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Manga: Kimagure Orange Road

Kimagure Orange Road is an manga and anime created by Izumi Matsumoto and serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1987. The anime had a pilot episode in 1985, which was followed by a 50-episode TV series aired from 1985 to 1988, a TV movie from 1988 (Kimagure Orange Road: I want to return to that day), and 8 OAV's (set in the TV series continuity) released in between 1989 and 1991. There were also a theatrical movie set several years post-series (Shin Kimagure Orange Road: Summer's Beginning) and a Drama CD series from 1997.

The Love Triangle between the three main characters remains a classic to this day. At the center of it is Kyōsuke Kasuga, the apparently Ordinary High-School Student, whose family has just moved to another town due to the necessity of keeping their Psychic Powers a secret.

His first love interest is the beautiful Madoka Ayukawa, who seems to be a friendly and kind girl the first time their paths cross. When he meets her again at school, however, she acts icy and distant towards him, and school rumor insists that she is a delinquent. Which facet of Madoka is the real one?

The third corner of the love triangle comes in the form of Hikaru Hiyama. She's a bubbly, innocent tomboy who immediately falls for Kyōsuke after seeing him make an incredible hoop shot (not knowing that he used supernatural powers) and is fond of glomping him and calling him "Darling!"

Predictably, Kyōsuke has no romantic feelings towards Hikaru: he does care for "Hikaru-chan", but as a sister, and has eyes only for Madoka, who acts alternately sweet and cold towards him. Even more predictably, Kyōsuke cannot declare his love for Madoka or reject Hikaru and thus end the love triangle. The reason? Hikaru absolutely adores "Madoka-san" and has been her Only Friend from many years ago (as in, along with a boy named Yūsaku Hino, she's the only person who isn't afraid of her), and Madoka had already promised to help her win Kyōsuke. Of course, the setup gets even more tangled when Madoka herself begins developing feelings for Kyōsuke as well...

What elevates Kimagure Orange Road from a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy is the depth and genuineness of its emotions and events. Despite the subplot of Kyōsuke keeping his supernatural powers a secret, the series is really a coming-of-age story of typical teenagers finding their way in the confusing realm of love that feels more realistic and nostalgic than most other romantic comedies.

Kimagure Orange Road provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Madoka. Also, the delinquent girls she used to hang out with; a filler anime episode centers on Madoka and one of them.
  • Almost Kiss: Kyōsuke and Madoka love doing this.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Madoka, who is tall, pretty and rather cool.
  • Amazon Chaser: Played with, maybe deconstructed in regards to Madoka. She gets this reaction from older guys, but boys her age often say "No Guy Wants an Amazon" and steer away from "Madoka the Pick", no matter how hot she is. (In fact, even Hatta and Komatsu feared her at the beginning, and warned Kyōsuke about her bad fame in the second episode.) Kyōsuke is pretty much the first guy aside of Yūsaku who approaches her without fear (or despite his fear) in school.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Hikaru gives one to Kyōsuke at the end of the series once she realizes that Kyōsuke has chosen Madoka.
  • Beach Episode: The pilot, and some later episodes.
  • Betty and Veronica: With Hikaru as Betty, Madoka as Veronica, and Kyōsuke as Archie.
    • Sayuri Hirose tries to become a Third-Option Love Interest and get Kyōsuke away from them. She fails.
    • Arguably a Deconstruction, in that Betty!Hikaru is the spoiled one, while Veronica!Madoka is the more reserved and selfless one. The only true resemblence to a real Betty and Veronica is that Hikaru is middle-class and Madoka is rich, and yet both are as equally likable and deep as the other. However, in the anime, both characters appear to come from middle-class households (though Madoka's family is still a bit more middle-to-upper-class than Hikaru's) and it's shown they live in the same neighborhood.
  • Big Eater: The twins Kurumi and Manami. Somewhat justifed as using their Psychic Powers drain them of energy and thus they need to eat to recover it; double since Kurumi is very gung-ho about her psychic skills, and once in a while Manami uses hers to fix the messes Kurumi causes.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Poor, poor Manami.
  • Bokukko: Madoka, as a little girl. She grows up into a full-fledged Tsundere.
  • Broken Bird: Madoka
  • Butt Monkey: Hikaru's childhood friend/whipping boy Yūsaku.
    • And Jingoro, the Kasuga's cat in the anime.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Kyōsuke wouldn't have had to keep up the charade with Hikaru for as long as he did if he had just told her about his true feelings upfront. Then again, he is the Poster Boy for Indecisiveness. (It doesn't help his situation that Madoka, due to her feelings of loyalty for Hikaru, keeps pushing Kyōsuke and Hikaru together despite having feelings for Kyōsuke herself.)
    • In the manga, he is truly indecisive about who he likes more, though on most occasions he leans towards Madoka. In the anime, his only indecisiveness is not being able to tell Hikaru his true feelings.
  • Canon Discontinuity : Komatsu is given two different first names during the series: Seiji (the more widely accepted one) or Masashi. Considering how little we know of any character that isn't in the Kasuga family, it's quite possible They Just Didn't Care.
  • Character Exaggeration: Hikaru, in the TV series, sometimes goes from genuine Genki Girl to straight The Ditz. Of course, this is flanderized to death by her haters.
  • The Chikan: In a manga chapter, Kyosuke is distressed because Madoka is mad with him, and his cousin Kazuya advices him acting pervert towards Madoka to get her to forgive him. Too dumb to acknowledge an obvious plot to get back on him, Kyosuke falls for it and he decides fondling Madoka in the subway... but before he makes the attempt, another woman gets fondled near from them and angrily confronts her harasser. Madoka states how much she detests that kind of men, and Kyosuke wisely loses his nerve and realizes apologizing Madoka is the right action to earn her forgiveness.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: The first movie. The second movie tried very hard to set it up again.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Hikaru. First in an innocent and childlike way, but more seriously and borderline Yandere-like in the first movie. She gets better, as seen above.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Oh God, Yusaku. Hikaru makes it clear that she doesn't want to date him, yet he keeps going on no matter what she says and often acts like she's his personal property.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Kurumi, who has a weird but lovable personality. She's a bit of a ditz as well.
  • Coming of Age Story: Maybe one of the best examples in anime.
  • Cool Big Sis: Madoka, towards the younger kids. Shu's girlfriend Yukari is a slightly more traditional version.
  • Death by Childbirth: Kyōsuke's mother, Akemi, died after the twins' birth.
  • Delinquents: Madoka and her ex-friends.
  • Erotic Dream: OVA has both day and night dreams with Kyōsuke.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Madoka, Madoka, Madoka.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The owner of Abcb is known only as "Master".
  • First Girl Wins: No matter which timeline you go by.
  • Flower From The Mountain Top: Kyōsuke's maternal grandfather sent Takashi off to get snow from the mountaintop for his whiskey if he wanted to marry his daughter Akemi (Takeshi is the only one in Kyōsuke's family without powers). He got some help from Akemi herself.
  • Freaky Friday: in an episode, Kyōsuke and his cousin Kazuya switch bodies. Kyōsuke does that because he hopes to gain Kazuya's telepathy, but it does not work that way!
  • The Glomp: "Daaaarliiiiiing!"
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Done a looong time before the movie came out, before the concept was even well-known.
  • Homage: both plots and individual scenes are borrowed from a variety of contemporary films and anime, from a dream in episode 2 that reflects An Officer and a Gentleman to the New Year's Day special where the entire cast is recast in a parody episode of Toku, fighting a giant-sized Jingoro, entitled "T.A.P. Gun". (This was, after all, an '80s show).
  • Idol Singer: Mitsuru Hayakawa is a male one. And yes, Kyōsuke switches bodies with him.
    • Yukari, Madoka's cousin-in-law, is the singer of her and her boyfriend Shu's pop band.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: From the Action Girl and the Butt Monkey, towards the Ordinary High-School Student, in regards to the Genki Girl.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Madoka keeps guitar picks strapped to her thigh which she can throw with considerable force. In later episodes, the main characters have to deal with a girl gang who wield such weapons as skateboards and yo-yos.
    • Probably a spoof of Sukeban Deka ("Delinquent Girl Detective"), a popular shoujo manga about a reformed delinquent girl who used a yo-yo as a weapon to fight crime. There was a popular live-action show based on it that was airing at the time.
  • Indirect Kiss
  • In Love with Love / Loving a Shadow: Word of God says Akane is simply in love with the idea of being in love with Madoka.
  • Intrepid Reporter: In the second movie, Kyōsuke grows into one of these (as a wartime photographer in the former Yugoslavia).
  • Last Name Basis: Kyosuke never addresses Madoka by her first name, she's always 'Ayukawa.' Although fairly early on he drops any honorifics.
  • Lethal Chef: Kurumi
  • Love Triangle: And how. The KOR love triangle is so definitive, other romantic comedies had to invent the Love Dodecahedron.
  • Luminescent Blush: Episode 2. Kyosuke and Madoka are washing dishes together when their hands accidentally brush together. Quickly they broke contact and kept on washing dishes, lowering their heads and avoiding eye contact. Their faces were completely red as they did so. Soooo cute.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Takashi is the only non-powered Kasuga because he married into the clan.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Hikaru's medallion. Several years ago she lost it to a bully, Madoka witnessed the incident and got it back for her, and that was the start of their friendship.
  • Meaningful Name: Madoka's name references the night and darkness while Hikaru's name references the sun and light; both of which reflect their personalities. Kyōsuke's surname is that of the attendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, fitting for someone caught between them.
  • Meet Cute: Kyōsuke met Madoka while chasing down her hat when it got blown away in the wind.
  • Meganekko: Manami has one of the more dedicated fanbases in KOR fandom, and her meganekko status plays an important part of this.
  • Mega Neko: New Year's Special filler episode.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second half of the I wanna return to that day movie is much, much more serious than the rest of the series. And how.
  • Mouthy Kid: Kazuya, sometimes.
  • Mushroom Samba: Kurumi uses her powers to turn some normal mushrooms blue. They have side effects. Hilarity Ensues.
  • No Smoking: Kyōsuke successfully gets Madoka to kick the habit. She starts it again in the second movie, though.
  • Official Couple: Kyōsuke/Madoka
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Kyōsuke... except for his psychic powers.
  • Pair the Spares: Averted. After Hikaru is dumped by Kyōsuke, it would seem reasonable that she and Yūsaku would hook up. However, this doesn't happen as Shin-KOR follows the manga timeline and has Hikaru leave for America shortly thereafter and stays there for a long time. This matching is notable for not even being used much in Fan fiction.
    • Akane, the fourth corner of the love triangle (!) would seem to have a logical matchup with the unnamed Lesbian Schoolgirl from the manga story "The Bus-Stop of Love". However, whenever she shows up in fan-works, things never work out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Madoka loves her parents and they love her back, but they work abroad (Dad is an orchestra conductor, Mom is a classic violinist) and so they're almost never seen around and Madoka has been basically raised by her older sister (and once said sister gets married, she and her hubby go to thr USA and Madoka lives alone). Hikaru's parents are there, but they're never seen and only heard in the background or mentioned.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation
  • Psychic Powers: The Kasuga clan (Kyousuke's mother's family; his dad married into the family) have shown a rather wide array of skills:
  • Revenge Fic: "Revenge Road", anyone? Poor Hikaru!
  • Running Gag: The Yuppie Couple whose confessions of love always get interrupted.
  • Say My Name: All said Yuppie Couple ever does.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Young Shiori from the TV series. It's discussed whether Akane belongs in here, or she's a more extreme case of Onee-sama admiration, especially considering that Madoka is an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl.
  • Secret Keeper: The Kasuga family must keep their psychic powers a secret, which tends to be a problem for Kyōsuke.
    • Kyosuke tries especially hard to keep the secret this time, because they have to move to a new city and start over every time their cover's blown.
    • Also, in the anime the Master of Abcb knows that Kyōsuke and Madoka have feelings for each other. In the manga, so does Manami.
  • Sexo Phone: Madoka plays a mean sax in the TV series.
  • Shipper on Deck: In the manga, Kurumi wants Kyosuke to end up with Hikaru while Manami ships Madoka/Kyosuke. Hilarity Ensues. This takes a turn to the serious when Manami actually shows the red hat to Madoka and tells her about the love deal.
  • Shorttank: Hikaru mixes this with some Kawaiiko traits.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Madoka loves Kyosuke for this, and because he was the first guy in their school (aside of Yusaku) who approached her without fear.
  • Stable Time Loop: Involved in the time travel plot in the last two episodes of the TV series, as Madoka remembers meeting Kyōsuke five years ago even before he traveled back to the past. This instance of time travel also invokes:
    • Meanwhile, in the Future, and...
    • Never the Selves Shall Meet: With Madoka. Because according to Grandpa, the Temporal Paradox would involve both selves being erased from existence, if they ever touched each other. It was this close to happen when Madoka met herself as a kid, but thankfully her older sister called out to little Madoka and she had to come back home.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Kyōsuke and Kazuya. When the latter is introduced, everyone outside the Kasuga family comments on how he looks just like a five-year-old Kyōsuke.
  • Team Mom: Manami. She even helps keep her father in line when he's a little too lax in parenting.
  • They Do: Kyosuke and Madoka after freaking eighteen volumes (manga)/forty-eight episodes, eight ovas and a movie (anime).
  • Token Yuri Girl: Akane Kasuga.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Hikaru and Madoka, Kurumi and Manami respectively.
  • Tsundere: Madoka is commonly cited as one of the original codifiers of the Tsundere archtype (joining the club formed by Sayaka Yumi, Oscar of Jarjayes, Lum and Akane Tendo). Her complexity as a Tsundere is often favorably compared to the Flanderized ultra-violent, whiny and bitchy nature of many modern Tsundere. "Kimagure" means, "whimsical" or "coquettish" and clearly refers to Her.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Everything in this show -the fashions, the hairstyles, the music, even the video games the characters play in the arcade- shows it was made in The Eighties.
    • The Shin Kimagure Orange Road film also entrenches itself in The Nineties when it is mentioned that adult Kyosuke is a war reporter went missing in action taking pictures in The Yugoslav Wars.
  • Wonderful Life: In the final episode.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Manami, the oldest of the twins, is reserved and domestic but Beware the Nice Ones as she is prepared to use telekinesis when the situation calls for it.
  • Yandere: Hikaru was *this* close to become one in The Movie. She got better (sorta), though.
  • The Yugoslav Wars: Mentioned in Shin Kimagure Orange Road. The novels describe in length what effect they had in Kyosuke.
  • Yuppie Couple: Umao and Ushiko ("Ushiko-san!" "Umao-san!")
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Madoka uses it once in a while.

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alternative title(s): Kimagure Orange Road; Kimagure Orange Road
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