Orange is a Summer 2016 anime that left a lot of viewers sobbing by the end of it. One day, Naho Takemiya begins receiving mysterious messages from her future self with instructions for how to prevent her close friend Kakeru from taking his own life. At first, she doesn't take it seriously, but as the events in her life begin to resemble those described in the letter more closely, she realizes that she needs to figure out how to follow their instructions, and fast. It's an emotionally intense, beautiful anime - but are there other shows like it? Of course!
What is the best anime like Orange? That depends on what you like about the series. If you're in it for the time travel, you might want to make a movie night out of Mirai or The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Or binge-watch Steins;Gate or ERASED. If you're looking for something with a sharp focus on characters working through grief, but can take or leave the time travel, check out Your Lie in April or March Comes In Like A Lion. No matter what your preferences, there's something on this list that's perfect for you.
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Blue Spring Ride may not have anything to do with time travel, but it still taps into Orange's themes of grief, loss, and recovery. Kou Tanaka and Futaba Yoshioka used to be close friends - so close that they're beginning to fall in love. But when Kou's mother passes away and his dad gets remarried, more things change than just his last name. Now called Kou Mabuchi, he's a surly, standoffish teenager who wants little to do with Futaba now that they've reconnected in high school - especially because Futaba's personality has changed too. Nevertheless, the two start to grow closer - will their newly rekindled relationship be enough to help Kou move past the pain of losing his mother?
Traversing timelines to save someone's life is a theme that exists at the heart of both Orange and Your Name. While Orange focuses on a group of friends who are trying to save a friend from taking his own life, Your Name follows a boy named Taki who wants to protect Mitsuha from a meteor that will wipe out her town and take her along with it. The two first meet because they randomly start swapping bodies - a process that takes Taki backwards in time to before Mitsuha's town is destroyed, and which takes Mitsuha forward to a time when she will no longer exist. Taki must send a message backward in time to let Mitsuha know what will befall her, so that she can evacuate before it's too late.
ERASED follows a 29-year-old manga artist named Satoru Fujinuma who is able to rewind time in small increments. Eventually, he's sent back to his early childhood, to just before his childhood friend Kayo Hinazuki's life is mysteriously ended. His task is to prevent her demise - but it won't be easy. While Naho and her friends are not actually able to travel through time themselves, they do send letters to their past selves with instructions on how to stop their friend Kakeru from taking his own life. Orange is more of a romance, while ERASED has thriller elements, but the two have a lot in common storywise.
Although he doesn't do so through time travel, the protagonist of ReLIFE does get to redo part of his life in the hopes of getting a better outcome. By taking a pill, 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki is able to physically transform into a teenage version of himself, and repeat a year of high school. Through doing this, he hopes to steer his life in a more positive direction - one that doesn't involve working at a dead-end job after his corporate career came to a grinding halt. Just as Kakeru's life is improved with the power of friendship, so is Arata's - it's the friends he makes during his do-over that put him on the path toward self-improvement.