Manga Review: I Still Don’t Get the Title

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 2Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 2 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every life is precious. Please treasure each and every day, the present, the moment, and yourself.

I finally finished reading my very first manga series! Har-har-har. The overall premise of Orange was very promising, and I flew through the first collection in a frenzy since I was looking forward to a very satisfying resolution. My friends affirmed my excitement, telling me how the final pages nearly moved them to tears. With that in mind, I’m sorry to say I prepared a pack of tissue paper for nothing. The only emotions I had after reading the last page were confusion and mild disappointment.

Unfortunately, I now have mixed feelings for this manga. The beginning and climax of the story captivated my interest, but the “healing” of Kakeru’s suicidal tendencies was just too rushed or anticlimactic. After all that Naho and the others went through to prevent/alter his tragic future, I just couldn’t fathom how everything became fine in an instant. What a way to burst my bubble!

Thankfully, I encountered no other serious issues with Orange. The drawings were so stimulating, the dialogues were thought-provoking, and most of the characters were naturally endearing. I especially loved Naho and Suwa because of their consistent selflessness, but I was slightly annoyed with Kakeru. Honestly, he was the manga’s fountain of conflict, yet he did so little to reciprocate his friends’ efforts to save his life. I really don’t intend to sound judgmental in light of his psychological problems. However, it would have been better if Kakeru had used his critical thinking instead of constantly blaming himself for his mother’s death. As for the supporting cast of characters (Higata, Azu, and Takako), I highly appreciated them for bringing more fun and diversity to the story.

In the end, regardless of its imperfections, I am still happy to have read Orange. I definitely recommend it to manga neophytes like myself and to readers who are fond of friendship-centered stories. If anything, it’s admirable how Ichigo Takano deviated from our stereotypical notion of a happy ending.