[Warning: this post is gonna be gloomier than usual]
If time traveling was possible, where would you like to go? Straight to the past so you could erase all of your regrets? Or maybe to the future, so you could learn the consequences of all your actions beforehand?
These fundamental issues are the main scenario where Orange, a Shoujo/slice of life/drama manga by Takano Ichigo, takes place.
“Orange” by Takano Ichigo
Plot: Naho, a sixteen year old girl receives a mysterious letter from her own future self containing many advises in how to prevent one of her friend’s death in a short time from there – by suicide. It’s a very touching story, with wonderful art style that makes you reconsider your life and ponder about that most fatal question “What if…?” What if a single thing you’ve done differently could have a huge impact such as saving a life?
One leaf clover: I think I’ve lost already too many people in my life. Surely there are ones out there whose lost much more than I did but, among my family and friends, I’m probably the one who has experienced death and all its devastating consequences more often. When I was 10 I lost my maternal grandfather and he was a very important person to me. Since my parents got divorced when I was a baby, my grandfather was the only father figure I ever had. Moreover, he was also my best friend – We used to spend a lot of time together; telling stories, reading, singing and talking about ordinary things of life. When he passed (he had a stroke) I felt way too lonely. Even though I had a very supportive family, nothing and none could fill that gap. But I guess it is like that with mostly everyone, right? People cannot be replaced. But the ten-year-old-me just couldn’t bear with it in a proper way. And I shut myself in.
Time passed, I was able to make a few new friends but I also lost many of them… To life, in this case. Then when I was 13, I met someone at school whom I though could finally fill that gap in me. He also had a gap to be filled and we became instant friends. I like to compare our relationship to Peter Pan and Wendy’s – we certainly really liked each other but we were too young (and maybe too damaged) to understand its meaning and, after 4 years of a close (and a little twisted I must add) friendship, we decided to split. Adolescence sure is complicated.
I needed to make this whole introduction because, even though I was no longer his friend, I would think of him from time to time and wonder if he was doing well and one day a mutual friend of ours came to speak to me. She said that friend asked her if I was still mad at him and in case I wasn’t that he would like to speak to me again. I told her it was ok and short after that he called me.
We talked for many hours just like we would back then when we were children. We saw each other a couple of times in person later but I don’t think I wanted to be too close anymore, maybe I was still mad at him after all. And then a few months after messaging me for the last time, saying how great he was feeling, that he quitted smoking, joined some kind of troupe and how wonderful life was, he committed suicide.
Almost ten years have passed since that but I don’t think I was ever able to completely recover from it, and it gets even worse in December (he was born in December).
And last year my paternal grandmother also died of cancer. We were not very close but the fact that people would always say how similar we were to each other, how my father’s relationship with her (and with me) wasn’t so great at that time and how I was the last person to talk to her before she died shook me up a bit. And I gotta mention her birthday was also in December. Yes, I do have a few issues with December (January as well).
Those three were probably the more impactful losses I had. But besides them, I still have been to more funerals than I wished or I’d like to recall.
Now I get to those “What if’s”:
What if I knew my grandpa suffered from hypertension and was really worried about my mother being under a complicated surgery back then? Could I have done anything to prevent his death? Could I? If only I knew he would never wake up again? I deeply regret I haven’t shared that milk chocolate with him the night before.
What if I have putted aside any grudge against my friend and had been more interested in what was really going on in his life, would I have seen earlier the many signs that something wasn’t right I only realized after his death? I was a psychology student back then, I should have recognized that euphoric state he was in the last message.
What if I knew all those things beforehand? What if? Would I be able to save them? Would I be able to fix anything I ever did wrong and/or I regret in my life?
It’s difficult to answer and it’s impossible nevertheless. Albert Einstein said “time is an illusion” therefore we can’t turn it back. And even if we could, wouldn’t we be destroying things we have in the present? So many things happened to me after all that, so many people I met and so many goals I achieved. Would I risk it all? I cannot really tell.
Maybe everything happens for a reason, maybe everything that happens in our lives have a greater meaning, for the better and worse. I guess all we can do is to move forward and try to cherish everyday we have, with the things and the people we have right now.
Maybe because I had so many losses in my life – some to death, some to life, some to people themselves – That I used to think “failure is death“. I used to be absolutely terrified of failing to the point I wouldn’t even try. But lately I realized it’s not like that. Failure is something that gives us the opportunity to make things again and try to make them not only right this time but also better. If we never fail nor ever get to know how devastating is to lose what we love, how would we be able to learn value the moments we spare with them and value life itself?
All those things were pounding in my head while I was reading Orange. Sometimes I really wish I could turn back time and turn all the wrongs right, but maybe I don’t really have to.
Today I have many great friends, the greatest I could ever ask for. I value the family members I still have as the most precious thing in the world and I have Felipe, who’s filled any gaps my soul could possibly still have. And I’m very thankful and feel blessed for having every single one of them in my life. And well, who knows what else future can also bring?
Now back to Orange, a live action movie is coming to Japan Theaters on December 12 and a long trailer was recently released by Warner Music, featuring the song “Mirai” by Kubokuro:
As far as I could see on this video, I’d say the movie is gonna be very faithful to the manga series. Let’s hope it’ll get to the Western countries as soon as possible.
And anyway, I truly recommend Orange, but have some tissues nearby. Best wishes to you all!
And to all the beloved ones I’ve lost: I’m sure you are doing great, thanks for had been a memorable part of my life! We’ll surely meet someday again and have a wonderful time together. ❤