Posted on 31 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Well… here’s a tough one to recommend.

Now don’t get me wrong here, Kimagure Orange Road is a very good series. The way in which it fleshes out its characters leaves most teen-aged romances far behind. Especially Madoka is amazing as the main female love interest. With 48 episodes, this series also excels in its character development. That’s all fine and dandy. However, this series also made me want to bash in the screen, multiple times per episode.

Kimagure Orange Road is a very, very annoying series. Basically, nearly the entire series is about teen-aged hormones running around. It’s not just one character that becomes unbearable because of this, there’s a whole bunch of them that makes this series a chore to watch.

Starting with the most obvious: the two horny classmates. Granted, these two have actual personalities and are more than just stereotypes, but that doesn’t make them more likable when they consistently drool over cute girls, trying to get into their panties. For one episode that might not have been too bad, but these guys are present throughout THE ENTIRE SERIES. That’s a lot of time to get on your nerves.

Beyond that, there’s the secondary love interest for the lead character, along with another guy who is secretly in love with her. The former is annoying especially in the beginning, before her character develops. She continues to spoon up to the lead character with the most annoying voice. The latter is annoying because he never develops: he just keeps screaming and acting like comedic fodder.

Then there is the lead character, who just isn’t the most likable guy around. The series basically turns into a love triangle, and even though it’s obvious from the beginning with which girl he’s going to end up with, he refuses to MAKE UP HIS MIND about which girl to go out with. And it’s not even realistic! Some of the things he does are just completely stupid, even for teen-aged standards. This does get more bearable in the second half as THANK GOD this guy develops, but good luck getting there.

The episodes are mainly spent on standalone events that happen around the characters. Most of the times, there is some misunderstanding, some character who does something stupid, or the lead character’s telepathic powers (yes, the lead character is an esper) doing something to cause trouble. The episodes are pretty disjointed, and there are a number of continuity errors. It’s all very much forced in order to spice up the relationship between the lead characters as much as possible.

All of this makes this a very difficult series to rate. I mean, despite all of this, Madoka really was one of the best female love interests in a teen-aged shounen romance here; her portrayal throughout the series is really outstanding. Was her development worth sitting through so many episodes of annoyance? I’m still not sure, really. I mean, there definitely have been romances before that have had their incredibly annoying parts, and yet turned out to be very memorable to me (for example White Album and Bokura ga Ita), but even compared to those… Kimagure Orange Road was a bit much. It also doesn’t help that this series popularized episodic tropes that would later, especially in the past ten years, become milked to death cliches.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Good slice of life, decent but forced episodic stories.
Characters: 8/10 – The character-development is really excellent here, let that be clear. Some of the characters however make it an incredible chore to watch.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty good for its time, the animation does what it’s supposed to do.
Setting: 8/10 – There are some continuity errors, but overall the creators did a pretty good job in portraying the city that the series takes place in.

Suggestions:
Maison Ikkoku
Aoi Hana
White Album

11 Responses

  1. parfaitcreme says:

    Madoka alone is a good reason to watch this serie. This anime is from 1987, and she was a hell of a tsundere back then.

    It’s been about 10 years I haven’t seen KOR again, but I clearly remember some very great scenes. In most of them, Kyosuke & Madoka are alone.

    You didn’t point the importance of Kyosuke and his sisters being espers, for comic relief as well as to put characters in strange situations.

    Thank you for the review.

  2. Etrangere says:

    That was one of my favourite series when I was 10 (Madoka _>;

  3. Wyrdwad says:

    I’ve only seen two episodes of this series so far, but absolutely LOVED them, and had no real issue with any of the characters whatsoever (but then, I love romance tropes in anime!). Now, two isn’t a lot to go by… but do you think I’m pretty much out of the woods in terms of potential for annoyance, or do they get SIGNIFICANTLY more annoying? (:

    -Tom

  4. psgels says:

    Wyrdwad: well, if you’re fine with the series so far, then I guess that you’ll enjoy the rest of the series. There will be scenes in which the characters get more annoying than what they’ve shown in the first two episodes, but not really significantly.

  5. Camario says:

    psgels, I wonder if you plan to watch at least the first KOR movie. That’s probably my favorite part of the franchise but people tend to have different reactions to it.

    That aside, I also have mixed feelings here. Madoka was a great character at the time and still is a very interesting one today, but the series as a whole is too repetitive. Thankfully the last couple of episodes and a few others here and there are actually worthwhile, but most of KOR is full of redundancy and running in circles.

    I’d probably give it a mid-70s rating going by your scale and little to nothing more.

  6. kagura says:

    While the TV series really was a chore for me to watch through (the OAVs being only slightly better), the two movies were absolutely amazing and excelled at exactly all those things that the series failed at… so I highly recommend you watch them next :)

  7. swa says:

    I’m surprised you scored this series so high, I’m some sort of fan of KOR (because of nostalgic reasons mostly), but nowadays when I try to watch it again I certainly realize that I had a lot of pacience back in my youth, this series know how to be annoying.

  8. anime_loVaH says:

    You should also watch “I Want to Return to that Day”. Absolutely the best thing KOR has to offer.

  9. Chris says:

    Yes. def. watch the movie. It makes the series much more rewarding. It’s basically the Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 of the KOR franchise.

  10. zrdb says:

    I really disagree with your assessment that teenage harmones and horny boys make it nearly unwatchable-what do you think that KOR’s about, anyway? To me this is a classic anime series in every sense of the term-Madoka is every boy’s ideal girl and the love triangle that develops as the series progresses is what makes it so compelling to watch. This-and Maison Ikkoku are #1 & #2 on my list of all time favorite anime series. Nuff’ said.

  11. jeanniex says:

    I so wanted to like this series for many reasons – similarity to Maison Ikkoku, one of my favorite mangas, the fact that I have an obsession for all things 80′s…

    But the characters were just SO. FREAKING. ANNOYING. I have to agree with basically everything psgels says.

    However, there are also some good points to this show, like the John Hughes-esque honesty about teen drinking etc., which was probably ground-breaking back in the day, and isn’t all that common in modern anime either. I also liked the character of Madoka, basically because she kicks ass with her sax. Someday I’ll try to just plow through the irritating parts, but for now I’ve had enough.

    Aside, is anyone familiar with the show

    21 Jump Street?

    Kimagure reminds me so much of it at times. I swear to god, one of those shows was ripping the other off a little bit.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 03:27 PM)
    Ghibi’s up would certainly be a different beast altogether.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 03:08 PM)
    @Ken no, the ghibli one.
  • Kenjeran
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 01:55 PM)
    @Juno: Up? That Disney-Pixar one?
  • Noel
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 01:39 PM)
    Hi there. I’m currently interning for a small company in London, and they tasked me with creating a video tribute to Howl’s Moving Castle. I came up with this, and I thought you might like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS-zTTQzgjI Noel
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:23 PM)
    The only time they ever get along seems to be during non-canon alternate universes made for fanservice, official or not.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:21 PM)
    Erm, no. They didn’t “get along” so much as Sayaka at least sympathized nicely with her. At least, until the end, when she basically swore never to sympathize with her again. XDDD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:20 PM)
    Another interesting point is that the character relations are pretty fluid, too. Characters can act differently toward each other in different timelines/potential futures. Rebellion actually solidifies Homura’s consistent feelings toward Mami and also that Sayaka just cannot seem to be on good terms with Homura… but even then, for a while, they got along pretty well until the end. XD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:17 PM)
    Madoka’s characterization seems pretty non-linear and only show up when necessary, so it’s definitely easy to see that they’re “dependent on the plot,” but there’s a ton of stuff there to piece the characters together into something coherent and solid.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:55 AM)
    Madoka’s characters act pretty confusingly? I never got that. I always felt there actions were pretty logical in the first viewing.
    Though a second viewing of anything can help. Mostly because you know the main story so you can focus on the little details.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:27 AM)
    If anyone wants me to ask any specific questions, let me know. Funny enough, people are saying the same thing I’ve been saying for a long time–that multiple viewings help us understand the characters better. Because a lot of characters DO act pretty confusing at first, but upon a second viewing, after we know more about them, those actions make complete sense. Meaning that Madoka’s characterization is not linear.

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