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Topic Review (Newest First)
September 4th 2019 01:37 PM
Orange: A Series Review

Orange: A Series Review
by Jenna (.:Bibliophile:.)

Orange is a manga series that consists of five volumes. I ended up reading the complete collection which was basically a compilation of the five volumes in only two separate books. The premise of the novel is that the main character, Naho, is instantly drawn to, Kakeru, a new student who transfers to her school from Tokyo. Naho receives letters in the mail and the person who wrote the letters claims that they are Naho from the future. The letters claim that Kakeru is going to die and they tell Naho what she needs to do to prevent his death. Of course, she does not believe that the letters are real until she starts realizing that the events being described in the letters are occurring. The series takes off from there. I would definitely say that there are some triggers such as death, grieving and some mentions of suicide.

If you are not familiar with what manga is, it is a set of stories told with black and white pictures and dialogue. It is read from right to left which can confuse some people who are reading it for the first time. The drawings in Orange were kind of simplistic but the details that were included made the characters seem real.

The series intrigued me but I was uncertain if I would end up liking it because of the premise that Naho had the power to save her friend and because it was, essentially, a romance manga. However, my curiosity won out and I decided to pick the books up from the library. In a way I wish I had not wasted my time with this series because there were some things that bothered me quite a bit. However, there were definitely some redeeming qualities. The biggest redeeming quality was the waythat Naho, Kakeru and all their friends cared so deeply for each other. It had such a positive message about the power of friendship and the love that friends can give us.

That being said, I did not like how it seemed like the message of the novel was that we have the power to 'save' people. I think that this can be a dangerous message to send out, especially to teens who might read the novel. The reason I feel this way is because it is really common for people who experience the death of a loved one to question if they could have saved them and those questions can tear the person up inside. The manga explored this and, unfortunately, I did not like the way the author decided to end the manga. I think that our decisions do, ultimately, impact others and there are things we could do to help another person. However, when it comes to death, no matter how a person dies, there is not a lot people can do to save another person. It comes out that Kakeru died by suicide and it seemed like the theme of the manga was to have his friends save him and that was not something that I agreed with. I think for people who have dealt with suicidal thoughts or have a friend or family member who died by suicide this manga might be overly triggering. The novel explored the themes of being able to save our loved ones by showing them we care but it didn't emphasize that we can only do so much to help our loved ones. It essentially made it seem like if you show someone kindness, love and let them know they need to take care of themselves, everything will be okay. To add to this, Kakeru and Naho did have romantic feelings for one another and I feel like another unhealthy message throughout the manga was that being in love can 'save' someone. From personal experience my romantic relationship did not 'save' me. It helped to some degrees with my depression and suicidal thinking but those thoughts and feelings did not go away completely. And, in my opinion, any story that emphasizes that romantic love has the power to change someone's life completely sends a dangerous message and can lead people to believe that when they enter into a relationship their life will change for the better.

It seemed like the manga author was aiming for a cute story. The story was exceptionally cute but I just couldn't get past the author making it seem like the characters definitely had the power to save their friend.

I think that if you go into the series with low expectations and are looking for a cute novel where everything is wrapped up nicely, you might end up liking this. I also feel that if you can go into it without looking too deeply into the themes the author writes about you might like it as well. However, I struggled with trying to just enjoy the series and not look into it with a critical eye and it ended up disappointing me greatly.

Also, I enjoyed volume one of the complete collection a whole lot more than I enjoyed volume two. When I got to volume two I ended up skimming a good majority of the story and I don't really feel as though I missed anything too important. I do think that the author tried to discuss the fact that we can't save everyone but I don't think that was explored enough.

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