Naho vows to give Kakeru chocolates on Valentine’s Day and make sure he knows her feelings, but even though her letters state all of the various opportunities, she still manages to blow by almost all of them without success, which is obviously done to heighten the tension. It works!
But this isn’t like the squandered opportunities of the past. This is it, with just a day before he commits suicide in the original timeline. She has to get those damn chocolates to him, or at least make up with him. A particularly one-dimensionally evil Ueda Rio provides one last obstacle to Naho, but she doesn’t back down, and by the end of the episode’s first act, victory is hers. It’s a satisfying scene that cuts through a lot of the murk that had built up.
With apologies, hugs, and tears thus shared, Naho and Kakeru are back to normal; no, better than ever, and all the happier for it. Kakeru even blurts out that he loves her, and she doesn’t blush and run off.
But the hour of his past death is still ahead of them, and the circle of friends remains concerned enough to consider either breaking his bike or waiting at the site of his once-and-hopefully-not-future demise.
Again, we see the future friends planning out the logistics and agreeing to send their letters to the past. Again, it seems a little odd to call so much attention to such a mysterious and hard-to-swallow process that is never fully explained anyway (because it’s time magic).
In any case, because they’ve changed the future so much, the timing of Kakeru’s attempted suicide is altered somewhat, and because Hagita actually sabotages his bike, he’s on foot when a truck nearly hits him.
Kakeru is wandering the night wanting to die, just like last time, because of the power of the unsent text on his mom’s phone he found. But unlike last time, Naho and the others have had an equally powerful cumulative effect on him, to the point it doesn’t matter that they’re too late to stop him, because he stops himself. He doesn’t want to die after all.
From there, everyone runs to him, thinking he’s been hit but relieved to find he isn’t, and when they have to explain why they’re all there, they finally let him in on the future letters, even giving him letters from their once-but-no-longer selves. And there’s a big ol’ group hug, baaaaaaaw.
Those former selves are still chillin’ in the future, content that they did all they could to make a Kakeru in an alternate world a better chance to stay alive, for the benefit of their alternate past and future selves. They created a new world, where Kakeru could live and be happily ever after.
Parting thoughts: In its first three to seven weeks, Orange could almost do no wrong by me, so enthusiastic was I by a show that had the potential to be AnoHana or Toradora! quality, with Hanazawa Kana as its able lead.
But the show eventually regressed a bit as the angst was heightened, and my enthusiasm waned just when it was growing for those other shows. Orange could also be a little cheesy at times (I continue to have mixed feelings about the huge smiles of various characters), and it never maintained the (in hindsight unreasonable) heights I envisioned for it, but it still really wowed and moved me for a solid half of its run.
I liked these earnest kids and their mission to save their friend, I’m glad they succeeded, and I look forward to the anime movie that continues the tale a little further.