Whimsical Orange Road
Also Known As: KOR, Orange Road
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Format: 48 Episodes
Allegiance: Studio Pierrot
Director: Kobayashi Osamu
Vintage: 1987-1988
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
15 year old Kasuga Kyosuke has just transferred to Koryo Academy, his seventh new school so far this year! The reason behind this torrid transfer rate? Well, the Kasuga family is “blessed” with ESP, and some negligent usage of the “Power” in past towns did not go unnoticed. Vowing to make a clean start, Kyosuke‘s optimism is fueled by a chance meeting with a charming, pleasant, and stunningly beautiful young woman named Ayukawa Madoka at the head of a flight of stairs. However, things are never as they appear, and it soon is made apparent that Madoka is not quite as charming and pleasant as Kyosuke had originally thought… at least not in public anyway. Furthermore, Madoka’s best friend, Hiyama Hikaru, has announced herself as Kyosuke’s new lover! Can Kyosuke manage this state of affairs without giving away his family’s secret?

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
7.00
9.50
9.00
7.50
8.75
Overall 9.00
(not an average)

Kimagure Orange Road is one of those odd titles. Virtually unknown to any casual or beginning anime fan, but a widely popular hit among those who have proceeded a little further in their anime education. It’s a shame that this show doesn’t have a more mainstream following, because it is an absolute gem filled with atmosphere and possessing quite possibly the most memorable leading trifecta in anime.

Kimagure Orange Road is a very subtle title, slowly and steadily working its way to its goal, yet never deviating from its intended path. The series is very episodic in nature, and while things do carry over between episodes for the sake of continuity, each episode is able to stand on its own from a plot perspective. As such, the plot is best described as ordinary, slow, somewhat repetitive, but thankfully lacking in filler. Almost every minute of screen time is used to accentuate characterization, and KOR does a masterful job of fleshing out not only the leading trio, but Kyosuke’s family, friends, boss, and even his adorable cat. The result is a wonderfully diverse and balanced cast both in terms of personalities and depth, ensuring that even though the pace is slow, Kimagure Orange Road rarely gets boring, and never grinds to a standstill.

From an audio/visual aspect, while KOR can’t stand with the big boys anymore in terms of art and animation (it was made in 1988 after all), it has what so many new anime fail to deliver: atmosphere. Everything in the show from the settings to the trends to the slang to the music just screams 1980’s, which will spark moments of nostalgia in older viewers. But regardless of whether one is old enough to remember the 80’s, the atmosphere enhances the show tremendously, making the settings, scenarios, and events (and by association, the characters) that much more realistic.

One thing to beware of when approaching KOR: the series ends on what is arguably the climax of the story, and the denouement takes place in the two movies. Seeing as there’s no reason for anyone not to finish this great series, one should plan to see the movies as well to get the full Kimagure Orange Road experience.