The title on this one is pretty long, but as much as I wanted to write a full series review and be able to talk about it in a more complete sense the current supply just doesn’t make that possible. If you’ve heard about manga in recent months, you’ve probably already heard about the supply shortages hitting the market right now thanks to an awesome increase in demand. The only downside to seeing Manga take off in America as it has is that it’s really hard to get certain series including Orange, well only if you aren’t wanting to pay three times the market price for the book ($50+). I will say though that it’s been entertaining to see the way some of the sellers are trying to hide their price hikes, like on Abe Books someone had the normal price as the listing, but snuck in $50 as shipping. I’m sorry, but if I’m paying that much for shipping, it had better be wrapped in gold, weigh so much that you can’t put it through normal FedEx or UPS, and be cushioned in a soft bed of eco friendly packaging. That’s to say, I’d rather wait it out, so while the rest of the series is on back order through my bookstore, I wanted to at least go into my thoughts on the first complete volume of the Manga series, Orange. Since this first volume does cover quite a bit there will be spoilers ahead, just a warning.
Orange is a slice of life/school manga by Ichigo Takano, but it has a twist. Instead of just focusing on a group of students, the main character, Naho receives a letter from her future self, warning her of a new classmate’s impending death. Her future self tasks her with one thing; to befriend this student, Kakeru and make sure that future doesn’t happen.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Before this year it had been a while since I read anything graphic novel/manga wise, but after my addiction to webtoons this seemed a great way to get myself off my phone and back to books. The one big attraction for me was that this was a shorter manga series, consisting of three books altogether; the complete collections in two volumes, and a short story sequel following the events of the series. Like I said earlier, I was able to get the first volume, but the second volume primarily is what is still on backorder (I ordered maybe 2-3 months ago), so it’ll be a while before I get to continue this story. Regardless of having the full series, I was really excited to start off this, and was even more excited as I found myself getting lost in the story. I already knew I liked slice of life anime like Horimiya, but this was a fun twist on that concept as Naho got the initial letter and didn’t know what to make of it until it started to predict her day exactly. She handled it pretty well considering I’d likely be freaking out a lot and wondering what else might take place in letters to come. I think, beyond this being a fun, and different way to read, this manga novel also brings a great cast of characters to the mix. We are initially sucked into the main focus of Naho and Kakeru, but all the members of her friend group were all important to the focus, and Suwa especially made me hesitate in some of my predictions because it just felt like everyone needed to end up happy. I’m not the type to feel like that typically, I have my main couple I root for and that’s that, but this one makes you want everyone to end up with the best possible ending. I was surprised by that attachment to all the characters, but I am more than okay to be that way for once.
The other big thing in this story is that it deals with a possible suicide. At least in this volume it’s never confirmed, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you are sensitive to that topic. The handling of this discussion is done in a way that is respectful, and honestly this whole concept of trying to help Kakeru out is something I was happy to see. Slowly, we are shown all the things that led to Kakeru’s death, and whether it was an accident, or something else it definitely makes you want to look at those around you, and be there for them. It was sad to see the things that were slowly adding up for him until he felt isolated, and at fault for things that were out of his control. Naho’s discovery of some of the events as well really showed that even good intentions can still hurt others in these situations. I am interested to see how Naho and the others go forward with being there for him, and if the letters ever come up since that would be a really strange discussion, but I really enjoyed this sweet group of friends just being there for their new friend, Kakeru. I honestly just want to know what happens next, and whether all of them will start to work together now, and what that will mean going forward.
I’m still really struggling with the wait to find out what happens, but you best believe that the moment the next installment lands in my mailbox I’ll be reading it! If you are looking for an easy and enjoyable introduction to manga I think this one would be a great way to start. It’s only two volumes as stated earlier, and it’s a feel good that will leave you wanting to hug someone in all honesty. Have you read Orange? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!