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"Maybe it's impossible to live life without any regrets. Even when you know the future... you'll still mess up."

Everyone develops regrets as they grow up. Sometimes it's about words left unsaid, or things left undone. Sometimes, it's about someone you lost on the way.

But, what if past could be changed, and that person hadn't ever left your side?

This is the situation Naho Takamiya has to confront the day she becomes a high school junior, when she receives a letter from herself... sent from 10 years into the future. The letter predicts everything she'll experience that day, including the transfer of Kakeru Naruse, an apparently lonely boy from Tokyo. The letter also tells that Kakeru will die in an accident, and that it's up to Naho to change the past and save him.

Orange is a shoujo manga by Ichigo Takano. It started serialization in Bessatsu Margaret on March 2012, but after 9 chapters the author started having serious health problems and the series was left on hiatus for over a year. The author resumed publishing the series on February 2014, this time in the seinen magazine Monthly Action over an irregular schedule until the author was completely cured. Its serialization officially ended in August 2015 with a total of five volumes. After the main series ended, Takano has occasionally authored special chapters, some of them serving as tie-ins to the anime movie mentioned below, making up the contents of a sixth volume. 2019 saw to a more definitive end, announcing a seventh volume to complete the series.

The series is available digitally in Crunchyroll, while Seven Seas Entertainment is releasing the series in print in 2016.

A Live-Action Adaptation was slated for December 2015, starring Kento Yamazaki (who also starred in the live-action adaptations of other shoujo manga such as Heroine Shikkaku and L-DK) as Kakeru and Tao Tsuchiya as Naho. A 13 episode anime adaptation by TMS Entertainment aired in summer of 2016, with a Compilation Movie+ titled Orange: Future (Orange: Mirai) and released in December 2016 serving as its author-approved epilogue. Funimation has released an English broadcast dub for this series, which began on October 24, 2016. Watch it here.

Not to be confused with the animation studio of same name.

This series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kakeru never forgave his mother for divorcing his father when he was young, not understanding why she did it. Her last text explains that he was an abusive man, and that she left him to protect herself and Kakeru.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the manga and anime, out of the main gang, only Kakeru and Taka have black hair. The live-action adaptation changes Naho's chestnut hair to black as well. And of course, while they can have colorful eye colors in the manga, the palette is limited to brown in live-action for obvious reasons.
  • Adapted Out: Naho's parents and Suwa's father are not present in the live-action film. In Naho's case, it looks as if she lives alone, since the scenes where they are present in the manga (e.g. notifying her about a visiting Suwa) are not adapted.
  • Adults Are Useless: Grown-ups such as parents, relatives, and teachers who really ought to be keeping an eye on Kakeru can't seem to notice or do anything about his problems, so it basically falls to five high school juniors to save their severely troubled friend all by themselves. Apparently in this case the only adult you can trust is yourself from the future!
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Taka has the trappings of one, and she can indeed be very scary if provoked, but her friends see her as nothing but nice, if a bit intimidating.
  • An Aesop:
    • Regrets are part of life, and sometimes you have to go on living while accepting there's something you can't go back and change. Naho, Suwa, and their friends in the original timeline can't save Kakeru in their own world, and have to make the best of life without him while taking comfort that they created an alternate world where he will be happy. However, you should seize the day and be brave from this moment on so that you won't regret that you didn't try your hardest, especially when you're young. If somehow you do get a second chance to make things right, like Naho in the past, then you should struggle with all your might to save the person you love.
    • Suicide doesn't make anything better, and only causes sadness for everyone. A person who kills themself to spare their loved ones from taking care of them or being hurt by them is doubly wrong, because nothing hurts more than when the person you love leaves you alone without them.
    • As Naho's letter tells her, physically preventing a suicide attempt is only a temporary solution and doesn't address the underlying problem. What saves Kakeru is being loved and told that his life is precious so that he hesitates before going through with it. Everybody tries to prevent him from diving in front of the truck, but notwithstanding Hagita breaking his bike, they get there too late and it is actually Kakeru himself who jumps out of the way at the last moment, realizing that he wants to find out if he can be happy by staying alive with his friends.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Naho's friends get "Azu" and "Taka" instead of Azusa and Takako.
  • All Just a Dream: Future has Original!Suwa and Original!Naho wake up and share their dream of Kakeru living to the present day, lamenting how regrettable yet hopeful it is. Of course, that future may very well happen in the alternate universe, since Kakeru does survive there.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ueda is a selfish, attractive girl who uses her popularity to get what she wants, and begins to bully Naho when she starts pursuing Kakeru.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Chapter 19 in the manga is the only time where Naho is not the narrator. Instead, it's Kakeru.
    • The Future film and its manga tie-in present the story from Suwa's perspective.
  • Art Shift: The anime shifts to a more childish rendering when Azusa narrates the contents of her letter.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • In the original timeline, Naho and Suwa eventually got married and have a child together. Even with their regret that Kakeru is dead, they love each other and their baby, which is one thing they wouldn't change.
    • The Future film shows both the original future where Naho and Suwa marry and have a child, and the alternate future where Naho and Kakeru marry and have a child.
  • Bad Future: Future Naho and her friends consider that their lives feel somewhat miserable since Kakeru is dead in their timeline.
  • Beta Couple: Hagita and Azusa play second fiddle to Naho and Kakeru: Everyone Can See It, and they're always arguing, making them sound like an old married couple.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ueda pretends to be cute and innocent, but she's completely self-centered and fights dirty against anyone she considers a rival.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kakeru survives in the altered timeline, and everyone goes on to live their life free of the regrets that would otherwise have haunted them. But in the original timeline nothing has changed, and the manga ends with Naho saying goodbye to her "past self", and walking off with Suwa and their child.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Naho's six-man friend group has two of each hair color, one male and one female. Hagita and Azusa have the lightest hair, Takako and Kakeru are black-haired, and Suwa and Naho both have reddish hair.
  • Bonding Through Shared Earbuds: At the start of episode 8, Kakeru is listening to music while Saku is pestering him to let him listen as well. Kakeru, however, notices that Naho was looking at him, offers one of the earphones to her, then puts it in her ear. As Kakeru and Saku argue, she watches them and smiles.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: It's implied that Kakeru's death in the future ended up straining the friendship of the group and causing them to drift apart. It's not until the group meets up again on the 10th anniversary of his death that they all rekindle their old bond.
  • Broken Bird: Kakeru used to be a happy and optimistic kid, but his mother's death turned him pessimistic and cynical.
  • Bungled Suicide: The letter tells Naho that after the sports festival, Kakeru tried to hang himself with a towel and was rescued when his attempt failed. She and her friends manage to talk him out of this first attempt in the alternate timeline.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In the original timeline Naho never got up the courage to confess her love to Kakeru. In the original timeline, Kakeru never told Naho his feelings. In the current timeline, however, he manages to tell her his feelings, and Suwa is the one who doesn't confess to her instead.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Kakeru's mother killed herself on Kakeru's first day after school when he refused to accompany her to a new hospital because he was out with friends. He always thought that she was clingy towards him and afraid to be alone, and that she killed herself because he wouldn't come home, but her last text reveals that she killed herself because she thought that everything she did up to then to protect Kakeru ended up hurting him instead, and that he would be better off without her.
    • Later, the letters explain Kakeru's death by riding his bike in the path of a truck wasn't an accident, but suicide. He first tried to hang himself after the sports festival but failed, but succeeded in his second attempt after Valentine's Day. What sets it off is discovering her last text message explaining her reason for killing herself, so that he feels killing himself is the only way he can apologize to her.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While Naho and her friends in the original timeline can't undo Kakeru's death in their world, those in the alternate timeline have a chance to give their Kakeru a happy future. They fight, struggle, cry, and come so close to losing him forever, but finally they manage to save him, so that ten years in the future they will still be together.
  • Everyone Can See It: The rest of the gang catches on Naho and Kakeru pretty fast. Likewise, Suwa's feelings for Naho were always a given for them (that includes newcomer Kakeru), though not for Naho herself.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Future Naho has longer hair, while future Takako's hair is shorter.
  • Expospeak: In chapter 5 Naho's teacher gives an extra lecture about how time travel could be possible, thus indirectly explaining how the letters got there. The last chapter also has a long exposition explaining how letters could be sent from the future to the past: they travel through black holes in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • First-Episode Twist: Kakeru is dead in the original timeline.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Naho's friend group, with three guys (Kakeru, Suwa, and Hagita) and three girls (Azusa, Takako, and Naho herself).
  • Genki Girl: Azusa is always overly energetic and loves teasing her friends.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Past Azusa is obsessed with seeing Hagita without glasses. Future him doesn't wear them anymore.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Hagita mentions it, stating that it could be that sending the letters to their past self does work and prevent Kakeru's death... but it becoming such a future would result in 'their present' to cease to exist, so that there would be no letters to warn their past selves about Kakeru, meaning he would die, which could result in sending letters back after all. Apparently he never thought there could be a Stable Time Loop.
  • Happily Married: Naho and Suwa are happily married in the future despite regretting that they couldn't save Kakeru. When asked if she would have married Kakeru instead if he were alive, Naho says she believes she would have still married Suwa. However, since past Suwa decides not to confess to Naho and instead focus on getting Kakeru to requite her feelings, Naho and Kakeru do eventually end up marry each other in the alternate universe, as confirmed in the Future film.
  • How We Got Here: While not a straight example due to its anachronistic order, the Future film starts with Naho hurrying for the start of her second year and discovering the letter from the future. The epilogue, meanwhile, is the scene preceding it; Naho oversleeping, her parents' attempt to wake her up, and the letter being delivered to the front door.
  • Important Hair Accessory: Naho gets a hairclip from Kakeru as payback for making him lunch everyday - she treasures it at lot, since she thinks future Naho didn't manage to get it.
  • Informed Attractiveness: The Generic Cuteness inherent in the beautiful shoujo art style means that Ueda being really hot and Naho being plain but cute has to be spelled out in the dialogue. It's hinted by details such as Ueda's makeup, but Naho's shoujo heroine character design still makes it hard to see her as "plain".
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Suwa's mother bears a strong resemblance to her Voice Actress.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Shy, plain, and insecure Naho is the protagonist who tries to look out for Kakeru. She is contrasted against the haughty and mean city girl Rio Ueda. While both of them are vying for Kakeru's affections, Rio is confident in her beauty and is used to getting what she wants, so she terrorizes the unassuming Naho.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Subverted. Future Naho is aware that changing a single event won't reverse Kakeru's death, and instead gives her past self detailed instructions on several specific events that could have gone better. Her friends do the same. Despite all their efforts though, Kakeru still attempts suicide on February 15, and it initially looks successful. However, all the changes brought on by his friends were significant enough to make him not go through with it.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Future Naho's friends believe that if they'd noticed Kakeru's loneliness sooner, his death would've been prevented.
    • Kakeru blames his mother's death on himself, thinking that his not going home on the first day of school is what ultimately killed her. In the original timeline, he blames himself so much that he eventually commits suicide over it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Suwa wants Naho to be happy even if it means letting someone else have her, to the point that even his future self from the original timeline, who is married and has a child with Naho, advises Present!Suwa to let Kakeru and Naho enjoy their time together, as she only had eyes for him back then. Future!Suwa doesn't give any specific advice about the day when he confessed to her after Naho and Kakeru had a fight, but Present!Suwa decides by himself to not confess his feelings, in order to not get in the way of Naho and Kakeru from the present getting together.
  • Last-Name Basis: Suwa and Hagita are always called by their friends with their last names regardless of how close they are to each other, though this can be easily explained due to habit.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Hagita and Azusa are always bickering, but they do like each other deep down. This is even lampshaded in-story.
  • Love Confession: In the new timeline, Naho tells Kakeru she's in love with him after the sports festival while begging him not to attempt suicide. In episode 13, Kakeru tells Naho he loves her while they're eating on the school roof.
  • Love Triangle: In both timelines, both Suwa and Kakeru love Naho, and she develops a crush on Kakeru. However, while she eventually starts going out with Suwa in the original timeline, in the present one she comes to date Kakeru.
  • Loving a Shadow: Future Suwa believes that Naho only came to love him because he consciously attempted to imitate Kakeru's persona as much as possible after his death, and thus he's being unfair for the both of them. This is one of the reasons why he tells his alternate self not to confess to Naho.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: There Are No Therapists, and it's up to five high school students to help their friend through his depression.
  • Meaningful Name: Naho and Kakeru's son in the alternate future is named Haru, which means spring in Japanese. The scene where he is introduced in is set in the spring season. Oh, his parents also first met in spring as well.
  • Mind Screw: It seems that the work has not determined what mechanism of time travel she considers correct. We have only one alternative reality that arose from the letters of the guys, and the film's closing scene is just a repetition of the first scene from the TV show. Or is it a hint at many other worlds, in each of which Kakeru is waiting for a different fate depending on the letters and actions of Naho and her friends?
  • My Greatest Failure: For Future Naho and her friends, it was not being able to save Kakeru. The kids in the present regret having invited Kakeru to go out with them at Opening Day, the same day his mother committed suicide.
  • New Transfer Student: Naho's letter tells her a new student from Tokyo will transfer into her class on the first day, and this coming to pass helps prove the truth of its predictions. Kakeru resented his mother for making him change schools and promise not to join any clubs, thinking it was for her own selfish reasons, but he later finds out she was trying to stop him from being bullied. All his classmates are interested in making friends with the new kid or getting him to join their club, but after his mother dies he withdraws into himself. Ueda is also a transfer from Tokyo, and observers think she and Kakeru might hit it off because they have that in common.
  • Nice Guy: Suwa. So nice that he even pairs up his crush with another guy without a fuss, simply so they can be happy together.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: The letter informs Naho of Kakeru's future death, and how she can try and prevent it.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kakeru's parents had a divorce. His father doesn't care about him anymore, and his mother committed suicide, so he lives with his grandmother.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The Future film spends 3/4 of the movie recapping the events of the anime, except with Suwa, and not Naho, as the protagonist.
  • The Power of Friendship: Future Naho and company believe that if they were better, more observant, and more supportive friends towards Kakeru, then he wouldn't have died.
  • The Reveal:
    • The reasons for the original Naho's regret are only slowly revealed throughout the manga, first by stating that Kakeru died, then clarifying that he died due to a suicide.
    • Naho isn't the only one to receive the letters from 10 years in the future. Suwa, Hagita, Azu, and Taka each receive them as well.
  • Romantic False Lead: Ueda manages to snatch up Kakeru before Naho can early on, but Kakeru soon regrets agreeing to go out with someone just based on looks when he realizes she has a bad personality, and it isn't long before he breaks up with her.
  • Screw Destiny: Suwa learns in his letter that he confessed his feelings to Naho on New Year's Eve, which was the trigger for the two of them to start dating and end up married in the future. Wanting to change things and give Kakeru and Naho a chance, Suwa decides to not confess his feelings but merely comfort Naho.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The whole point of the letter is Naho helping Kakeru in all the ways possible so he doesn't die. Later revealed to be a shared goal with her friends.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • At first Azusa and Takako are excited about Kakeru accepting Ueda's confession, but immediately change their minds when they find out how jealous she is, and especially when they find out that Naho likes Kakeru. From then on they ship Naho/Kakeru, since they make clear that as her friends, they'd support Naho and whoever she likes. For that same reason they don't actively cheer for Suwa, who's also into Naho and is their friend, but they aren't against him confessing his feelings and actually get mad when he says he'll never tell Naho how he feels.
    • Suwa also ships Naho/Kakeru, despite being in love with Naho himself. And not just in the alternate timeline; he attempts to make Kakeru spit it out even after he already confesses to Naho. The Future film compounds this by revealing that his original future self feels guilty of snatching Naho by channeling Kakeru's persona and considers himself unfair in the matter.
  • Shirtless Scene: Chapter 14 features a shirtless botaoshi event, of which Kakeru, Suwa, and Hagita take part.
  • Shrinking Violet: Past Naho is terribly shy, which she blames for her inability to confess her feelings to Kakeru and save him from dying in the original timeline.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Kakeru's mother's suicide in the first episode is the catalyst for his mental state throughout the series.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kakeru smiles while he's at school and doesn't want anyone to know he's grieving and tormented inside. For a long time he doesn't even tell his classmates that his mother killed herself. Naho's letter regrets that she didn't see through his false cheerfulness in time to save him.
  • Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Ueda and her girl posse resort to this type of bullying of Naho after Kakeru dumped Ueda for more publicly bullying Naho.
  • Suicide, Not Accident: Kakeru's grandmother tells Naho and her friends that Kakeru riding his bike in the path of a truck may have been intentional, instead of accidental.
  • Team Mom: Naho looks after her friends as if she were their mother, and Kakeru even lampshades it.
  • There Are No Therapists: There's no indication that Kakeru is getting professional help for his severe psychological issues.
  • Those Two Girls: Takako and Azusa, Naho's friends, do everything as a pair.
  • Through His Stomach: Naho makes a bento lunchbox for Kakeru, which she's too shy to give him at first, but when she works up the courage it makes him very happy and she promises to keep making them for him. She stops making them when he starts dating Ueda, but after he breaks up with Ueda he tells her that he missed eating her lunches.
  • Title Drop: The series is named after the flavor of the first juice that Kakeru bought for Naho - orange juice. Naho, who just developed a crush on him and knows what his future could be, mentions that her love is similarly bittersweet to the juice flavor. It also refers to the orange sunset on the mountaintop that Kakeru's friends wish he were still alive to see with them.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Kakeru is a handsome and athletic boy with a kind personality, which makes more than one girl fall for him, but he pushes people away because of his guilt complex and sometimes lashes out when he gets angry.
  • Twice Shy: In the original timeline, both Naho and Kakeru were too shy to do anything about their mutual attraction. With some prodding from their friends, they move forward with their relationship in the new timeline.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Invoked by the characters. Because they know that it'll rain in the afternoon despite the forecast saying sunny weather, all of them are prepared with umbrellas except for Kakeru, who then shares with Naho on the way home.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: A black hole is mentioned to exist within the Atlantic Ocean. This is totally impossible in real life. A black hole usually forms from the collapse of a star larger than our sun. If there had been a huge second sun in our solar system that later collapsed into a black hole, then Earth as we know it would not have developed in the first place. If a black hole somehow spontaneously popped into existence on Earth, then it would have to be so small that it would disappear through radiation in the blink of an eye, or else it would be massive enough to swallow up the entire planet.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the original timeline, Kakeru's former classmates from Tokyo, who casually waive off the former's mother's death, leading to Kakeru's first suicide attempt.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 19 in the manga and the first half of Episode 12 in the anime, detailing the original timeline from Kakeru's perspective, consist of nothing but one wham moment after one wham moment, as they reveal that Kakeru's problems go way deeper, he attempts suicide more than once, and they end with his death.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • The main relationship question is whether Naho will confess her feelings to Kakeru and get him to requite them.
    • Azusa is always picking on Hagita, but it's very implied she has a crush on him. Their future selves don't seem to be together, but Hagita doesn't wear glasses, something Azusa always told him to do. In the alternate future, however, they do end up dating.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: What the group is afraid of, especially Naho. When they don't follow their future selves' letters suggestions, it backfires and sets Kakeru down the path that would lead to his death. When they do follow the suggestions, they are still likely to mess up and Kakeru is still likely going to die before they finish high school. In the end, this becomes Zig Zagged. Kakeru still died in the original timeline, and there wasn't any chance they would change that future. In the present timeline, however, Kakeru survives, changing their fate. As the story itself suggests the existence of parallel worlds with different timelines, the Grandfather Paradox originally suggested by Hagita doesn't exist, and now there are simply two future worlds: one with Kakeru and the other without him.