Orange Manga Review + Crunchyroll Begins Airing Orange Anime Based on the Manga by Ichigo Takano

I’m not as big of a reader as I used to be when I was younger, however, the last few seasons of anime have not held much to capture my interests, and being single again I find myself with too much spare time. So this past year I’ve been reading a lot of manga! One of my favorites, which is available to read for free on Crunchyroll, is “Orange” — and a few days ago Crunchyroll announced they will be simul-casting the new anime based on the manga as well! I thought that makes it a good time to share my love of this series. I’m so excited about the anime adaptation! This review is for the manga version 🙂

There may be some slight spoiler for the first volume – I have tried to avoid them and keep this as brief and condensed as possible but if you’re worried, I’d recommend reading or watching the series first before going any further.

Title: Orange
Author: Ichigo Takano
Genre: Shoujo / Slice of Life / Mystery / Time Travel / Scifi / Romance
Volumes: 5
Release Date: 2012
Where to Read (for Free): www.crunchyroll.com/comics/manga/orange/volumes
Where to Purchase (For Your Collection): //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=anisug-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1626923027&asins=1626923027&linkId=586c86f6383b06e86aa9e7c8f777788b&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=anisug-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1626922713&asins=1626922713&linkId=dd4b403e33a9647fdfddec721ae59493&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

Geeky: geekygeekygeekygeeky 4/5 – due to the mystery of the time travel and suspense of life and death circumstances this series could easily be enjoyed by geeks regardless of their genders. However, the shoujo elements are strong, and there’s not much “action” aside from the time travel bits. So if you don’t enjoy slice of life, you likely won’t like this either.

Sweetie: sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie 5/5 – A very sweet love story here with a lot of heart and emotion and great character growth continuously throughout the series.

Overall: 41/50 82% B- “Very Good Manga for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 The manga revolves around a young girl named Naho who one day receives a mysterious letter claiming to have been sent by her “future self”. It forewarns Naho that a new student is going to be transferring to their school and that this student will plan to commit suicide by the end of the school year and tries to give her advice on how to help save her “friend”. Naho works closely with her classmates, at first unable to tell them about the letter but gradually opening up to them as they enjoy their normal highschool life and Naho finds herself falling in love with the new student who she’s set out to save.

Story: 6/10 – I love the story (which I’ve outlined above without spoiling too much for you). However, the story ends with a rather “open” ending, and doesn’t resolve some of the questions I have. I can’t tell you more, obviously without spoiling it, but it was just not a very satisfactory ending to me. I also often wondered what became of the future Naho in the original “timeline” – because she was in love with and married to someone else and even had a child by him (this is all revealed pretty early (first chapter before she sends the letter to her “past self”) so it’s only a minor spoiler so don’t freak too much. — But if she saves Kakeru — would that then lead to Naho and Kakeru getting together, and how would that impact her child/relationship with the other person? — I wondered about that throughout the entire manga… I felt badly for this other person who really loves Naho. That slightly diminished my liking of Naho and Kakeru a little bit.

Characters: 8/10 Naho is the stereotypical heroine we always see in shoujo novels. She’s naive, afraid of her feelings, afraid of messing things up with her love interest, and pretty dense and oblivious to what seems obvious (about the relationship) to everyone else. She has a good group of friends who act as comic support, as well as love rivals, and this is all really common mundane stuff here. The most interesting character, by far, is Kakeru… he is one hot mess…. he blames himself for something that happens to his family at home (I won’t spoil it for you). He refuses to talk to anyone about his guilt/shame/feelings/fears and they eat away at him, which in the original time line leads to his committing suicide. Naho’s determination slowly begins to change Kakeru and get him to finally trust and open up to her and their other friends, however, it also frightens Kakeru, and we see him regress over and over and withdraw back into his depressing little shell. You don’t realize up until the very end if he will go through with suicide again or choose to live a happy life. I liked the suspense and drama. I liked even the dull mundane bits, and the comedy and humor along the way, and yes, even though I felt bad for some of the love rivals, I really did hope for Naho and Kakeru to get together. You can really feel their love and emotions for one another. You can also feel how awkward they are, and how they continue to inadvertently hurt eachother and struggle and fumble through their relationship.

Artwork: 8/10 – The art style is cute, and yet, distinctive. This is a relatively newer mangaka without many hits out there yet – I’m pretty sure this is their first novel to get picked up for an anime adaptation. I loved how each character looked very unique and different. Every single one is a different height and different body build. Naho is kinda short, and a little “pudgy” even with rounder cheeks, etc. This gives her a sweet soft innocent look that makes her a very likeable character for kawaii-ness alone. The boys of course are all absolute hotties :). My favorite thing is the multitude of different facial expressions – this artist has a very expressive style to their drawings.

Overall: 41/50 82% B- “Very Good Manga for Girls”

Animenewsnetwork.com provides the following information about the upcoming anime adaptation. I think most interesting to note, it’s being written by the same writer as Stein’s Gate, which is very fitting for a time travel anime. I do not see mention anywhere of the original mangaka’s hand touching the anime adaptation. Can we expect to see some changes in the story? I’m excited to find out.

The anime’s cast includes:

Hiroshi Hamasaki (Steins;Gate, Terraformars) is directing the anime atTMS Entertainment and Telecom Animation Film, and Yuuko Kakihara(Chihayafuru 2) is writing the scripts. Nobuteru Yuki (The Vision of Escaflowne, Kids on the Slope) is designing the characters. Yukio Nagasaki (GATE, Dragon Ball Z Kai) is serving as the sound director, and Hiroaki Tsutsumi (Kuromukuro, Monster Musume) is composing the music.

(Source: animenewsnetwork.com)

Check out the trailer for the new anime set to air on Monday on Crunchyroll!

I also just found out (while searching for the trailer for the anime version) that there’s a live action film as well – check out the trailer for that below:

Are you excited for the anime or live action adaptations? Did you read the manga already? Do you like it? Let us know in comments below!

Orange Manga Review + Crunchyroll Begins Airing Orange Anime Based on the Manga by Ichigo Takano was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

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Get Stein’s Gate and Other Great Visual Novels From JAST USA in This Bundle for $30

I also forgot to mention there’s a limited edition bundle at Groupees.com right now which features a lot of popular JAST titles, including the AMAAAAZING Stein’s Gate – which I reviewed here. The bundle features a tiered pricing system, allowing you to get more games with each tier. I already have Stein’s Gate, so I went with the $20 tier. I was actually most interested in Snow Sakura and Snow Drop though, so even the $10 tier is a great buy. These games go for $40 and up on JASTUSA’s website and rarely go on sale or get placed in bundles. I think it is the first time Stein’s Gate has ever been included in a bundle. At time of this writing there are still 750 bundles remaining.

FOR A MINIMUM OF $10 YOU GET:

Do You Like Horny Bunnies
Snow Sakura
Snow Drop

FOR A MINIMUM OF $20 YOU ALSO GET:

Princess Waltz
Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048
Yin-Yang! X-Change Alternative

FOR A MINIMUM OF $30 YOU ALSO GET:

Steins;Gate

You can pick this bundle up from Groupees at https://groupees.com/jast2

Get Stein’s Gate and Other Great Visual Novels From JAST USA in This Bundle for $30 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Stein’s Gate

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Title: Stein’s Gate

Publisher: Nitroplus & 5pb. & Kadokawa Shoten

Genre: Visual Novel

Release Date: (Originally Released) October 2010; Preorders Now (2013) onsale for “official” English version localized by JAST USA: http://jastusa.com/blog/2013/09/20/steinsgate-preorders-open/

Platform: PC (for the upcoming English version); the game has also been released in numerous languages for numerous consoles and mobile devices. There’s also an anime based loosely upon this game.

**My play experience is based on the fantranslation but should be relatively close to the same as the final official version – I’m in the midst of playing this still so may update this review and it’s reflected scores as some point. Also I have never watched the anime as I want to beat all the routes first in the game to avoid spoilers :).

Story: The story of Steins Gate revolves around a group of youths who accidentally discover that their microwave has the ability to send emails into the past. There was a ton of thought and research put into this game. It combines science, theories, facts, and pop culture, to create a very believable back story. I like it’s use of real theories and intellectualism. It spurred me to look up many of the concepts and do my own research. As expected, most of the game revolves around time travel,, black holes, time/space theories, and butterfly effect theories. In addition to this it also deals with mental health issues, psychosis, paranoia, etc. Making it a really “heavy read”. I personally like that it’s very thought provoking, but there may be some who find it hard to follow.

Gameplay: The gameplay in this one is hard for me to wrap my head around. It’s a visual novel style game for sure, but the way in which the player interacts is very ambiguous. You do make choices, however, the ramifications of those choices are really not apparent, in the least. You interact with the game through your in-game cellphone, replying to text messages and emails from your friends, when you get a text, it will have a few hyper links in it (one to 3 words per each “link”). Some emails have 3 links, others have only 1, some have none, etc. But once you select a link by clicking on it, you will be shown your character’s response to the email he has just received. Often times, it’s anyone’s guess as to what he will say. (a lot of times its not very nice lol). This makes it really less about strategy and more about random chance in my opinion. – maybe they will improve this with the official translation – or maybe it is intentionally ambiguous, just as the characters in the game are unsure of how they are changing the past,, and the consequences these actions have on their future, we as players are unsure of how our actions are shaping the future for these characters as well. But regardless, it’s a bit “different” from typical visual novels, where the choices you make are more apparent.

Concept: The game references many real life events and borrows heavily from internet culture, rather it’s John Titor (a supposed time traveler who appeared online several years ago), or referencing 4chan, there’s also starbucks, pokemon, and dr pepper. Because it’s rooted so strongly in popcultural references as well as scientific debate and theories, it makes it seem like a very true and believable adventure.

Characters: The cast of characters is a bit weird in this game, you play as a “mad scientist” who often talks to himself and frankly, has many “crazy moments” and your group of friends are equally eccentric from cosplayers, to otaku (in the sorta negative sense of the word, obese, nerdy, perverts, etc), to cross-dressers, to young super geniuses, and even neko-maids, it’s a very eclectic mix. I have mixed feelings on the cast. They lend themselves well to the setting and story, since it’s once again referencing “today’s trends” in popculture, it gives a good overview of many of society’s stereotypes, But these characters can be a bit too stereotypical sometimes and tend to annoy me at points, especially the main character. The fact that I don’t really care for the character artwork could also be causing some slight disconnect here for me.

Graphics: I’m just not a fan of this game visually speaking. It’s highly stylized, to where you either love it or hate it I think. Also it combines some 3d here or there with the 2d which just looks cheap in my opinion and disjointed. Like the two art styles do not mesh well. The highly stylized art is shaded in an odd way, looks like water color almost, but much more muddy and murky. The character designs themselves are also not typical of what one might expect in such a game. They are rough and unclean, almost sketch like in appearance. While I know this was a stylistic choice, it’s one that I just can’t get behind. Mayushi’s bushy eyebrows also annoy the heck out of me, as well as her hair style and clothing. I really don’t like her character art, but I like her character and voice actress. It’s not a bad character concept, but the style is just… not attractive to me.

Music: I really like the music in this game, there are a lot of different tracks, and each one is well suited to the different moods of the game. There are even hidden tracks you can unlock with some of the choices you make in replies to emails you send; sometimes your friends will send you back mp3 files you can listen to in the game; it’s a very unique concept. The music itself is very good and long enough that it won’t annoy as it begins to loop and repeat.

Voice Acting: The game is FULLY voiced, the only thing not voiced are narratives and inner thoughts of the main character – although he sometimes breaks into monologue and begins voicing those too lol. The voice acting for the most part is good. I did get confused once in awhile about who was speaking; the scene with Suzuha and Nae comes to mind as being confusing to me. I would have liked to seen different colored text, or a nameplate system used, but that’s not really the voice actor’s faults. The main character sometimes over(re)acts in my opinion. Other times though he’s really good. It’s a bit hit or miss for me with him. He tends to annoy me at times, but when he’s not being a total nutjob, he has a really good voice with a good range of emotion. I hate his laugh though its insanely fake. I know it’s supposed to be a “mad scientist” laugh, but it’s cheesy as heck, I’d rather a more natural laugh personally. The rest of the cast does a good job and seems more natural to me.

Final Scores:

Story: 10/10

Concept: 10/10

Gameplay: 6/10

Characters: 5/10

Graphics: 2/10

Music 10/10

Voice Acting: 7/10

Overall: 71% C- “Good Game For Girls”