Here it is folks: we have finally arrived at the last episode of Orange ! This episode has double the run time, but is that enough to fill in the details and get the group to a happy ending? Or will everything come crashing down, despite their best efforts?
Note: The following review contains spoilers from the thirteenth episode of Orange. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please watch the episode before you continue reading. If you haven’t seen the series, be sure to check out our first impressions (spoiler-free).
Valentine’s Day is upon them, and the group knows they only have 1 day left before the original timeline’s version of events happens. Naho tries to give Kakeru chocolates and talk to him. However, the timeline has been altered enough that the opportunities her future self had don’t occur for present-day Naho. With her last opportunity, she runs through the school to catch him before he heads home. Naho tells Kakeru the same information her future self originally had sent as a text the day he died, and he breaks down. She hugs him, and he asks for the chocolates she has been holding all day.
The next day, Naho and Kakeru eat lunch on the roof, and he tells her that he loves her. Later, the group discusses how to prevent Kakeru from riding out into traffic. They decide to meet up beforehand and wait at the intersection where it is supposed to happen. Jumping forward, future Hagita explains that no matter what they do, they would never be able to bring Kakeru back to their timeline. They would have to live with their regrets and get over his passing. Everyone understands and agrees that its still a better alternative, so they write their letters.
Back in the present, the group meets at the spot where Kakeru is supposed to have his accident, but nothing happens. They go to his house, where his grandmother says he left on foot. They split up and run to find him, and Suwa & Naho see him start to step off a curb while a truck barrels at him.
Luckily, Kakeru managed to step back off and was not injured. When everyone runs up to him, he explains that he was distraught and wanted to end his life, but then thought about the group, and how he wanted to know what they would think. They tell him it’s not his fault, and explain about the letters they received. They also give him separate letters written by their future selves.
Some time later, the group goes to bury their time capsule, and Kakeru mentions Suwa and Naho might be married in some parallel world. Suwa denies it, but Naho mentions that it would be a nice world. We hear Kakeru’s new letter to himself in the future, where he asks how he’s doing, if he’s married to Naho, etc. This is a drastic change from his original letter, showcasing his new desire to live.
The Good and the Bad
I’ll be honest: my first time watching this episode started to make me angry at Naho again. She just couldn’t seem to speak to Kakeru, even knowing the future events. However, on the second viewing, I realized more so that the timeline was changed too much, and that Kakeru went out of his way to avoid her. So I GUESS I can let her off the hook THIS time… I think the best point of this whole episode was Naho finally facing her fears and confronting Kakeru. It needed to happen, and when it did, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I know I’ve also mentioned before how Hagita is basically my favorite character since he is the comic relief. Well, he didn’t disappoint in this episode either! His suggestion to break Kakeru’s bike is ridiculous and not very well thought out. When the group learns that Kakeru left on foot because his bike was broken, all eyes turn to Hagita. His expression and response are essential, “who could have done that” when we all know EXACTLY who did.
To be fair, I don’t think there were a lot of negatives in this episode. The animation seemed to be on point, unlike a few episodes back where it went off the rails. My biggest gripe is that the group tells Kakeru that they knew his mom was going to die. If I were in his shoes, I would likely be pissed at them for not stopping it. It would make me hate each of them, and I could have a reason to remove the blame of guilt from myself.
Plus, it feels like the mention of the letters would raise more questions than answers. “Did you all befriend me because you wanted to, or because the letters said you would?” “What else did you know would happen, and what did you do to change it?” Things like that quickly spiral out of control, and could cause a rift. In my mind, the worst outcome in that scenario would be Kakeru living, but distancing himself from the group because of their actions.
I won’t go too deep with my thoughts here since Zeke and I will be covering a lot more in our forthcoming series review. That being said, I think I’m okay with how the show turned out, generally speaking. I’m still frustrated by Naho, which will likely never change, but that’s how her character is. While I’m glad Kakeru didn’t wind up dying at the end, it felt like the main turning point was JUST this episode. The events leading up to it altered the future slightly, but not enough to take it off its trajectory.
Another thought from this episode is how unnecessary the “future” scene feels. It did showcase Hagita being the voice of reason (crazy!) and cemented the group’s decision to send letters. Outside of that, though, it felt like it rehashed what we already knew, and didn’t offer more development of the characters. I suppose we can simply say the decision to write the letters was the catharsis they needed to move past Kakeru’s death.
The last thought I’d like to leave off with is a little easter egg the animators threw into a scene. It revolves around Azusa telling Suwa and Hagita that the box of chocolates in her hand was for her father. Both men look disheartened, and Hagita jokingly tells her she would regret that day for the rest of her life. We didn’t catch it on the first watch, but when it shows the group watching Naho hug Kakeru from the school window, Hagita is holding Azusa’s box of chocolate. All together now everyone: Awwwwwwwwww.
There you have it, our review of the final episode of this season of Orange! What did you think of the episode? Did you like how it played out or did you see it ending differently? Are there any issues you felt weren’t resolved before the roll of the credits? Let us know in the comments below!