Ok everyone. I’m sure some of you have probably heard of this anime, and those people who have heard of it have probably strayed away from it for the same reasons I did.
I am a huge fan of romance anime. I’m basically addicted to anything involving love, but I was weary of this show, called “Orange,” because (1) you learn from within the first few minutes of the first episode that the love interest is going to die, (2) it looks really cliché, (3) it is not very popular, and (4) it looks sad.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
(1) Yes, the anime has it’s bleak, raw moments, but those moments were the ones that I never had anticipated that I would appreciate the most. Something that definitely became an admirable point of the anime was it’s very real, non-sugar-coated portrayal of depression, mental illness, suicide, and grief. This series does what most shojou romance series shy away from and actually shows the audience what depression is like through Kakeru, the fated-to-die protagonist, and the seriousness of suicide.
As someone who has personally battled with clinical depression for years and has been to therapy and counselling, this anime hit home for me. The faking smiles, pretending everything is okay, the self-loathing, thinking you are at fault, thinking you are a burden to others, denying yourself happiness, not allowing yourself forgiveness, and the thoughts of death; they are all things that I could relate to. They even included how you can still experience moments of true happiness even if you are depressed, but how it never really goes away. Sure, this anime might not be as light-hearted as others, but it’s the heart-rending instances in this show that give it so much impact and substance.
(2) This anime does have some clichés (i.e. cultural festival, giving chocolates on Valentines Day, new kid at school sits next to the main character), but the plot completely colors these events in ways that make them so much more meaningful and different than you have ever seen them. One of my main concerns going into this show was that I would be bored, but I ended up watching it all in one sitting simply because of how much I needed to know what would happen. Additionally, the secondary characters are wonderfully fleshed out and are actually important to the plot, instead of feeling like accessories.
(3) I know this anime was based off of a manga (which I had once picked up on a whim, but put down once I saw how sad it was probably going to be), but I have never heard people talk about it, like ever. Even when the show came out (which it did recently), there was no buzz about it. Although the lack of chatter surrounding Orange only made me more pessimistic regarding the quality of the show, if there is anything I have learned from watching hundreds of anime, it is that sometimes good shows can fly beneath the radar. I am glad I decided to pick it up after it’s completion and give it a chance, because I just found a series that has easily earned a spot on my top 10 list.
(4) Is this anime sad? Yes. Is it too sad to watch? No. The biggest obstacle that stood in my way for this show was the fact that it pretty much promised from the get-go to be sad. “But love is supposed to be happy and have a happy ending,” you might say, “so how can that be possible when one of the protagonists is destined to commit suicide.” I don’t want to spoil it, so all I can tell you is that I was very pleased with the conclusion and it ends much differentlythan you are lead to believe it will. Trust me guys. My heart is made of glass. I would not recommend this show to anyone if I didn’t think the denouement was really good.
So, in conclusion, set aside a few hours one day and let this series show you its magic!