[Description]: My thoughts on Orange episode 8.
Well with this episode we finally confirm that each member of the group has in fact received a letter from their future selves though this seems to be mostly a ploy to get everyone on the same page rather than a true plot development – I doubt that anything in Azusa’s or Hagita’s letters have vital information about Kakeru. This isn’t really an unexpected development but I can’t imagine why each member of the group effectively kept it to themselves and one could even argue that giving letters to the rest of the group robs them of their previously perceived agency. They are no longer responsible in the same way for supporting their friends in the way they did, having done so now in accordance with their letters. Obviously they are still good people and good friends however this means that they have acted out of more than simply the goodness of their hearts which somewhat lessens the genuineness of their contributions but hardly in any meaningful way.
And then there’s Naho. Every week feels like she gets thicker and thicker for the sake of creating narrative issues or stumbling points for the story. While Kakeru initially confesses that he’s worried about moving his relationship with Naho any further he takes stabs at doing so none the less, offering to walk home with her and hold hands. Naho’s inability to see through a gesture so simple and straightforward as holding out his hand just feels like a plot contrivance to get her to confide in her friends. It’s just another character moment in a long series of moments that continue to paint Naho as kind of a dumb character which feels entirely uncompelling.
On the topic of contrivances, Naho’s decision to put away the letter is an interesting one and probably the most engaging part of the episode but it comes with it’s own share of issues. Seeing both her and Suwa at first take the letters as gospel before quickly reverting their decision for an outcome they deem more appropriate is a good step forward. Their reality is at this point moderately different than the one from the letter and they should be capable of making their own decisions and the first half of the episode begins to emphasize just that. However, to put the letter away entirely and not even consult it on a whim is downright idiotic and yet another development that feels purely for the sake of the pacing of the story.
The fact that Naho doesn’t even know what the letter says about Kakeru on given days is horrifying enough but the fact is, while their reality has changed, it hasn’t changed substantially enough for the letter’s contents to be irreverent. It still continues to list off actual events as they happen and gives more insight than they could possibly know in regards to most days. So to ignore the letter as a symbolic act of defiance in lieu of creating their own future seems downright stupid and practically hammers the foreshadowing into the viewer that not all will proceed as planned or even happily in the near future. This looming punishment for ignoring the letter feels crude as it isn’t truly punishing Naho, Suwa, and the gang for trying to forge their own unique experiences but instead merely her stupidity and obstinance in not consulting the letter. Hopefully what I’ve said is off-base and it doesn’t come to pass as that would be, in my opinion, and unenjoyable and forced development.