Orange (Orange -Orenji-) orange-オレンジ [Movie Review]

When we regret something in the past, we did not regret it before it happened. We had no thoughts or feelings about it then. By utilizing this resource from the past and bringing it back into the now, we can stop being concerned. – A paragraph from Time Travelling into the Past to Eliminate Regret.

Often, a movie trailer can exceed our expectations, and the movie itself could be a big disappointment. In the case of Orange – notwithstanding the over-sentimental play of dramatic music – it’s the other way around. Based on the manga series “Orange” by Ichigo Takano, the movie is about love, regrets, camaraderie, friendship and the will not to let go of someone even if destiny seems to favor a negative, tragic result.

Naho Takamiya (Tao Tsuchiya) is a 2nd-year high school student. On the way to school one Spring day, she noticed an envelope inside her bag – it contains a letter addressed to her and sent by herself ten years into the future. Surprised and confused, she got no time to reflect as she’s already late for school.

What happens next is written in the letter – there will be the appearance of a transfer student, and his name is Kakeru Naruse (Kento Yamazaki). The letter also said that she is about to fall in love with him. So, what’s the purpose of the letter? To avert an accident or at least try to.

You see, even at the beginning, the audience is supposed to know that Kakeru is about to die and the letter is meant to change certain events in the hope of altering the future.

Helping Naho save Kakeru are their mutual friends: Hiroto (Ryo Ryusei), Takako (Hirona Yamazaki), Asuza (Kurumi Shimizu) and Saku (Dori Sakurada). Hiroto will play a more important role than the others, but suffice to say, they all have something to do in changing the outcome of the tragedy.

I have watched a couple of time travel movies, with romantic tones – Somewhere in Time (featuring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The Time Traveler’s Wife (Rachel McAdams), Youth Without Youth and the Back to the Future franchise. But there is something unique and extraordinary about this movie – that inexplicable feeling of seeing someone die so young.

 

I had the chance to read a couple of chapters of the manga, and I had that feeling of dread, sadness, and tragedy from the beginning. It’s like having a ghost haunting you all the time, not the kind that frightens, but the kind that you can – you know, feel for its pain.



Kudos to such an excellent cast – I could not think of a better Kakeru and Naho than Yamazaki and Tsuchiya. Just like when Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) was asked what it’s like to do ballet – “Electricity,” he said. It’s the same “electricity” that emanates from both actors when they are on screen  – this “electricity” is so subtle and so modest, you don’t know that it’s there. 

The film’s ending is so appropriate and poignant when they reunited to visit Kakeru’s grandma. They say the most important relationships you’ll ever have will be in high school. These friends will remain constant companions, though they may not be present on a regular basis. 

So, seeing the friends together after years is a normal occurrence to me. I expected them to see each other, and remember that one friend who is no more.

 

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