[Description]: My thoughts on Orange episode 9.
The most obvious critique going into this episode is of course the marked drop in art quality. Practically all of the supporting cast looked bizarre, our main group of friends looked awkward and moved in odd ways, and in general it was just the worst episode visually thus far. That being said, my far bigger grievances are with the actual story and characters themselves while the presentation just looked kind of shoddy.
The lingering question from last week’s episode was – if everyone received letters just as Naho did, then why did Takako and Azusa help Ueda along in establishing a relationship with Kakeru? Azusa speaks to this early on in the episode, stating that she thought the letter was a prank or some such thing and so she didn’t believe in it – at least until she saw Naho’s reaction to Kakeru dating somebody else. In the long string of contrivances and unlikely developments… this is really starting to feel stupid. If Azusa thought it was a hoax then why didn’t she joke about it with her friends? She and Takako clearly came to know about each other’s letters at some point so why they both decided to ignore the information given to them is beyond me.
This is supposed to be a tight-knit group of friends we are introduced to at the start of the series. Not a single one of them opted to share the fact that they got a letter from the future with their friends? Especially when they thought the letter wasn’t real and had no validity to it? And of all the things to make Azusa realize that the letter was ‘real,’ it was Naho’s saddened reaction to Kakeru dating somebody? Not the myriad of things coincidentally unfolding just as stated in the letter around her? Why is that the detail that legitimizes the letter for her? I’ve said enough about this but the underlying logic of the show has really been hurting as of late.
That last point is ultimately pretty trivial however this issue I had I think is pretty central to the show. Last episode saw Naho confide in her friends and all of them come together at the end of the episode to help Kakeru in the same way. It was about getting on the same page. Why then is the umbrella plan that Naho’s friends hatch completely independent of her? If they are all open with each other now why do they immediately turn around and plan out the next ‘method of attack’ without her? And of course Naho tries her best to ruin the plan by offering to stand underneath somebody else’s umbrella because she wasn’t clued into the plan and the show appears completely incapable of illustrating her as anything but thick-headed and dumb. It felt like a total step backwards after the progress of last episode and just didn’t make sense to me in how it unfolded.
To top everything off – Naho has started to read the letter again. This totally threw me for a loop when it appeared. She stopped reading the letter because she thought it no longer applied to their timeline. This obviously made no sense at the time but I was willing to play into her own ignorance and short-sightedness. She then picks it back up only an episode later… just because? Why make such a big deal last episode of her putting the letter away ceremonially and wrestling with whether or not to read it? This is perhaps the most inexplicable plot point in the entire show so far and I really can’t tell where her relationship with the letter is going to go from this point on.
The good things to come out of this episode were the depiction of Kakeru’s loneliness among the crowd of people and his episode-ending acknowledgement of his own hypocrisy. The isolated visuals were a little hamfisted but they spoke to an important character moment for Kakeru and so I appreciate the effort there. Anybody tearing their hair out near the end of the episode about how back and forth Kakeru was being recently at least was greeted with a modicum of self-awareness. He knows he’s acting discordantly with what he’s been saying and I think this most obviously speaks to his subconscious will to do the things he’s been shrugging off. So at least one of the characters has enough self-consciousness to know what they are doing.
Overall, a pretty horrid episode and the show is not making the improvements I thought it might need after last week’s installment.