Orange is an emotional roller coaster of a series, involving time travel and romance as well as the darker topic of suicide. That cocktail of heady subject material made for one of the best manga and anime series of the last 10 years. For the uninitiated, the story follows 16-year-old Naho Takamiya as she receives a letter from her future self beseeching her to befriend one particular student, Naruse Kakeru. Despite questioning whether the letters are real, Naho decides to take them seriously because it seems Kakeru is poised to commit suicide.
The bleak premise develops into an uplifting and exciting story, dealing with time travel in a relatable manner and showing how even the best efforts can’t always turn things around. While Naho and Kakeru are the centerpiece of the original Orange manga, the supporting characters are left a bit by the wayside despite their contributions to the plot. Orange: Future retells Orange from the viewpoint of another student, Suwa, to sometimes heartbreaking effect.
Suwa also receives letters from the future instructing him to save Kakeru, and he and Naho work together along with several other classmates. In one potential timeline, he and Naho are much closer than they become in Orange, and in every timeline he’s the best friend anyone could ask for. If you think friendship is ride or die, you’ll understand Suwa’s feelings as he’s caught between the friend he wants to support, Kakeru, and the one he has feelings for, Naho.
Suwa’s character is interesting enough to make Orange: Future a story worth telling, not just a pointless spinoff. Readers who enjoyed Orange and want to see more should give this a look. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of Kleenex around.
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Story and Art: Ichigo Takano