This episode made me incredibly sad, but I was warned. This anime never lied about what it was going to do or the things that were going to happen. What changed with this episode is what is now confirmed, the nature of Kakeru’s death. In the future the friends are looking at their letters and then we see Naho observing her own letter. In the first positive change, Kakeru decides to join the soccer team even though he didn’t originally. I felt so sad seeing this in the beginning and seeing how just the small changes Naho made really impacted the course of her friends life. That being said it immediately changed to a different topic: a girl is interested in Kakeru.
Now I’ve said it before, I’m definitely team Kakeru. If something he wanted was to be with Ueda I would begrudgingly accept it- but it’s clear to any viewer that Naho is jealous of Ueda and has deep feelings for Kakeru. It’s hard for me to get behind Suwa sometimes but I just keep wondering, does this mean the anime is leading me to accept they aren’t meant to be together? Is this a fated love that will overcome all barriers? Am I just a silly Kakeru fan who wants him to be happy and accept Naho’s love?
What makes this episode very sad is twofold. First off Naho decides to be honest with Kakeru in hopes that she can change the future and make him not go out with Ueda. She is honest, but Kakeru doesn’t see the message until he has agreed to go out with Ueda. This is so painful because Naho struggles to be outspoken and independent and wants him to be happy, but also wants to feel no regrets and acknowledge her own feelings. Just seeing her go from being unable to confront Kakeru about a bento box to having her raise her own hopes was powerful, and seeing her fail and find the person she cares for with someone else was heartbreaking.
The second heartbreaking moment involves the future: all of the kids are looking at their letters and decide to look at Kakeru’s. However, what they discover is that Kakeru wrote them all letters instead. From the way they’re written it’s clearly in the style of a suicide note and they realize in horror that what they thought was an accident was a suicide. The story has confirmed it so I can scream now: for once an anime is deciding to go back in time to stop not what was an unfortunate accident but what was an actual problem with someone’s mental health. All these characters aren’t trying to prevent something to do with luck, they want to fix their own regrets so they can encourage Kakeru to live.
Because of this I can easily applaud this anime. The idea is so much more introspective than your typical sci-fi drama gone wrong or unfortunate circumstances. The traffic accident killing someone has been a common trope since The Girl Who Leapt Through Time but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone try to time travel to stop a suicide. On that note, now I love Kakeru even more. I have a feeling it deals with his mother’s death and I want him to be happy so badly, but Kakeru please Ueda-san isn’t like Naho she isn’t your angel waifu from the future ;w; . No, even better, Naho is a girl willing to be completely strong willed in order to save a friend. Not just because she loves him, but because he is her friend. How powerful is that? Honestly even though I prefer Kakeru I still love Suwa too. Gosh, my babies!
Orange once again surpasses expectations. Tears.