Orange has thus far been a sad but sweet anime with a fairly simple plot, and I assumed the most complicated aspect, time travel, would be left untouched. Instead, the effects of the letter have been well used and explored, and in this episode, the possibilities of time travel mechanics were finally discussed. I was pleasantly surprised, and even more intrigued than before.
In one scene, Naho and Kakeru discuss whether they would rather change the past or the future. Right now, Naho doesn’t really have many regrets, and is much more concerned about erasing the troubles of her future self. Kakeru, completely unaware of any mysterious letters, is in a similar position to the future Naho, longing to change the past. At this point, we’ve only gotten hints about Kakeru’s pain. Are most of his regrets about his mother, or something else?
Though Naho is trying to save Kakeru, there’s still much about him we don’t know. The letters suggest he’s going through a lot of inner turmoil, but he’s pretty good at hiding it. He and Naho are both quite alike in their attempts to mask their true feelings, with the biggest difference being that Kakeru is very good at pretending everything is fine, while Naho isn’t. All along, they have both been trying to close themselves off when there was someone right there who could have related to them. I think part of this is because in all of Naho’s struggles for Kakeru, she’s mostly been focusing on herself.
Naho is very caring, but she’s also reserved and stays inside her own world, which is probably part of why it was so hard for her to push herself to change. Kakeru, despite his many interactions with others, may have the same problem. Although his mother’s death hurt him, he hasn’t really reached out to anyone about it, other than briefly mentioning it to Naho, and so is completely missing out on forming a deeper bond with her. The most natural explanation is that just like Naho: he’s afraid.
It is so easy to focus on ourselves, especially when we’re trying to do something different and complicated that feels impossible. We’re all living inside our heads, and if we don’t say anything about what’s going on in our lives, everyone else is left to guess. But God is someone who not only truly understands the human heart, he knows our entire past, thoughts, and desires. Even though we’re filled with faults, he still loves us. He has incredible power to call us outside of ourselves and open our eyes to the world and people around us, pushing us to reach out to others and discover the ways that we connect with them. He also doesn’t let us shut ourselves off from our own hearts, which is just as bad as focusing on ourselves, and something I suspect Kakeru is doing.
I really enjoyed how Naho’s relationships with Kakeru and Suwa developed in this episode. Suwa is an amazing, heartwarming person, and I’m quietly rooting for him to still end up with Naho, although I want Kakeru to live, naturally. Naho is truly changing, which is both relieving and exciting, as it would be boring for her to stay the same, and I feel like there are so many possibilities for her ahead! There is probably plenty of sadness to come, and I couldn’t help but notice the scene where a red balloon, possibly symbolizing happiness, floats away. There are surely more changes to come in Naho’s increasingly uncertain future.