Kimagure Orange Road TV Ending: Spoiler Edition

September 2, 2006 on 11:56 pm | In Kimagure Orange Road | 10 Comments

I think that Kimagure Orange Road boasted a fine, fine ending, but there is little that can be said about it without resorting to wild and dangerous spoilers. Here I throw caution to the wind and say what I really feel.

Series End Spoilers

The conclusion of Kimagure Orange Road resorts to something dangerous: time travel. If you make one step wrong, then you’re screwed. The series had experimented with time travel twice before, in two different fashions, and this is the third; it’s definitely rare to see a story that features not one but three variations on the same theme with wildly different results.
The first result was disastrous; the second worked well, partly because it was similar to one of my favourite films; and this, the final frontier, follows my own rules and thus meets with my express approval.
My personal paradox punching theory of time travel is that “whatever happened stays happened”, which I used to some effect in one of my fictional “epics”. Essentially, for cleanliness’ sake, I “believe” that one cannot change the past. I mean, did you ever read Sigmund Freud’s case studies of Bill & Ted? No, you did not. He respected the rules.

Having given you that set up, when I tell you that Kyosuke wakes up one afternoon to find that Ayukawa had arranged to meet her first love from six years ago on that day, it’s not going to be hard to realise that Kyosuke is that first love. Sadly, Kyosuke is not quite smart enough to figure that out even as he’s coming to the story’s conclusion. By telling young Ayukawa what he looks for in a woman, Kyosuke unwittingly creates the Ayukawa of modern times. The fact that he does not recognise Ayukawa is understandable, as she was quite the tomboy in her day, but his other stupidities are not so forgivable: he doesn’t recognise either Hikaru or Yuusaku, despite the fact that they are essentially shorter versions of themselves. Hikaru remained exactly the same to the modern day, but Yuusaku was much more of a cry baby in his youth. If you’ve established that you’re in a time six years previous to your own, in the same place that all of your friends lived in their youths, then there is absolutely no excuse for being surprised every time that you see someone you know.

After that we have the alternate universe where Kyosuke does not exist. In this universe, everyone is a delinquent, and the gangs rule the streets, and women leave their nemeses to be raped by their subordinates! (how did that become a standard plot in that sort of show?) It would be foolish to treat this as the result of a world without Kyosuke, and Kobayashi does not attempt to do that: he’s simply not that egotistical. It’s simply an extra complication to bring about the Doctor Who problem. Despite the fact that the first time travel episode had good Kyosuke and evil Kyosuke fighting all over the place, this episode claims that if someone touches a past version of themselves, they will disintegrate. I suppose that this is a rule that doesn’t apply to ESPers, and I am happy to accept that.
I’ve never actually seen that episode of Doctor Who (in fact, I’ve barely seen any episodes of Doctor Who, but its theme always sticks in my mind: a fake race against time to save Ayukawa from herself, as it were, was a fine way to bring about the revelation of psychic powers and the revelation of feelings that have always been painfully obvious to the audience.

The name of the episode was “Once more from the beginning”, which gave me a terrible, terrible vision of the series resetting. This was not to be the case, though, and for that I was eternally grateful. That’s not to say that there was not a reset of some variety: Kyosuke being transferred back to his waking up and realising at last that he was Madoka’s first love gives him the benefit of another kiss and the convenience of Madoka not discovering his power related secret. This is a reset that I can live with: Kyosuke’s learned his lesson, Madoka’s figured it out for herself, and everyone’s happy.

This is the beauty of the ending: it doesn’t bother with a pesky epilogue because that way madness would lie. Ending a series with two people getting together is a nice place for a conclusion because frequently, especially in a love triangle, there would be terrible repercussions. This is true of Kimagure Orange Road more than anything else: I cannot imagine how Hikaru would react. It would be the biggest betrayal in her history and it would be hard for her to get over it.

That’s simply not in the scope of the TV series: I’m looking forward to seeing it dealt with in the film. Kimagure Orange Road is one of those fun, sweet series that I savour. With each day that passes, I lament its loss of licence all the more.


  1. well, now there’s the movie(1987) and the fan-based or novel based movie(or something like that)(2001)

    the first tells what happened after the ending(the thing u’re looking forward) and the later is a film done years later(in both meanings) also about the best subject kor has =p
    btw. summer’s beginning the animation style kinda changes =p

    obs: i also i’ve read the manga. if i’m not wrong.. it gave me a better impression… also… original artwork rlz… its ayukawa ftw :3~

    Comment by berz — September 3, 2006 #

  2. hm i was just looking at the dvd box =B~~~~

    u might have seen this.. but i wish hikaru looked like this over the tv series too

    thats it =p

    Comment by berz — September 3, 2006 #

  3. Actually, there were 3 novels, but the last 2 weren’t received quite well as they were alot more mature in nature and were just semi nutty in plot. If there’s one thing that KOR does well, it’s the love triangle. When they stopped with that in the novel and tried to be something else, it just didn’t feel right. If you look around on the net, you might still be able to find a translation of the seond novel. Whether or not they were written by fans or “official”, I probably wouldn’t know.

    Comment by weirdofu — September 3, 2006 #

  4. Loved the movies. Loved them! Movie one is greatly depressing and movie two features Really Hot Kyosuke for about thirty seconds.

    Comment by Kylara — September 3, 2006 #

  5. Yeah! Depression!

    … I’ll wait until next weekend for that one.

    Comment by Alex — September 3, 2006 #

  6. Alex’s warning: The following comment contains manga spoilers.

    The manga is very different from the anime on a number of points. First, Madoka isn’t much of a delinquent with a garter of guitar picks picking fights with gangs or skateboarding the steel work of a building under construction during a thunderstorm. The characters are a bit more realistic, the stories a bit less over the top.

    2nd they mashed multiple time travel stories from the manga into two part finale.

    3rd the manga ends with a story in which Madoka leaves school, transfering overseas to America. She does this to get out of Hikaru’s way, who was still unaware of Kyosuke’s and Madoka’s feelings for one another. The truth comes out at the airport as the gang sends off Madoka. The manga does have a happy ending with Madoka surprising Kyousuke at the top of the 100 steps when she returns to Japan after she graduates.

    I enjoyed the anime, OVAs and movies but the manga does have a nice charm by not pushing the plot points to the extreme.

    Comment by Father Xmas — September 3, 2006 #

  7. KOR is easily the king of the love triangle series, without getting over the top with bloated harem-esque casts. Its hard to separate my favorite part of the series, because I liked the music, I loved the characterization and story, the “dramedy,” and I ADORE Takada Akemi’s watercolor artwork for the series. I have a signed KOR poster of Madoka singing from AX2000, and I still cant forget the auction for a pencil sketch she made which went for $15k that year o_O;;

    Comment by starcaptor — September 3, 2006 #

  8. Didn’t like how the manga left it to the reader to imagine the final scene of revealing his secret.

    Comment by Eleutheria — September 3, 2006 #

  9. omg i almost mistook 15000$ for 15$ hehe

    what google can do for ya, gez… a french site said that based on the manga, madoka is 37y old heheheh. well. ppl age hehehhehe

    anyway. the interesting thing here is… its almost 20 years since this anime was published ^^(just checked the box set… 240usd =_=U)

    now put things this way… they got espers… time travelers… its been a long time since i’ve read it… was there any alien too? heheheh if:y = and given the time discrepancies (social/cultural/whatsoevermumbojumbo) put it into some wacked scenario… its almost a SHnY anime heh.

    rant aside, it also spanned a larg collection of music(ost, bgm etc). something around 18 ‘albuns’ and well. wada kanako’s songs still wander around my playlist =p

    Comment by berz — September 3, 2006 #

  10. Loved all of Kimagure Orange Road but specifically the movies! Especially the second! KOR is just brilliant!

    Comment by greekstar — October 21, 2007 #

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