A year ago, I watched the _Kimagure Orange Road_ TV series, and I was amazed by its complexity, plot, and character development. It was not only entertaining, but, in a rare move for anime, also made you think. So I purchased this OVA series on the assumption that it was a continuation of the TV one and that it was just as good. But what I got instead was an ordinary anime series that just happened to take place in the _KOR_ universe.
The main problem with the OVA series is probably that it was designed to stand on its own, so that viewers who hadn't seen the TV series would still be able to follow this one. (In fact, in America, AnimEigo released the 8-episode OVA and the first _KOR_ movie before tackling the 48-episode TV series.) Personally, I have no problem with that, especially when I consider that the TV series wouldn't have yet been available on video back in 1989. What I do object to is that the OVA not only lacks continuity, but is much watered-down from the TV series.
The 8 episodes are mostly just typical anime stories that fail to develop either the _KOR_ story or the characters. For example, two episodes are devoted to a story about a rock singer who decides to get back together with his old high school flame. This might have been acceptable for a single episode, but stretching it to two makes me wonder whether the writers were running out of ideas. Another episode involves a kidnapping story with an action-filled climax, neither of which belong in the _KOR_ world. Don't get me wrong: I do like to see a series try to go in new directions. But these new kinds of stories lack the development and reflection of the TV stories. And the complex themes of the TV series (such as the concept of time, and the idea that people act out certain roles in life as though they were actors) are nowhere to be found here.
As for continued character development, there is none; even Akane, the only new character in the OVA, is relegated to the status of a plot device. In fact, viewers are treated to a watered-down version of the romantic triangle that was the basis of the TV show. Maybe this series was just supposed to kill time before the release of the first _KOR_ movie, but since it WAS a new series, don't you think a LITTLE further character development would have been nice?
But the biggest fault of this OVA series?
It completely ignores the ending of the TV series. Apparently we're supposed to forget that at the end of that series, Ayukawa and Kyosuke get together, and she finds out about his psychic powers. [END OF SPOILERS]. The OVA clearly states that it takes place after the TV show, so this is an unpardonable continuity error. Maybe Studio Pierrot decided to do the OVA series AFTER writing all the episodes for the TV series, and maybe some of the OVA episodes were originally supposed to be TV ones. But they still could have found some way to write the ending of the TV series into these OVA episodes. It's really too bad that they didn't make Ayukawa and Kyosuke a couple; that would have been a very interesting development. But we'll apparently have to see the first movie for that.
There ARE a few good things about this OVA. The animation seems a little better than in the TV series, and there's a nice new opening sequence, as well as two new closing ones. Studio Pierrot did manage to duplicate the look and feel of the TV series; they just left out the soul.
Maybe I should judge the OVA series on its own, instead of comparing it to the TV series. But after the exceptionality of the TV show, that's impossible.
Even though this OVA series is _KOR_ lite, fans will still want to check it out. But if you're coming to _KOR_ for the first time, start with the TV series.
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