Posted 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 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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  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 03:18 AM)
    @Emma Sad to say I haven’t read Domu.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 03:02 AM)
    *reading
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 03:02 AM)
    @realist: Thinking of read Domu actually.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 02:01 AM)
    @K-off: The first vampire hunter D though is very very dated now though.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 01:59 AM)
    @K-Off I have to admit, I’ve never watched Vampire Hunter D before.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:54 AM)
    @Emma You’ve probably heard this before but the Akira manga is a must-read. The movie is good but at the end of the day it will be remembered for the great art and soundtrack, not for being an especially great narrative. The manga, on the other hand, is a strong contender for GOAT. One of the few mangas I own in its entirety.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:50 AM)
    I quite enjoyed Animatrix over the Matrix sequels, and I like to think that the Matrix sequels should have been animated by Kawajiri.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:45 AM)
    @Emma Agreed. I found plenty of hype when it was first announced, but I think it’s safe to say it’s reached cult film status since.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:41 AM)
    The bloodlust movie really deserves a decent dvd release.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:40 AM)
    @K-off: Gothic, moody, a rare example of mixing ye olde setting with scifi elements, proper, resspectible depiction of vampires, I liked the villain in it and it was a large improvement in all regards to the previous vampire hunter D movie. The manga/novels are worth a look.

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