As 2017 starts, most anime YouTubers and bloggers are looking back and making videos talking about what they think is the best anime of 2016. Well, I want to look back and discuss something different – what is the most important anime of 2016? While Yuri!!! on Ice has taken the world by storm with its progressive portrayal of a gay couple, bringing realism to a topic that is usually used just as fanservice, I’d say there’s an anime out there that is even more important: Summer 2016’s Orange. So, why is this anime so important?
Orange is About Suicide Prevention
While it’s easy to slide Orange under the rug by saying it’s just a romance with some drama, I’d say that’s selling it far short. While the thought of Naho and Kakeru getting in a relationship is nice, it’s not the main goal of the main cast. The main cast is to prevent Kakeru from committing suicide, which means so much more.
While Orange isn’t the first anime to include suicide, it’s the first I’ve seen that treats it with such seriousness. While Gurren Lagann has a moment of suicide prevention, it doesn’t last long and is resolved fairly easily, which isn’t always reflective of real life. The only other anime I’ve seen that comes close is Welcome to the N.H.K., which, while being a lot better at addressing the reasons behind suicide and the methods to prevent it, it still takes a backburner, neglecting the solemn emotion and seriousness that Orange has.
Suicide Prevention is a Tangle of Many Emotions
I remember back in junior high, talking to friends who were feeling suicidal. I remember the twisted feelings in my stomach, the nervousness, the worry. I remember what it feels like to find out that someone you know has committed suicide (luckily it was never someone I was close with). And as I went to high school and college and got different friends, I forgot what that was like. Watching Orange… it brought it all back. The point is, suicide and the emotions surrounding it are a big mess, which is something that Orange manages to capture.
And, were someone close to you to carry it out, the reasons behind the suicide may never be revealed. The emotions surrounding it may always be just one big confusing mess. Though finding answers behind a suicide may be a way to bring understanding and closure, sometimes there isn’t anything that can tell you the reasons. In case, you may need to move on without them. It hurts, and it’ll more than likely hurt for a long time, if not forever, but, given the circumstances, it may be the best option.
Look Out For Each Other
The first time I realized just how serious Orange was about its subject was when Suwa approached Kakeru about the emotions he’s been hiding and asks him, “Have you ever thought about killing yourself?” I had heard multiple times that, if you suspect someone’s feeling suicidal, to ask them if they’re thinking about hurting or killing themselves, but I always brushed it off, thinking it would be weird to do so. Orange proved that it’s not so weird after all, that it’s actually rather valuable. I mean, what’s the alternative, after all? Would you or I rather ask a seemingly awkward question or lose the life of someone we hold dear?
And I’d have to agree with something else Suwa says in this moment. When Kakeru mentions that he considers them close friends and that he would prefer to laugh with them while keeping his emotions hidden. Suwa then says that it’s because they’re close friends that Kakeru should open up, and that they’d rather know what’s going on than laugh knowing nothing. Even if you think your friends are just there to have fun with, if you’re struggling or thinking of committing suicide, please talk about it to your trusted friends. Help will come.
There is No Wrong Answer, There is No Right Answer
The letters told Kakeru’s friends to prevent from running in the sports festival’s relay, but they decided to take it into their own hands and run with him. Maybe preventing from running might have helped, but they did what they saw fit. As long as you listen to those who are suicidal and can convey how much you care about them, there is no wrong answer.
At the same time, there is no right answer. The course of the show, Kakeru feels heavy regret for not being with his mother, feeling that he caused her to commit suicide. When he confesses about his suicidal feelings to Suwa and Naho, Suwa hugs him and tells him that he did nothing wrong. Even if someone close to you commits suicide, the blame cannot be put on anyone’s shoulders, including your own. Reach out to others. Talk about your feelings as best as you can. There are those willing to listen to you.
Please, Please, Please
If you’ve been thinking about suicide, please, please, please reach out to someone. There are people in your life who are willing to help you, but they can’t unless you ask. Heck, you can even contact me, and I’d be willing to help in any way I can. If you need it, call the US national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255, or any of the hotlines internationally that can be found here.
If you haven’t been considering suicide, keep your eyes out open for those who have. Recognize and look out for the signs, and find ways to help. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. Find those who are feeling alone.
Guys, it gets better. It may get better later rather than sooner, but it will get better. There are those who love you and care for you and are here for you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long it may be.Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.Talk to friends or family if you need to. Get professional help if you need to. You deserve happiness. Don’t cut that happiness short. Think of Kakeru, think of those who love you and care for you, reach out instead of closing up. Suicide isn’t worth it.