The following is KAEL's guide to the KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD TV series finale (with pictures!). Lots of things will happen in this terrifically-directed conclusion to the wonderful series that is KOR. The love between Kasuga Kyosuke and Ayukawa Madoka will be declared, and their romance will play out in several beautiful scenes. Kyosuke will finally come clean about his unusual "secret." Madoka's whimsical character will be explored and explained like never before. And everything will be illustrated with exceptional animation. It's such a great ending to this wonderful series, we have to dedicate a page for it. Hideaki Anno, take some notes!
Kyosuke is devastated to discover that Madoka met her first love - and had her first kiss - under that very tree six years ago. Who was the lucky guy? That's what Kyosuke gets to find out as he unknowingly time slips to the world of six years ago, thanks to his mischevious grandfather.
Kyosuke doesn't know that he's in a six-years-ago world at first. But slowly he catches on. A construction site lies on the spot where his house should be. His 500 yen coin can't be used. He even bumps into young Yusaku and Hikaru, bickering like always. Dismayed that Madoka is probably with her first love, Kyosuke decides to rest under a tree. He's quickly awakened by a little kid. We can safely guess that this little kid is the tomboyish young Madoka. She tells him that he'll catch a cold sleeping like that, in the middle of the day. He tells her that's why they call it a nap. Being the bumbling idiot that he often is, Kyosuke tries to buzz the kid off. But before he gets very far, the two of them are attacked by soccer thugs. Young Madoka shows off some Pelé-caliber skills, but she's no match for the thugs. Just as she's thrown off a cliff, Kyosuke rescues her with his ESP powers. By the way, Kyosuke's powers are illustrated like never before. They appear to be much more powerful, replete with lightning sizzles and rock-shattering intensity. Anyway, after the rescue, Kyosuke discovers that the kid is actually a girl. He tells her to act more like a girl, namely, to have long hair, be nice, and wear a skirt. She in turn tells him her name, and runs away.
Meanwhile, in the present, Madoka finds out that she must go to America for her ailing father. And she wants to say goodbye to Kyosuke. But he's no where to be found. Madoka finally runs up the stairs to where they first met and sees...Kyosuke's grandfather. Like a mischevious matchmaker, he also sends her to the six-years-ago world...
Kyosuke is desperate to return to the present. While he's amazed to see the young Madoka in her old tomboyish self (the viewer is pretty amazed too), he doesn't want to be stuck in the same world with her. But young Madoka just won't leave him alone. She's attacked by thugs again, and Kyosuke must rescue her again. However, we find that she's wearing a skirt this time. She must have changed into feminine clothes because that's what Kyosuke prefers, complete with a pretty straw hat. That is so cute! Well, Kyosuke discards the thugs in no sweat thanks to his powers. But young Madoka loses her hat. To replace it, Kyosuke buys her a (what else?) red straw hat.
To thank him for everything, young Madoka gives Kyosuke a surprise kiss under the big tree, then runs away with her new red hat. Suddenly, he realizes that he was Madoka's first love from six years ago. And he was the one who encouraged her to be the beautiful woman she will become in the future. Without missing a beat, Kyosuke yells his promise to see her again under the big tree six years later. As young Madoka disappears in the distance, grown-up Madoka materializes in front of him.
To explain the whole paranormal situation, Kyosuke confesses his "secret" to grown-up Madoka by the playground swings. This was the place where he almost confessed his feelings for her when she "had to leave for America" the first time. Now that she's leaving for real, he tells her everything, without hesitation or nervous hiccups. Kyosuke has noticably matured when it comes to his feelings for Madoka. She, in turn, takes the news like the goddess that she is. Whether he's an ESPer or a normal person makes no difference; he's simply the man she loves, that's all. An emotional embrace follows, as the two finally confess the feelings they've bottled up for more than two years.
Since the two lovebirds expect to be stuck in this world for quite some time, Kyosuke decides to get some food. But instead of getting food, he actually slips down some stairs and time slips to a parallel world where he never existed. The difference is dramatic. Hikaru and Yusaku are nasty school kids who are also going out together?! Hatta and Komatsu are policemen?!!! Madoka is more gangster than ever. But it doesn't take long before Kyosuke works his charm over her. When she is kidnapped and threatened by a rival gang, he shows up to rescue her (this is the third time!) with his stronger-and-stronger powers. All these happenings are quite out of place after that lovely romantic interlude, and this unnecessary parallel world is probably used just to keep Kyosuke away from the original Madoka while she has a conversation with her younger self. Their conversation reveals a lot about Madoka's character and inner feelings. When asked by the older Madoka if she likes Kyosuke, the young Madoka says - with enthusiasm - "Yes. I love him. I'm going to be his wife."
And that's what this whole time-traveling trip is all about: an elaborate setting for Kyosuke to be alone with Madoka (both the younger and older one) to establish their romantic future (oh, and look for in-jokes, like the meeting of Umao & Ushiko and Jingoro as a kitten). If not for Kyosuke's interference with the six-years-ago world, many future events and certain character's personalities would not be what they will be. And the viewer would not get to know Madoka as well as we do now. She's been a mystery to Kyosuke for the entire TV series. But this two-episode finale finally shed some light on her intricate character and feelings, without diminishing any of her whimisical qualities. This time-traveling idea worked so well, it was copied in the Shin KOR Movie, albeit with less spectacular results. Anyway, all this time-traveling must come to an end. Kyosuke eventually time slips out of the parallel world, and reunites with Madoka. He assures her that he will wait for her return from America. Having sensed that his matchmaking gig worked, Kyosuke's grandfather sends Kazuya to bring them back. Kazuya asks Kyosuke and Madoka for the time they want to return to, and this is when they chose...