At last, we have come to the end of Orange. Throughout the story, we have been wondering whether it is, in fact, possible for Kakeru to make it out alive. With the danger that everything might turn out worse than before, only the ending could prove whether or not the letters could save anyone.
Everything in the anime has been leading up to this moment. Finally, Naho has let go of all her fears, and has made up her mind to pursue Kakeru no matter how difficult it may be. Although she waits for the last minute, she doesn’t fail to talk to Kakeru on Valentine’s Day, even leaving a note in his locker just in case her first attempts didn’t work. She stands up to the girl who bullied her without the support of her friends. Even if the letter hadn’t changed the future, it changed Naho, and because she wasn’t the same she was able to convey her future self’s heart.
Kakeru did hurt her, but the pain of a couple harsh words was nothing compared to losing him. He was worth every second she spent battling her own reserved personality. Her failures were not too much for the sake of their friendship. When he finally opens up to her, their relationship starts anew with more honesty than before. Naho’s courage in confronting him paved the way for the group to save him and finally reveal the truth about the letters. In the end, he lived not because of their final desperate actions, but because their love and care had begun to heal him, even if he still carried so much pain inside. At the conclusion, he knows the only secret they’ve been keeping from him, and so he is fully included in the group, and no longer has to struggle on his own.
This story is a very clear illustration of why we should be vulnerable with each other. Being close to someone is worth the pain. Other people are worth the difficulty of telling the truth. It is better to risk being hurt than to go through life alone because we were too afraid. We’re worth the pain we’ll inevitably cause others. Jesus didn’t die for perfect, invulnerable people. He died for weak people like you and me who are still very much worth saving in his eyes. God has made each one of us with so much love, he will never give up on on us, so we shouldn’t either. With him leading us, we can change for the better.
There were one or two things I didn’t like about the ending. I’m not sure if right after he tried to kill himself was the best moment to let Kakeru know that they could have saved his mother and that he caused a bunch of pain and regret for all his friends in another world. Still, it was a very heartwarming moment, solidifying their friendship. The way Kakeru admits he was happy they’d invited him to hang out with them felt like he finally released the guilt he was carrying. Although I was rooting for Suwa to end up with Naho, at least they still did in another timeline. I am happy that Kakeru was able to live, and he and Naho are quite cute. I almost didn’t think he’d make it! I do feel like all of Hagita’s warnings about not really being able to change the future went to waste a little, but it wasn’t really a tangent that could be explored without ending in tragedy.
I’m very glad this series addressed such deep topics as depression and regret. The final episode had an excellent resolution and offered hope to people who might be struggling. While there were some downsides to this anime, I think overall it tells a very beautiful story with a satisfying conclusion, and reminds us to treasure every day we have. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.