Marmalade Boy (yes, it is a funny title) tells the story of Miki Koishikawa, your average 11th grader at an average(?) high school in Japan. Simple enough, no? The first scene of the first episode starts out with Miki at her desk writing her thoughts in a journal that she exchanges with her best friend, Meiko Akizuki. She's writing this time about how nice it would be if a little something called "love" entered into her life. Simple still. Then her parents call her into the dining room for a little tea. Miki immediately senses that something is amiss when her parents, who are always a bit too happy, sits her down for a "talk."
It turns out that on their recent trip to Hawaii, Miki's parents met the Matsuura couple, and her father fell in love with Mrs. Matsuura while her mother fell in love with Mr. Matsuura. Now, they've decided to switch partners, and to make it all work out for the best, they decide to all live together in the same house! Now things get a bit complex. Oh, and incidentally, the Matsuuras have a son Miki's age named Yuu, and Miki instantly falls for him. To add even more flavor to this already convenient setup, Miki has a friend named Ginta Suou in whom she was interested a few years back, but something happened and now they are just friends (or so Miki seems to think, heh heh). Throw Arimi Suzuki, Yuu's ex-girlfriend (and my personal favorite), into the mix, and you have a shoujo anime series without equal!
It's true that the show gets pretty sappy at times (well, a lot of times), but the hilarious and light-hearted blend of awkward circumstances, misunderstood situations, memorable characters, and an ever-twisting plot makes this show just a gem to watch. And the instant changes of the background to bubbles, flowers, stars, and comets in the all-swirling-around-a-character-in-the-shoujo-power-tradition are just plain fun to see.