advantage of this and meet Kakeru but Hagita leads her astray by telling her Kakeru is waiting at the clubroom for her. Naho manages to join Kakeru although the fireworks just ended. Naho answers his earlier question of all the guys she would go out with him. Kakeru also answers it would be her. Naho decides to read the future letters to find the date of Kakeru’s accident as she was too scared to do so. However she finds out saving Kakeru from the accident wasn’t enough because he committed suicide. In the future, it was his grandma who gave them a letter left behind by Kakeru. He wanted to go see his mom in heaven and apologized and made his suicide look like an accident. Thus Naho is determined to save Kakeru from his regret of not being able to save his mom. She accompanies him during the Bon festival and as per the letter, she tries to ask him about his mom. At first he was reluctant but eventually opens up. As his mom had mental health problems, it was a day she was to be admitted to a new hospital. It was that day he was supposed to go see her but his friends asked him to walk home together. Due to her mental instability, she felt useless and insecure. That single event led her to commit suicide. It was also why the letter told Naho not to invite Kakeru to walk home on that day. Naho realizes it is her fault. Kakeru continues he prayed to God to seek forgiveness from his mom but he still regrets it. Kakeru went home early and Naho felt she couldn’t do anything to save him. She feels the burden is too much for a single person like her so she thought of asking Suwa’s help. But he already knows what her dilemma is. Because he also got those letters.

Episode 7
Showing her his contents, it is almost similar. But unlike her, he didn’t read it immediately and only after he joined the football club. The next important event is his upcoming birthday. Suwa pretends to ask his birthday and when he reveals it, the friends want to throw him a party. So they bug him for what he wants. Not necessarily a present but what he wants. I don’t know. It feels like Kakeru’s want is like a joke. Ueda confronts Naho again. She tells him she will give him the sports bag as present. Luckily Azusa and Takako are here to keep her from being a bully. Takako tells her straight that Kakeru enjoys being with Naho more than her. After being threatened she will expose her bullying ways, she gives up. The girls talk to Naho and hope she can just be honest with her feelings and tell Kakeru. In the future, Naho finally knows when her friends tell her that Kakeru was always in love with her all the time. The friends celebrate Kakeru’s birthday. Suwa’s present is flowers?! Yeah, Kakeru asked for that but that was a joke. He then gives it to Naho. This is as stated in the letter and also as per instructed, Naho asks why. To cut that long flustering drama short, he confesses he likes her. Naho didn’t give her answer though her friends are bugging her to at least make sure to answer him. Suwa later talks to Naho because the day Kakeru attempted suicide is closing in. It was the day after Valentine’s Day where he met up with his Tokyo friends and he told them about his mom. While cleaning the class, Suwa tells Kakeru straight to not hang out with his Tokyo friends but them. He then discloses he knows about his mom. As best friends they should talk to each other. Kakeru can’t because he wants to laugh with them. But can they laugh together without knowing what he is going through? Asking if he has thought of dying, Kakeru answers yes. Every day. He feels it was his fault mom died. It’s painful. Suwa then tells him about his own nagging mom. It’s painful too. And that’s natural. He hugs him and wants him to stop regretting it because it’s not his fault. Naho then answers him that she loves him. Please don’t die. She doesn’t want to lose him. Despite the tears and smiles, there was still a hidden sadness they don’t know.

Episode 8
Kakeru decides to cancel hanging out with his Tokyo friends and hang out with Suwa. While playing football, Kakeru collapses. It isn’t life threatening but it’s still worrisome. When the friends tease him for making his girlfriend worry, Kakeru denies Naho is his girlfriend as they haven’t gone out yet. He is worried he might hurt her or won’t be happy while dating. He’s already considerate about her feelings already, right? Naho and Suwa talk about Kakeru collapsing and it is not in the letter (it’s still coming despite Kakeru has lived?). But the letter still states about him spraining his ankle during the relay race and for his sake they need to do something so he won’t be part of it. So when Kakeru gets selected as the anchor, Suwa hopes he could swap places. But since Kakeru wants to do this, they relent. However seeing how worried they are, he changes his mind. He is about to bring this up to the teacher when all his friends volunteer to take part in the relay. Yeah, Hagita was forced even he is the slowest poke in the entire school! It’s not about winning. It’s about having fun together with Kakeru! So Hagita calls Azusa for a special training. Yeah, it seems amazing he gets slower and slower! But there’s something Hagita needs to tell her. Hmm… We have a few scenes of Kakeru and Naho together but nothing really materializing. It’s like they’re too shy to take it to the next level. Azusa and Takako confront Suwa and wonder if he is hiding something from them. When Naho is worried about Kakeru, Suwa tells her not to rely on the letter but on her friends too. So she confides in them about Kakeru’s strange behaviour of holding his hand out to her with a sad face. They laugh since they know it’s him asking her to hold his hand. After Naho reveals she got future letters from herself and needs their help, this is when the rest too reveal they have also got those future letters. Even Hagita (so it wasn’t a confession? Dang…). Naho realizes her friends never changed in the future and that they all have the same goal to save Kakeru.

Episode 9
Azusa thought the letter was a prank and didn’t believe it at first till some of it came true. From now on, they pledge to help Kakeru be happy. So by supporting Naho means bugging them to hold hands? Doesn’t it feel awkward? But it’s worth a few laughs because Naho stumbles in her thoughts. Based on Azusa’s letter, during her birthday she got an umbrella as present from Hagita. Because it rained that day, she lent it to Kakeru thinking he would share with Naho but instead the boys share on umbrella and the girls with another. She wondered what would’ve happened had she not lent her umbrella. So this time after getting her umbrella, she finds an excuse not to use it as it looks cute. Nobody is willing to share their umbrella with Kakeru until Naho offers hers. Kakeru and Naho walk home together but they accidentally drop the umbrella and got soaked. They take refuge in a shelter as Kakeru says he would like to go out with her if she says yes. During the sports meet, the friends had their parents over as support except Kakeru. The letter wants them to bring a relative of Kakeru so he won’t feel down. Imagine to Kakeru’s surprise when his grandma is here. However as the event progresses, Naho notices Kakeru is still gloomy. She might have done something had not mom bug her to show which guy she has a crush on. Kakeru’s gloom is so obvious that the friends know he is still hiding something from them. They don’t know what else to do if he doesn’t talk to them. During the boys’ pole toppling event, all the girls (including from the opposing team) swoon over Suwa’s abs. Hagita won’t lose out and uses permanent marker to draw his own! Funny enough to make Kakeru laugh. Suwa then talks to Kakeru if he is worried other guys would date Naho. He isn’t because he isn’t sure if he can be around for her. What if Suwa dates Naho? He doesn’t mind it either and supports it. Because of that, after the event when Naho tries to treat some of his bruises, he gets edgy and won’t let her touch him. Kakeru is bothered by this but Suwa knows this is heading in the right track.

Episode 10
As the sports meet continues, Kakeru continues to be gloomy. So the friends gather to discuss again and it seems in Hagita’s letter it was stated that Kakeru sprained his ankle and during the race he fell. He insisted he was fine and went on. They go to help Kakeru lifting some sports equipment and his ankle sprain is starting to show. When they show concern about his gloominess, that’s when he reveals his mother had died. He thinks she is sad right now and shouldn’t be laughing like he doesn’t give a care in the world. The friends say they are also sad to see him like that. Azusa cheekily gives him hope when she points out Naho was watching him instead of the games. Kakeru gets his ankle treated but he still insists he can run despite the doctor told him to rest. He wants to run with them. Before the race starts, they thought of giving Kakeru motivation to win the race with Naho giving him a kiss. Otherwise Suwa will get the kiss! Okay. Kakeru will win it then. The relay begins with Suwa giving them a big lead. Of course Hagita blew it. The baton passing to them symbolizes a message they want to pass to Kakeru that they’ll all still be together 10 years from now. This gives Kakeru a big boost as he comes from behind to win it! In turn, their team wins the overall event (as opposed to the letter which stated the opposing team won). Grandma congratulates Kakeru and his friends. It reminded her of his kindergarten years. No matter how many pictures mom took, he never smiled until he won the final race. She was so worried until he smiled, she was overjoyed. Kakeru gets his reward by making a quick kiss on Naho’s cheek.

Episode 11
The friends are wondering if the kiss reward has been given. Seeing their shy reaction, I guess it’s done. In the future, the friends are talking about the possibility of another future where Kakeru and Naho are married. However Naho disagrees because even if Kakeru was alive, she would still marry Suwa. Back to the past, the friends are making arrangements to visit the shrine on New Year’s Eve. However Suwa opts out seeing he has something to do. After Kakeru and Naho leave, Takako smacks Suwa for lying. She thinks he is trying to change the future since in the letter he came. Kakeru and Naho got into a fight and Suwa comforted her. It was also when he confessed to her. Suwa rubbishes all that with that parallel world thingy. Kakeru died so Suwa married Naho in another world, not this. Thus he has vowed never to tell Naho how he feels about her. Naho is also worried that she will fight on him on that day. She said something insensitive about his grandma who is sick. So the friends minus Suwa hang out together. Kakeru and Naho leave early and he tells her about his worries about grandma getting sick. When Naho tries to assure him grandma will still be around in 10 years, this made Kakeru snapped. How could she be so sure? He is still reeling from the fact he didn’t know how much mom was in pain and still blames himself for killing her. That’s it. It’s over. He doesn’t want to talk to her anymore and goes home. Meanwhile Takako calls Suwa to get his ass over here to confess to Naho. Apparently the friends have now changed their stance to support Suwa for Naho. They don’t want to change the future to affect others! WTF?! I know they’re trying to be considerate but how sure are they? Suwa goes to talk to crying Naho as he assures her to keep moving forward. He promises to bring them both together if it means hauling Kakeru’s ass back to her. But for now Naho needs to call him back. However Kakeru doesn’t pick up her call and smashes his handphone! Naho thinks she is responsible for Kakeru’s death.

Episode 12
A flashback from Kakeru’s perspective. He disliked how much his mom made decisions without consulting him. He hated her for it. He is like a rebelling teen. So when he became friends with Naho and co, he was curious about Naho because she reminded him of himself. Perhaps this is a timeline where the future never arrived. Because Kakeru was blamed in the football club so he quit. He met up with his Tokyo friends and told them about his mom’s suicide but they laughed it off. During the relay he fell and his team got last place. He wonders if the world would be the same if he died. After all, the group of friends were originally 5 of them. Kakeru contemplates of his confused and mixed feelings for Naho. When he is clearing his old stuffs, he sees his mom’s old phone. He reads a message that she replied to him (I think she just didn’t send). It addresses her concerns for him. She knew how much he loved his father but had to divorce him because he was a violent man. She noticed he was being bullied in school that is why transferred to another place. Because she didn’t want him to get hurt, the reason she didn’t want him to join clubs. She apologizes for never considering his feelings and is always the one hurting him. Sorry for getting in the way. Once Kakeru realizes all this, he cycles out. Now he believes it is all his fault and ponders about death. Will it clear your sins? Probably he is looking at the sky instead of the road and got hit by a vehicle. So that’s the light he saw? Sorry for the bad joke. Now in current time we hear from Naho’s side. Nothing really much except she is worried about him. They did apologize for that New Year’s Eve argument. But she is still so affected by it that she couldn’t pay attention in class and starts crying. In the future, the friends meet and talk. Still trying to blame that had they done something Kakeru would still be alive? They talk about going back to redo the past about parallel worlds and black holes. Despite Hagita dismissing all that, the rest continue. They are interested to write letters and deliver it to that Bermuda black hole. Although they won’t know where in time it will end, they have no choice but to make a miracle. Naho talks to Kakeru to wait till Valentine’s Day. She doesn’t care if he hates her. She doesn’t want to lose him.

Episode 13
Naho has made chocolates to give to Kakeru on Valentine’s Day. As per letter, she has numerous times to give to him but couldn’t find the courage. So when she finally does, she makes a dash but has the bad luck to bump into Ueda. Her chocolates are damaged. Ueda tries to intimidate her but Naho won’t be cowed and continues to go meet Kakeru. At first he didn’t want to accept but gives in. He explains he has been avoiding her since that incident as he is afraid to hurt her. Realizing she has been running away all this time, she confesses she would like to go out with him. He is afraid he will hurt her and cannot make her happy but she doesn’t care. But once they talk things out and she hugs him, most of the fear dispels. The friends are happy especially Suwa who believes this world exists to make Kakeru happy. The next few scenes show Kakeru and Naho hanging out with each other and being close. Kakeru finally admits he loves her. Later the friends still convene because they need to make sure Kakeru doesn’t die. They think about destroying his bicycle when Kakeru comes by and they quickly hide their letters. Hagita gives him a gay hug that sends everyone laughing! Well, at least he diverted his attention. In the future, Suwa talks about if there were no parallel worlds. This means if the letters they sent back and they manage to save Kakeru, the letters would never have been written in the first place. Paradox thingy. Hagita adds even if there are parallel worlds and they managed to change their past, it will branch off to a different future. Either way, this future they are in now, they will never see Kakeru again and nothing will change for them. Thus they decide to write letters to save Kakeru in a parallel world.

The friends are waiting at the intersection supposedly where Kakeru met with an accident. So far he has not shown up. In fact, Kakeru has already read the contents of his late mom’s handphone. So when Kakeru didn’t show up, the friends head to his place only for Kakeru’s grandma to tell them Kakeru just dashed out. Oh dear. It seems he didn’t ride his bicycle and went by foot. The friends frantically try to find him and when they do, this time they witness him being hit by a truck! Oh no! But thank heavens he is still alive. You know how I know he is still alive? Because there is no blood! They scold him for this suicide move so Kakeru says he wanted to die so he could go apologize to mom. Of course he couldn’t do it. He asks how they know about this so they show him their future letters. It seems not only letters from themselves but from them to Kakeru too. He reads their future thoughts on him. They still regret losing him after 10 years. Everybody makes peace and time for a big group hug. Walking Kakeru home, they wonder why he didn’t take his bicycle as stated in the letter. Because somebody trashed it. Oh, who’s the culprit… Don’t play dumb. The friends write letters and bury them as time capsule. When they wonder if there is a future of Suwa and Naho married, Suwa vehemently objects. But he notes it would be nice if such a future exists. Kakeru thanks them for saving him and Naho says if he ever feels living is painful, they’ll come save him again and again. Well, I hope they can without those future letters.

Orange You Glad How Things Turned Out?
Well… A happy ending? Or should I say a happy alternate branching future? It seems to prevent any sort of tragedy from either side of time, I guess we have the current time line and the future one to be deemed as good ending. In addition to Kakeru being able to continue living, the future whereby he remains dead is what I still considered a good ending. Because had the past changed as an effect from the future to affect the future (bear with me, I’m getting confused of what I’m saying too), this means it would be like an insult to erase the deeds of the friends in the future who took the trouble to write letters to be sent to another parallel past to save Kakeru. Their future no more. And Suwa and Naho’s baby who has got nothing to do with this time mess suddenly ceases to exist. Not good, right? Before I confuse myself further, let me just sum up that I find this series boring. Yeah. Got to get that out of my chest now or else I might regret it like 10 seconds in the future for not saying my mind. You can never be too sure about the future…

Honestly, this is actually one drawn out love drama series. It could have been just an ordinary one had not the premise that involves letters from the future. I suppose it was the only thing that held my interest because despite the drama, it was burning at the back of my mind of how these letters actually reached our characters in the first place. It made me think if this was just another parallel world because of that time travel paradox thingy. You know, if you change the future by altering the past, if that future no longer happens, how can they send it back to the past to change it? Exactly like what Suwa had theorized. So while this entire series’ goal might be to save Kakeru, but it feels more like a long romance drama between Naho and Kakeru as they sort out their feelings and ponder the action that they are supposed to take. And on occasion, Suwa gets in between. That’s all. The so called sci-fi elements are just a distraction and something minor compared to the big romance drama you are going to see for the rest of the series. I mean, if you want to think how they got the letters to the past (don’t tell me they really went to Bermuda), there would be endless and mindless conspiracy theories to come up with. Maybe they just hand it to Doraemon. Yeah, that’s much believable.

Despite the very small casts of characters and centering on this little group of friends, I am not impressed with the character development at all. It is one big reason why I find this series to be boring. Now, a big chunk of the focus is on Naho and Kakeru and as I have already said, actually there isn’t really much that is going on between them or around them and that is why the drama is drawn out longer than needed. Because Kakeru has his own insecurities, he is trying to overcome the blaming of himself over his mother’s death. It makes him hesitant to want to enter a relationship with Naho for fear of repeating his mistakes. Naho on the other hand is also as hesitant as Kakeru because she is trying hard to deal with the letters. Yes, Kakeru isn’t the main problem for her but rather those letters. It makes her more conscious than ever. She thinks too much about everything. This in a way affects what actions she needed to do. You can’t blame her since it’s like reading your own prediction and naturally anyone would be scared to death. You’d be cautious even if the letter is proven to be from your future self. Especially when future Naho often uses the word ‘regret’, all the more reason why high school Naho gets cold feet every time. In the end, both of them are just running away from their problems till they can face and overcome it. Yeah. It’s that simple. But it’s not if you’re in their shoes.

I believe Suwa isn’t the third wheel but he like the other friends in the group just don’t feel that impactful. Yes, you could see their beautiful friendship and bond. But as far as the story and the plot of this series is concerned, it isn’t really much. I’m thinking it is to hide the fact and to serve as a twist because I didn’t see this coming as all of them has got letters too. So had they try to take proactive action like we see for Naho, it would have made us very suspicious from the start. But I think it will still catch me off guard seeing that I am already finding the series boring halfway. So for Suwa as Kakeru’s best football buddy whatever, so as to be fair to this guy, the reason a movie called Orange: Mirai was released subsequently to tell the story from his perspective. It takes place after the TV series as he supports Kakeru and Naho’s relationship (as I read from the synopsis). Given that I’m already bored with the series, I don’t think I want to waste over an hour on this one. Not sure if this would affect my own future if I find it boring or exciting but I guess I’ll have to contend with this choice and the present I have made. Oh, did I mention that was a live adaptation of the series nearly a year prior to the anime? Definitely not keen on that one.

I want to say Hagita is the most amusing character because he sounds somewhat creepy. Because the focus is mostly on Kakeru, Naho and Suwa, poor chap doesn’t get a lot of decent screen time. It is like he is mostly ignored until he really needs to speak up or say something. What I find amusing about him is how the friends usually love to tease him and he has all this weird comebacks at them. Sometimes I want to say he is this series version of Gintama’s Shinpachi, the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to. Yeah, he is the most underrated character of the series. There are a few scenes that may hint he and Azusa have a thing for each other but it could be that because they are so close friends, they take jabs at each other like it is their nature. Maybe they do get married in an alternate future.

The thing that confuses me most is the letters. Now think about this. If let say that Naho or somebody else did something as the letters suggested and successfully change the outcome, this would mean that at least some part of the future is changed. But how come the future letters that keep coming after that still talk about many events that has happened in the supposed original timeline? Maybe one or two won’t change the entirety of the future but doing a bunch of them I believe would have at least branched out the future to another possibility. Does this mean that no matter how many of these events they changed, the future that leads to Kakeru’s inevitable will remain unchanged? It’s like nature will find a way to return back to its ordinary course. Unless you’re telling me that in another parallel future, these letters are sent from there. Then isn’t it that still the future hasn’t changed? Perhaps the things they do are not great enough to turn the future enough. For example, if you can’t have coffee, then have tea. Either way, your thirst will be quenched. See my point?

And to think that the friends remember vividly the date of those events! I know you can still roughly remember what happened but the date of when it happened either? 10 years in the future?! Man, I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast. Their regret must be really strong to really remember those dates better than history dates. Maybe a reason for this confusion of mine is that the series goes back and forth between the current and future timelines. It might be easy to spot this difference but as for the current timeline, they might jump months ahead before jumping back. It’s hard to tell since they are still in high school during that period.

The art and animation I want to say they are quite impressive but this can only be said for the backgrounds and sceneries. As the location is away from the bustling Tokyo city, the lush greeneries and the summer skies are quite a nice view to look at. However the animation for the characters are sometimes inconsistent in quality. I noticed that sometimes they are decently drawn and at other times they are just having lower quality. It isn’t that obvious but if you focus just enough, you can see the difference. This series is produced by Telecom Animation Film who did Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation, Moyashimon, All Out and the Chain Chronicle series.

Voice acting feels okay, nothing too extraordinary seeing this is mostly drama. Kana Hanazawa is instantly recognizable as Naho. There is this insecure and vulnerable feel in her voice that suits her character well. Also recognizable is Ayane Sakura as Ueda. Normally she voices bratty sounding girls but this time she really makes her character sound like a total diva b*tch. I also hate to do this again but upon knowing Mamiko Noto played Kakeru’s mother… Oh God. Why do I have to relive this trauma of her character being killed off?! This time it’s suicide?! I’m fine she’s playing motherly roles in recent animes I have watched like Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso and Comet Lucifer. But to keep continue killing her?! How many times must she die over and over???!!!! PLEASE STOP!!!!! Oh, screw that. Nobody’s going to listen to me anyway.

The rest of the cast of characters are Seiichirou Yamashita as Kakeru (Bunta in Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu), Makoto Furukawa as Suwa (Banri in Golden Time), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Hagita (Nagare in K), Natsumi Takamori as Azusa (Miyano in Tanaka-kun Wa Itsumo Kedaruge) and Riku Kinugawa as Takako (Liddy in Hundred). The opening theme sounds rather okay, Hikari No Hahen by Yuu Takahashi. Mirai by Kobukuro as the ending theme is a slow pop ballad and the song feels powerful and impactful on the series. It’s sad yet heart-warming to hear. There are a variety of BGM from nice acoustic guitar pieces to lovely string ones and some piano renditions.

Overall, unless you really like romance dramas, watch this then. Otherwise the time travelling or tiny sci-fi elements feel like a ploy to pull you in and watch it. It also tries to tell you how the power of love and friendship can save a life and future, which isn’t a laughing matter because even in real life we hear this sort of stories from all over. It is just too bad that we only have this single life and timeline to go through so we will never know how the alternate might turn out. Moral of the story: Live the moment! Thanks to this anime, I am for the time being constantly thinking about my alternate future. The kind of regrets I will have since I chose to pass on watching that anime. Would I have been better off or would I be even more disappointed. Yeah… My future is doomed either way. No wonder my future self never sends me those letters. But then again, it might be a sign for me to live the moment!