Ever since she was young, Sora has dreamed of joining the Kaleido Stage, a world-renowned performing troupe. Traveling to America alone, Sora auditions for the cast and through a series of unexpected events, she is accepted into the group. The series follows Sora as she experiences the joys, sorrows, and hardships as she strives to be the greatest performer of all…the Kaleido Star.
I first heard that Kaleido Star was a magical girl show and so I was hesitant to watch it. Well, I wouldn’t actually call it magic. Sora just possesses some incredible acrobatic ability. It has a magical girl “feel” to it but there isn’t really any magic to be found.
Still, Sora’s character is likable and believable and I was thankful for that. She joins Kaleido Stage quite by accident and encounters a diverse group of characters. Layla and Yuri, the “stars” of the show who seem shallow in the beginning but actually have their own interesting little back story. The snobby girls who have no idea why Sora was allowed to join to begin with and the girls who befriend Sora. Then there’s the director, Carlos who strives to teach Sora life lessons but in a sort of round about way that don’t always reveal themselves straight away.
The story impressed me and each episode or three presents a new challenge for Sora and her friends to overcome as they work on the stage. It also does a wonderful job of showing how difficult and stressful it is to be a performer. Keep the audience happy. The show must go on. Keep smiling no matter what. Push yourself to make it work. I was happy that the story showed all the character’s with the make-up off. They cry, they get scrapes and bruises…it really takes the audience into a world that most of us have no clue about.
Though this can mainly be classified as a drama, there are some comedic characters, in particular Fool, the spirit of Kaleido Stage. Fool only appears to those who have been chosen by the stage and thus only Sora can see him. He offers her words of wisdom and his fortune telling mainly foreshadows what will happen later on in each episode. What is funny about him is that he is a complete pervert. His constant plots to peek at Sora or Layla while bathing are enough to make your side split with laughter and Sora generally deals with this by tying him up or locking him in a drawer (Fool is only about the size of Sora’s palm).
The animation is good but the character design is a little blah and lacks detail. Studio Gonzo had a hand so the CG is wonderful but out of place in this particular series.
Kaleido Star is geared towards a younger audience. Friendship, hard work, and believing in yourself are key themes throughout the series and over all it gives a warm fuzzy feeling. I’m not saying that adults can’t enjoy Kaleido Star. After all, there’s nothing wrong with warm and fuzzy. So, for audience this is fine for anyone. Even though Fool is a bit of a pervert, Sora does a spectacular job of foiling all his attempts so, there is nothing objectionable whatsoever. Perhaps some of the more dangerous stunts (which should not be tried at home, naturally). 9/10.
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