Orange Episode 4 focuses on the aftermath of Kakeru and Ueda becoming a couple. The tension becomes immediately apparent as Naho begins to avoid Kakeru and finds herself unable to even look at him. All of the friends become wary of Ueda and meanwhile Kakeru is obviously hurt by Naho’s avoidance. The show finally expands from simply Naho’s worries as it seems like all the friends have their own personal reactions and concerns, leading me to believe Orange episode 4 is setting the stage for some very engaging character growth. We see why this matters before the episode even begins: in the future all the friends visit Kakeru’s grandmother and find that Kakeru spoke the most about Naho.
It’s heartbreaking to watch this anime when you can tell these kooky kids have feelings for each other. The only thing that stops this from becoming a ‘will they won’t they’ thing is that the plot is unique: Kakeru is suffering from depression that has taken his life once in another timeline. In a normal shoujo one might say okay, they are both clearly having feelings for each other so what is keeping them apart? Well congratulations ladies and gentlemen we actually have a legitimate and heartbreaking answer and just thinking about it makes me terribly sad! Watching Ueda be so pushy and even call Naho a bumpkin makes me want to chuck a hamburger at her. (I’m American so we do that right?)
Naho struggles deeply with the letter this episode. She doesn’t want to get in the way of Kakeru’s choices and also clearly has her own feelings to deal with. Because of this it’s incredibly hard for her to do what is against her nature and even struggles with doing more because she is struggling to deal with her own pain because of Kakeru’s feelings for someone else. On top of it all her friends are supportive and Suwa shows up as an amazing person when he encourages Naho to talk to Kakeru. Suwa really is just an awesome person and even though I’m team Kakeru I definitely still love him.
Orange is both depressing and refreshing. I can think of the show fondly and go ‘well hey there is a good reason why things can’t just be forced together already!’ but then everytime I do I get genuinely sad and eager to see the next episode so I can see how things will work out and if everyone will be happy. Still, it is incredibly painful to sit through all of these characters suffering and feel in the pit of my stomach it can’t be this easy. The future keeps changing but we are about 4 episodes into a much longer series, and on top of it Kakeru is dealing with personal problems as well as what might even be genetic depression. I can’t help but be nervous about it all.
All of Naho’s friends are beginning to realize that something is amiss and she is hiding things from them. It’s slightly encouraging to see that not only is Kakeru changing, but all of the friends seem to be growing closer together because of the future changing. Last episode was uncomfortable and sad and this one was sad but then happy. I have a feeling the next few episodes are going to make me sad. Still, Kakeru hinting very heavily he has feelings for Naho was just what I wanted to see! Live, Kakeru, live and love!
On a technical side of things I will say there were definitely some derp moments of animation this episode. This tends to happen more often on full body shots because it is more difficult to add fine details, but I expect they will be touched up for the DVD release. The music was on point and I really love Kana Hanazawa, who was also a narrator main character in Pyscho Pass as Akane and that was really on point, and listening to her narrate as Naho is always a nice addition to the episode.
Can’t wait to see what happens next.