“On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
I didn’t have any expectations going into this book, other than it was highly praised on Goodreads and we happened to have a copy at work so I figured I would give it a go. Naho gets a letter from her future self, warning her that her new friend Kakeru will no longer be a part of her life ten years from now, and that she must do everything possible to take care of him. My first impressions were that this premise was completely unique and intriguing and I immediately loved the illustrations and the quirky characters.
We quickly learn that Kakeru had a parent commit suicide. Not only does he feel responsible for what happened, but he himself is also suicidal. Naho feels obligated to follow the instructions of every letter she receives in order to prevent that future, the one in which Kakeru successfully commits suicide, from becoming real.
Naho wants to save Kakeru now that she knows the warning signs in his behavior ahead of time. There is some discussion in Naho’s science class at school about time and the possibility of more than one reality and that gets Naho’s mind working; the changes she’s making to her present will affect the future, possibly meaning that her future-self-letters will no longer be accurate, which would make it even harder to help Kakeru.
This book was a little intense but in a good way. I think it was a great depiction of how someone who is struggling with mental illness may show no signs of it, and may refuse the help of close friends or family by denying that there is even a problem. There are also some relationship dynamics at play; Kakeru likes Naho, but she is unable to communicate to him that she feels the same way. Naho worries that her not reciprocating will only bring Kakeru down more, forcing her to step outside of her comfort zone to tell him and show him how she feels both because she wants to be honest and because she doesn’t want there to ever be anything left unsaid between the two of them.
There is a second volume in this series and I’m hoping to be able to read that soon-ish. This story definitely surprised me and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in manga!
3 thoughts on “Orange Volume 1 by Ichigo Takano”