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Manga / Kimagure Orange Road

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Kimagure Orange Roadnote  is a manga created by Izumi Matsumoto and serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1987. The anime had a pilot episode to promote the manga in 1985, which was followed by a 48-episode TV anime series which aired from 1987 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, eventually (although what 15 year old guy can really resist a cute girl practically throwing herself at him?), and has eyes only for Madoka, who acts sweet (but cold when he disappoints her because of his indecisiveness) 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. In addition, Madoka has shown she really dislikes it if Kyōsuke does anything to hurt or upset Hikaru. 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.

After AnimEigo lost the license in 2004, it was almost forgotten in Western anime circles, but Discotek Media announced on August 12, 2018 that it was going to release a remastered Blu-Ray of the series which was released on March 26, 2019, with the OVAs and first movie released on July 29, 2019. The TV Series, OVAs, and first movie can be watched on Crunchyroll.

Kimagure Orange Road provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Madoka is extremely smart and talented at almost everything (she's a musician, a singer and songwriter, is very good at sports and one of the best students in her school). Due to her emotional fragility, sadness and loneliness, she's a Broken Ace, though.
  • Action Girl: Madoka. Also, the Japanese Delinquent girls she knows and maybe 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 (at least she appears like that, but she's Not So Stoic at all...).
  • 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.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Madoka. She's beautiful and feminine, but physically well built and muscular, and you just have to watch how she defeats male delinquents to understand how strong she is.
  • Anti-Hero:
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Hikaru gives one to Kyōsuke at the end of the series once she realizes that Kyōsuke has chosen Madoka.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits:
    • The Italian opening. The lyrics of the theme song were clearly written by someone who don't know anything about the story. The song is mostly about Kyosuke (called by his dub name "Johnny") and his powers, not a single word about the love triangle which is the main plot of the anime. It uses some random adjectives to describe Kyosuke, like "sincere" (when for most of the series he's anything but) or even "affascinante" (meaning "charming, seductive"). It also states that mind-reading is one of his powers, which is of course not true.
    • The French opening is not as inaccurate but still qualifies. The lyrics focus too much on Kyosuke's family, especially Kurumi and Manami, while they barely mention Madoka and Hikaru, who are much more important characters.
  • Beach Episode: The pilot, and some later episodes.
  • Betty and Veronica:
  • 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: Sayuri wins a trip to Hawaii in a fast food restaurant called Mc Cotonalt.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Manami almost can't see without her glasses. When Madoka saved her, and they stood close to each other, she hardly recognized her friend.
  • Bloomers: Worn by Madoka and her classmates during PE.
  • Bokukko: Madoka, as a little girl. She grows up into a quite complex sort of Tsundere.
  • Book Dumb: Kyōsuke and his friends Hatta and Komatsu. Their grades are quite bad.
  • Broken Bird: Madoka. Just Watch the first movie.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Genderflipped; Kyōsuke is the gentle boy, while Madoka is the brooding girl. However, Madoka is in truth just a Troubled, but Cute Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Kyosuke. There is no episode where something hilariously bad doesn't happen to this kid.
    • Hikaru's childhood friend/whipping boy Yūsaku.
    • Jingoro, the Kasuga's cat in the anime.
    • Hatta and Komatsu, obviously. They're essentially a Plucky Comic Relief, after all.
  • Cannot 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.
  • Character Exaggeration: Hikaru, in the TV series, sometimes goes from genuine Genki Girl to straight The Ditz.
  • The Chikan: In a manga chapter, Kyosuke is distressed because Madoka is mad with him, and his cousin Kazuya advises him to act perverted towards Madoka to get her to forgive him. Too dumb to acknowledge that this is an obvious plot to get back at him, Kyosuke falls for it and he decides to fondle Madoka in the subway... but before he makes the attempt, another woman gets fondled near them and angrily confronts her harasser. Madoka states how much she detests that kind of man, and Kyosuke wisely loses his nerve and realizes that apologizing to Madoka is the right action to earn her forgiveness.
  • Christmas Episode: See the very next trope. a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Christmas Every Day: Kyosuke uses his Psychic Powers to repeat Christmas three times, trying to get to the party with the "right" girl (without pissing off Madoka or crushing Hikaru's happiness). No-one else is aware of the repeats.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Conveniently Seated: routinely Defied. Kasuga sits in the middle of class. Ayukawa has a window seat, but not the 'protagonist seat'. Two grades down, the twins sit in the middle of the aisle near the classroom door.
  • Cool Big Sis: Madoka, towards the younger kids. She's great with children and even with pets, despite her appearance and reputation. Shu's girlfriend Yukari is a slightly more traditional version.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Hikaru and Kyōsuke meet this way. Hikaru further thinks there was an Accidental Kiss in the collision.
  • 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.
  • Creator Cameo: Manga chapter 125, Special: Izumi Matsumoto goes to Chiba! He also appears in volume 16's last chapter, when he's a talent show's (not very good) participiant.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Toba Tatsuro is clumsy and believes in the Delivery Stork, but he runs faster than The Ace Madoka.
  • Death by Childbirth: Kyōsuke's mother, Akemi, died after the twins' birth.
  • Delinquents: Madoka (at least, she is believed to be a delinquent) and her "ex-friends".
  • Delivery Stork: Toba Tatsuro, a new teacher at Kyosuke's school, introduced in volume 14, believes in this.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • When the series was translated to Italian as 'È quasi magia Johnny' ("It's almost magic, Johnny") all characters got name changes in an effort to slightly alter the show's setting from Japan to... basically nowhere (Italian dubs often change Japanese names to a random mix of Italian, English, and Japanese names). So Kyosuke, Madoka and Hikaru became Johnny, Sabrina and Tinetta. Kyosuke's sisters Manami and Kurumi were known as Manuela and Simona. When the show was brought to Spain straight from the Italian version, the names Tinetta and Simona were changed to the more Spanish-sounding Rosa and Tamara.
    • In the Swedish dub, the name of the show was changed to Superfamiljen (The Super Family), Kyosuke became Kurre Karlsson, Madoka became Madeleine Aurell and so forth.
  • 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.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Hikaru is the sweet ditzy one, Kurumi is slightly tomboyish, Madoka is the sexy one, and Manami is the Team Mom. However, Madoka is a good Team Mom too, but Manami also fits the role in the case of her family because she actually replaces her Missing Mom.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Perfectly fitting their temperaments: Kyōsuke is the Apathetic, Madoka is the Realist, Hikaru is the Optimist, and Yuusaku is the Cynic.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Friendly but indecisive Kyōsuke is the phlegmatic, thoughtful and selfless Madoka is the melancholic, hyperactive and cheerful Hikaru is the sanguine and rude karateka Yūsaku is the choleric.
  • 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!. Will not be the last time. He also pulls it with the local Idol Singer Mitsuru Hayakawa.
  • The Ghost: Madoka's older sister, who apparently live with her, is never seen at all. She only ever appears in I Want To Return To That Day, in a Remember the New Guy? scene. (Though she is an offscreen voice in Message In Rouge, the very last OVA, which is the last thing the original Anime team made.)
  • The Glomp: "Daaaarliiiiiing!"
  • Good Is Not Soft: Madoka is likely the most altruistic character in the series, and is normally kind and polite, but it's a very bad idea to piss her off. And, of course, don't hurt her loved ones or weak people when she's there!
  • "The Graduate" Homage Shot: In one episode, Kasuga chases after Ayukawa to a wedding she appears to be participating in, duplicating the shot. It's just a rehearsal for her sister's wedding, which traditionally the bride does not attend, and a Bridesmaid is used as a stand-in.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Done a looong time before the movie came out, before the concept was even well-known.
  • The Hero: Kyōsuke has Psychic Powers, but it's actually Madoka who saves weaker people from delinquents.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Madoka, who is believed to be a delinquent and is The Hero, although Kyōsuke is the one with Psychic Powers.
  • 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: For example when Madoka and Kyosuke share an apple.
  • In Love with Love: 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).
  • Insecure Love Interest: Kyosuke is in love with Madoka, but he thinks he isn't and will never be good enough for her. He thinks she's beautiful, intelligent, mature... and compared to her, he looks like a kid.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Kyousuke's been hanging onto Madoka's hat ever since she gave it to him.
  • 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: Jingoro in the New Year's Special filler episode.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Madoka.
  • Model Scam: Subverted. Hikaru meets a man that claims to be a photographer and asks her if she would like to be a model. When Hikaru gleefully tells her best friends Kyosuke and Madoka about it, Madoka warns her about perverts that claim to be photographers. Hikaru and Madoka agree to go together to the meeting place just in case. There they find out that the man IS a professional photographer with a legitimate offer... And Kyosuke's father.
  • 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.
  • Mouthy Kid: Kazuya, sometimes.
  • Mushroom Samba: Kurumi uses her powers to turn some normal mushrooms blue. They have side effects. Hilarity Ensues.
  • No Smoking: Kyosuke successfully gets Madoka to kick the habit. She's seen smoking again sometimes in the second movie, though, probably because of her anxiety due to Kyōsuke's disappearance, but it's not explained why.
  • Official Couple: Kyosuke / Madoka.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Kyosuke... Except for his psychic powers.
  • Pair the Spares:
    • Averted. After Hikaru is dumped by Kyosuke, it would seem reasonable that she and Yusaku 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.
  • Panty Shot: One of favorite type of fanservice with Madoka often subject to this.
  • 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 the 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: Whenever Kyosuke has a Prophetic Dream, the Prophetic Dream tells him always only half of the truth, e.g. the words he hears and the scenes he sees are always out of context.
  • Power Perversion Potential: There are many examples:
    • Kurumi once transformed Kyousuke in a Panty Thief (by accident: she had hypnotized him into obeying any and all orders and forgot to break it, and Hatta and Komatsu jokingly ordered him to bring them female underwear. Then they started doing it seriously); while under the effects of the above mentioned hypnosis, Kyousuke used his teleportation abilities to steal panties and bras while they were being worn.
    • Kazuya has exchanged body with Kyousuke to try and perv on Madoka and Hikaru with Kyousuke sometimes going with it willingly because, in the body of a five years old, he'd be able to do just that without fear of punishment.
    • In early appaerence Kazuya use his Telekinesis power to lift Madoka's skirt.
    • Kyousuke's cousin Akane can make people see as someone else. More than once she had to stop herself from using Kyousuke's face to get her way with Madoka.
  • Prophetic Dream: Whenever Kyosuke has a Prophetic Dream, the Prophetic Dream tells him always only half of the truth, e.g. the words he hears and the scenes he sees are always out of context.
  • Psychic Powers:
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Hikaru to Madoka
    • Kurumi to Manami
    • Hikaru, Kurumi, Komatsu & Hatta, Yuusaku, Kazuya to Kyousuke
    • Kyousuke to Madoka or Manami
  • Revenge Fic: "Revenge Road," anyone? Poor Hikaru!
  • Running Gag: Ushiko and Umao are a newlywed couple that serve as one of the primary running gags in the TV series. Their appearance in an episode generally consists of them saying the same romantic lines to one another, followed by a chaotic event involving Kyosuke or other primary characters, sometimes in the most ludicrous places.
  • Sailor Fuku: The uniform at the school Madoka and her friends attend has gakuran for the guys and gray and white serafuku for the girls.
  • Say My Name: All said Yuppie Couple ever does.
  • Secret-Keeper: The Kasuga family must keep their psychic powers a secret, which tends to be a problem for Kyosuke. 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. In the anime the Master of Abcb knows that Kyosuke 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.
    • Kazuya leans a LOT towards Madoka / Kyosuke, though he may be too young to really understand the deal.
    • Akane actually was introduced as a Hikaru / Kyosuke shipper of sorts, and at some point she mistakenly thought that Kyosuke was cheating on Hikaru with Madoka and was NOT happy about it. Then she actually MET Madoka and fell for her, sorta...
    • Yukari, during the performance of "Salvina no hana no you ni"
  • Shorttank: Hikaru mixes this with some Kawaiiko traits.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Ushiko and Umao.
  • Single Malt Vision: Kyosuke and Madoka are whiling away in a bar and Madoka notices Kyosuke seems somewhat plastered. When she asks if he's all right, he exclaims: "Woww! Look, look, theee are two Ayukawa sisters! Just like my sisters, Kurumi and Manami!"
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Both Madoka and Hikaru think like this regarding Kyousuke. Madoka loves him because he was the first guy in their school (aside of Yusaku) who approached her without fear, whereas Hikaru at first likes Kyousuke for making a super 3-pointer, but soon comes to love him for being a Nice Guy.
  • Stable Time Loop: Involved in the time travel plot in the last two episodes of the TV series, as Madoka remembers meeting Kyosuke 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: Kyosuke and Kazuya. When the latter is introduced, everyone outside the Kasuga family comments on how he looks just like a five year old Kyosuke.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Done by Kyosuke when a snake bites Madoka.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The American movie featured in episode 26 has somewhat clunky English dialogue, but it appears to be voiced by native English speakers.
  • 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).
  • Time Stands Still: In an occasion Kyosuke's grandfather hands him a pocket watch that allows him to actually stop time for 60 seconds. Cue in Kyousuke accidentally winding the watch backwards and freezing himself instead of the world around him, and making everyone else think that he's dead (no pulse). Fortunately Hikaru give him a Kiss of Life and Kyosuke is revived.
  • Time Travelling Lesbians: uses the device, and has time-travelling queer characters as well.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
  • Took the Wife's Name: Takashi is the only non-powered Kasuga because his wife was the only daughter and he married into the clan.
  • Triang Relations: A classic Type 8, changing into a type 4 by the movie.
  • Tsundere: Madoka is commonly cited as one of the original codifiers of the Tsundere archetype (joining the club formed by Sayaka Yumi, Oscar François de Jarjayes, Lum, and Akane Tendō.) Her complexity as a Tsundere is often favorably compared to the nature of many modern Tsundere. "Kimagure" means, "whimsical", and clearly refers to her.
  • We Are "Team Cannon Fodder": Yusaku, Hatta, Komatsu, Manami, and Kurumi have no real significance to the story.
  • 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: Subverted: Hikaru showed some traits in The Movie, but she also was under lots of mental pressure for other reasons and the whole Love Triangle simply made her reach a breaking point.
  • Yuppie Couple: Umao and Ushiko ("Ushiko-san!" "Umao-san!")