Starlight is a song and dance revue troupe loved throughout the world. Karen and Hikari make a promise with each other when they were young: one day, they'll stand on the Starlight stage together. Time passes, and now the girls are 16 years old. Karen is very enthusiastic about the lessons she takes every day, holding her promise close to her heart. Hikari has transferred schools and is now away from Karen. But the cogs of fate turn, and the two are destined to meet again. The girls and other Stage Girls will compete in a mysterious audition process to gain acceptance into the revue.
The school-music combi genre has seen its share of influences from early series such as KyoAni's K-On! and Hibike! Euphonium to Sunrise's Love Live! School series, sprinkling in A-1 Picture's Your Lie In April to name a few.
Enter the new competitor in the stream of school-music genre-based arithmetic: Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight, from the studio that brought you the breath-taking and captivating Made In Abyss, and a competent staff team that's now well respected, that gave their all from the get-go.
At first, I wasn't quite keen on watching this with the said genres as the formula as been consistent no matter the numerous series that the
anime scene offers each and every time...until someone recommended me this series, and despite my disdain from the genre, I tried it...and wow did Episode 1 blew me away, and I would say that this series has one of the strongest openings of the season. With that said, judging from MAL's fanbase, this looks to be an underrated series too (anyone agree to not agree on this?).
This series focuses on 2 aspects (without getting much into spoilers):
The Starlight, which on the outside looks just like a normal play to everyone (as you can see just like how you would promote a play in the school) and just like a play, it's only the tip of the iceberg;
The Revue, which is an audition, with the weird spectating talking giraffe (which seemed to be the judge), judges the Starlight girls based on their ability to shine forth, to fight against each other in song, dance and battle to gain acceptance into the Revue.
The characters are generic but unique in their prowess to showcase themselves in spirit and in truth, and though they don't look like any other girls out there (since it's an all-girls school), with a little bit of childhood memories, desires and goals that our 9-girls Starlight team has to fulfill, the stage is set for all 9 of them to realize their footsteps and to gain the one and only Position Zero, the MC of the Revue.
The art and animation is where the staff team really puts their best effort into the series. If you know the legendary Kunihiko Ikuhara with his work on Utena 2 decades back, think director Tomohiro Furukawa as the 2nd coming of Ikuni, with the directing style imitating that of Ikuni and most likely where the similarities start to show with the insane directing that's apparent in the Revue showcases, which look god-damn excellent to the eyes and with perfect directing timing.
And since this is a music series, let's not forget the man behind the music direction: Tatsuya Katou, with his work on the Free!, Shokugeki no Souma and the Love Live! Sunshine! series, that music excellence is replicated here with the overall excellent OST, from both the OP and ED to the Revue showcase songs, it was splendid with its outstanding execution.
And yet, this series doesn't get much more attention than it used to have, probably due to the low marketing plan for this show. For music lovers and probably the few of you out there who adore high quality anime, this series is a highly recommended one in the season that's a slew of imitation upon imitation, not to mention that this series is original too, keeping the ante factor up by a few notches.
I was wanting to wait till the 4th episode so I have a better understanding of what's happening. 4th Episode just aired and I'm still lost on the purpose. All I know is that It's fucking Magical!
Edit 8/5/18 3: 08:59 AM: My original review was taken down cause the episode count at the time was only two. In the time I've been waiting to repost this and make some minor adjustments. I've started watching another show that has a striking resemblance in a couple regards. I'm talking about "Revolutionary Girl Utena"
It might be just me but the two shows seem alike. Obviously compared to
the 90's or 80's of when "Revolutionary Gir Utena" Was released, Then this show is better in regards to the story, Animation and doesn't have as many annoying cliches you find. The fight scenes with swords in both shows is what I think really sells it for me that these are kind of similar.
The animation is fluid the characters dance nice and the art style is better then what I'd expect.
The singing is good and the singers tend to match the original voice actor ( I don't know if its the voice actor singing or someone else entirely)
The characters all have nice designs and besides one girl whose name Is like Banana for some reason, The entire cast of girls has their own unique design.
I love the relationship between Karen and her roommate. I even love the relationship between Karen and her childhood friend even more. I really like that the story isn't treating us the audience like adults and not just telling us everything.
It doesn't just go and have a character be like " We were childhood friends" Or " See this entire story is because of X" We the Audience is left guessing in a nice way.
Once the girls get onto the stage. It's really nice watching them fight and dance. I do wish we got long drawn out scenes of them fighting and dancing.
I also like that this isn't some dumb Battle Royal. If the girls were fighting to the death or who got kicked out of the school, Then I would get kind of annoyed.
This will be the 4th time I've rated a show with a 9/10 rating this season. I may even put it higher if the show continues to be great. This is defiantly my favorite of the entire season.
I'll update my review in the future and see if anything's changed about it. It's overall an awesome and fun show. This is defiantly my favorite of this Anime season.
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is an offering from director Furukawa Tomohiro, who worked closely with director Ikuhara Kunihiko on Mawaru Penguindrum and Yuri Kuma Arashi. The aforementioned works are best known for their surrealist style coupled with Yuri/Class S settings, features which are prevalent throughout Ikuhara's work. Having been familiar with these, it would be impossible not to draw comparisons to Revue Starlight's artstyle and tone, and as such I went into the series slightly guarded. While there is a lot of depth to be found in the aforementioned works, they walk a very thin line between "highly artistic and symbolic" and "unnecessarily complicated to
the point of being pretentious." I believe a great work of surrealism should clearly demonstrate to the casual viewer that there is more to it than meets the eye, even if the concepts cannot be immediately grasped fully.
Thankfully, Revue Starlight seems to have accomplished this, taking the best parts of the weirdness, symbolism, and pure artistic awesome of Yuri Kuma and Penguindrum and balancing them masterfully. The connections between the "real" and the "metaphysical" landscapes are much easier to understand here. Just as importantly, the show is both fun and fascinating to watch, answering old questions while simultaneously deepening the mystery every episode. The artwork and sound are top-notch; very impressive for a TV anime. Particularly the "auditions"... I don't want to spoil what these are exactly, so let's just say I thought I understood what was happening until "the moment she pressed the button", and then I basically lost my mind. And loved it.
Some additional general information:
-Furukawa has included all of Ikuhara's calling cards in spades. Surrealism is here. Yuri is here. Strange ruler of the metaphysical world who you're not sure whether or not you can trust is here (voiced by the same actor, too).
-I said earlier that the symbolism is easier to understand, but I don't mean to say it will be fully understood in one watch. My recommendation to get the most out of this show is to watch it and then read reviews by those who are taking the time to analyze it. I recommend /u/'s thread (if you don't mind or, perhaps, enjoy wading through explicit Yuri content) as well as the For Me in Full Bloom blog.
-No, this is not another idol anime. Whoever truly thought this after watching the first episode, please wear a collared shirt so I can grab it and take your lunch money.
In conclusion, I would call this show the underrated potential sleeper hit of the season. For fans of Furukawa's/Ikuhara's previous works, this is a no-brainer; you absolutely don't want to miss this show. For those a bit more wary of this surrealist style of anime, I would still recommend watching the first 2 episodes to see what you think before dropping. There is much more here than simply visual flair if the viewer chooses to indulge themselves, and I believe Revue Starlight is far easier for the casual viewer to grasp than was Penguindrum or Yuri Kuma.
Note: When I originally wrote this review, I had mistakenly thought that Ikuhara was the director until a couple MAL users pointed out my error. I will use that to reinforce the point that it is very similar in style, sound, and tone. Furukawa has taken many big cues from his colleague here, but perhaps the improvements I noted can be attributed to his influence as well.
First of all, you need to know that this series is about a group of girl that studying in Musical Academy. The girls learn about an opera which called by "Revue", based on RL it is an popular entertainment in 19th century.
And I dunno how, but that's the great part of this anime!
Revue is a theatrical show that combines music, dance, and drama. Different from another music anime which shows an Idol or Band or another Music Performance. Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight shows a more superb Stage. An orchestral music with wonderful dancing movement that looks like action anime stuff. That makes an impressive sense.
moreover, the great character personality in this show shapes a wonderful relationship between these girls.
Overall, I highly recommend you to watch this series.