At this point in Orange, we’ve seen a number of times when events occur differently from those described in Naho’s letter. In this episode, Naho repeatedly flees from Kakeru, her feelings a mess of discouragement and fear after failing to follow the letter. She very nearly gave up completely, in which case nothing would have happened and Naho would have just repeated the mistakes the letter had warned her about. Which might have been understandable, considering the pain her efforts caused her.
But that doesn’t happen. Instead, at the last minute, Suwa confronts her, causing her to run back instead of running away, changing her passivity into action.
We know this didn’t happen the first time around, so it must have to do with something from earlier in the story. Now, you could just say that it’s the Butterfly Effect and something as small as the drink Naho chose this time around could have changed it. But I don’t think so. All of these small changes lead back to one event: the day Naho decided to make a lunch for Kakeru. Because she made him lunch, even if she didn’t have the courage to give it to him, it led to a conversation where she encouraged him to join the soccer club, which is surely why he did. This meant Suwa and Kakeru spent more time together, which lead to Suwa noticing Naho and Kakeru’s interactions more, and so we arrive at this scene. One small willingness on her part has transformed the entire situation and has actually brought her help when she needed it.
There is much to be said on how small acts of kindness go a long way. However, I think this was a bit more than that. Naho was not just being kind, she went completely outside of her comfort zone for someone else’s sake. Even though she’s resisted change for most of the anime, there was an openness in her heart to change, and that in itself changed everything.
In our relationship with God, God cannot work with hard hearts. Our attitude has far more to do with our lives than we think, and sometimes we unknowingly shut doors for ourselves by choosing not to walk into something God has planned for us because we’re afraid. But God is so patient with us, and when we choose to respond to his call, even if only a little bit, it allows him to walk alongside us. If we let him, he can change us, and if our hearts are even only halfway open, he still recognizes and responds when we listen to him.
Now that we’re four episodes in, I think it’s safe to say Orange is going to be pretty good, even if I do wonder how they’re going to fit a five volume manga into thirteen episodes. I did feel some scenes drag on a little too much in this episode, but I think there is an overall good balance of developments. I’m glad Kakeru’s relationship with Ueda was cut short, as it made some good drama but it would have gotten old fast. I’m really enjoying Naho’s character growth, and hope that she becomes a little more brave in the future.