We left off the first volume of this collection feeling like the shortage of manga might just be my undoing. The first volume was a sweet mix of friends looking out for one another, and the desperate attempt to be there for a friend who they know died, but was likely a suicide. It’s a hard subject to go into in any format, but Orange introduced us to the struggles of Kakeru, all while giving a clear edge of hope and a gentle approach to a tough subject matter. I walked away wanting the next volume, and looking forward to how volume 2 would continue the story.
Orange is a slice of life manga focused on Naho and her friends as they try to use letters from their future selves to save their friend, Kakeru, from his future suicide.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This one was just as strong an installment as the first volume, bringing us the same sweet friendships, and yet delving further into Kakeru’s story. I’m still amazed at how well Ichigo Takano covers a topic such as this with respect, all while giving you that hope that the friends will help Kakeru this time around. I will say, the one thing I struggled with during this story through both volumes was the relationship of Naho with both Kakeru and Suwa. In the future timeline where the letters come from Naho is with Suwa and they even have a child, but throughout the story there is a definite push for her to be with Kakeru (one I was rooting for). It’s a bit of a predicament as you wonder what will happen either way since both relationships seem so special altogether. That point is even driven home when Takano seems to not give a clear answer on what that end game relationship is. It’s a weird takeaway on a story about friendship, but I got invested?
Characters are a key component of what made this collection such a great read. Each of the friends brings something wonderful to the group and how the story unfolds. Suwa happens to be the one that just makes me sad since he is willing to give up a future that isn’t so unknown as well as current feelings for the sake of saving Kakeru. It’s a hard decision given that it’s not like giving up a beloved object, but an actual relationship even if only one he hasn’t pursued to that extent. It’s one of the reasons that I say I struggled with Naho’s two relationships since she loves both and you honestly want both of the guys to be happy and well. It was like a lose lose situation for me even while being a win win.
If reading the first volume was great then I’d say the second volume was an amazing conclusion. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll read the third volume since it’s like a bonus story, but I’m really happy I stuck it out on the hunt for this follow up. If you happen to come across these manga volumes and wonder if you should read them, the answer from me would be yes!