Orange is a Slice-Of-Life, high school sci-fi graphic novel that was written and illustrated by Ichigo Takano. The manga series, which currently has 6 volumes, was first published in 2012 by Shueisha Inc and was later adapted into an anime series in 2016 by Telecom Animation Film.
Naho Takamiya is an ordinary high school student who receives a letter one day from her future self, dated ten years into the future. The letter accurately predicts events from that day, including the arrival of new student, Kakeru Naruse, whom she must save from an unknown event, before its too late.
Orange can be described as a sweet dusting of icing sugar but also an expression of loss and depression. It felt synonymous of a typical shoujo (girls) manga and yet novel in its portrayal of science-fiction elements. It follows the sweet unassuming main character, Naho Takamiya and her friends as they try to save their new classmate, Kakeru Naruse from some unavoidable fate.
Although somewhat disenfranchised with the predictability of the high school setting in almost any Slice-Of-Life manga one may offhandedly stumble upon, I very much enjoyed reading Orange, especially given the sci-fi elements that elevated it from being a banal story about friendship.
Friendship is one of the manga’s core themes and is explored in a way that is touching and cognizant of female sentimentality, which would make it appealing to its target readers. I appreciated the nicety of this sense of friendship throughout the manga, however I found it to be stereotypical and therefore not always representative of how high school actually works. For example, Hiroto Suwa is the tall, athletic ringleader of Naho’s group, Azusa Murasaka is the typical image conscious best friend and Saku Hagita is the super-smart quiet one. Essentially all of the friends in this circle each pander to a certain cliché.
To its credit though, I enjoyed the sad development of Naruse’s character arc, which I did find to be quite touching. I think Ichigo Takano’s illustrations strongly conveyed Naruse’s vacant and distant disposition as though he is trying to bury something heart-wrenching beneath his forlorn smile. Orange combines feel-good manga with more serious tones of depression and emotional distance. Despite my average rating, I think this is the perfect manga to introduce non-manga readers to the genre.
Overall I rate Orange by Ichigo Takano..
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