So, we actually got to find out why this series is called 'Orange' in this episode, and it seems to be because Kakeru brings Naho an orange juice at one point, with that orange juice later becoming analogy for bitter memories. That's, um, that's pretty tenuous at best, but fine, sure, okay. It's a nicely understated title, I guess.
In this week's episode, Naho finds a direction in the letter to make sure Kakeru joins the soccer club as a full time member, even if she has to force him, since he'll decide to quit when the provisional period is over - but when Kakeru arrives at school that day, he's already joined the soccer club, having been pushed by Suwa to do so. As Kakeru grows closer to Ueda, a young woman in the year above them, the letter urges Naho to protest the relationship and reveal her true feelings to Kakeru. Meanwhile, in the future, the gang dig up a time capsule with letters saying what they wanted to do in the future - and discover that Kakeru's letter says nothing about his own future.
Okay, so, this episode hammers in pretty firmly that Kakeru's 'accident' is actually intentional suicide. I think everyone already foresaw that (it might even have been in the synopsis, I don't recall), so that's not really a surprise, but having his suicide note be in the time capsule - thus meaning that he knew nobody would find out about it for another decade - is an interesting turn. This episode also makes it clear that the future characters we're seeing are from before Naho sends her letter back, as this seems to be what instigates her to try. Hopefully, we'll be given at least some explanation of how they do that - it seems to involve the time capsule somehow, but I have no idea how.
|What does Naho actually do as an extracurricular activity? She seems involved|
This episode also makes me wonder even more if the others have all gotten letters as well, since we discover that Kakeru joined the soccer club full time because Suwa pushed for him to do so. Naho seems to take this as the future already changing in a butterfly effect esque fashion, but I wonder if it isn't actually that Suwa got a similar instruction and decided to act on it himself. We'll probably find out in the next two or three episodes, since the pace of this series is surprisingly fast.
Most of the episode, however, is focused on Kakeru and Ueda, or rather, on Ueda as an obstacle to Kakeru and Naho. Ueda, after all, doesn't really have a personality of her own: She's introduced in this episode, but has a grand total of four short scenes and one line (saying that she'll watch Kakeru at soccer practice), and basically no personality other than 'slightly older than the gang' and 'interested in Kakeru.' Ueda, thus, is not really a character so much as she is a plot device, although that might change as we find out more about her.
(I'd like us to find out more about her, because right now she just feels like a totally empty plot device shoved in there to move the plot along. I feel like we know more about random background student with blond spikey hair, because he actually has nearly as many scenes and more lines than Ueda does, despite not being plot relevant at all.)
Either way, she serves as the catalyst for several different steps in the plot.
|She seems nice, though.|
Firstly, she forces Naho to open acknowledge her feelings for Kakeru, even if it's in a weird way (Kakeru passes her a note asking if he should go out with Ueda, and Naho eventually writes a note back just saying 'No.' Like, really, Naho? No explanation? Just one word? Harsh, especially since Kakeru doesn't get it until after Ueda's convinced him to say yes), which is something of a step forward in their relationship, I suppose.
Secondly, she forces Suwa to openly acknowledge that Naho's interested in Kakeru. It's been made pretty clear up to this point that he's aware of it, but this is the first time we've seen him outright say it, and it gives us a little view into his feelings on the matter, because he definitely seems somewhat ambivalent about that - and combined with the future sections quite clearly implying that he was in love with Naho even at this age, that definitely gives the impression that Suwa's interested in Naho, but is stepping aside so as not to interfere with her relationship with Kakeru.
|Suwa is an innocent cinnamon roll.|
A pretty fun episode, all in all, but the tension is definitely being ramped up a bit, now that we know for sure that Kakeru commits suicide in the first timeline. I have a horrible suspicion that Ueda's going to do something awful or break his heart somehow, and that that's going to be a contributing factor (but obviously not the only factor - his feelings over his mother's suicide, and his general feelings of isolation, are obviously going to play a much bigger role. There's a reason 'he has to join the soccer club' has been a plot stretching over two episodes, after all) to him committing suicide, but we'll see.