WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Orange by Ichigo Takano (This covers volumes one through three.)
Type: Romance, Shoujo, Suicide
Basic Plot: Naho gets a letter from ten years in the future that advises her how to live in order to live without regrets, as well as save a new friend named Kakeru.
Plot: 3/5 Average: The idea of the plot, having a letter from the future, was more original than some other manga plots. Time travel is explained in a way that would logically make sense in that world. The plot did have some of the cliché feels that most romance entertainment has. Many cliché manga characters are used such as the “stupid heroine” and “big brother figure.” A present from the main boy and a nasty rival are included. The story could have been more original in romantic content ways, but the letter part of the plot did make it more original than a lot of other romance manga.
Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The drawings were detailed, consistent, and natural. It was easy to tell which character was which, and the art hasn’t gone through any changes so far. The people and objects look realistic. I can’t stand it when shoujo artist draw awkward people, but the people in this manga were all detailed and naturally shaped.
Moral: 3/5 A Mostly Good Moral: The main moral was to try to live life without regrets. This included two aspects, being brave enough to do what you would like to do and following your heart. The first one was good, as Naho learns to be willing to confront people and talk about things so that she will not live regretting not doing something. She learns to do nice things for people and tell others what she truly thinks, because she doesn’t want to regret not doing what was right or being honest. It is important to know that it is just as bad to have a regretful life because we did do things we weren’t supposed to do just as it is to not do things we were supposed to.
Overall: This is a good beginner sad story. There are better tear-jerkers that cause the reader to bawl there eyes out as they read, but this is merely a little sniff. If someone hasn’t read very many sad stories or wants some time travel in their manga, I recommend this story.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Suggestive: Girls wear clothing over the knee. Some girls buy and wear short-shorts and refer to it as “fan service.” A boy wants to hold a girls hand, and another boy holds a girl by the rest and refers to it as holding hands. They also refer to themselves as “babes.” A boys are called “hottie,” “babe,” and “player.” There are two pictures of girls and boys in swimwear, one being a bikini. A girl takes a bath that shows her shoulders, knees, and part of her bare back. When the author takes a picture of a bench, a person wonders if the author has “a bench fetish.”
Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: A girl cuts her hand when she slaps another girls hand away. A girl smacks another girl. Characters smack each other on the head with things or bump into each other. A girl says several times that she wants to hurt another girl. A girl deliberately bumps another girl to the ground with her purse. Most of the violence is barely shown.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 3/5 Moderate Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain twice. “Damn” is misused twice. “Ass” is misused twice. The ‘p’ word is misused three times. The female word for a dog is misused four times. “Jeez” is used once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Emotional and Intense Content: Suicide is a theme throughout the manga. It mentions that a boy attempts suicide by choking, and it is mentioned that a boy kills himself by biking in front of a train. It mentions that a woman kills herself. None of the suicides are shown. Characters cry, sometimes quite emotionally. It is usually because if something sad, but sometimes characters cry when they are happy. A girl’s foot bleeds a little. A boy passes out.
Religious Issues: 1/5 Suggestive: A boy and a girl go to a shrine and make wishes. A boy describes his as “a prayer” to his mother. One picture shows two characters in Halloween costumes, and one of their candies is shaped like a ghost. For decoration, small ghost are at least once shown in the background.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: A straight boy names what boy he would like if he was gay. A straight boy brings his friend flowers, and a friend asks him if he is “asking… (him) out.” There are no homosexual characters in these books. The author makes a brief mention of sake, Japanese rice wine.
Overall: 3/5 Teenage Appropriate: The swearing in the book cause me to recommend that a person be at least fifteen before reading it. The suicidal themes are not extremely emotional and depressing, but they are tear jerkers that I would say are suitable for someone thirteen to fourteen and older.