I never dreamed that the time would come that I would relate orange to tears. Orange is such a bright, vibrant color. But come to think of it, sunrise and sunset have hints of orange too. Sunrise and sunset denote beginning and end. Another day to live, another day to choose to keep going.
Recently, I found another ‘orange‘ in the form of a manga.
Orange by Takano Ichigo
Takamiya Naho receives a letter written to herself ten years from the future. As Naho reads on, the letter recites the exact events of that day, including the transfer of a new student into her class named Naruse Kakeru.
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.
Volumes: 6, Chapters: 31
Published: Mar 13, 2012 – Jan 25, 2017
Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Sci-Fi, Shoujo, Psychological, Slice of Life, Tragedy
Looking at the category and spotting tragedy among them, I started to shy away from this manga. But due to insistent demand and a whole lot of peer pressure, I started to give in.
Throughout the succeeding chapters, the future Naho guides the past Naho through the letter and tells her how to overcome every regret she ever had. The future is slowly changing.
“I always walked at a much faster pace, but it was such a waste. So I walked slowly on purpose.”
Then came the 9th chapter. Unrestrained tears, I tell you. I was crying so much in this one. Guess who’s the culprit? Suwa. That boy, so selfless and supportive towards Naho and Kakeru, managed to get my tears flowing so hard that I had to stop reading for a while because I can’t see clearly. Despite the tears, or maybe precisely because of the tears, this has become one of my favorite chapters.
From Suwa’s letter:
The author clearly has no intentions of holding back, and my tears followed his lead. Chapter 10 was just as heartbreaking. It will pinch you in the heart. But seeing the three of them (Suwa, Naho, Kakeru) together like that feels right. Like that’s what friends are supposed to do. You cry, laugh and get angry with them. Friends who cannot bear you see smile knowing that inside you’re suffering.
To sum this up, I thank my friends for letting me know about this heartbreaking, tear-inducing, and awe-inspiring manga. It truly is a great find. As I wait anxiously for the next chapters, I sincerely hope that I will continue to love this manga just as much as when I started it. If not, then I’ll write a letter to myself and tell myself to read it again: Read not only with your eyes but also with your heart.
[Update as of October 2017]
“If parts of the future can be changed, and parts of the future cannot… where does that leave Kakeru?”
“This world must be a new one, an offshoot created when the letters were delivered. Our future selves ten years from now created this world. To save Kakeru.”
The first time I started reading this manga was when it was still ongoing with only 10 chapters then. And when the succeeding chapters came out I was really excited to finally learn of the conclusion of the group of friends’ mission to save Kakeru. I have read this manga twice now and I’m also planning to watch the anime version of this.
I also like the fact that the Ichigo-sensei managed to show that it takes time and commitment to saving someone especially if it is from themselves and that it is usually the small things that matter most. It is also the efforts that people usually take for granted are the ones that have the most impact.
This story of life, friendship, regret, and love left me with a sense of bitter-sweetness. It was not a perfect one, but it’s a raw and honest way of storytelling is very much appreciated. 31 chapters of feels and sense of foreboding if he will be saved or not. 6 volumes of friendship that will be your companion.