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Marmalade Boy


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-16 of 76
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • source: fansub
  • form: sub
  • genre: shoujo
  • made: 1994
  • Review created: Mon Oct 1 20:06:57 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This is classic, old style shoujo soap opera. Set in high-school and full of emotionally uncertain, but cute, young teens with complex inter-relationships. It's dated stuff from a more innocent age and naturally I don't respect it at all...although I did watch all 16 episodes I had in one sitting and really want to go find more as soon as possible.


Some kids at high school consider and form couples. The end.

Needless to say it's a lot richer than that. We follow Miki who is more than a little innocent but makes up for that in cute and genki (energetic and cheerful). Her life has been, rather dramatically, turned upside down with the news that her parents are getting that they can each marry a member from another couple they met in Hawaii. Miki, who dislikes (but suffers from) emotional turmoil is less than impressed. The news that they'll all be moving in together, and that the other couple has a son her age, not calming her much at all.

While this element is sorted out quickly it sets a chain of events in motion. She finds herself attracted to the rather cool, but reserved, new boy who lives in her house. This causes a male friend, and one time potential partner, to take drastic actions in response. She ropes her female friend into it, the guy's ex-girlfriend forces herself into it and before you know it there's a tangled web of attraction and repulsion between the various players. And no matter what event should happen, no matter how mundane (or on occasions dramatic and profound), it reverberates through this complex structure and the personalities involved within it.


If you hate shoujo, or only like the new twisted and dark stuff, then feel free to move on. This is fairly much shoujo in the classic style. The anime club I first saw this at (MAS) used to use it as the final series in order to chase the shounen crowd from the building. It really is quite traditional and easy to make fun of.

It also has quite a lot of pull, showing just how much power the formula has. Even as you recognize the artificiality of the events, the convenient co-incidences that keep the story spinning and the almost total inability of anyone to make a lasting decision you get drawn into it. The characters are interesting, cute, and quite sympathetic. The most minor event, for instance a tennis match, becoming an important event thanks to the overlaid emotional and character interaction. And, should you become too comfortable, the show always has a surprise to spring on you and upset everything that went before. And when a character gets hurt, emotionally, boy do you feel for them.

There is a goodly amount of skill contained to make it all work. The characters all have a role to play, something that makes them interesting and unusual and also a `hidden' depth that is slowly called out over the series. The main driver being the lead `couple' of Miki and Yuu (her `brother'). Miki is the true `receptive' type, with a tendency to feel everything deeply and react strongly. Yuu is the `cool' type, with a calm but somewhat cold exterior, and controlled manner, which hints at secrets contained within. There's a good variety of other characters each of whom is interesting in themselves in addition to adding to the complexity of the whole.

It's just really, scarily, addictive. In the wider view nothing of any real note happens. No alien invasions, historical mysteries or magic interfere with a relatively mundane school life. But in practice you always want to know what happens next. How will the character respond to what has happened? how will they solve the problem? when will they discover the secret? what will happen next. It's fairly obvious that Yuu and Miki are well suited, if not destined, for one another but even if the conclusion is known the path will be long and winding to get to that point. And, like much shoujo, the fun is as much in the detail and the travel as much as the conclusion.

The artwork is quite unimpressive by today's standards..but then Shoujo series like this have never depended on such things. Much of the expression, even the actual cute value of the characters, is expressed in a sort of stylized way, almost like a shoujo manga. Once you become comfortable with the style it is very comfortable, and has some charm, but it's not initially very attractive. There's also lots of mechanisms, such as focus shots, symbols and still frames to comment on what is happening. Action is minimal and tends to devolve into still frames quickly, which actually fits the style. The voices are quite good and the music, while perhaps not too varied, is light and addictive.

Other Reviews

  • THEM review An excellent and in-depth review from THEM which seems to match my own feelings. Un-ashamedly shoujo and skilled production that some will love and some will detest. It's pretty clear that the engaging characters and story have charmed THEM though (4/5).
  • Anime Review review Always nice to see an entry from the Anime review, and the news here is positive. While he mentions he's only seen the first couple of hours he finds the series to be terribly involving and addictive right from the start. He makes some comparisons with KOR which i'm uncertain is a wise choice, but otherwise an entertaining and positive review (5/5).
  • Lord Carnage review A relatively short review but quite a positive one. While Carnage admits it feels like a soap opera he recognises that it is addictive and can be quite touching. I have to mention his review anyway for the rather amusing, although admittedly quite a spoiler, relationship diagram on the review. In the end though he's not going to herald this as a classic (3.5/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:21 WST 2009