Anime Blu-ray Review: Kimagure Orange Road The Complete OVA Series & Movie

Kimagure Orange Road The Complete OVA Series & Movie is a two-disc set. The first disc includes all eight of the OVAs, and the second disc has the movie, Kimagure Orange Road: I Want to Return to That Day. The release only has Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Kimagure Orange Road The Complete OVA Series & Movie
English Publisher: Discotek Media
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: August 27, 2019

The eight OVAs included in this set were released between 1989 and 1991. The first OVA, white lovers, sees Kyosuke, Madoka, Hikaru, Kyosuke’s twin sisters, and Hatta and Komatus visiting Kyosuke’s grandparents for a skip trip. The youth are warned about not skiing with the person they’re in love with because of a tragic legend involving two lovers and a supposed curse. Kyosuke and Madoka end up skiing together and discover that there’s truth to the legend. They have to find a way to not have the tragedy repeat again while they find themselves in peril due to the spirit of one of the lovers. While I thought this was kind of an odd story, it does fit in with the feel of the television series, especially since Kyosuke’s family has ESP and supernatural abilities.

The second OVA sees Kyosuke, Madoka, and Hikaru in Hawaii, because Madoka’s parents are performing as part of a concert there. It turns out Hikaru has the same name as the daughter of a wealthy businessman, which makes her the target of a kidnapping scheme. It’s up to Kyosuke and Madoka to save her. When they begin their rescue attempt, Kyosuke makes a comment along the lines of, “This is America. What do we do if they have guns?” I found this particular line to be interesting, especially in the wake of recent mass shootings in America. If this line had been used in a recent anime, it wouldn’t have grabbed me as much. But it did jump out at me, knowing that this OVA was made in the late 1980’s. Did America already have this kind of a gun-toting reputation internationally at that point in time, or was it just a line that was put in here just because?

The third OVA sees Kyosuke’s grandfather coming to visit Kyosuke and his family, and bringing some gifts with him. One of the twins finds a rope, which turns out to have a property of switching people’s bodies if two people touch the ends of the rope. Due to an unfortunate accident, Kyosuke is touching one end of the rope, and the other end touches a goldfish that has been freed by Jingoro, the family cat. Kyosuke (as a fish) falls into a truck that’s passing by and happens to have fish tanks in it. He’s transported to the festival, where goldfish catching is taking place. The race is on to try to find Kyosuke in fish form, and we get to see Kyosuke’s journey from human to fish to cat and back to human again. It’s kind of a silly story, but again, it works for Kimagure Orange Road because of the all of the supernatural elements that are already part of the series.

The fourth OVA introduces, Akane Kasuga, Kyosuke’s cousin, who has the ability to use “The Power” to make people see illusions. With her power, she wreaks havoc by disguising herself as other people. She tries to push Kyosuke and Hikaru together, while at the same time developing a crush on Madoka. This is the first of two appearances that Akane makes in the OVA episodes. I have to admit that I really didn’t care much for Akane as a character. But then again, we only ever got to see her in two OVA episodes. From what I’ve read, Akane was more of a regular character in the manga. I’ve never read the manga, though, so all I have to base her character on are these two OVA appearances. Maybe I’d have a greater appreciation for her if I’d read the manga before watching these OVAs.

The fifth and sixth OVAs are a two-part story that sees a popular male idol singer coming to the area. Hikaru and Kyosuke’s twin sisters are helping to promote his upcoming appearance at a talent contest. Madoka is filling in on keyboards for the band she played with during the television episodes of Kimagure Orange Road. Due to an unfortunate event, Kyosuke and the idol singer end up switching bodies. Kyosuke has to try to figure out how to shake off rabid fans and deal with the pop idol’s old high school female friends. The pop idol, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to live as a regular teenager again. But through the experience, both of the guys learn important lessons that they take back with them when they’re able to return to their regular bodies. At the contest, Madoka has to step up and do the lead vocals when the main female singer collapses before the performance. I liked getting to hear the song that appears during the second part of this story. This was a story that had to be told in two parts, because there was no way to do it any justice by trying to cram it all into one roughly 20-minute long episode.

“An Unexpected Situation” sees the return to Akane to wreak more havoc on the lives of Kyosuke and his friends. Akane’s friend are trying to pressure her into getting a boyfriend, and she says she already has one. Of course, she fibbed, so she asks Kyosuke to pose as her boyfriend. The two friends aren’t convinced, so they accompany them on dates to try to get “proof” that the two of them are dating. To be honest, this was one of my least favorites of the OVAs that were included in this collection.

In the final OVA, Madoka becomes confused about men when she suspects that her father is having an affair. This story is the one that seems to be the most grounded in reality and doesn’t fall into the trappings of relying heavily on supernatural abilities in order to make the plot work. While most of the OVAs fell into the supernatural trappings, this one really didn’t seem to. This was a nice change of pace.

It should be noted that at some point during there OVAs, there’s a time skip. The OVAs originally start out with the main protagonists still being in middle school, but at some point in the OVAs, the story jumps ahead to Kyosuke and Madoka being in the summer before their second year of high school (which would be the equivalent of the junior year of high school in America). These OVAs serve as a bridge between the 48-episode television anime series and the film, even though they were produced and released after the film. So it would make sense that a timeskip would exist during them, in order to get closer to the time that’s depicted in the film.

One thing I really liked about the OVAs is that after the first one or two, the character of Yusaku Hino disappears from the franchise. He’s the childhood friend of Madoka and Hikaru who was very possessive of Hikaru and served as a kind of romantic rival of Kyosuke. Yusaku always came across as an annoying character, and his obsession with Hikaru was almost toxic. I’m glad that the writers for the OVAs got rid of him very early on in these OVAs. I never liked him as a character, and it never felt like he added anything. He felt more like a “third wheel” than anything else.

The film, Kimagure Orange Road: I Want to Return to That Day, is set during Kyosuke and Madoka’s final year of high school. It tackles Madoka and Kyosuke getting ready for college entrance exams, as well as Hikaru auditioning for a play and hoping to get the lead role. This film sees the love triangle between Kyosuke, Madoka, and Hikaru come to a head, with Kyosuke finally making his choice as to which of the two girls he loves. After telling Hikaru that he’s in love with Madoka and that they shouldn’t see each other anymore, Hikaru doesn’t take it well and becomes clingy… which causes Kyosuke to try to push her away even more. He tries hard to maintain a friendship with her, but her obsession and clinginess make this impossible.

I thought that Kimagure Orange Road: I Want to Return to That Day was a nice way to end the anime franchise, and I thought it overall provided closure for the three main characters and their overarching story. I was glad to see Kyosuke finally make it clear which of the two girls he’s in love with, it was also a little sad to see the friendship between the three main characters fall apart. But this was a realistic way to handle this situation and bring the story of Kimagure Orange Road to a close.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1.33.1 4:3 / 1080p High Definition for the OVAs, and 1.85.1 16:9 / 1080p High Definition for the movie. The audio is Japanese Linear PCM 2.0 (Dual Mono/Stereo). I had no complaints about either the video or audio quality of this release.

There were a handful of bonus features between the two discs in the set. The first disc includes OVA release promos and theatrical trailers. The second disc includes “Kimagure Talk Special” voice actor reunion, which saw Toru Furuya (the voice of Kyosuke), Hiromi Tsuru (the voice of Madoka), and Eriko Hara (the voice of Hikaru) reuniting and reminiscing about their time recording for Kimagure Orange Road. As I recall, this reunion would have happened in the late 2000’s, so about 10 years before Hiromi Tsuru’s sudden passing in 2017. Seeing this now and knowing that she is no longer alive, I’m glad these three voice actors had this opportunity to get together and reminisce about working on this show. From what they say and how they act, you can tell that these three voice actors enjoyed working on Kimagure Orange Road and have an appreciation for their respective characters. I’m glad Discotek Media decided to include this as a bonus feature on this release.

If you’re a fan of Kimagure Orange Road and want to own the OVA episodes and movie, then I would highly recommend getting Kimagure Orange Road The Complete OVA Series & Movie and adding it to your anime home video library.

Additional posts about Kimagure Orange Road:

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