All Miki Koishikawa wanted was an ordinary family...and that’s exactly what she had until her parents decided to move in with another couple and turned Miki’s world upside down. Now she lives in a house with four parents and her totally cute stepbrother Yuu. It’s bad enough being brought into her parents’ strange soap opera, but Miki will star in a soap of her own as she deals with friends having affairs, trying to survive in school and ending up torn between her long-time crush, Ginta, and her new stepbrother!
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The plot of the popular teen comedy Marmalade Boy consists of a series of interlocking romantic polygons that suggest a cross between The Brady Bunch and As the World Turns. Toryo High School junior Miki Koshikawa is appalled when her parents announce that they and their friends the Matsuras have decided to divorce, switch partners, remarry, and live together. This marital mix-and-match scheme forces Miki into contact with the Matsuras' handsome son Yuu. His mischievous sense of humor plays against what is basically a warm, gentle nature, leading Miki to compare him to the bittersweet taste of orange marmalade.
The budding romance between Miki and Yuu upsets Ginta, whom Miki nurtured a crush on two years earlier. Arimi, Yuu's conniving former girlfriend, suggests she and Ginta pretend to date to make Miki jealous. Their sham romance infuriates Ginta's obnoxious cousin Tsutomu, who adores Arimi and hates Yuu. Tsutomu provides welcome comic relief, as he's always losing bets that require him to shave his head. Meanwhile, Meiko, Miki's best friend, dodges the attentions of student body president Satoshi to pursue a star-crossed romance with one of her teachers.
It's not clear just what Yuu and Ginta see in fussy, indecisive Miki. The relationships in Marmalade Boy go through more twists and turns than an L.A. freeway, but the series ran for 76 episodes--three times as long as Evangelion, which also debuted in 1995--and has remained popular ever since. (Rated 13 and older: minor cartoon violence, minor profanity, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
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