orange: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2

By Ichigo Takano. Released in Japan by Shueisha and then Futabasha, serialized in the magazines Bessatsu Margaret and Manga Action. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

I’d mentioned while reviewing the first omnibus of orange that it wasn’t a slam dunk that Kakeru was going to be saved. Fortunately, the author agreed with me, and most of this 2nd omnibus shows us that trying to change the future is hard, especially when you’re dealing with someone who killed themselves – it’s not always something you can fix just by being really nice. Naho and the others don’t really screw much up here, and they try their hardest, but there’s a lot going on in Kakeru’s head, and even Future Vision can’t solve his own inner demons. This leads to a devastating chapter that is easily the best of the book, as we see from Kakeru’s POV the thoughts and actions that led to his suicide in the original world.


And there is, of course, the romance between Naho and Kakeru as well. I’m pleased that the future flashforwards we see here show that Naho and Suwa’s marriage isn’t an unhappy one – they’re two people who’ve led a good life, and even have a kid, but they’re both still devastated by the boy they couldn’t save. Perhaps this is why, despite all the suggestions and hints, the romance is mostly left on the back burner, and we don’t get a definitive “and they married and lived happily ever after” here. Much like A Silent Voice, this is a series that’s trying to be about friendship and overcoming difficulties. Because in the end, after everything they changed, and every way they tried to make Kakeru feel loved and welcome, he *still* tries to kill himself.

But they did make a difference – he pulls back at the last minute, realizing he doesn’t want to die. (Admittedly, Hagita breaking his bike helped – Hagita is mostly used as comic relief throughout, being the “friend nobody likes” sort, but he’s also quite clever and absolutely one of the gang here.) I was rather surprised that, in their tearful talk after his attempt, they all confess they got letters from the future, and show them to him. The science of how this happened is very vague, and I don’t think we’re meant to dwell too hard on it. In the end, appropriately, the six friends bury the time capsule we’ve seen before, only now dedicated to a new future.

There wasn’t quite enough orange to fill a 2nd omnibus, so we get a short multi-part romance from the same author, Haruiro Astronaut. It’s not as good as the main story, but isn’t too bad, and has some good twists – the romantic setup is theoretically between the cool guy and the sweet guy, but ends up taking a third option, and there’s some talk about actually trying to care about what girls think rather than just trampling all over them. It’s good, but the main draw of this collection is orange itself. It’s excellent, and both omnibuses are absolutely worth your money.

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