Whenever a manga or visual novel I’m a fan of get an anime adaptation announced I get both excited and worried at the same time. On one hand it can be easier to get friends to check out the anime than the original source and I look forward to seeing memorable scenes animated and in colour but on the other, what happens if they ruin the original story? Orange didn’t have me too worried as it’s a 27 chapter manga (although they are somewhat lengthy). Did Orange make it’s way into both my favourite manga and anime lists?
Orange follows Naho Takamiya as she’s preparing for school she notices a letter. When she reads it the letter claims to be from herself 10 years in the future and explains events over the course of the year including that a boy named Kakeru Naruse would transfer into her class that day and he would end up dying with only Naho being able to save him. The letter gives very specific instructions not to invite Kakeru out that day but Naho doesn’t quite believe it so doesn’t stop her friends. Kakeru ends up missing quite a bit of school after this and Naho finally starts believing in the letter deciding she needs to save him.
The rest of the main cast includes Hirito Suwa who is a “giant” athlete that serves as the soccer team’s ace, Azusa Murasaka who’s parents own a bread shop and acts like the stereotyped high school girl, Takako Chino who fills the mysterious beauty type and as we later find out, is very protective of her friends and Saku Hagita who almost always has some type of book with him (even in the key art) and often ends up as the butt of jokes. Something I noticed through the show is just how often the 6 seem like real people I’d actually have gone to high school with. There’s often background conversations going on between a couple of them that usually don’t have any real importance but that’s something a lot of anime don’t seem to have or when they do it’s a crowd not just a couple conversations going on.
The animation took a fairly noticeable hit through it’s run. The first few episodes you’d be excused for thinking Kyoto Animation was leading the animation but by the end it was clear just how short on time the animators were which really sucks. There were a lot of techniques used to try and keep these amazing visuals as long as possible though. From the start there were montages of just stills covering certain events while the characters conversed over them. At first I liked these but they appeared fairly frequently (almost 1 per episode) up until episode 7 so I ended up thinking “oh, a montage” whenever when started. The ED, while changing a couple times, was also just stills (the first round not taking up the whole screen and being background art and not characters)
The soundtrack in general was really good. It had a Flying Witch feel to it which I really enjoyed. The voice acting was also pretty good with all the voices fitting how I imagined the characters sounding when I read the manga. The OP and ED were pretty good too.
Probably the biggest issue for most people here (myself included) is the pacing. While I know it was fairly slow paced in the manga here it just feels like it takes forever for anything to happen. Admittedly, this could be from mostly reading the manga completed and watching the anime weekly but it also felt like Orange would have worked better as a movie instead of a TV series.