Episode 10 of Orange is the finale of the relay, a major roadblock in every letter regarding Kakeru’s happiness. According to Naho Kakeru tripped and fell, creating a situation where he felt he let everyone down. Everyone collaborates to help Kakeru as much as possible while Kakeru inwardly struggles with his guilt over his mother’s death. Happily this episode does a much better job at capturing the features the show has so far been known for: the animation is not perfect but it definitely improves on episode 9, and key scenes that focus on the happiness and relationships between characters are better portrayed.
This episode we learn that Kakeru’s ankle is actually injured. Collectively we learn it was due to his low spirits alongside an injured ankle, which means it is now the goal of everyone in the group to make sure he can overcome this. We see a lot of the tensions simmer down between the ‘love triangle’ and once again every member involved improves as a person. Naho is much more determined and Suwa once again proves he is the MVP. A lot of this episode really shows the friendship between Suwa and Kakeru and how it impacted Kakeru positively. A great thing to remember about Orange is that it perserveres because the friendship is vital to Kakeru. This show is as much about Naho and Kakeru as it is about Kakeru and everyone else, especially Suwa.
What crushes me to think about is this realization: to have Naho, Suwa has to accept a life without his best friends. All of these people lose touch because of losing Kakeru: with the exception that he marries Naho. How different would the friendships be if he was alive in the future? I think the reason future Suwa seems not to have mentioned his love for Naho is because he decided his one regret is choosing his feelings of love for Naho over the person he considered to be his best friend. Of course I can’t confirm this and for all I know his future self does eventually mention it, but that strikes me as the kind of guy Suwa is.
Watching the relay was refreshing because it was exactly what Kakeru needed. He felt guilt at being happy at all: this is something that people with depression feel in instances like these. Do I even deserve to be happy? Thanks to his friends, he got to experience that happiness without so much guilt. Still, I feel worried for him knowing the level of sheer suffering he experiences. He has such heavy memories about his mother he can’t seem to function or love his friends without feeling such hopelessness. The story grows more and more optimistic and they do more things to fix his life and yet he seems to encounter even more sad moments. This is how depression really works but it’s also how people lose the battle. I want so badly for his friends to help him win it.
Let’s hope this relay has helped Kakeru come to terms with some of his trauma, and that his friends are enough to save him! PS: they won.