Kimagure Orange Road TV Vol. #12 - 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. #12

By Paul Grisham     January 04, 2003
Release Date: June 05, 2002


Kimagure Orange Road TV Vol. #12
© 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!
We have walked many miles on the Kimagure Orange Road, and had some good times and some not so good times. But as we prepare to take the final steps, we realize that the road doubles back on itself, leaving us right back where we started.

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 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.)

Some shows save the best for last. Kimagure Orange Road has saved the worst episode of the entire series to kick off this, the final collection of episodes in the TV series. When Kyosuke feels remorseful for his poor treatment of Hikaru, he has a fitful dream in which he believes that she has died. Instead of providing the viewer with some reason to believe that Kyosuke has any real feelings for Hikaru, the episode comes off as dull, awful, and utterly transparent.

This episode is basically a rehash of many of the ideas from an earlier episode, in which Hikaru was ill, but Kyosuke believed that she was dying. Once again, the show fails to realize that Kyosuke dumping Hikaru is far from the end of the world, but instead exaggerates the whole thing for cheap melodrama. What is worst is that Kyosuke’s grief comes off as insincere. By the rules the show is playing with now, nothing he learns will be remembered by next week. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this episode.

In the next episode, the final standalone episode of the series, the gang decides to take a skiing trip together. Unlike the previous episode, this is Kimagure Orange Road at its formulaic best. Kyosuke wants quality time with Madoka, Hikaru wants quality time with Kyosuke, Yuusaku wants to confess his feelings to Hikaru, and Kazuya is floating around, causing trouble for every one (this time out, charming rather than annoying.) When Kyosuke and Madoka wind up stranded together in the snow, we once again get the feeling that these two would be great together – sensitive, caring, and trusting, and better together than apart.

Though the story really doesn’t go anywhere in getting the two together, it is still appealing, light, funny, touching and optimistic. If the show had been able to maintain this level of quality through the last few discs, I would have been willing to declare the series an unqualified classic romantic comedy. Instead, episodes like this only serve to demonstrate by comparison how annoying and repetitive the show has become over the last dozen or so episodes. This is exactly the kind of episode I would like to come to mind, when I remember Kimagure Orange Road as a series.

The final two episodes on this disc form something like a two-part finale to the series. I won’t say too much about it, except to say that the show finally uses Kyosuke’s time-travel powers effectively to show us what is, what was, what could have been, and leave us hopeful of what will come. It’s a stirring and satisfying ending that draws in themes and plot threads going all the way back to the first episode.

Though some anime fans like to have every little detail worked out by the end of a series, that isn’t really the kind of ending we get here. It is the kind of ending that doesn’t explain everything away, but still leaves some things to the viewer’s imagination. It’s a beautiful ending, but would have been so much stronger, if it had not been preceded by the absolute lack of continuity in the previous episodes. It is all too easy to imagine that absolutely nothing has been resolved conclusively, given the rules the show has playing by for the past dozen or so episodes.

Though there are still a handful of OAV episodes, and two theatrical movies (which promise to fill in the details of what comes next), this is a great pair of episodes, and ranks among the best the series has to offer. Though the series wandered around aimlessly at times, I am glad that it was able to pull together such a satisfying ending, even if it wasn’t something that we feel like the show has been building up to for a while, and even if it still leaves some details to be worked out. The finale here wasn’t the grand-slam home run I was hoping for, but it is good enough. I know that fans out there will be clamoring for Animeigo to hurry up and get the movies and OAVs out, but after the three solid episodes to end the TV series, I am happy and content with the way things came to an end here.

Though not every episode was a classic, the walk along the Kimagure Orange Road was worth taking, and this disc is essential viewing for anyone who has been following the show up to now. Except for the first episode, each episode on this collection was one I enjoyed revisiting for this review, and will certainly look forward to rewatching again and again.



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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