Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – Orange

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for time travel stories. It’s why I loved Steins;Gate so much, why I felt ERASED was amazing, why I am currently liking ReZERO, and why I took an interest in this next anime! It’s the story of a girl who writes herself a letter. That letter travels 10 years into the past to her 16-year old self and so begins a romance story with a bit of time manipulation! This is the much anticipated Orange!

First Episode Impressions

Right off the bat, I am not digging the character designs at all. They all look like creepy dolls even though they’re not meant to be. I found myself cringing at the artwork throughout the entire episode, but I did put that aside in order to sum up my feelings, which are a mixed bag.

It doesn’t get explained how the letter traveled 10 years into the past and I wouldn’t expect something like that to get revealed right off the bat. Naho’s reaction to the letter was a bit.. well… timid, to be honest. The curiosity was there, but her reactions to how things were playing out was a bit underwhelming. She seemed like she was just going with the flow and accepting everything that was happening without question. That part was a bit annoying.

Another point in the show that made me scratch my head was the part where Naho was at a crossroads on whether or not to be the pinch hitter in their softball game. The letter stated that she passed on it and it caused Azusa to strike out. After some reluctance, she accepts and she ends up hitting a home run which caused them to win the game. After this, I would have LOVED to have seen the 26 year old Naho experience a brand new memory, or rather, just SOMETHING to indicate that the past had changed, but we don’t get a single damn thing to indicate that. Life just continues and none of the implications of this new choice were presented. Even in Back to the Future, we saw photographs change based on the events that transpired. You would think, at the very least, that the letter would say something different, but nope… not a damn thing.

So the big hook of Orange involves Kakeru. He’s a transfer student and on his first day, Naho and company invite him out to try and get to know him better. The letter states that they shouldn’t invite Kakeru out, but Naho ignores this and the event happens like normal. Kakeru ends up ditching school for an entire two weeks after his first day and NOBODY SEEMS TO QUESTION IT. In fact, when he tells Naho that he ditches, she just shrugged it off. Two weeks is a LONG ASS TIME to miss school, especially after your first day and nobody thinks to question why?

Then at the very end of the episode, the letter reveals that ten years in the future, Kakeru is “no longer with us.” So, death flag? Did he move away? I doubt it’s the latter of the two there. I’m pretty sure at some point, Kakeru is going to die and that’s why Naho wrote this letter to herself ten years in the past, to try and prevent her from getting too attached to him or something. WHY WOULD YOU REVEAL THIS IN THE FIRST EPISODE!? Where’s the build up? Where’s the tension!? Where’s the mind games!? Where’s the ability to allow viewers to piece this together for themselves!?

Argh.. there’s just too many weird instances in the first episode of Orange for me to feel satisfied. I’m going to keep watching because I want to see how they advance the story, but if this is just going to continue to be flat like this for the rest of the show, I may end up dropping it, which is sad because this show was recommended highly to me because it supposedly has a fantastic story.

OP & ED Impressions

Hikari no Hahen” by Yu Takahashi served as the OP to Orange and it was an upbeat folksy-sounding song, if that makes any sense. It had a light-hearted tone to it that was kind of relaxing, but it also kept your attention. I don’t think this is a song many people will want to go out and get because it wasn’t beyond epic, but it did set the mood of the show nicely.

Mirai” by Kobukuro served as the ending theme and this sounds nice and somber just like I would expect it to. Kobukuro also did the opening “Blue Bird” for Bakuman and this style is right up this duo’s alley. When you want some music just to sit back and relax to, you listen to Kobukuro… it’s what you do. I actually want the full version of this as I haven’t been disappointed with their music yet!

Worth Watching?

MAYBE – I had high hopes for Orange, but this first episode was kind of a letdown for me. Maybe I’m being too picky about the laws of time travel or the fact that they severely hinted at the fate of one of the characters right off the bat, but I’m going to stick with it to see if this show ends up redeeming itself. I really hope it does because I’ve been looking forward to this one all year.

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.