Koishikawa Miki leads the normal high school life of a young Japanese girl. That is until her parents take a cruise trip that will change their family together. When they return, not only do Miki’s parents tell her that they are getting a divorce, but they are going to switch partners and remarry with the Matsuura family. If that isn’t weird enough, both new families will live in the same house! What’s a girl to do?
summary by Kei
Highs: Very funny; different from your mundane anime series
Lows: A difficult main character to like; about a season too long
When I was introduced to this series, I was still very new to shoujo anime. When my friend told me that it had little to no action and fighting in it, I didn’t know what to think. I was promised one thing, however: that I would be addicted to this series. That statement quickly became the truth.
Eventually, the most appealing thing about this show was the fact that it had no action or violence. After a steady diet of space westerns, fancy fighting and magical powers, this became a very soothing series to watch. With a good love story mixed in with some comedic antics, the show grows on you really quickly.
However, every series has its flaws, and this one is no different. The main character, Miki, really began to get on my nerves. Also, I think the series really could have done without the last season. It was enjoyable, but not as much as the first two. When you get right down to it, there was really no need for it.
This is truly an anime that I cannot recommend to everyone. For those unfamiliar with shoujo themes or have a low tolerance for new ideas, you probably won’t like it. If you’re looking for something different in your anime diet, do watch it.
Highs: Some amusing situations; a couple of great secondary characters
Lows: Bland animation; annoying lead characters; too much melodrama
This is an anime I had to see. After all, it has been popular for years, being one of the most cited and revered shoujo series on the Internet. Unfortunately, as in many cases, reality can exceed expectation. In the case of Marmalade Boy, this is not the exception.
The premise of the story is a good one, as it is not often that you get to see two couples switching partners and deciding to live together under one roof. If you decide to go along with this scenario, as improbable in real life as it is, you can imagine the vast latitude that it can give for comedic moments. Unfortunately for us, this is not a romantic comedy, but rather a straight forward romance, and many chances for memorable moments are lost in the process. Instead are two unlikely protagonists: Koishikawa Miki, a stubborn, jealous, dumb, clumsy, insecure and indecisive girl that puts the drama in “drama queen”, and Matsura Yuu, the stoic, faithful, shy, inexpressive and quite boring lead man. Talk about a poor choice of main characters to shoulder the fate of a story! It is virtually impossible to connect with them since there is no way to empathize with such personalities. As far as the story goes, the melodrama is key. It is safe to say that a nice soap opera could be made from it since there are the two main elements that always follow this genre of entertainment: highly clichéd, repetitive romantic moments, and a lot of switching partners that make shows like Melrose Place proud. To make matters worse, the production values are not that much better, as the animation is poor (although it gets a bit better in the last third of the series) and the music is so standard that I can’t even remember it after viewing more than 70 episodes.
There is, however, a bright spot: a side story concerning Akizuki Meiko, probably the most important of the secondary characters, which is gut wrenching and heart warming at the same time. I believe this story and this character are so good that, if a 12-episode story were made out of it, it would have been popular by itself. You can also argue that some of the secondary characters are cute and have very distinctive personalities; in reality, it is them that keep the anime from falling into the abyss.
When I was making my final assessment as to what made this anime popular in the first place, I realized that, aside from Sailor Moon, the shoujo genre had at the time been abandoned for years, lacking good representation not involving magical girls throughout the early ’90s. This lack of competition gave Marmalade Boy a fertile ground to grow and, in the process, gave the genre a shot in the arm, providing further proof that the anime geared towards the female audience could still make money. Still, this is a series that I can only recommend to people interested in products that had historical relevance. As for the content itself, all I have to say is that you should be prepared to yawn and roll your eyes a lot.
Marmalade Boy can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.