Teenage Summer Love
- Episodes : 48
- Genre : Slice of Life, Comedy, Super Power, Drama, Romance, School, Shounen
- Airing Date : April 6, 1987 – March 7, 1988
- Studios : Studio Pierrot
Kimagure Orange Road Introduction
Kyousuke, Kurumi, and Manami, the siblings of the Kasuga family, all have one thing in common – they have telekinetic powers courtesy of their deceased mother’s lineage. Due to Kurumi abusing her powers in public settings, the family has had to move a handful of times. After Kyousuke meets Madoka Ayukawa, the girl of his dreams, he doesn’t want to move again as he begins a friendship with her despite his classmates trying to tell him that she’s bad news.
What We Liked About Kimagure Orange Road
Kimagure Orange Road is a true example on how Shounen titles are capable of providing quality romantic comedy stories. While mind powers are part of the series, it’s mostly secondary to Kyousuke’s developing relationships with Madoka and Hikaru, and you’ll forget about them unless they’re thrown in your face. Considering this series debuted long before the era of smartphones, when you watch this series, viewers can get an idea on how teenage romances functioned without instant communication and so on. The series has an authentic sense of innocence that is portrayed in both good and disturbing ways, but if you want to go back to a time when teenage summer love truly felt forever, Kimagure Orange Road is it.
1. Has a rich seiyuu cast
This classic has a who’s who with its cast. Considering who Madoka and Kyousuke’s voice actors are, seiyuu buffs can see their casting as an excellent nod to Bulma and Yamucha’s relationship in Dragon Ball considering they are respectively voiced by the late great Hiromi Tsuru (also famous as Ukyou in Ranma ½), and Tooru Furuya (most famous as Amuro from Gundam and Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon). They do a masterful job of portraying adolescents who are going through the motions of interacting with the opposite sex.
In addition to these two icons, the rest of the cast includes Michie Tomizawa as Manami, Chieko Honda as Kurumi, and Eriko Hara as Hikaru. Many of you longtime fans recognize Tomizawa as the original voice of Sailor Mars and Sumire from the Sakura Taisen franchise.
2. An immersing soundtrack
The soundtrack does a very great job of balancing teenage summer love, city life, and the 80s. If there is one definitive song that perfectly captures the spirit of Kimagure Orange Road, it would definitely be Orange Mystery, the second opening theme. The song’s opening instantly sets the mood of the series shortly before it transitions to the lyrics and its relaxing melody. In the standard verses, it accurately gives you Kyousuke’s attraction to Madoka, and its powerful chorus makes you want to go out and express your feelings whether it’d be a simple crush, or your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse. In context to romance anime songs, Orange Mystery is a top 5!
1. Its Portrayal of Teenagers
Considering that Japan’s age of consent is 14 and didn’t bother on cracking down on child pornography until recently, the portrayal of Madoka in the series and on merchandise as a 15-year-old can and will be disturbing to non-Japanese audiences. She engages in activities that are illegal such as smoking and hanging out at disco clubs (yes, disco lived for another decade in Japan). However, there are some instances of Madoka being portrayed rather promiscuously and considering the character still being in junior high, it may throw you off. Thankfully, there is no direct display or suggestion of underage sex like in Gundam SEED or Iron-Blooded Orphans. Despite having her and some of the female cast emphasize on her figure like a gravure model when wearing swimsuits does cross a line by international/modern day standards.
2. Only covers a small portion of the manga
Like a good majority of anime, this series only covers a tiny fraction of the original manga. In the manga, you get more development of Kyousuke and Madoka’s relationship up until college, while the anime only covers their third year of junior high. The anime mostly portrays the relationship between Kyosuke and Madoka more like that of Kagome and Inuyasha’s where the romance is suggested, but still have a deep friendship. By the time you get to the end of the anime series, they finally confess their feelings, but the series doesn’t develop beyond that like in the manga.
Lastly, this series is relatively easy to get into since its episodic in nature with a couple of 2-parters here and there. You can watch any random episode and get an idea of what the series is about. So, if you want to check it out, feel free to watch any episode, or you’re free to watch from the first one to get an idea of who Kyousuke is, how he first meets Madoka and why Hikaru is attracted to him. Beyond its romance, the anime has a great message that you shouldn’t judge other people. While Madoka comes across as intimidating, deep down inside, she’s a really nice young lady with many surprising talents. Other than that, if you’re looking for romance with a specific flavor, then Kimagure Orange Road is it!