Kimagure Orange Road OVA

September 5, 2006 on 9:45 pm | In Kimagure Orange Road | Comments Off on Kimagure Orange Road OVA

There’s always a degree of risk involved in OVAs derived from popular TV series: after a conclusion they can seem unnecessary, or they can destroy the magic of a TV series through the law of diminishing returns.
This is not the case with Kimagure Orange Road: they do not interfere with the established continuity and, I’ll admit, I got high from inhaling the nostalgia fumes. If you can get nostalgic for a show even while watching it, it’s doing something right. I’ll admit that the production values are inconsistent, but that is true, too, of the TV series: hair colours were never really established in its entire 48 episode run.

This set of eight episodes deals with some stuff that fits just as if it were in the series proper, some more stuff that is way too weird for the series, and even more lesbians and the strange treatment that they get from the creative staff behind Kimagure Orange Road.

The DVDs may have been authored in the incorrect order – for the case says that the White Lovers and Hawaiian Adventure episodes are the first two OVAs, but they are presented third and fourth on the DVDs themselves. This is further backed up by the fact that these two have TV OP and ED as well as eyecatches. It’s a moot point as you can’t even get this stuff anymore, but it’s worthy of note anyway.

The snow episode is strange in that it presents a supernatural situation without even trying to cover itself up. At the end of it, Madoka has witnessed the liberation of a ghost from its own curse, and doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest. Certainly Kyosuke is allowed to accept these things, but no comment from Madoka? Strange indeed.

We then come to the Hawaii episode, peopled by Madoka, Hikaru, Kyosuke and an uncredited cast of people with American accents. One gets the feeling that the American accented are skilled in the speaking of English but not so much in the delivery of such in a dramatically acceptable fashion.
Very briefly we are given a delicious crash course in the way that America works: when Kyosuke goes to save Hikaru from her abductors (they think she is Hiyama Hikari) he says “but this is America – what if they have guns?” They do, of course, but they only use them to pistol whip people. This episode has the strong nostalgic favour but is let down by its dull colour design. The use of the TV OP and ED does it no favours, either.

The other moments of note are the Akane episodes, detailing a cousin with the power of suggestion. She’s also got lesbian tendencies, which lead to rather strange, not quite modern, judgements from the staff. It is seen as distinctly “odd” for Akane to have a crush on Madoka, but this is not as bad as the TV lesbian episode. The second Akane episode indicates that she has been suffering from the taunts of her school friends. Which is certainly the case, but the OVA stands out from the rest because it’s the only one not set in a holiday period.

There’s a sweet episode about an idol who turns out not to be a bastard, and it details the plight of the ginger residents of Japan (okay, not really). This segues into a vague discussion of the cast members utilised: each has the core cast of three, but only one features Yuusaku, despite the fact that he would be an apt character to have in many of the situations. Kurumi and Manami frequently show up, and Grandpa makes more than one appearance. Hatta and Komatsu show up in the situations that one would expect them to, but they also appear in those that would be more suited to Yuusaku. Most disappointing for his lack of appearances is the tragically underrepresented Jingoro.

The other domain in which the OVA surprises in a not entirely pleasant way is in its representation of the consumption of alcohol. In four of the eight episodes, Madoka gets drunk. For whatever reason, Madoka and Kyosuke (here apparently 17) are allowed to go to a club and order alcohol. In fact, the entire last part of that episode throws logic completely out the window, but strangely I don’t feel I have the right to complain. A lot of this stuff makes no sense but operates on good will and fails to offend. These episodes were again “fun” and “sweet”, and sometimes that’s all I want.

The Kimagure Orange Road OVA episodes are little more than treading previously established ground, with less advances in character and plot than the TV series. The ground is fun to stomp on, though, so I see no harm in enjoying these episodes.

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