Kimagure Orange Road – episodes 17-24

August 6, 2006 on 9:16 pm | In Kimagure Orange Road | 1 Comment

Summer comes to Orange Road and makes the marvellous atmosphere even more marvellous. The program is at its best when it deals explicitly with the characters rather than the love problems that they endure.

The team embark on many adventures in honour of the summer vacation, including a situation of two conflicting appointments deftly covered through teleportation, a traditional “chase the wave” surfing episode, a tribute to deserted islands, a dangerous tennis camp, a band and, get this, a three-legged race of love.
The program segues to the new semester with the introduction of Kyosuke’s five year old telepathic cousin Kazuya, clearly introduced to induce grief, strife and havoc.

The summer holiday (or natsu yasumi, if you are that way inclined) episodes provide an atmosphere largely unrivalled in anime. One of my favourite series is NieA_7, which details the events of one summer with a shy university student and an alien. No aliens here, but we do get psychics. Of these eight episodes, I would say that just over half of them include use of “the Power” to varying degrees. In the episode about Madoka’s band, one could be forgiven for thinking that Kyosuke has no power at all.

Summer is a time for love, is it not? A time for fireworks and all of that other cultural stuff. When you cannot go to the official fireworks festival due to your own obstinacy, then it appears that one must make one’s own in the comfort of the restaurant that you work in. Yes, Kyosuke learns an important lesson: don’t double book yourself. Also, work on your teleportation technique.
The situations come in groups after this, with the beach episodes being among the finest. The surfing episode about “Big Monday” feels like a tribute to so many movies (and naturally reminds me of the Pokemon story “The Pikahuna”), mixed with a ghost story, and it is followed by a “most triumphant” story about Kyosuke and Madoka stranded on an island. The mermaid scene witnessed therein is one of the magic moments that sells Kimagure Orange Road and the episode is only spoiled by a helicopter invasion from who else but Hikaru.

Beyond this we get tales from tennis camp, a place that is something like hell for anyone who is not a senior/collegeman (apparently the school that Kyosuke attends is a slide, so they have an affiliated college). Hikaru sees Madoka and Kyosuke practising their swing and gets jealous, which is deliciously rich of her. I may kind of like the girl but she’s stupid, I tells ya! Normally Madoka will get angry if she sees Hikaru jumping on Kyosuke, so for Hikaru to get angry at something so innocuous is an indication of her own vacuity.
Then we get the story of the student I like to dub “surgery girl”, which only goes to show that if you talk through a situation you may be able to resolve it. Some may claim that this makes the show “episodic”, but it is a nice change from series where characters stay inexplicably angry at each other for a long time, thus rendering any interactions unbearable and causing me to distinctly lose any appetite or fervour I once had for the title.

Sadly, Summer’s end comes with Madoka joining a band and Kyosuke being an idiot. This begins a string of episodes in which Kyosuke gets angry at Madoka’s obstinence for reasons not entirely pertaining to his own misreading of situations. That he can’t idolise the woman all the time but has to approach her on somewhat equal terms is a positive step. Kyosuke’s growing up, yet for some reason he cannot bring himself to get angry at Hikaru ever.

Which of course brings us to Hikaru, fool that she is. After her initial bout of anger, she begins to make a comedy of becoming really upset about something then instantly laughing it off as soon as it’s explained to her. I cannot stress her idiocy strongly enough. At one point, she thought that Kyosuke’s cousin was in fact his son. His five year old son. Kyosuke is fifteen. Where would he have been hiding this son, Hikaru? Where, I ask you?
Ah, I can’t stay mad at you.

Seeing as it feels like I’m just ranting now, I’ll head into my wrap up. Around the tennis camp episode, the format changes slightly. Instead of “I’m living the springtime of my youth!” sequence (which was great), we’re presented with wildly out of context extracts from the episode ahead. Which strikes me as pointless and too revealing of drams to come. They pulled the same technique in City Hunter ’91 and I didn’t like it there, either. With this new, weird cold opening, we are struck with a new OP. The song is nowhere near as good as “Night of Summer Side”, but it does embrace one of my favourite things in anime: inexplicable footage of the series’ characters playing the song (does anyone remember Bubblegum Crisis‘ Nene playing the double guitar? Those were good times). It’s almost artistic in its grandiosity.
The new ED, “Fire Love”, isn’t near as appealing but it is not without its charm. I give it an “okay”.

The “springtime of Kyosuke’s youth” segues into a summer of love and beautifully nostalgic animation. This show doesn’t brag nostalgia as its sole virtue, but that surely doesn’t hurt.

1 Comment

  1. mmmmmm…
    “take me to summer side!”

    Comment by ojisan — August 9, 2006 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^