Kimagure Orange Road

Kimagure Orange Road was a manga by Izumi Matsumoto that ran in Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1987. It was adapted into an anime directed by Osamu Kobayashi (no not that one), that ran on Japanese TV from 1987 to 1988. As such, it's about as old as I am! But then I'm something of a fan of older cartoons, I guess!

The premise is essentially a classic love triangle. Our hapless protagonist is caught between the cool "bad" girl he's got a crush on, and the silly ditzy girl who's got a crush on him. And he's got psychic powers. Of course.

At the moment, KOR is probably the show I'm most likely to say if someone asks me my favourite anime. I think a lot of the appeal is the fact that this show is just dripping with 80s aesthetic and style. The character designs for the anime are done by Akemi Takada, who also worked on Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku, so it's got a bit of a similar look to those. And the opening sequences are extremely aesthetic, here I'll link you to a youtube upload. here, this is the youtube link, click it

An image of the characters

The notional protagonist, Kyosuke, to be honest comes across like not such a great guy - mostly it's just typical teenage boy nonsense, but I think the real appeal is the character of Madoka, the archetypical "cool girl". I think watching it you just find yourself going "oh wow she really is really cool and beats people up". Or at least that's how I feel. Although over time I find Hikaru kinda interesting, especially later in the series, like when you really get into thinking about her admittedly childish infatuation with Kyosuke, and what that actually means and such. Watching some of that come to a head, especially in the film, is really something

Oh, I should talk about what there is in terms of media. So basically there's a manga, a TV series, an OVA series, and two films. At time of writing I'm a bit less than halfway through the manga, where I'm at it still feels very episodic. Digital Manga Publishing did a kickstarter for it initially, and they did eventually manage to get it out in 6 ominbus releases. It's ended up available through their website and recently the volumes started showing up on Right Stuf, so it's not too hard to come by.

On the anime side of things, there's basically the TV series, some OVA episodes that kind of slot in around the latter half of the TV series (or just afterwards if you want to keep things simple), a first movie that essentially acts as a finale to the TV series, and a second movie made a fair bit later by a different staff that kind of acts like a reunion of sorts? The TV, OVA and first movie originally came out from Animeigo in the US back on the VHS and LD days, and they did put out DVDs as well but that release is long out of print. Luckily, Discotek picked up these a few years back and put them out across two blu-ray collections in the US, one for the TV series and one for the OVAs and first movie. These are easily available from like Right Stuf or the dreaded amazon, but they are locked to Region A, so unless you're in America or the parts of Asia that use region A you'll likely need some sort of multi-region blu-ray player solution. There's also streaming options for North America, it's on Crunchyroll and also RetroCrush, but these are similarly also region-locked, so you'll probably need a VPN to access them. I find it personally kinda frustrating that there's not a way of watching it that works easily for people in the UK or Australia - especially since in Australia it seems unlikely that any local publishers will take an interest in releasing it.

The second movie is a bit of a different matter - since it's made years later by a different staff it's ended up a separate license. Back in the day ADV Films put it out on VHS and DVD and even made an English dub (the only English dub for any KOR material) but it's not been in print since ADV stopped existing. I managed to track down the DVD release on eBay, and it's not TOO hard to come by if you want it. Could probably do with being remastered though.

My manga and discs

If we go outside the English speaking world, there's DVD releases in continental Europe, in at least French and Italian, as it aired on TV there. It's hard to tell if they're still in print though. And of course in Japan there's DVD releases (although I think the first movie never made it to DVD there for some reason), and also it's on Japanese Netflix, which is the only release of the high definition masters aside from the US blu-ray.

Look, when it comes down to it, I highly recommend checking this series out by whatever means works for you - it's frustrating to me that it's not more accessible to those of us who aren't in North America but it is worth the effort to seek it out!

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