Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seven years after first learning about _Kimagure Orange Road_ from a preview on one of AnimEigo's tapes, I have finally watched the entire TV series. I must say that I'm glad I finally got around to it, and wish I had done it sooner.

    This series reminds me a lot of Rumiko Takahashi's manga (and the anime adapted from it): among other things, it has slapstick humor, a romantic triangle, and a sense that everything is eventually going to come crashing down. But one important difference in _Kimagure_ is the way that the story is presented.

    For example, Kyosuke Kasuga is not only the protagonist of the story, but also its narrator, having several voice-overs that comment on the action. Also, at several points (particularly at the ends of episodes), the "camera" zooms back from the picture on the screen, revealing that it is a photograph; at other times, the entire screen will black out, except for a character's face, further giving the impression of a photograph and allowing Kyosuke to make a comment. These techniques all contribute to the feeling that the true story of _Kimagure Orange Road_ is not what is happening, but how Kyosuke remembers it: he is reflecting on his junior high days, the things he did then, the emotional changes he went through, etc. We all go through the kinds of things that Kyosuke and the others do, and we often find ourselves thinking back to "those days."

    The series also makes several references to live-action films, such as _The Graduate_, _Top Gun_, and even Nagisa Oshima's _Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence_. I had fun finding them out. The reference to _The Graduate_ (in episode #11) is particularly clever.

    One thing that I like about this series is that even though --POSSIBLE SPOILER-- Kyosuke and his sisters have psychic powers, the plots do not use this gimmick as a crutch. In fact, the powers take a backseat to the interactions among the characters, and in some episodes, the Kasugas do not use them at all.

    The three characters in the show are likable enough, although I would have liked to see more development of Madoka Arukawa (but I suppose her mysteriousness is part of what makes the story) and Hikaru. Their interactions with one another, as well as their personalities, make you care what happens to them. The numerous supporting characters (another similarity to Takahashi) add to the story as well, often providing comic relief.

    I think the animation in this series is very good and is well suited to the story and characters. Strangely enough, even though this show ran for only one season, it has three different opening sequences and three different closing credit sequences, each with its own song.

    So I highly recommend this series for anybody who likes clever plots and good storytelling. In a word, this show is about life.