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Kimagure Orange Road Movie:
Ano Hi Ni Kaeritai
(I Want to Return to That Day)

Copyright: VAP (Japan), AnimEigo (North America)
Length: 70 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS/LD)

Visual Concept: Izumi Matsumoto Original Character Design: Izumi Matsumoto Character Design: Takada Akemi

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Autumn in Tokyo... There's a chill in the air as Kyosuke and Madoka make their way to Waseda University. Today is the day that they would find out if all the hard work preparing for the entrance examinations had paid off. A passing conversation overheard reminds Kyosuke that Hikaru was to star in a play that day. Reminded about all the things which had happened during the previous year, when he'd been studying for the entrance exams with Madoka, and how he had to finally admit to Hikaru that he could not see her anymore...

This is the movie which breaks the love triangle between Hikaru, Kyosuke, and Madoka. It's the summer break after Kyosuke's and Madoka's final year of high school; both attending extra classes in order to pass the crucial university entrance exams. Hikaru has her hands full trying out for a part in a major school musical production. A summer in which all three are forced to face the first pains of growing up...

[ capsule review ]

This is the movie that turned me into a KOR nut -- dare I say it? A hard-KOR otaku. If you've seen the final episode of the TV series, you'd think that everything ended well, and there really wasn't anything left to resolve. Well, Matsumoto Izumi didn't think so, and am I happy he did! The decision to break the love triangle between Kyosuke, Madoka and Hikaru gave the writers a lot of leverage to work with, and the screenplay takes full advantage of this. Anyone who has been in a situation of "odd-man out" is certain to relate; the heartaches of growing up and watching friends move on is painfully true-to-life. Denial, anger, acceptance. The classic stages of emotional trauma are played out in Hiyama Hikaru. Limited animation, but effective use of what they're given -- the opening sequence segues from black and white to colour a là Wizard of Oz. Hikaru (Hara Eriko) is still annoying, but she also has some very strong lines as well. The real topper is the soundtrack: Wada Kanako's mournful voice is perfect for the movie. (KOR has always featured good music; this is exceptional!) This movie is like nothing in the OAV or TV series (with perhaps the one film-noir episode in the final season). Not a mention is made about the Kasuga's ESP abilities, and several key characters (Yusaku, Kazuya, Akane) aren't in the show at all; but this was deliberate -- the series was really about the love triangle between Kyosuke, Madoka and Hikaru, and that's what the movie's about. A two hanky tear-jerker; one I highly recommend.- AN

Living as a three-some is difficult enough but breaking it up is more so. Seeing Kyosuke breaking off any contact with Hikaru is heart-wrenching and undoubtedly we've all gone through or witnessed something similar in life. Some point where we've been odd-person out. Hikaru's character has always driven me up the wall in the TV series. She's always been so cheerful and more than a little out of touch with reality, to the point of being extremely grating and annoying. However, here we see that she isn't always so light hearted and care-free; rather, that she cannot give up and let go of Kyosuke.

The story itself is told in flashback style, where the present is portrayed in black and white and the past events (so vivid in all their minds undoubtedly) are in colour. While the animation quality isn't particularly special, the use of the different styles (coloured vs non) is a good way to distinguish between past and present occurances. The music is also very well done with some really nice vocals by Wada (who was having a concert in the show). While the movie is a bit of a downer, it's beautifully done. The pain that all three characters go through is very moving and well portrayed. Hikaru's character is solidly played; being annoyingly cheerful in front of people while at the same time being torn up inside. In some ways the movie seems a touch short, especially the way that we suddenly are booted from the post-practise exam scene to Madoka and Kyosuke on their way to check their results. It really seemed rather abrupt. However, at the same time, what more could they have said or done? In that sense, nothing is really wasted in this movie. - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Music: N/A 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 5 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 4 stars N/A

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