The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kimagure Orange Road

Title: Kimagure Orange Road aka Whimsical Orange Road
Company: Studio Pierrot
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Format: 48 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 1987 – 7 Mar 1988

Synopsis: Kasuga Kyosuke belongs to a family of espers, their circumstances causes them to drift from town to town in order to keep their secret hidden. But one fateful sunset on the steps of a whimsical city road, Kasuga meets the lovely, mature Ayukawa Madoka, and decides he is done with packing up and changing schools. But caught between his developing feelings for Ayukawa, the sudden love of her best friend, the innocent and carefree Hiyama Hikaru, and not to mention keeping his twin sisters out of danger in a town of new friends and enemies, he may find it impossible to keep everyone satisfied.

The Highlights
Animation: Shows the age of twenty years, but still exceptional.
Characters: Unforgettable; fun and entertaining.
Ending: “Deus ex machina” style, yet very sweet and satisfying.

Kimagure Orange Road is a bitter sweet romantic tale, whose romance and artistic style is remnant of such classics as Maison Ikkoku. While the animation is obviously aged, even compared with other series of its time, I feel that the color and emotion expressed through this adaptation of manga-ka Matsumoto Izumi‘s work is an irreplaceable asset to this anime. Another thing that caught my attention about Kimagure Orange Road was the fact that both the seiyuu cast and original manga-ka were not well known at the time of its creation, or even now for that matter. Call it inexperience or amateur ability, but all the aforementioned talents all performed rather well. The musical compositions were of moderate merit, but the vocal talents that complemented them made up for their mediocrity.

The cast of Kimagure Orange Road is brilliantly done; their personalities and stories are easy to relate to, even for a slice-of-life anime. In comparison to other romance titles, none of the characters have over-powering traits or pasts that make them too surreal… the exceptions to that being Umao and Ushiko. These two get a cameo appearance in every episode that make for comic relief to some of the more dramatic scenes of the series. Obviously the Kasuga family’s psychic powers also sit outside that realism, but those turn up only rarely and hardly retract from the feeling that each individual creates. Moreover, each episode gives fruition to further development of these loveable characters. As such, these seemingly open-ended episodes that in any other anime would seem spread apart and unattached are harmoniously linked through the ebb and flow of their interactions.

Because of how the plot is set, the viewer gets scarce background story and relevance until the very end. While the final episodes do tie off many loose ends and leave us with the main characters finding happiness, I for one wanted to see how the rest of the cast turned out. Nonetheless, the ending met my expectations well enough. As for the story itself, without that underlying background story, you really only get to see a lot of adventures and the day-to-day activities that the characters experience. Not that it doesn’t develop the romance and character relationships, but it begs the question as to why things unravel the way they do, and how said circumstances came to be.

But let not my words of uncertainty and nitpicking repel you. Kimagure Orange Road may be one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies you will ever come across. With unforgettable characters that will take your heart on a memorable journey, I recommend this title to any and all fans of the genre.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Godai

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