#AsianLitBingo – Orange by Ichigo Takano

To be honest if I had read a synopsis of this manga I would not have picked it up.

Here’s the overview:

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? The heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!

I don’t know, that just sounds, well, not very original to be honest. Luckily I didn’t have a clue about the synopsis and just headed straight on into the book.

And I’m really glad I read this. It was sad and silly in parts. Lots of teenaged angst and unrequited love and crushes and whatnot. But it is a solid story and one that discusses what I’m guessing may be a taboo subject in Japanese culture – suicide and mental health. Kakeru’s mother has killed herself and he blames himself for not being there for her on the day – he constantly doubts himself and feels like he doesn’t deserve to continue living.

And it probably is the only manga that has ever made me cry!

Of course when there’s an element of time travel (here it is a letter that’s travelled through time somehow), it requires some suspension of disbelief. But as manga go, Orange is a sweet, simple one, a “slice of life” manga.

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – Graphic Novel with Asian MC

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