Kimagure Orange Road TV Vol. #05 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AnimEigo
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kimagure Orange Road

Kimagure Orange Road TV Vol. #05

By Paul Grisham     June 26, 2002
Release Date: June 05, 2002


Kimagure Orange Road TV Vol. #05
© AnimEigo


What They Say
High School student Kasuga Kyosuke has problems with women. Big time!

First, he thinks he's falling in love with the beautiful and somewhat mysterious Ayukawa Madoka, but he's not at all sure if Madoka feels the same way about him.

Second, he's being pursued by the exceedingly sweet, cute and bubbly Hiyama Hikaru, who has taken to calling him "Darling" and asking him if she'll make a good wife.

The two girls are total opposites – and best friends since childhood. Which means that Kyosuke's love life is somwhat complicated.

But wait – Kyosuke's women troubles are far from over. He's got two bratty sisters to worry about, and his two sex-crazed buddies ar stalking them! And one of the toughest guys in the Karate Club, who is rather annoyed about him "stealing" Hikaru, is stalking him!

Now, Kyosuke does have one thing going for him. Both he and his sisters have inherited the family gift – Paranormal Powers! Teleportation, Telekinesis, Precognition – they can do it all. Unfortunately, if anyone catches them using their Powers, they'll have to leave town. And it turns out that Kyosuke's Powers are much better at getting him into trouble than out of it.

All this means that life is rarely boring (and always hilarious) on KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD!

The Review!
School is out for the summer, and it is all about quality time for Madoka and Kyosuke as Kimagure Orange Road becomes more sweepingly romantic than ever before.

Audio:
The only audio track is the original Japanese version – basically a unidirectional stereo mix. The audio is satisfying, but there is some scratch and hiss as you might expect from a 15 year old television show. There is nothing that really detracts from the show, though.

Video:
This is an old show, and at times looks it. There is some print damage. Reds are over saturated and subject to bleeding. Edge enhancement and compression artifacts are just about everywhere for those looking for them, as well as a fair amount of cross coloration. More disappointing is that some of the fine lines in the show are unstable, giving the image a flickering quality at times. This instability is probably due to the a combination of noise reduction and edge enhancement.

Packaging:
The packaging for the individual discs is kind of disappointing. Each case is thematically color coded so that the series has a nice rainbow progression to it when arranged in order. The front of each case includes a character image that shows off the lovely character designs. The discs themselves are silk-screened with the same image, and actually look very good. The problem is with the back cover of the cases. Each case includes a screen capture from the show, which unfortunately shows off the video problems described above. In addition, there are quite a few printing problems with the text. In addition to some spelling and formatting problems, there appears to be a general lack of quality in the printing, as the text seems to fade toward the end of each line.

Menus:
The menus put each episode up front on the main menu, with cycling animation from the episodes. Unfortunately, whenever a viewer changes the selection, the animation resets, causing quite a bit of slow down while navigating. It takes several seconds to select through to the fourth episode, for instance. There is no way to select a specific chapter within an episode from the menus. You would have to select the particular episode, then use the chapter skip to the desired location. Given that each episode is in a separate title, and the menu is slow to navigate, it can be a frustrating experience. Unlike some other Animeigo menus, there is no audio element to the menus.

Extras:
None.

Content:
(Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers.)

It is summer vacation, but things aren't all fun and games, as Kyosuke is saddled with a veritable mountain of homework to complete during the break. Things start looking up when Madoka calls and invites him to the library to work together on their assignments. But fickle Kyosuke gets himself into trouble when he also agrees to meet Hikaru for some fun at the pool. He knows he would rather be with Madoka, but he cannot bear the thought of leaving Hikaru alone, and with his sisters at the pool with ber-creeps Hatta and Komatsu, he is forced to use his power to teleport back and forth between the two locations to keep both situations in hand. Of course, Kyosuke's foolish games threaten to disrupt Madoka's real plans for the two of them.

Next, Kyosuke and the gang take a much-needed vacation to an island resort. What they don't realize at first is that the reason they are able to get such good prices on the trip is that the particular weekend they are going, the beach near the resort gets waves of such intense force that even veteran surfers cannot handle them. The story is that the ghost of a woman who lost her lover on that very beach appears when the waves reach their strongest. When the gang sees a sad and lonely woman surfing, they at first she might be the ghost, but once they learn her story, Madoka surprises everyone by declaring her intention to surf the monster waves.

Still at the resort, the gang decide to rent sailboats for the afternoon. They draw lots to decide how to split up, and Kyosuke and Madoka wind up together (Did Kyosuke use the Power to rig the results?), but they get caught in a powerful current that draws them farther away from the main island and deeper out to sea. Kyosuke uses the last of his strength and Power to get them to a tiny island, and when the boat slips moorings and drifts out to see, they are stranded, and alone.

The final episode sends our cast off to the school's tennis camp in the countryside. Through a mistake (and more than a little meddling from mischievous Kurumi) Kyosuke winds up in the advanced class with Madoka, even though he has never played tennis before in his life. Kyosuke is so out of his league in his class that Madoka agrees to give him private lessons. Hikaru had been hoping to get some quality time with Kyosuke at the camp, but she is trapped with the beginner class. One night, she sneaks out to find her Darling and stumbles onto him and Madoka practicing in the woods at a particularly awkward and intimate moment. She must really suspect Kyosuke's true feelings for Madoka because she immediately assumes the worst and runs off. Things get even worse for poor Hikaru when a lecherous college student teaching at the camp sets his eyes on her.

On the surface, there is little difference here from previous episodes, but this time around there is a deeper, more romantic feel, something that has been lurking, but is finally brought out to the forefront here. Kyosuke and Madoka's developing romance has been growing for a while now, but it is becoming more open as she gets more direct about her real feelings for him. Hikaru stays out of the way for most of these episodes, giving Kyosuke and Madoka time to bond and grow together. There are some truly sweet moments when the two are playfully aware of the splendor and wonder of their young love. We have never seen them so close and intimate before, as when Kyosuke carries an exhausted Madoka from the beach back to the resort on his back, or when they share the last of their food on the island, or when they create a private moment for themselves during the summer fireworks festival.

What is really surprising is how mature and yearning the dialogue has become. When Madoka, wearing her special summer yukata kimono, just for Kyosuke, admonishes him, "Stop looking at me like that...", we can't help but believe that he is looking at her exactly as she wants him to. The sadness in her voice, when she asks him to forget the time she asked to spend the night together, she is not so much asking him to forget, as she is subtly implying that she might ask him again soon, for real.

I am beginning to suspect that during the missing conversation from the previous episode, Madoka has resigned herself to being the "other woman", content to do whatever it takes to be near Kyosuke. For Kyosuke, he knows that Madoka is the girl for him, even if he isn't fully aware of it yet, but he somehow cannot bring himself to release Hikaru, either out of sheer selfishness and fickleness, or because he knows it will hurt her and damage her friendship with Madoka. The way things are progressing, however, it is getting to be time for him to let her go and be honest with both girls. Madoka and Hikaru's friendship is starting to show the strain of the situation.

Even though the stories here are more serious in tone, there is still a fair amount of wild humor, giving these episodes a balance of drama and lightness that the previous volume did not have. From Kyosuke's lame excuses and alibis during his two-timing adventure, to the vain, but ineffective tennis coach, there are some really fabulously funny moments. The final episode here features a rollicking finale in which Madoka shows off her tough side and illustrates why fanboys around the world are so in love with her.

These episodes, stripped down to the core relationship between Madoka and Kyosuke, and pushing all the other characters, even Hikaru, into the background, even if only for a little while, has given the series a sudden burst of much needed romance and intrigue.




Note: In the initial release of the Kimagure Orange Road television series to DVD the opening credits were removed from the beginning of each episode, and included as extras in the credits menu. The publisher, Animeigo, has graciously agreed to remaster the Orange Road discs and exchange them for unsatisfied customers. In order to get this review published quickly, a review of the initial release is presented here. I do not expect any substantial changes to the technical portion of this review, but any issues that may come up with the remastered set will be noted here when the new discs are available.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic Panablack TV, Codefree Panasonic RP56 DVD player, Sony ProLogic receiver, Yamaha and Pioneer speakers, Monster cable. (Secondary equipment, Pioneer 105s DVD-ROM, ATi Rage Fury Pro, ViewSonic A90f, PowerDVD 3.0)

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