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File:Kimagureorangeroad.jpg

Kimagure Orange Road[1] is an manga and anime that dates back to the 1980s, but 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) and has eyes only for Madoka, who acts alternately sweet and cold 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. 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.

Tropes used in Kimagure Orange Road include:


  • Action Girl: Madoka. Also, the Delinquent girls she used to hang out with; a Filler anime episode centers on Madoka and one of them.
  • Almost Kiss: Kyōsuke and Madoka love doing this.
  • Beach Episode: The pilot, and some later episodes.
  • Betty and Veronica: With Hikaru as Betty, Madoka as Veronica, and Kyōsuke as Archie.
    • Sayuri Hirose tries to become a Third Option Love Interest and get Kyōsuke away from them. She fails.
    • Arguably a Deconstruction, in that Betty!Hikaru is the spoiled one, while Veronica!Madoka is the more reserved and selfless one. The only true resemblence to a real Betty and Veronica is that Hikaru is middle-class and Madoka is rich, and yet both are as equally likable and deep as the other.
  • Big Eater: The twins Kurumi and Manami.
  • Blind Without'Em: Poor, poor Manami.
  • Bokukko: Madoka, as a little girl. She grows up into a full-fledged Tsundere.
  • Broken Bird: Madoka
  • Butt Monkey: Hikaru's childhood friend/whipping boy Yūsaku.
    • And Jingoro, the Kasuga's cat in the anime.
  • 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 Dis Continuity : Komatsu is given two different first names during the series: Seiji (the more widely accepted one) or Masashi. Considering how little we know of any character that isn't in the Kasuga family, it's quite possible They Just Didn't Care.
  • Character Exaggeration: Hikaru, in the TV series, sometimes goes from genuine Genki Girl to straight The Ditz. Of course, this is flanderized to death by her haters.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: The first movie. The second movie tried very hard to set it up again.
  • 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.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Oh God, Yusaku.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: 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.
  • Cool Big Sis: Madoka, towards the younger kids. Shu's girlfriend Yukari is a slightly more traditional version.
  • Death by Childbirth: Kyōsuke's mother, Akemi, died after the twins' birth.
  • Delinquents: Madoka and her ex-friends.
  • 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 Mountaintop: 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.
  • Freaky Friday: in an episode, Kyōsuke and his Cute Shotaro Boy cousin Kazuya switch bodies. Kyōsuke does that because he hopes to gain Kazuya's telepathy, but it does not work that way!
  • The Glomp: "Daaaarliiiiiing!"
  • Groundhog Day Loop: Done a looong time before the movie came out, before the concept was even well-known.
  • 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).
  • Hot Amazon: 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.
  • Idol Singer: Mitsuru Hayakawa is a male one. And yes, Kyōsuke switches bodies with him.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: From the Hot Amazon 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
  • In Love with Love / Loving a Shadow: 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).
  • Jerkass: Hikaru can be downright cruel to Yūsaku.
    • Not realy helped by how she makes it clear that she doesn't want to date him, and yet he's still pretty much a Crazy Jealous Guy over her and often acts like she's his personal property.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: The background music during a Superman sequence comes this close to the classic movie theme, without breaking into the good part (and breaking copyright).
  • Lethal Chef: Kurumi
  • Love Triangle: And how. The KOR love triangle is so definitive, other romantic comedies had to invent the Love Dodecahedron.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Takashi is the only non-powered Kasuga because he married into the clan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Meganekko: Manami has one of the more dedicated fanbases in KOR fandom, and her meganekko status plays an important part of this.
  • Mega Neko: New Year's Special filler episode.
  • Mouthy Kid: Kazuya, sometimes.
  • Mushroom Samba: Kurumi uses her powers to turn some normal mushrooms blue. They have side effects. Hilarity Ensues.
  • No Smoking: Kyōsuke successfully gets Madoka to kick the habit. She starts it again in the second movie, though.
  • Official Couple: Kyōsuke/Madoka
  • Ordinary High School Student: Kyōsuke... except for his psychic powers.
  • Pair the Spares: Averted. After Hikaru is dumped by Kyōsuke, it would seem obvious that she and Yūsaku 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. (She did get a pity-screw in Spring Wonder, though).
  • Parental Abandonment: Madoka loves her parents and they love her back, but they work abroad (Dad is an orchestra conduictor, 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 thr 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
  • Psychic Powers
  • Revenge Fic: "Revenge Road", anyone? Poor Hikaru!
  • Running Gag: The Yuppie Couple whose confessions of love always get interrupted.
  • Say My Name: All said Yuppie Couple ever does.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Akane Kasuga, and young Shiori from the TV series.
  • Secret Keeper: The Kasuga family must keep their psychic powers a secret, which tends to be a problem for Kyōsuke.
    • Also, both Manami and the Master of Abcb know that Kyōsuke and Madoka have feelings for each other (even more so in the manga).
  • Sexophone: 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...
  • Shorttank: Hikaru mixes this with some Kawaiiko traits.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Madoka loves Kyosuke for this, and because he was the first guy in their school (aside of Yusaku) who approached her without fear.
  • Stable Time Loop: Involved in the time travel plot in the last two episodes of the TV series, as Madoka remembers meeting Kyōsuke 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: Kyōsuke and Kazuya. When the latter is introduced, everyone outside the Kasuga family comments on how he looks just like a five-year-old Kyōsuke.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Madoka. An Ur Example and Trope Codifier
    • Akemi also was one.
  • Team Mom: Manami. She even helps keep her father in line when he's a little too lax in parenting.
  • Tenchi Solution: Of the "Don't commit completely" variety.
  • The Other Darrin: There have been three casts for the main charas:
  • Token Yuri Girl: Akane Kasuga.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Madoka and Hikaru, Kurumi and Manami.
  • Tsundere: Once again, Madoka.
    • Madoka is quite moody, but only occasionally tsundere-like. "Kimagure" literally means, "whimsical" or "coquettish" and clearly refers to Her.
      • Actually Madoka is commonly cited as one of the original codifiers of the Tsundere archtype. Her complexity as a Tsundere is often favorably compared to the Flanderized ultra-violent, whiny and bitchy nature of many modern Tsundere.
  • Wonderful Life: In the final episode.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Manami, the oldest of the twins. Madoka too, in her gentler moments.
    • And Akemi.
  • Yandere: Hikaru was *this* close to become one in The Movie. She got better (sorta), though.
  • Yuppie Couple: Umao and Ushiko ("Ushiko-san!" "Umao-san!")
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Madoka uses it once in a while.

Notes

  1. Quirky Orange Road
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