Kimagure Orange Road OVAs Anime Review
Kimagure Orange Road
Whimsical/Capricious/Moody Orange Road
US Release By
Psychic Romantic Comedy
8 30-minute episodes
1989-03-01 - 1991-04-01
The Kimagure Orange Road OAVs take up roughly where the TV Series left off. Kyosuke, Madoka, and Hikaru are in senior high now, and this series of stories take place during the various vacations of these years. These escapes from school take us into some new territory, and all new adventures--from a couple of body switching experiences, to a haunted cave in the mountains, to a kidnapping in Hawaii...
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The Kimagure Orange Road OAVs carry on the tradition of the TV series, but as the now high school-aged characters have matured slightly, so has both the feel of the series and the themes in it. It is, overall, an improvement--less silly, better drama, slightly more mature (though still adolescent) humor, and more substantive romance (even if it has a little less of the "wide-eyed young love" air of the TV series). My only real complaint is that the episodes are somewhat disjointed, so there's not a lot of character development--each feels like a more or less stand-alone story. The visuals have a bit more polish than the TV series, and the quality acting and period J-rock are as good as ever.
The Kimagure Orange Road OAVs take up where the TV series left off, with slightly more mature characters, stories, and themes. Do yourself a favor and see some of the TV series before the OAVs, but if you liked the TV series, the OAVs are a more mature and slightly more substantive progression of the characters, and definitely worth watching.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
The Kimagure Orange Road OAVs carry on the tradition of the TV series, but as the now high-school-aged characters have matured slightly, so has both the feel of the series and the themes in it.
Although this series made it to the US long before the TV series that it follows, I would highly recommend watching at least some of the TV series first, if it's not already too late. While you can pick up on the characters after a while, you're really missing the slow development of Kyosuke and Madoka's relationship that took place during the TV series, so the romantic drama in this series won't carry as much weight as is should.
The OAVs take place in the high school vacations after the characters have graduated from junior high, though there do seem to be a couple of continuity adjustments. Yuusaku is gone without explanation, which is a little odd (though I can see how his sillier personality didn't fit with the mood). The final episode of the TV series also doesn't quite seem to fit in--Madoka doesn't seem to be aware of Kyosuke's psychic powers, despite what was implied at the end of the TV series. Both are minor details, though.
Fitting in with the slightly more mature characters, the stories of the OAVs are a little more serious than those in the TV series, and there is less of the silliness that occasionally tripped it up. A kidnapping during a Hawaiian vacation or a run-in with a haunted cave in the mountains, for example, are both essentially straight drama. Likewise, the themes have matured a bit; an episode with Kyosuke's shape-changing cousin Akane, one where he ends up switching bodies with a goldfish, and that adventure in the mountains are all a little more risque than the TV series usually was.
The slightly more serious tone is also more suited to the maturing love triangle, and Kyosuke's solidifying relationship with Madoka. In fact, where most of the stories in the TV series centered around slowly building Kyosuke and Madoka's relationship, almost all the stories in the OAVs involve events that further cement what is now an unspoken fact.
I'd say the changes make for an overall improvement--less silly, better drama, slightly more mature (though still adolescent) humor, and more substantive romance. It has a little less of the "wide-eyed young love" air of the TV series, but my only real complaint is that each episode is more or less stand-alone story, so there's not a lot of character development.
Visually, this series is pretty much the same as the TV series with just a bit more polish. The characters appropriately look a little older, and I'd say more attractive in proportion. The basic style is about the same, and although the art is a little sharper, the colors seem to be a bit more subdued. The character animation has also improved slightly. The visuals that accompany the end credits, however, deserve special note; half of the series features an amusing (and nicely drawn) fashion show with the two girls in a wide variety of outfits.
The acting in this series is, again, similar to the TV series--the same cast is back and comfortable in their roles, with standout performances for the believably indecisive Kyosuke and moody (but now notably softer) Madoka.
The soundtrack still consists of classic rock from the period, so there are several nice opening/ending themes that are worth listening to, as well as a song or two during the episodes.
Summing up, the Kimagure Orange Road OAVs take up where the TV series left off, with slightly more mature characters, stories, and themes. Do yourself a favor and see some of the TV series first, but if you liked the TV version, the OAVs offer a slightly more substantive progression of familiar characters, and are definitely worth watching.
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Don't watch it until you've seen some of the TV series, but if you had the misfortune of seeing this first (as I did), you should definitely go and check out the TV series to see how it all began. The two movies are definitely worth a look, too.
Notes and Trivia
Sandwiched between the TV series and the first movie chronologically, it was actually released after the first movie hit theaters in Japan. In the US, the OVAs and first movie were translated by AnimEigo as a set, and were one of their first releases.
US DVD Review
AnimEigo's DVDs are, as usual, minimal in the way of extras but have it where it counts: high-bitrate, artifact-free video transfer (a little grainy due to the source material, but noticeably sharper than the TV series), crisp stereo audio, and your choice of no, limited, or full English subtitles. There's no dub, and the only extra you get are AnimEigo's famed liner notes.
The themes are about appropriate for the ages of the characters, so AnimEigo's recommended 13-up is about right.
Violence: 2 - Some rather serious violence in a couple of episodes.
Nudity: 1 - Underwear in one episode.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Nothing overt, but some relatively mature subjects.
Language: 2 - Not that bad, but not mild, either.
Formerly available in North America from AnimEigo, most recently on a set of two subtitled DVDs that were also available in a box set along with the first movie. Prior to that was available on 4 subtitled VHS tapes, with the first movie making up a fifth tape in the set. The same was also available as a 3-disc LD set. All of the above are now out of print, and the company's license has expired.
At last check there were new and used copies of the DVD box set (which also includes the first movie) available through amazon, though they're at least as expensive as they were brand new: Kimagure Orange Road OVA/Movie Box Set.