Rating: 4.5 / 5
I had actually never picked up a physical copy of a manga book before ORANGE and I was a bit worried that I would get lost with reading in a way that my brain has been trained to think is backwards! Even so, I have seen several people mention loving ORANGE so I wanted to give it a shot. When my reading prompts wanted me to pick up something set in Japan, this immediately sprang to mind.
ORANGE begins with an interesting premise. Our lead character Naho is entering the 11th grade when she receives a very interesting letter. This letter is from her future self and it tells her details of how her day is about to go. More importantly it tells her that there is a new boy in school named Kakeru. There is also a dire warning, if Naho doesn’t change the way things happen, Kakeru will no longer be around in the future.
Naho and her friends befriend the new boy, but Naho doesn’t quite heed the letter’s warnings quickly enough to make all of the corrections that her future self recommends. Still, Naho is determined to save this boy who is becoming more and important to her.
It turns out I needn’t have worried about being able to redirect my brain to flip pages in reverse and I was easily hooked to the story line. Naho and her friends are full of energy and good humor and the illustrations do a wonderful job of bringing them to life. As the story goes along we get glimpses of Naho and her friends in the future without Kakeru and I though the author did a wonderful job of illustrating each character in a way that showed the differences the years have brought while keeping them true to their teen selves so you knew exactly who was who.
This book tackles some pretty heavy topics, there is quite a bit of discussion of mental health and grief in particular. I think these topics were well handled, showing that that those who are struggling can’t be magically cured with just a change of circumstance. I really loved the support network that Naho, Kakeru and their friends have to support each other in the minor things and the serious.
My only frustration with the story was when I realized that I’d have to wait for delivery of volume two once I got finished with the first! There is another shorter manga at the end of Volume two which I didn’t feel as connected to, but I really loved reading ORANGE to the very end!
#PopsugarReadingChallenge – a book set in Japan (host of the 2020 Olympics)
#CRChallenge2020 – Do You Understand the Words Coming Out of My Mouth? (a book in translation)