After the TV-series of Kimagure Orange Road, Kyosuke and Madoka have finally arrived at the point where they are close to graduation and have to decide where they want to go to college. Naturally, they want to go together, so beside all the studying they also have to look for a proper college where they can enter both.
Hikaru, still a year from graduating, wants to support Kyosuke as well and does that in her own way. But while she does that, Madoka feels jealous and tells her feelings to Kyosuke.
And then Kyosuke has to take action to finally decide on the girl he loves... thus concluding the story of the Kimagure Orange Road.
There comes a time in your life when you have to decide over something so painful.
The goofing days are finally over. Kasuga and Ayukawa are finally graduating from high school and they're moving on. This is Kimagure Orange Road without the out-of-this-world Power, over-acting Hatta and Komatsu, and crazy time-travels. What's left in this movie is raw human emotion. This is the ultimate conclusion to the Kasuga-Ayukawa-Hikaru love triangle.
Kasuga Kyosuke has to choose. I won't say who he chooses. But it's what the movie is all about.
Before you watch this, think first. If you want to remain happy with Kimagure Orange Road's TV series conclusion,
then don't ever watch this. The indecisive yet sensitive-to-others Kasuga is gone. The understanding Ayukawa is gone. The jolly and heartwarming Hikaru is gone. The Kasuga twins just make some brief appearances. Jingoro is turned into a passive cat. Hatta and Komatsu are still as horny as ever, but they're toned down, and perhaps are the only sources of humor in the movie (and they didn't do well). And for the first time since I started watching the franchise, I kind of missed the bozo Yuusaku.
The falling leaves. The telephone talks. Secrets were finally revealed. Each scene was made with subtlety and utmost care so as to deliver to us what each character really feels. They were made more human. They run after who they love. All defenses put aside, they show their hidden sides and deepest doubts and fears.
There are some parts that were totally silent except for the voices of the main characters, which was good, since it emphasized the movie's meanings more. The art, well, is still what it is: outdated. I can't really say I enjoyed the movie; it was too emotional. I was a bit shocked with its content; it was really a departure from the feel of the TV series. This is no romantic comedy, this is drama. You could feel the uneasiness, the uncertainty, the bitter parts of adolescence, embodied by Kasuga, Ayukawa and Hikaru.
Even though it doesn't contain the same warmth of its prequel, the story could be looked at as something that is more reality-based. We have to grow up. We have to take separate roads. Still, with all the emotions surrounding it, this is a worthwhile work to watch and is as gripping as any movie, only it will leave you will a feeling of nostalgia and loss, and a bit of relief and bittersweet happiness, too.
It's not often I see an anime movie based on a series that's really worthwhile. Most of the time the movie just feels very generic and dull compared to the series, like it's something they created for the sole purpose of making money. I've been disappointed by the One Piece movies, Bleach movies, Ranma movies... They had their cool points, but were overall pretty bland. This movie is not like those movies.
The animation wasn't really anything special; it was about the same quality as the series.
I really wasn't expecting an Ushiko-Umao reference in the movie. It's been a while since I watched the series, so
it was just a nice surprise and probably the only really funny part in the movie.
Spoilers below, it's hard to talk about the movie without spoiling it since he makes his decision sorta early in the movie. It's based more on their feelings and how things go after that, not indecisiveness.
Kyosuke finally tells Hikaru how he feels in this movie. It's pretty tough, but... well, it was always very one-sided from the start. She was always just pressuring and forcing him into stuff simply because she thought he looked cool the day he used his power to shoot a basketball through a hoop? I always thought Hikaru just seemed really shallow and stupid, so it's pretty easy to accept her defeat.
The movie starts off in black and white as if to set a more serious tone... it also ends in black and white after the story is explained and it returns to the point where the intro ended. Something about this feels just feels kinda incomplete... It didn't just set a serious tone, it set a kinda depressing one, like all the fun's been sucked out since Hikaru's been turned down. Are Kyosuke and Madoka happy together? They sure didn't make it look like it. Did Hikaru accept reality? I dunno what the point of her "bang" at the end was. The black and white thing makes me feel like the two aren't happy and like Hikaru didn't move on...
The movie gave the conclusion we were all waiting for, but it could've tied things up a little better, I think. It doesn't handle that very well by itself, but the second movie gives a more concrete ending.
This is the first movie which could be called a spin-off because it's an original piece of work written by Kenji Tereda, the main scenario writer for the TV series rather than based off the original Manga.
It takes on a more serious tone during the summer when Kyousuke is preparing for university entrance exams. There's no mention of supernatural powers nor are any used, just your slice-of-life romance. Kyousuke's originally kind indecisive character is changed to be more cold and decisive so it's no longer a romcom and can be quite bitter which is probably why it was ill-received. Even Izumi Matsumoto criticised the work,
suggesting viewers took it as a parallel world story instead because of how harsh it was.
The supernatural powers were partly what made the original TV series fun so with the sudden change in mood and powers left out, it just feels like your bland romance movie.
I'll be the contrarian here, and say that I actually really liked this movie. My main complaint with the TV series was how repetitive it got and how it felt more like "comedy, with like one or two bits of romance thrown in there randomly". This movie, on the other hand, felt more like "romance, with like one or two jokes thrown in there to make it a little less serious". This is probably my favorite part of the movie.
Maybe I'm committing heresy for saying this too, but I also really liked that this movie didn't focus on the side characters (the sisters, father,
cousin, random punks on the street who're after Madoka, etc), or the paranormal aspect. I'd always felt, even during the series, that the whole "esper" thing took away so much from the character development and storyline that could've otherwise been devoted towards a proper ending.
The characters in the movie seem like normal human beings, for once. Madoka isn't ridiculously arrogant, Hikaru isn't endlessly bubbly, and Kyosuke isn't indecisive or weak-willed in the slightest. Though while the characters are definitely toned down, they're not unrecognizable. They actually act their age, for once; and this, I feel, makes the movie completely worth watching.
I'd almost recommend not watching the series before watching this movie, but I suppose for it to make sense you have to have watched at least the first five-or-so episodes.
My only complaint about this movie is that it doesn't exactly feel very "finished" at the end. We have no real indication of what Madoka and Kyosuke think of each other at the end, no real indication of what standing Madoka and Hikaru are on at the end, and no mention of how the other characters feel about Kyosuke's abrupt turnaround. But maybe, this isn't such a bad thing.
Overall, this film has a much more serious and angsty tone than the series, and I'd recommend it for anyone who either hasn't gotten too deep into the TV series, or anyone who wants a realistic romance story, really.