Review

by Chris Shepard, Jan 10th 2002

Kimagure Orange Road (TV)

Synopsis:
Kimagure Orange Road
High School student Kasuga Kyosuke has problems with women. Bigtime!

First, he thinks he's falling in love with the beautiful and somewhat mysterious Ayukawa Madoka, but he's not at all sure if Madoka feels the same way about him.

Second, he's being pursued by the exceedingly sweet, cute and bubbly Hiyama Hikaru, who has taken to calling him “Darling” and asking him if she'll make a good wife.

The two girls are total opposites – and best friends since childhood. Which means that Kyosuke's love-life is somewhat complicated.

But wait – Kyosuke's troubles are far from over. He's got two bratty sisters to worry about, and his two sex-crazed buddies are stalking them! And one of the toughest guys in the Karate Club, who is rather annoyed about him “stealing” Hikaru, is stalking him!

Now, Kyosuke does have one thing going for him. Both he and his sisters have inherited the family gift – Paranormal Powers; Teleportation, Telekinesis, Precognition – they can do it all. Unfortunately, if anyone catches them using their Powers, they'll have to leave town. And Kyosuke's Powers are much better at getting him into trouble than they are at getting him out of it.

Review:
Anime series in this day and age seem to disappear just as fast as they materialize. Though possibly entertaining and very much worth watching, so many of them contain no longevity and no real soul at all. As soon as the next big series hits, these churned out anime shows simply vanish into the land of forgotten. However, every so often a series is released in each genre that truly shows what the animated format is capable of. Series that last forever in the hearts of the fans who watch them. Kimagure Orange Road is considered by the majority of its fanbase to be one of these series and one of the best romantic comedy shows available.

Kimagure Orange Road is the story of Kasuga Kyosuke and his journey through adolescence. As soon as Kasuga moves into his new town he creates relationships with two totally different girls that both compete for him in two totally different ways. But these girls aren't perfect souls either. They're just as confused with their thoughts and ideas as well as their infatuations and relationships as the main character and everyone else their age. They are extremely fleshed out with both their positive and negative attributes. Kimagure Orange Road is a true realistic portrayal of these times when children start to become young adults and when friendship begins to transform into possible love.

What is truly amazing is how easy it is to relate to KOR. The characters within it are genuinely real. So many times throughout watching this I couldn't help but to have a complete understanding of the cast and the problems they were facing. At many times it was nearly baffling for me to compare how closely some of the situations mirrored my own. Kimagure Orange Road features real characters that nearly any viewer can relate to who has ever gone through life and experienced relationship difficulties where friendship could have possibly blurred into something more. This anime series truly contains real people.

While Kimagure Orange Road definitely has many serious situations, it remains a comedy at heart. The characters are young and do get out. Many episodes feature the cast going on vacation and having basic plain having fun. Kyosuke is always getting himself into various situational oddball moments where you just can't help but laugh out loud. The ongoing jokes throughout the series, such as the fat family cat Jingoro and how it gets treated, along with Kasuga's perverted school friends and their little schemes, give the series its continuing charm and sense of familiarity as the viewer watches on.

Though the main character and his twin sisters do have psychic powers, this element certainly does not drive the series along. Very rarely are episodes based around the fact that Kasuga has psychic powers. Most often this element is only used to help keep the series fresh by adding its own unique taste and spice to the situations Kasuga gets himself into. And of course it's also used for comedy as well. But besides that, KOR is about the personal interactions between its characters, hardly being based around Kasuga's powers at all.

Kimagure Orange Road's animation is definitely not its selling point. Very rarely are complex camera techniques and very detailed shots used. However, this is irrelevant, as it is with most relationship stories. KOR is not about eye-candy action shots but instead the plot and chemistry between its characters. For this, the animation gets its job done well. And as far as the actual art and character designs go, they are top-notch.

While the animation suffers a lower budget, the music definitely scours above its peers. It excellently catches the mood of the series and draws you in with each dramatic turn. A spectacular soundtrack, indeed.

What's great about KOR is that it keeps you absorbed throughout each and every episode. With the entire series at my disposal, I couldn't help but to continue on from episode to episode whenever I could, not wanting to give myself a break or spacing out the episodes anymore than I had to. This series involves its viewers by keeping them guessing to who Kasuga's heart truly belongs to. And for being so entertaining during its entire run, it contains a very powerful ending as well. Kimagure Orange Road is a very well crafted series. It would be in anyone's best interest to check it out as long as they can stand not having powerful battles and intense action sequences every five minutes. It's an authentic anime treasure.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (sub) : A
Animation : B
Art : A
Music : A

+ Very involving characters with great interacting.
Lower animation budget.

Director:Osamu Kobayashi
Script:Sukehiro Tomita
Screenplay:
Shikichi Ohashi
Isao Shizutani
Yoshihiro Tomita
Storyboard:
Takashi Anno
Takayuki Hiba
Kazuhiko Ikegami
Fumiko Ishii
Kou Matsuzono
Shigeru Morikawa
Koichiro Nakamura
Minoru Nibayashi
Yumiko Suda
Osamu Uemura
Shu Uemura
Hiroyuki Yokoyama
Episode Director:
Mitsuru Go
Tomomi Mochizuki
Kenji Terada
Music:Shiro Sagisu
Original Manga:Izumi Matsumoto
Character Design:Akemi Takada
Art Director:
Shichiro Kobayashi
Satoshi Miura
Michitaka Nakamura
Animation Director:
Koichi Chigira
Masaka Goto
Takayuki Goto
Keiko Hayashi
Takafumi Hayashi
Fumiko Kishi
Yuuji Omokuni
Sanjuroo Shindaiji
Toyami Sugiyama
Yoshihiko Takakura
Mayumi Watanabe
Tadashi Yahata
Yoshiaki Yanagida
Director of Photography:Jin Kaneko
Producer:
Reiko Fukakusa
Toru Horikoshi
Hideo Kawano
Hideo Koono

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Kimagure Orange Road (TV)

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