Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Orange Future Review (Spoilers for Main Series)

The conclusion of the entire series starts off with an alternate future where everything works out the multiverse works and Kakeru lives and marries Naho and Suwa supports them from the wings. While the remainder of the volume is for lack of a better term the "True Ending" of the series casting a story in a veil of regret, sadness, and self-doubt. With the friends now broken apart and simply coping with life Suwa struggling with feeling like he is simply being the "nice guy" to bind up his own wounds while Naho simply polishes her memories of Kakeru until. Finally Naho and a Suwa who has taken his heart in hand and declared his duty to make Naho happy even if he can't ever replace Kakeru he can at least try to make Naho hurt less. making the final volume of a series that had an odd genesis of going from a Shojo Manga magazine to a Seinen Manga magazine than going on hiatus for a year due to the Mangaka's health problems. To earning an Eisner nomination ranking in the YALSA's 2017 Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens. As well as gaining a TV Anime adaptation Directed by Hamasaki, Hiroshi (Shigurui). As well as a sequel film Orange: Mirai which this Manga is an adaptation of as well as being the ending intended by Ichigo Takano-Sensei. As a conclusion, this is an often emotionally brittle series riddled with an ethos of self-recrimination and guilt in the Suwa Hiroto story arc making it feel dour and sad in a way that the hopeful future story arc does not. Making me think that the more optimistic arc is at the beginning because the second arc is simply too harsh considering how much the original five volumes made the ethos of depression and suicide in Kakeru almost palpable. To see Suwa who is the epitome of self-sacrifice and kindness question his own motives. Makes for a painful read although I have to respect the psychological realism with which he is written. Reminding me at times of the 1988 Anime Film Kimagure Orange Road I Want to Return to That Day a downbeat conclusion to one of the defining Shonen Romance titles of the genre. All thankfully is not gloom and while the ending is one of acceptance of the reality of death and that things sometimes can't change and time doesn't heal all wounds perfectly. There is an emotional closure that at least feels honest and it's hearting in an afterward that Takano-Sensei is at least aware that there is no "quick fix" for the depressed or suicidal. While also removing the multiverse element from the story instead seemingly making it seemingly a bittersweet dream instead of an unexplained reality. And although I didn't have the biggest problem with it the idea left many feeling like it was a cheap Deus Ex Machina. Even hints at a possible relationship between Hagita and Azusa which made me happy if only because it at least confirmed something I wanted to be true. A wonderful conclusion to a great series that feels honest and removes elements of the story that took away from the realism for some.

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