Review - Shin Kimagure Orange Road

This will be a collecting point for my past anime reviews and future reviews. Please note that there will be the inevitable time references in these as they have been lifted from my old LiveJournal (I'll keep the existing ones there for now)

Review - Shin Kimagure Orange Road

Postby mistie710 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:48 am

I did say, back when I did the review of the original series, that I'd be back to do the follow-up movie. Well, here we are again!

As fans are no doubt aware, Kimagure Orange Road was a long-running television series that also spawned a number of OVAs and a final movie, all based around the forming and eventual ending of a love triangle involving the ever indecisive Kasuga Kyosuke and his two loves; Hiyama Hikaru, the somewhat ditzy younger effort and the sometimes mysterious, often independent Ayukawa Madoka. We left the three at the end of the first movie with Kyosuke and Madoka disappearing into the crowd on their way to whatever and Hikaru finishing her opening night in the school musical. That was then. In 1996, however, the story was revived just to see what might happen to them all a few years down the line.

It's 1994, and Kyosuke is a "student photographer" in the midst of the Bosnian conflict. Suddenly, he disappears after getting on the wrong end of something explosive. Back in Japan, Madoka is beginning to break into the music biz, but is trying to hold off a rather pushy Mitsuru (he's an idol - you'd need to see one of the OVAs for the full poop on him but, for now, consider him a typical egocentric idol). Meanwhile, Hikaru has returned to Japan for an audition for a new musical after leaving to take up residence in New York, studying acting and dance.

Three years before that, Kyosuke had been in a hurry to get somewhere and had been run over by a car. As a result, he wakes up to find himself on the steps near his apartment. Did I mention that the Kasuga family have powers? You might be forgiven for missing it as the previous film never made any reference to them but, in this one, they feature heavily as, when Kyosuke gets home, he finds that it isn't his home anymore! On his search for any meaning, he meets the now grown up Hikaru and they get talking. He now has to try to work out how he got to 1994, how he is going to explain to Hikaru why he was there when the news is full of his disappearance in Bosnia and how he is going to get back to his own time. Oh, and there's also the matter of where his older self has got to and how he is going to take being with an older Madoka!

I must say that they did an excellent job on this film, resisting the temptation to update all the designs beyond ageing some of the charas (especially Hikaru who has really changed by this time but still retains much of her personality) and recapturing the feeling of the original series. This feels a lot closer to the television series than the previous movie, even though the two movies are heavily related. The music is also good, although I cringed a little when I heard the lyrics to the Hikaru dance number "Love Is Power" which sounded a lot like the lyricist had only a passing knowledge of English! I don't suppose it mattered a great deal in the home market though.

ADV got this for the US market, and didn't do a bad job on the whole, the presentation coming close to what came before with the AnimEigo releases. So, if you liked the original stuff, I don't believe you will be disappointed by this title, though it's worth seeing at least some of the original series, even if it is only the OVAs and the first movie, before attempting this one as many plot points rely on the knowledge of what came before.
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