Posted by psgels on 11 November 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




It’s strange: you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen in this movie if you watched the TV-series and the OVAs. They just kept building up and up to this bubble, which finally bursts in “I want to return to that day”. But heck, this is one of the closest things you’ll see to a perfect movie: anything more or less and it would only have made the movie less memorable. Kimagure Orange Road already set a number of standards in the romance genre that have not been matched ever since, but this movie really is brilliant: it’s one of the best, if not THE best romance movies I’ve seen.

The TV-series were incredibly annoying: the movie is anything but. Gone are the silly hijinks and the annoying teenaged antics. Instead, this movie fleshes out its cast with some really realistic dialogue. I’m really amazed: I already thought that the TV-series was down to earth when it wasn’t annoying, but the movie just adds in a whole new layer of realism, which really allows the characters to shine.

Most romances tend to get a little cheesy because they want to try to be too dramatic and do too much in too little time, but this movie is completely different from that. The characters act subtly and don’t try to create more drama than what’s necessary. Because of that it has a full hour to develop the relatively simple premise of his movie, and it really results into a wonderful conclusion to the Kimagure Orange Road franchise. It should be noted though that you really need to have watched the TV-series if you want to touch this thing: otherwise you’ll just be left in the dark.

This movie can be compared to Tenchi Muyo In Love 2, but even with that kind of a movie, expect even more realism and less forced drama here. The pacing of this movie is slow, but if you managed to sit through the TV-series, then patience shouldn’t be an issue here. It’s really been a while since I watched a teenaged romance that was this grounded in realism.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Grounded in realism, both the quiet and the dramatic parts. Simple, yet extremely effective, with a wonderful ending.
Characters: 9/10 – Uses the main characters from the tv-series brilliantly, and gives them a very satisfying conclusion that many, many modern romances can learn a lot from.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The best animation from Kimagure Orange Road so far.
Setting: 8/10 – Do note: the telekinesis from the TV-series is completely gone. But then again, it has no point in this movie anyway and would only have ended up as an annoying cock-block.

Suggestions:
Umi ga Kikoeru
Anne no Nikki – The Diary of Anne Frank
Bokura ga Ita

7 Responses

  1. Cerrian says:

    It’s too bad that the viewers had to suffer through the tv series to get the full impact of the movie which provided a very satisfying conclusion.

    If I remember correctly, there was some mild controversy because the movie broke the love triangle.

  2. Souther says:

    One of my favorite anime movies. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

    @Cerrian:

    The last two episodes of the TV series had already made transparently clear that the love triangle was on its way out…aside from the fact the rest of show was almost always slanted in favor of Madoka herself.

    In other words, anyone who saw the TV ending and thought Hikaru still had any chance would have been fooling themselves.

    What the movie does is go one step further and actually resolve the remaining tension proactively in a serious and dramatic fashion, but it wasn’t exactly a surprising twist or anything similar. I would call it a more or less natural outcome of what had come before.

    There is a second movie though, but I’d argue it’s more about nostalgia and teasing than actually turning back the clock. It’s also not nearly as good as this one, in my opinion.

  3. Charles S. says:

    This is a pretty brilliant film. Hikaru, who is often annoying in the series, really shines as a character in this movie.

    You’re also dead on, I think, in comparing it to the third Tenchi Muyo! movie. The tones are very similar, as is the shift in tone. I Want to Return to That Day is a much better film, of course. TMiL 2 felt out of place, good as it was. Neither did it carry the weight of this film.

    Ahhh, thanks for the reminder of maybe the best part of one of my favorite series!

  4. AlexS says:

    I watched the movie, and it’s the first thing I watch about Kimagure Orange Road. Have I really missed that much by not watching the tv series or the OVA before?

    The situation is pretty clear, but perhaps you lack a bit of attachment to the characters?

    Also, I wonder how I should advice this franchise to others. I hated the length of Maison Ikoku(?), so perhaps I should tell people to watch the OVA and the first movie?

  5. AlexS says:

    Ok, I watched the two first episodes of the OVA, and I just couldn’t stand any more of it: super powers (WTF?) the cheesiness of the characters, the fan service… It’s like a completely different series from the movie, some bad cross of Maison Ikkoku with Ranma1/2.

    So I get the point, a very loooong series where the characters are frozen and the situation remains stuck, the whole thing peppered with gags and side stories, just like Maison Ikkoku. Unwatchable for me.

    But I understand that the movie is a powerful end for those that went through the series + OVA, it’s a bit like seeing Tom finally eating Jerry after 3000 episodes, bringing decisive resolution to a pending issue that lasted far too long. I guess that for readers of the manga, the movie was really a kind of poignant coming of age type of experience, having probably read it in their teens, and watched the movie while working or going to the university.

    Still, I liked the movie by itself, specially the lovely description of the eighties, I was actually more interested in the little details of the setting than in the main story of the characters.

  6. psgels psgels says:

    AlexS: that’s indeed the big problem with Kimagure Orange Road: it is incredibly annoying. I really had to force myself through some of its parts.

    It’s not as shallow as you sketch it to be, though, because the TV-series did have its merits. The cast does grow gradually, and especially Madoka is pretty much one of the best romantic interests out there. But yeah, if you couldn’t even sit through two episodes of the OVA, then the entire TV-series is going to be impossible for you.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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