I remember, when I was young, and my heart was an open book, maybe sixth grade (it was a long time ago, about when we had to stop hunting mastodons for food), we had to do an assignment, which was write a letter to our future self that would be read ten years from then. Well, I wrote some caliber of nonsense and eventually lost the letter. It was probably a good thing, too. In any case, this is part of the plot for the anime “Orange” (“Orenji”).
It is the past. Naho Takamiya, (in the center), a second year high school student, receives letters sent from herself 10 years into the future. Her future self asks her to prevent her “biggest regret”, which has something to do with the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse (black hair to her left). At first skeptical, Naho begins to believe the letters, as they accurately predict events. When the letter asks her not to invite Kakeru to go out for the first day, Naho and her friends (left to right, Takako Chino, Hiroto Suwa, Azusa Murasaka and Saku Hagita) decide to invite him anyway. Kakeru ends up not attending school for the next two weeks.
When she learns of the terrible fate that will befall Naruse if she does nothing, she strives to prevent the past events from happening, thus altering the future. The series details not only those efforts but how our little troupe fare in the future.
Time shift shows like this are difficult, as you have to balance the two realities, so things are credible. We, of course, are not going to ask the question as to how the future letters got into the past, as that would cause the series to totally collapse (think of the movie “The Lake House”), so you just move along with the events and see the ever-increasing stakes in the actions that they all perform in order to save a friend.
We also see how they have to learn not to be afraid, as a small slip here can create a larger slip down the line, and at a time when you may not be able to correct it, and that you have to believe in yourself, whether it is the now version or the future version.
Late in the show, there is a very good discussion regarding multiple dimensions, which also explains away the problems we encounter with the original future time story line. At its core, it is still a story about the bonds and strength of friendship, but it is done in a very concerted and focused manner. Perhaps not as intense as “Erased”, there is a still a good story to be told and the potential downfalls of not believing what the future you is imparting to the past you.
There is a movie coming out, but I am hoping it is a real movie and not a compilation film of the series. It’s already out in Japan; we get to wait another year or so. Or longer. Did I not get the memo?
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Typical but useful)
Plot 8 (Done quite well)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of the time shift)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (Good use of the time paradox idea)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You got one, too?