Orange is an honest portrayal of depression. How? While each person has his or her own take on the show, most viewers, including myself, believe that the show did a great job in handling a sensitive and complex issue such as depression.
As most people know, depression is a serious medical illness that even celebrities experience in real life. It is oftentimes mentioned in some anime like A Silent Voice, Honey and Clover, and Serial Experiments Lain, among others.
But among the many series that tackled this topic, Orange was the closest to what it is in real life.
Orange Anime's Honest Portrayal of Depression
Orange is a Japanese manga series that was adapted into an anime. It follows the story of Naho Takamiya, who mysteriously receives a letter from her future self, helping her change the past to save Kakeru Naruse, a transfer student who eventually commits suicide.
The main source of Kakeru’s depression is the death of his mom. She committed suicide after she believed that she is a burden to her son. Kakeru became absent for a while and Naho and their friends found out the reason months after.
No one would have thought that such a terrible thing had happened to Kakeru as he looks surprisingly okay. He smiles and laughs with his friends and even hangs out with them.
But there are some signs that, of course, normal high school students wouldn’t even notice. Hence, no one can easily tell that someone is depressed.
Kakeru doesn’t join the soccer club, despite his amazing skills and passion for it. He doesn’t open up and didn’t let anyone know about the death of his mother. In the original timeline, Naho and her friends didn’t do anything about these. They didn’t look into much of it and just went on with their lives.
In the good timeline, now that everyone knows what’s going to happen, the team decided to do everything they can to save Kakeru. They tried to convince him to join the soccer club to give him a feeling of significance and boost his self-esteem.
Naho made sure to make him bento boxes to ensure that he is eating right. She and Suwa also made sure to check up on Kakeru every once in a while and give him an idea that they will always be there for him. They made sure that his feelings are validated.
What made the series realistic is that even in the good timeline, Kakeru still tries to end his life. He just realized at the last minute that he didn’t want to die but he just wants the pain to end.
The efforts made by his friends helped him realize that there is more to life than he initially thought.
Depression is a serious mental illness. It doesn’t get better in a day. It is not something that people can easily notice about someone as people with depression usually looks fine, happy in fact. This was portrayed beautifully in the series.
Some might think that what Naho and her friends did was simple but these small things can make someone feel that they matter.
Not only that, they made sure that Kakeru was getting enough exercise, maintaining a proper diet, and so on. They are not just there to listen to him but they took care of his physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
The series did not immediately give viewers the ending they want as Kakeru still tried to end his life despite all of their efforts. This is what made Orange a realistic and honest series. It gave viewers the perspective of the person who is depressed and the point of view of the people around him.
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