Far from filler, orange: future answers some reasonable questions from the original story.

orange: future Title: orange: future
Genre: Romance, Drama
Publisher: Futabasha (JP), Seven Seas (US)
Creator: Ichigo Takano
Serialized in: Monthly Action
Translation: Amber Tamosaitis
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Review copy was provided by Seven Seas.

A group of high school friends receive letters from themselves ten years in the future, urging them to save their best friend from a terrible fate. Now, the future has changed in more ways than the original orange crew could have imagined — but how exactly did their future selves come to be before the letters?

orange is a popular series; with an anime adaption, a live action movie adaption, an anime movie adaption, and the original manga, a follow-up makes complete sense here. Billed as essentially “volume 6”, the story chooses to focuses on Suwa, who, in one version of the future, marries Naho after Kakeru’s untimely death. The narrative switchover is a good one and keeps the extra volume from feeling tacked on for a couple of reasons: the story of how Naho and Suwa wind up together is fully never explored in the original series, leaving the reader with natural questions; and it’s clear that Suwa had the most to lose if Kakeru survives, and yet he chooses to send the letters to his past self anyway.

Suwa versus Kakeru for Naho’s affections could easily fall into shoujo tropes (rival hair colors aside), and in some ways it does, but it does so thoughtfully. Suwa has generally been a likeable guy throughout the whole series, while also having a genuine fondness and friendship with Kakeru and is profoundly affected by his death. It reads less like two guys fighting for the girl-prize and more like two friends struggling to maintain respect for their friendship while navigating romantic feelings for the same person, even in death. In some ways it even feels a bit sad.

The bulk of orange volume 6 is dedicated to Suwa and provides fans with a solid sense of closure. However, I do wish the remaining friends would have been fleshed a tad more throughout the series in general. The original series is a bit of a fast read at five volumes so I can understand some characters getting relegated to a “B-side” as it were, but the story feels like a solidly Kakeru-Naho-Suwa story. Thankfully Naho’s feelings about her relationship with Suwa are fleshed out some, and readers will be relieved to find it was less about about a replacement for Kakeru as opposed to growing affection even after his death.

If you liked the original run of orange there’s really no reason to skip this. Far from filler, it answers some reasonable questions from the original story, all while granting us some more time with a lovable group of friends.