On the first day of a new semester, Naho Takimiya oversleeps. On her way out after being late for school, she finds a letter waiting for her that says it is from herself ten years in the future. The letter ardently states her regrets that she has surrounding a new transfer student Kakeru Naruse. Thinking it is a prank at first, Naho ignores it, but when the events described within begin to come true, Naho decides that she will try to help her future self.
Poignant and, at times, painfully awkward, Orange is a lovely tale of youthful love while focusing on the harsh sting of regrets that can last you a lifetime. Do you thirst for more meaningful stories? Then you best give these anime recommendations a try.
For Fans of Time Travel
Struggling manga artist Satoru Fujinuma has a unique power. Right when something horrible is about to happen, he can travel back several minutes before the accident occurs. However, when the 29-year-old finds himself framed for a murder of someone dear to him, his power takes him back further than ever before, to his childhood 18 years in the past right before a string of murders is about to occur.
While the way they get there is different the purpose in Erased and Orange is ultimately the same: To save someone’s life. Satoru regrets not stopping to talk to a girl alone in the park the night she disappeared while Naho regrets that she couldn’t save Kakeru’s life.
In Search of the Lost Future
While ostensibly the five members of the Astronomy Club study the stars, a few members of the club also study each other. However, what had the potential to be a touching romance soon gets sidetracked by a series of bizarre events that have the club coping with tragedies and mysteries alike.
Both Lost Future and Orange explore the concept of regret through time travel in a school setting. Both series focus on trying to change a tragic event by sending a message through time. However, only one of these series can succeed in their task.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Kyon had long given up on his belief in the supernatural until he meets Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi, a strange girl in her own right, is interested in all things supernatural, but laments the lack of intriguing clubs on campus. Kyon, however, inspires her to create her own club, and thus, the SOS Brigade is born. Unfortunately for Kyon, he is also roped into joining this new club dedicated to all things supernatural.
While it doesn’t get explored fully until some of the branching series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, like Orange, is about using time travel to help influence the choices that will shape the future. Unlike Orange, the time travel concept gets pretty deep.
For Fans of Dealing with Regret
Your Lie in April
After the death of his talented mother, the equally talented Kousei Arima can no longer play the piano, unable to hear the sound. Leaving the competitive music world behind, he avoids playing for two long years until by a stroke of fate he meets the beautiful, talented, and inspiring violinist Kaori Miyazono that makes his world come alive again.
At a glance, Orange and Your Lie in April have little in common aside from a school setting, but under the surface they are much more similar. Both male protagonists have to deal with then untimely death of their mothers and the scar left behind, ultimately being helped by the sweet female protagonist. With heavy themes of not having regret, seizing the day, and enjoying the time you have together, both present excellent bittersweet romance stories.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
One hot summer day, recluse and truant Jinta Yadomi is approached by his childhood friend Menma that comes to pester him about a wish he had long forgotten. However, Menma has been dead for some time. Thinking he is hallucinating at first, eventually Jinta accepts her as a ghost and begins to work towards fulfilling her wish with his friends that had long drifted away from each other.
Both Orange and Anohana are about a group of school friends trying to cope with the loss of one of their friends by exploring their past. While Anohana is more metaphorical, Orange is literally about changing their past to save a life. While they deal with their regrets in different ways, both of these tearjerkers are good for poking you right in your feels.
Growing up in the shadow of her older sister, Chihaya Ayase is strong-willed and a tomboy with no dreams of her own. However, after meeting a young boy with a passion of a card game called karuta, he inspires her to become a karuta master.
I know, right? What could a series about a card game have to do with Orange? Very little if you focus on the main plot, but in Chihayafuru, Chihaya actually helps the male protagonist deal with his culpability in the death of his grandfather. Like in Orange, you also watch a love triangle develop.
For Fans of Awkward School Love
My Love Story!
With his tall statue, bulky muscles, and mean face, Takeo Gouda is not exactly a hit with the ladies. Men and women alike find him terrifying, but one day after saving a girl from a molester on the train, he meets a girl that might just love him as much as he loves her.
Although My Love Story is more oriented toward comedy, it tells the tale of high schoolers trying to find that sweet spot of love. Like with Orange, My Love Story also feels like it can go on a bit too long in some of its scenes.
Blue Spring Ride
Futaba Yoshioka was an attractive middle schooler, popular with boys, but not with girls. It left her feeling lonely, but none of that mattered as long as her crush, Kou Tanaka, liked her. However, when Kou moved away, Futaba decided to change herself, purposely adopting unattractive traits to be popular with the girls, but one day, Kou comes back as different of a person as she is.
In both series, they deal with how their pasts affect their future. While in Orange they are actively trying to change it, in Blue Spring Ride the characters are learning about the people they have become. Blue Spring Ride also has to deal with the ikemen main man dealing with the death of his mother, but unlike Orange, he had to slowly watch her die from illness by himself, but the trauma is still the same.
Kimi ni Todoke
Completely misunderstood by her classmates, everyone considered Sawako Kuronuma to be scary. However, while her sweet and timid behavior is mistaken as malicious, she longs to make friends. When the most popular guy in school takes notice of her true nature, Sawako’s life begins to change.
Like watching love stories so unbearably awkward that they are almost unwatchable from the amount of cringing going on? Both series are like that, but they also have their sweet moments despite a slow pacing.
Have your own recommendations for anime series like Orange? Tell us about it in the comments section below.