Orange Episode 8: A Better Way

Naho is a fairly straightforward person. She’s followed the letter faithfully, with as much courage as she could muster, and with reasonable success. The faults that have gotten her into trouble have mostly been overthinking everything, isolating herself, and her reserved personality. But while it may not stop her from saving Kakeru, there’s another thing that’s holding her back, and that’s her reluctance to consider new and different possibilities beyond the letter’s suggestions.

Your future self is just as fallible as you are, after all.

When there are high stakes involved, making a decision can be difficult. Naho and Suwa saw two options before them: repeat the mistakes of their future selves, or convince Kakeru not to run in the race, hopefully to his benefit. Neither of them considered that there might be a third option. As human beings, we all have limited perspectives. Although the future Naho had a better understanding of the situation, her desperation to change the past blinded her to other possibilities. Our insights are valuable and can help others, and similarly, the ideas of others can save us where we would be lost on our own.

Naho needed her friends to show her the way out of the only way she knew, and even Suwa alone wasn’t enough. We need to reach out to others, because when we do we gain an infinitely greater amount of knowledge and support than if we had remained alone. In a similar way, however, we need to seek God’s will and guidance, because he can show up paths we’ve never even considered, if we’ll let him. His ways are higher than ours, and he knows all our thoughts and feelings, as well as everything that has ever happened or ever will. Not only does God know more about a situation than we’ll know in retrospect, but he is very creative and already knows what the best option is, and then the choice is ours to trust him.

The revelation that Naho’s other friends also got letters did not really come as a surprise to me, of course, and I’m really glad that we didn’t have to wait any longer to find out. I am resigned to Naho and Kakeru’s lack of relationship status, and am mostly satisfied that they at least know they like each other. I was a little surprised that Kakeru expected Naho to hold hands with him without their relationship progressing at all. Seems a little unrealistic to me, but they’re young and probably have no idea what they’re doing. I’m glad that they’re going to start deviating from the letter, which seems to have served its purpose. I do wonder, though: if they keep making their own decisions, what will happen if they still fail to save Kakeru? Will it just lead to them wondering if they would have succeeded had they followed the letter more diligently? For the sake of Naho and her friends, I hope not.

2 thoughts on “Orange Episode 8: A Better Way

  1. The hand of Kakeru, reaching out for something. Was it only intended for holding hands? I was wondering about this the whole episode, along with the fact that Naho and Suwa decided not to rely on the letters.

    Until now, Naho always relied on the letters she recieved. Of course she doubted them at first, but later on she began to see that she indeed ended up regretting not doing the things the letters ‘ordered’. She tried to do these ‘orders – or rather advices – , but she didn’t succeed always.

    In the last episodes I felt that she was relying more and more on the letters without even questioning whether or not they were still useful and if this would make Kakeru happy or not. But now she, or they decided not to rely on the letters anymore, but instead focusing on what Kakeru wants. Her future self is indeed as fallible as Naho is. She and her friends are now relying on their friendship with Kakeru and not on the letters. So I’m curious to see how it will turn out.

    Kakeru’s hand. I personally don’t believe the explanation of Takako and Azusa, that he ‘just wanted to hold hands.’ It might be that he’s thinking about his relationship with Naho. And what should happen when he starst dating her, if he’ll bother her or not by doing this. But that’s just me guessing.

    Orange has been a good run so far. I think the story is told beautiful from (mainly) the view of Naho. Up to now I wouldn’t hesitate saying that Naho is one of the best shoujo anime I’ve ever seen. (Although I haven’t watched a lot of shoujo)

    Just a little question; If the story was written from Kakeru’s perspective, do you think it would’ve been better or not?

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    1. Hey! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this, I’ve had a busy past few weeks.
      I don’t know about Kakeru meaning something else by holding out his hand. Certainly the sad look in his eyes is why Naho misinterpreted the situation so drastically. It could be an unconscious meaning that he wants her to save him, but if so, that’s mostly speculation, unless it comes up again in the future.

      Personally, saying that Orange is the best shoujo anime I’ve seen is a bit of a leap, although I guess it’s been a while since I’ve watched a standard school shoujo. That being said, I’ve really enjoyed it! I think how good I’ll see it as will largely depend on the ending. If it’s really good, I’ll forgive it for being a little slow in the past few episodes. If there’s something glaringly wrong with the ending…maybe not so much. It certainly has a lot of potential, so I’m really excited to see how it wraps up!

      As much as I enjoy “What if X character were focused on instead?” questions, I feel like Kakeru shares a lot of the very same weaknesses as Naho, and although I do like him as a character I don’t think it would improve on the story a whole lot. Especially since that would make a lot of the time-travel stuff less interesting, if not completely irrelevant. We might get to see more of what’s going on in his emotions, but he seems to be a bit emotionally repressive, so chances are our insight wouldn’t increase much (the show already shows his inner turmoil well enough, I think). The writer part of me also suspects that writing main characters might be something the author needs to work on in general, in which case it wouldn’t necessarily be solved by simply switching Naho out. So I suppose my answer is “not” but honestly, you never know!

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you liked my post ^^

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