Kimagure Orange Road – episodes 25-36

August 27, 2006 on 10:43 pm | In Kimagure Orange Road | 1 Comment

Kimagure Orange Road went out with a strangely apocalyptic bang! I like the approach to the conclusion that they took here, with no attention paid to any sort of epilogue: that’s the job of the movie, I Want to Return to that Day. Here we just get sweetness and light. There was adventure before that, too!

I therefore proclaim Kimagure Orange Road to be excellent eighties-vintage anime.

I can’t believe that was the last of the Jingoro.

Before we get to the thrilling two part conclusion of Kimagure Orange Road, we get some more of the same, some more great parody, and an increasing sense that “indecisive” isn’t the right word to describe Kyosuke: “indirect” is perhaps more apt.

The quality of the conclusion makes one want to focus more closely on it than the basic “adventures in youth’s springtime”, but I will do a basic duty and mention them. Kimagure Orange Road, while being its own title, has always had a fine eye for cultural references. There’s an episode wherein Madoka has to go, in the snow, to fight a sukeban and defend the honour of one of her friends. Just like samurai epics (and, again with the City Hunter connection: the same reference was made there)!
The difference here is that Madoka is fighting a sukeban gang leader, so the battle takes place on skateboards. On a construction site. Spectacle doesn’t need to make any sense, because this episode captured the zeitgeist: Japan wanted to see punk girls, and they didn’t care what they were doing so long as they were punk girls.

The other tribute episode is more blatant as it appears to take place outside of Kimagure continuity altogether. It’s a parody of Top Gun … and Godzilla!
… and Mothra!
Heck, it was a parody of the world, was “T.A.P. Gun”. T.A.P. stands for “Team Against Perdition”, apparently, and theirs are the voices that sing! While I missed a good deal of the references because I’ve never been much of a one for giant monster movies, but I understood enough and could recognise the forms.
Beyond the hilarity of Jingoro being a giant monster and taking on Tokyo, the episode had a surprisingly good insight into Japan’s relationship with the US post war and covered the romance in a far more direct fashion than the series proper: heck, Kyosuke and Madoka even kissed each other and left Hikaru in the dust!
Which is where we finally realise that the episode was a student film made by Komatsu: Hikaru protests the ending as “unrealistic”. That doesn’t go anywhere towards explaining the special effects, particularly the fact that Kurumi and Manami used their power to achieve (the film’s) climax. But I’ll be honest: in this instance, I really don’t care; I had a good time.

These episodes are so well done that this time they even do time travel properly. I will only cover part of the time travel here for the sake of not spoiling the world. The Christmas episode is a deliberate attempt by Kyosuke to manufacture the perfect Christmas eve, no matter how many times it takes and, this time, instead of meeting his past self, he replaces his past self. This is a far more workable concept than the previous incident in which Kyosuke has to battle a past version of himself and is a fun episode with a bit of magic to it which, given the series, is quite literal. The obvious comparison to make is to Groundhog Day, except Kyosuke takes only three days to figure it out compared to Phil Connors’ ten plus years.
The ending is a mean joke, but I suppose it’s logical. It doesn’t have any lasting repercussions, so I can’t complain too much.

Other episodes of note include yet another incident of Kazuya/Kyosuke body swapping, this one based on the evil nature of a young boy with a sweet tooth. Everyone who’s been into anime that features high school without mecha for a while should be used to the concept of Valentine’s chocolate. A young boy does not have many openings to receive chocolate, so bam! Smash skulls with your remarkably popular cousin, get chocolate! The situation creates a situation for Kyosuke that seems horrid, like every other situation he can get into. Here is where you run into Kimagure Orange Road‘s strength: Hikaru is too much of a blind idiot to understand any given situation and Madoka is impossibly forgiving. It’s almost as if she’s perceptive enough to realise that every stupid thing that Kyosuke does isn’t entirely his fault. Sure, it’s lame to blame your psychic powers for all of your problems, but sometimes they’re not at your whim legitimately. It’s a problem that happens in society all the time.

On the note of Madoka and the power, she is smarter than she seems. Many times it’s revealed that she’s simply having Kyosuke on. For this reason, it’s a good thing that many of Kyosuke’s fantasies remain exactly that way: fantasies. Also Madoka is allowed to be a fiend to other people when she pretends to be under hypnosis, so she’s not all that innocent either. Over the course of the series she went from being pseudo-tough to being all heart (never tsun enough to be a tsundereko, thankfully), but she still has a small vicious streak. It makes her rich, not just nice.
Stranger than that, though, is the lesbian episode. It begins well enough with Kyosuke and Madoka going to see a Takarakuza production of Gone with the Wind, then descends into bizarre school girl crushes, mass hysteria and real fake confessions. The episode is balanced out by Hikaru hiding in an oil drum, but it’s a very strange effort that can’t quite decide what it thinks of teenage lesbianism. One sign that it’s behind the times is that Kyosuke thinks the concept is damned weird, rather than jumping all over it.

Final stop for me to mention before the conclusion is the Hikaru death episode. Yep, Hikaru dies and the nation goes into mourning. It’s all a terrible nightmare, of course (unless you’re a fan of a terrible bent), but it’s nice to see how Japan would react to the loss of a beloved, foolish and overly active school girl.

To the ending itself? I won’t say anything about it except that I like what they did. There was a Doctor Who vibe about some of it, a post apocalyptic vibe about the rest of it, but the ending provided the maximum sweetness without any of the problems that an epilogue would entail.

Kimagure Orange Road gave something a little bit different to everything else while in many ways remaining on exactly the same as one of these series: it retains all of the good, adds some much better and generally doesn’t bother dealing with the seamy underbelly of what was to become a horrid, overdone genre. Highly recommended, and it is sad to see it pass from Western availability.

1 Comment

  1. hehe I read the manga, so I’m not sure about the discrepancies between the two; however didnt you find whole premise of the two getting together a bit tedious? I really wanted to smack Kyosuke alot of times for allowing Hikaru to carry on with him so much lol.

    ..Actually just reading what you’ve written up top, I get the feeling they’re very different … but it’s a really sweet series ^^;

    Comment by Kimmu — August 28, 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^