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[ café reviews ]

Kimagure Orange Road TV Episode 1
Tenkousei! Hazukashi Nagara Hatsukoi Shimasu
(Transferred! Embarrasing Love Starts)

Copyright: VAP (Japan)
Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Original Japanese dialog (VHS/LD)

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

[ plot summary ]

The Kasuga family has arrived in a new city... and quite frankly, they're rather tired of moving. Unfortunately for them, the Kasuga clan (consisting of Takeshi, the father, Kyosuke, the eldest brother, and the twin sisters Manami and Kurumi) is cursed with ESP -- forcing them to move every time someone outside the family discovers this little secret. While counting the number of stairs in a long walkway, he rescues a red hat from the wind -- and meets the owner, the beautiful but moody Ayukawa Madoka. Surprisingly, Madoka gives Kyosuke the hat -- a red hat, of all things! Even more surprising is that Madoka has quite a reputation at school -- as a delinquent. It seems that Madoka's friend, Hiyama Hikaru, is following in her footsteps...

[ capsule review ]

The TV series is well named -- kimagure, or "whimsical" very aptly describes the series, as well as the opener. Perhaps moody is a better term -- Madoka's moods changes more often that the stock market. Animation is very minimal; but there's enough to set the tone. The story is largely told in a first person narrative (strikingly similar to the North American TV series, The Wonder Years. Hmmm.... I wonder if this is mere coincidence...) I found the narratives, coupled with "snapshots" of scenes to be very effective in moving the plot at a very quick pace -- and what a quick pace for this kind of show. I don't recall a program where we get to meet so many regular characters in such a short time as we do in this first episode: The entire Kasuga clan, Jingoro, Madoka, Hikaru, Umao, Ushiko, Hatta and Komatsu. On top of the intros, we also get a bit of background of each -- from the Kasuga's ESPer abilities, Hatta and Komatsu's predilection for girls, Umao and Ushiko's predilection with each other, Hikaru's friendship with Madoka, and Madoka's talents with the sax and martial arts. Some of the story is pure adolescent fluff (how many nosebleeds can a guy get in a day?) -- but the underlying tone and emphasis on the difficulties in understanding interpersonal relationships is what I find interesting, and that's where the show really takes on a life of its own. The writers manage to mix humour and plot very well indeed -- one of the final scenes, when a horrified Kyosuke discovers that Madoka smokes, and then makes a rather, uhhh, personal comment, is really highlighted well with the narrative interjection. The background music is a mixed bag -- overly dramatic whenever there's a fight; and surprisingly contemplative and introspective in others. It's these contemplative passages that adds tremendously to the moody feel of the episode, especially the use of the saxaphone. I like this series! - AN

This episode introduces us to the primary characters in the series Kasuga Kyousuke and his family, Ayukawa Madoka, Hiyama Hikaru, and some of the the students at the school. There's not much story to this episode although we get a good strong introduction to the characters and a bit of what they're like. The big unknown however is Ayukawa Madoka, who is playing hooky when Kyousuke starts his first day at the new school. Warned about staying away from her since she's a real delinquent, he doesn't find out until much later, when she fights off a small gang of guys intent on causing Hikaru some trouble, that she's the same girl that he met on the stairs last night when they first arrived in town. The only thing is, the impression he had yesterday was that she was a nice person and he felt like he was going to like this place. He's in a bit of a quandary therefore when he ends up annoying her after the fight and ends up getting slapped by her when he takes away her cigarette. The series has a decent cast of characters which promises to be rather interesting. Especially with the introduction of our comic relief couple Ushiko and Umao. While the animation is standard tv quality, the music is really something. There's a good strong mix of different music types including some good solo sax bits, good opening and end themes, as well as various disco, jazz, and rock music. Be careful with the music though, it can be extremely catchy making you want to go out and buy all the CDs... - JYN

[ café rating ]

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

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