orange Vol.1-2 by Ichigo Takano
Series: orange #1-2
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Synopsis: In the Spring she was 16, Takamiya Naho receives a strange, but detailed letter from herself, ten years in the future. At first she thinks the letter is a prank, but then the things written in the letter actually happen, including the new transfer student that sits next to her in class, Naruse Kakeru.
The letter reads just like her diary entries, down to the same characters. It is not till two weeks later, when Kakeru shows back up at school, that Naho finishes the letter.
In the letter, her 27-year-old self tells her 16-year-old self that her biggest regret is that Kakeru is no longer with them in the future, and asks her to watch him closely.
The shojo genre is a great big ocean filled with manga. Some of those manga are like Kimi ni Todoke that breathes new life into the typical shojo love story and much of those manga are pretty unoriginal (but can still be fun). Orange is one of the former. It has such of a wonderful story with just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness. Actually, now that I look at the title, I guess it could be said that the story contains the same sweet and bitterness that can be found in an orange 🙂
Orange starts off with a girl named Naho receiving a letter from her future self, telling her that she has many regrets and that the one eating her the most is that Kakeru will not be with them in ten years. As Naho reads on, she finds predictions of events that will happen in the future and also some instructions to follow. Naho has a trouble believing that the letter is not part of some sort of prank, but slowly begins to believe in it after she finds out that the events that the letter said will happen actually do happen, including an event involving a boy named Kakeru transfering into her school.
Naho then starts trying her best to follow the letters instructions, though she is still a bit confused, and watches Kakeru closely. What follows is a memorable bittersweet story about a girl becoming more honest with her feelings, trying to stop a tragedy from happening, and maybe even falling in love a little on the way.
I think that one of the best aspects of this manga is that it so easily shifts from sweet with sad undertones to sweetness mixed with sadness. In the beginning the story has a sweet and delicate feel that made me just fall absolutely in love with it.
And then, only a few chapters in, orange hits you with some pretty sad stuff that made me tear up a little, even though I only knew the characters for only a short time. Really, the regrets that the future Naho holds inside her and the accident (that turns out to not be an accident: he committed suicide) that took Kakeru away is heatbreaking. But the story does still keep much of its sweetness and even adds in a heck of a lot of hope. Which means I was almost shaking because of all the emotions inside me.
The characters are also wonderful. Naho is a fine character that changes in subtle ways throughout the story. Her blunders are a little annoying but are understandable and I genuinely admire her for how kind she is. I can’t wait to see further development in her in the next chapters. Naho’s group of friends are very fun and have such differing personalities. I especially love Suwa. He is a great character and good friend.
Kakeru is, well, he’s a sweet boy. It really tugs on ones emotions when such a sweet kid has to go through such saddening things. I don’t think that I have got a complete picture of his character, though. But I think I can forgive this since only two complete volumes of orange are out. Also, I just really, really love reading about his relationship with Naho. Their friendship and blossoming love is so sweet.
The only complaint I have about the characters is the unnecessary mean girl character.
Ueda doesn’t have any purpose at all in the first two volumes (I say “in the first two volumes” only because she might have more of a role in future volumes) other than to bully Naho and cause drama. She doesn’t cause as much trouble as some of the typical mean girl characters in shojo manga, and she is normally caught before she does permanent damage, but it is still so irritating to see such of a refreshing manga use such of a boring trope.
Ichigo’s art is lovely and delicate. Her characters are drawn lovely and each expression on their faces clearly shows what they are feeling. If you want see some of her work just check out this tumblr site that is dedicated to the manga.
Orange is a manga that I really do love, and I can’t wait to read more of it. There are so many ways that the story could go and so many ways the characters could grow and develop. Unfortunately, the series is on hiatus. Ichigo has said that she will come back to orange and I hope she comes back soon. She has thought up a truly wonderful story that I can’t wait to continue reading again.
Oh, and thank you, Sawako, for guest starring in this review. Now that it is over, please run back to your own manga and do some cute stuff with your boyfriend 😉