Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Marmalade Boy

Genre: Romance / Comedy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1994-1995 Toei Animation. Created by Ayumi Yoshizumi.

Marmalade Boy DVDs
Marmalade Boy Art and Manga
Marmalade Boy Games
Marmalade Boy Toys
Marmalade Boy Music
Marmalade Boy Fashion
Marmalade Boy Merchandise
Thundersenshi's Description:
Koshikawa Miki's life takes a sudden turn when her parents announce that they are going to switch partners with a couple they met in Hawaii. Though the fact remains that both of her parents still love each other as friends, Miki is freaked out. What's more, her parents have decided not to live separately. Instead, for the sake of Miki's upbringing, they've chosen to all live in the same house with the Matsuura couple...and their handsome son, Yuu. When Miki learns of this boy who is just about her age, she thought she has found herself an ally. But to her dismay, Yuu takes the current situation with calm and acceptance. And to make matters worse than it already is, she even seems to be falling for Matsuura Yuu...

Be careful what you wish for... >>> by MarkPoa
At the beginning of the series, Miki Koshikawa was wondering when her life would become more exciting. Well, as the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for.

Marmalade Boy has been around for ages. I've been trying to find a copy to watch since I was in college. Now, four years later, I managed to finish the series.

My impression: This series has to have one of the most convulated love multi-sided polygons in anime history! I haven't seen more angles in a love equation since Ranma 1/2. To give the makers credit, most situations were handled realistically. Love triangles are not left hanging unresolved for very long. But, midway through the 76-episode series, somehow I can't shake the feeling that the story was just extended and extended by adding more people into the mix of the Yuu-Miki relationship. I mean, the first triangle (er, square?) between Ginta-Miki-Yuu and Miki-Yuu-Arimi was fine and dandy. When that got resolved, it seemed like people just kept coming into their lives every week pining after either Miki (if they're male) or Yuu (if they're female). Because of that, I found the other subplots more interesting to watch, particularly the Miwa-Reiko-Shinichi love triangle. While I'd wish it were resolved differently, the resolution was presented in a realistic way that even I found that it was better that way.

The characters are a mixed bag. I liked some of them, in particular: Yuu, his friend Miwa, and his childhood friend Anju. But some of them (the American Michael springs to mind), didn't seem to have any significant impact into the story at all, aside from providing another angle to the relationships. Another petty reason why I'd gripe would be: out of the three characters I liked, two of them didn't end up with anyone by the end of the series... what's up with that?

Art and animation-wise, Marmalade Boy might show its age compared to recent anime. But, that's not saying the animation is bad. The art is clean and decent. My main gripe for the art, though, would be that the men look a little similar to each other and everyone seemed to be a long-legged, long-necked, thin high schooler. Aren't there any people with different body shapes in the Marmalade Boy world? It seems as if there is no need for diet and beauty products in their world.

I would say that I enjoyed watching the series at first, but like I said, midway through the series, I was just struggling to complete it. The comedy aspect of the series seems to level off and decrease halfway through the series to give way to more complicated situations. New characters get introduced for no more reason than to complicate matters further for the main couple. Major of all, the constant angsting of Miki becomes tedious and irritating by the latter half of the series. Sometimes, like some of the other female characters in the show, I wonder why Yuu puts up with her. Curiously enough, I thought that Yuu's characterization improved as the series went on. At first, his almost perfect attitude and actions in the first part of the series seemed too good to be true. By the latter half, I was going "well, that's more like it." The fact that he was at fault in their first break up made him seem more like a realistic high schooler.

For those new to shoujo anime, though, this might be a good place to start. Unfortunately, you might feel that it should have ended earlier...

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 6

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