line in the US. The original Odyssey
was never really well liked, since it was little more than an Accord
wagon with a 3rd row seat and higher roof. It's lack of V6
power did little to help it in the market. Needless to say, it never sold very well.
Fast forward to 1999, and Honda has created a minivan which could beat Chrysler's offerings and offer higher quality and resale value as well. The new Odyssey was based off Honda's midsize platform (as are the Accord, Acura TL/CL and MDX). It's drivetrain consisted of an enlarged Accord V6, 3.5 liters, and good for over 200 horsepower, putting it ahead of all the competition at the time and Honda's standard 4 speed automatic.
While the van was well off on a mechanical standpoint, being powerful isn't what sells too many minivans, interior design is much more important, and Honda did an amazing job on the 2nd gen Odyssey. They went above and beyond the typical shitload of cupholders and easy controls though. The setup for the seats are what make this van distinctive. The second row of seats are a pair of captain's chairs which can slide together to make a bench. But the third row seat is what's really impressive, Honda has good reason to call it a "magic seat." It stores itself in the floor of the van when you're not using it, leaving you with a flat floor without having to remove anything, and it can be set up in a few minutes. It's no wonder that sales exploded after the 1999 redesign, leaving many people on waiting lists, unheard of for a minivan.
In Japan, what Americans know as the Odyssey is called the Lagreat, and the original tall Accord wagon Odyssey is still selling over there as the Odyssey. I'm guessing there isn't too much of a market for a vehicle as large as the US model Odyssey over there. Also the grille on the (US) Odyssey looks more like the Acura grille than the Honda one (comes to a point in the end instead of going straight down), maybe the Lagreat is sold as an upscale car in Japan, who knows.
Also, Acura's MDX is basically an Odyssey with a nicer interior, new body and AWD.