In this season, I’m going to be reviewing Orange, which is based on a manga and quite different from the last two anime I reviewed, Mekakucity Actors and Kiznaiver. If you’ve not yet heard the premise, Naho Takamiya receives a letter one day claiming to be from herself ten years in the future, pleading with her to follow its instructions so she won’t have so many regrets, and especially to look after the exchange student, Kakeru Naruse.
I worry about Naho—will her future self’s letter actually help, or will it just put a heavier burden of guilt on her if she fails to make things better? Already I can see this problem, as there wasn’t much Naho could have done to stop her friends from inviting Kakeru to walk home with them, as her letter advised, without it seeming very odd.
Regret can do strange things to a person. Happy memories tarnish, and our view of others and ourselves can change dramatically. Some of my regrets are about times when I’ve ignored, or refused, to listen to God. But regret becomes a bit different when our entire lives are viewed through the lens of God’s grace. He has helped me see my mistakes differently, and has brought so much more good out of them than I could ever imagine.
God can redeem anything. Failures become lessons, and hardships make us appreciate our triumphs. Our hearts are renewed through him, shedding the our old ways. He can be found in the midst of our sufferings, and as we look back on them as well. One story that comes to mind is that of Peter, who was distraught over having denied Jesus three times. Instead of allowing him to passively dwell on his mistake, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, and encourages him to look ahead to his role in building the church and caring for others. His response was gentle and God calls us not to be shackled by regret, but instead use our experiences for good as he transforms us.
I suspect Naho may learn a similar lesson. She may have been able to change her past, but it sounds like there’s still an unavoidable pain to come, and one way or another, I hope she learns to move forward in spite of her difficult memories.
Overall, the first episode wasn’t rushed in the slightest. The characters don’t strike me as particularly unique, and Naho is rather passive, but I trust that will change soon. I fear for poor Kakeru’s life, due to a couple death flags, and doubt he’ll be in a state to play soccer when next year rolls around. As far as the rest of the series is concerned, I’m guessing we’ll never get an explanation for the time travel mechanics, so I’ll let it go. It’s a fascinating story, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.