Kaleido Star was a big surprise for me as I expected it to be a typical shoujo with probably many cheesy moments...
I was proven wrong..
Overall, it was beautiful, bright colours and flowing movements that even appeared graceful, a very colorful setting that didn\'t appear too flashy....it totally captured the brilliance of a circus and the lovely performances that I just had to rewatch again. However it had its flaws, I noticed that several episodes had seemingly worse animation compared to the rest in which the characters looked distorted, thankfully this was hardly significant during the performances which kept their high standard throughout the whole
The opening and ending themes were ok and catchy enough but what i really loved was the background music, some tracks were sometimes quite repetitive but it totally created the magical feel for this anime and enhanced it a lot more (even though you may not realise it). So do turn up the volume whenever you watch any of their performances as \'swan lake\', \'little mermaid\' etc. would not be so astoundingly beautiful without the music
Kaleido Star can be divided into 2 parts, 1st being Sora\'s introduction to the circus and striving to be in par with Layla Hamilton. Whereas the second part introduces 2 new character, Leon and May in which might be a turn-off for most viewers due to Sora suffering the most, but of course this is only to build the wonderful finale.
The overall concept may not seem special as it is only about a girl striving to achieve her dream and encountering many hardships. But the idea about a circus and acrobats is very unique, I don\'t think there are many animes out there that have attempted this genre and managed to keep it so interesting and magical. Whats good is the emphasis on friendship, Sora gets through a lot mostly due to the help of the people around her, it is not a one-girl show, all the rest are equally important characters and do shine as well.
Even though this is a shoujo anime, romance is only hinted but barely there, truly not the highlight of the show
As mentioned above, all the characters are great, in fact it is impossible to hate either of them since even the bad ones turn good at the end. Although this seems rather idealistic, it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end
Overall this was a great ride, Satou Junichi\'s other creation, Princess tutu had left me in a bit of a trance when it ended, apparantly this had the same effect. It is hard to describe the truly magical effect this has, you have to watch it to know, and you won\'t regret it
You have a dream don't you? Of course you do. Everyone has one. A dream to do something that no one else has ever done, or maybe someone else has done it and you want nothing more than to follow in their footsteps. It could have started when you were a child, maybe even recently, but no matter what, your heart doesn't let it rest. It's something you want more than anything, even more than you think you want it.
Kaleido Star is the story of our dreams. How they all start from tiny things. Memories from days gone by that we think are insignificant,
but at the same time, have really touched us and inspired us to become who we are today. Our dreams are not easy though. There will always be detours and obstacles in our way, and no dream can be reached without putting our own inner selves to the ultimate test, but if we can overcome these obstacles, befriend our enemies, and see the good in everyone's dreams that they aspire for as well, then your dream can come true.
Despite the formulaic way Kaleido Star goes about fulfilling the dreams of the characters, it works splendidly because of how sincere each and every character is about wanting their special dream to come true, and how the series treats the sincerity of each character with a great deal of respect to the point that the formulaic contrivances such as the cliched "special training" and running away only to come back having "found yourself" feel like genuine happenings.
Likewise, this series as it is couldn't be anything without its characters. The main focal point of the series is seeing the growth and struggle of all the members of Kaleido Stage from the primadonna to the lowly stagehands, and oh how they grow, and oh how they struggle. I credit this series immensely with how it puts each and every character through their own personal wringer, good guys and "bad guys" alike. It never lets them take the easy way out. Each and every accomplishment any character achieves is 100% earned. There are no gimmes.
And oh the accomplishments! I can't go into detail because of spoilers but this is where the technical aspects really shine! For as much as people seem to tease GONZO for being GONZO, this is arguably their opus. A setting such as Kaleido Stage requires dazzling animation to fully bring out the Cirque du Soleil atmosphere of the stage, and the animation astounds every time, especially the climaxes of both halves of the series. They are so gorgeous, that don't be surprised if you forget to breathe for a moment.
The soundtrack is also quite lovely with lots of wonderful performances, especially Ryou Hirohashi as Sora, who brings the same radiance and energy that Sora herself embodies.
With outstandingly gorgeous animation, heartwarming performances, characters that make you believe that everyone in this world, no matter how heartless or cruel they may be, are all good people inside, and a story that invokes you to believe your dreams, no matter how great or small, can all come true. Kaleido Star is one of the best anime I have ever seen. Heartwarming, heartbreaking, and inspiring to all. This is the stuff true dreams are made of.
Overall, I happily give Kaleido Star a 10 out of 10.
A certain expectation arises for an anime series such as this, which takes the effort to build a unique premise and story. Without the telltale signs of pervasive cliché, like a harem or giant piloted robot, I had good hopes for Kaleido Star. The show wasn’t even approaching flawless or astonishing on any technical level, or even in the way its story was written and reared, but what I found is that it had an intoxicating charm and that it was far more vibrant and ‘energetic’ than most anime. When I say energetic, I don’t mean just a cast of genki characters relentlessly talking quickly,
and running around, I mean it had a certain sparkle in its eye, or a skip in its step that elevated it above its content, and even its technical quality of production. Something intangible was born from the sum of its parts, its voice acting, colourful animation, charismatic score music, and its amalgamation of so many fascinating characters and relationships. Even when I was shaking my head in the second season at how incoherent and silly the story had become, I was simultaneously glued to the screen, and enthralled by the climactic stage performances. Even though I’ve never considered myself a fan of anything to do with the stage or of shows that rely mostly on drama to hook their audience, I thoroughly enjoyed this series, both in the sense that it was fun, laidback entertainment, and in that it was occasionally emotionally stirring.
The most prominent feature of Kaleido Star is undoubtedly its characterisation, and as such, each character is given a strong dream or ambition that they strive towards over the course of the show, as well as a heavily fleshed-out personality. Almost every character is likeable and easy to become attached to. If you find that you’re a sucker for getting behind your favourite characters and empathising with their hardships, then Kaleido Star is a good bet. By the end of the show, the real emotional impact lies not in the conclusion to the plot, but in the final send-off for a great cast of characters you’ve come to know and love. Relationships are dealt with, but almost always in the form of friendships, rivalries and companionships. Rarely does Kaleido Star tread in the thorny realm of romance, and when it does it’s usually just for a cheap gag. Don’t be deterred though, the friendships that are grown over the course of the series have more weight to them than most romantic relationships in anime. I’m not sure if the characters interactions are massively realistic, but they are believable and earnest enough to work. Really though, the rest of the series is in orbit around Sora Naegino, the heart and star of the series. Fortunately, she is really a great protagonist, particularly in the first season. She is portrayed very much as being a real person, with holes poked into her resolve to achieve her dreams, and struggles that she must overcome, not with superhero talent, but with hard work and perseverance. I must admit to being in admiration of her from time to time. Most importantly, through all the harsh training she endures, you end up really wanting to see her succeed, which really makes the stage performance scenes what they are.
The animation used in the stage show scenes themselves is certainly quite good. Although the level of detail in the cel animation is overall surprisingly low, the stage scenes are carried by a high degree of fluidity in the animation and strong use of artistic direction, such as the use of colour and dramatic camera angles. The music definitely helped to create the sense of tension and beauty required. I do think they could have been done better, and rendered in more lavish detail befitting the scope of the shows, but for a 51-episode tv series it’s production is definitely solid. Unfortunately, off-stage doesn’t allow for the same graceful movement to overcome the simple visual style. The background art lacks personality and detail. The character designs range from completely bland and uninteresting to memorable. Sora and Rosetta, fit into the latter category, while most of the other character designs leave little impression. The music had a very strong presence in the series, and it was definitely good quality, with rousing instrumentals and melancholic strings tugging at the heart when required. However, it was far too repetitive; far more music is required for a series of this length to stop the tracks from overstaying their welcome. The OPs and EDs were relatively good. I watched the first and second OPs every episode, but was appalled by the 3rd.
The plot, looked at in isolation, is very weak indeed, marred by inconsistency and incongruence, especially in the way the plot for season 1 is wholly confused by that of season 2. The way terms like “true Kaleido Star” were thrown about really annoyed me, in much the same way as the over-use of the Angel/Demon analogy in season 2. It all felt so contrived and silly, as though it was an attempt to give the stage some sort of misplaced mythology that ended up just being a distraction from the performances themselves. Furthermore, Leon Oswald’s backstory, and his frequent visions of Sophie grated my patience, because they were a symptom of the overall problem with the second half of the story, which is immature and simplistic plot development. Everything was given parallel and faux meaning with such forceful blatancy that it became a nagging irritation. However, unlike most series, the plot is not the backbone of the show, and with its strong characterisation and emotional themes, it can stand on its feet without the need for a concrete story to support it.
Kaleido Star is no great achievement as an anime series from a technical or cynical perspective. If you watch past the first season, the plot becomes haphazardly thrown together and nauseatingly unsophisticated. However, for its colour, vitality and charm, Kaleido Star proves to be a worthy entertainer/ Perhaps ones could look at the series for advice about why it is so enjoyable - like Sora’s stage play, it is unpretentious fun, and manages to keep itself at an arms length away from derivative clichés. And more than just light-hearted fluff, it has the potential to wet the eyes of all its viewers through Sora’s trials and mesmerising triumphs.
The graceful motions of the swings, the dazzling lights of the stage, the crowd cheering with delight. These are some of the spectacular imageries of Kaleido Star, a phenomenal story about a young acrobat who reaches her dream through sheer dedication and practice. Facing countless challenges only to overcome them all, she rises higher and higher until the circus tents—no, the sky itself—could no longer limit her reach.
The premise of Kaleido Star will probably be one of the most down-to-earth synopsis you’ll ever read, but such familiarity is what gives the show its peculiar charm. Aliens, ninjas, and fifty-feet kaiju are lacking here; instead, the story
follows an ordinary teenage Japanese girl who moves to California to pursue her dream of becoming a world-famous acrobat. Kaleido Star is glamorous, lifelike (arguably), and spirited, but there’s one term that describes it better than the rest: inspirational.
Sure, the chronicles of a budding acrobat might not sound like anything special, but the show’s colorful characters would be enough to sway even those most ignorant of the circus scene. Sora Naegino first appears as your standard bubbly teenager, but right from the get-go, we see her perform splits and somersaults for her dear life to make up for her late arrival for the Kaleido Stage troupe audition. Judging her desperate performance is Layla Hamilton—world-class gymnast, Kaleido Stage’s icon, and an ice queen of a woman. Unimpressed by the girl’s amateur party tricks, Layla kicks Sora out of the audition, possibly sending the poor girl back to Japan with her parents. It’s a powerful introductory episode that shows the futility of Sora’s passion, but most importantly, it demonstrates the steep difficulty of entering a professional troupe.
Of course, for the show to go on, Sora will eventually find her way to become a member of the Kaleido Stage, but the fact that Layla’s test is by far the easiest challenge in Sora’s 51-episode journey foreshadows the many struggles that our rising star will soon face. This isn’t made any easier with the presence of Kalos, the leader of Kaleido Stage who, much to Layla’s objection, lets Sora join the troupe. Now, not only must Sora heed to Layla’s unreasonably high standards, but she must also please Kalos by stealing the spotlight in her debut.
Another one of Sora’s challenge comes in the form of social integration. The first hurdle Sora faces in Kaleido Star isn’t learning the crazy stunts but trying to make friends with members of the troupe. Others worked hard to join Kaleido Stage while Sora gets a free pass from Kalos; how can she not be hated at first? This kind of issue harshly reflects real life and is something I once unfortunately faced during my career as a journalist. Getting special attention isn’t always nice, and Sora learns this the hard way by being ostracized by the rest of the troupe.
With trial after trial being pitted against Sora, it seems as if the writers indulge themselves by hammering the poor girl to tiny bits. This is a major complaint from most viewers—especially for the weaker second season—but I honestly don’t find it to be much of a problem. Perhaps some will feel that Sora is being abused too frequently, but the main appeal of the show anyway is seeing her battered and bruised, only to rise to the challenge like a phoenix. Kalos, Layla, and the pressure from the crowd are all fundamental obstacles that give Sora the push she needs to become the star of everyone’s desire. At some point, you’ll certainly find yourself cheering for Sora along with the audience. I know I did!
As Sora gradually masters her assigned performances, the members of Kaleido Stage slowly warm up to her. The charming duo, Mia Guillem and Anna Heart, are the first of the troupe members to befriend the lonely Sora. The three make an irresistibly adorable group, and before long, Sora and her great charisma draw in more performers to her, such as the petite Rosetta Passel. Seeing the progression of her friendship is indeed heartwarming, but it also serves as proof to how charming Sora is as a protagonist. In fact, the entire cast of Kaleido Star save for two later characters are likable.
I’ve hinted at this before, but many feel that the second season is considerably weaker than the first. Common reasons include Sora being pounded with ten times the number of challenges than before, two new “evil” characters entering the troupe, and the story progression grinding to a halt. In truth, none of these issues are anything major, and I daresay they’re even exaggerated. As I stated repeatedly before, Sora’s confrontations with her different challenges are the meat of the show, so the more difficulties she must face, the more exciting the show gets. The two new characters in season two, Leon Oswald and May Wong, might not be the most pleasant of all folks, but they’re not actually horrible either. Most will perceive their sole existence in the show to making Sora’s life miserable, but the two also have their own fair share of problems to deal with. Every character in the show have their own flaws, perhaps some more than others, but that’s what makes the cast of Kaleido Star so believable. Yes, that includes Leon and May too.
And for the finale of Kaleido Star, let’s just say that it’s possibly one of the most beautiful endings I’ve ever witnessed in my time watching anime for over a decade. This type of spectacular presentation isn’t foreign to Kaleido Star, but the finale really takes everything up a notch and builds them into a jaw-dropping last act. Everything Sora worked hard for, every blood, sweat, and tears shed by her, culminate in this final performance. The journey from the first to the final episode feels like a time well-spent. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was nearly in tears after seeing the astounding grand finale.
Glamorous, powerful, and inspiring, Kaleido Star is the culmination of everything one could ever hope for in an anime. Sora’s rise to fame is an unforgettable emotional journey that will touch the hearts of even those apathetic to the shoujo genre. Although Kaleido Star is not without its flaws, giving it anything less than a full score is a disservice to its near-perfection.
Kaleido Star’s acrobatic performances are pure exhilaration as the characters spin and fly through the air with special effects that are often a little too real and stakes a little too high. The most significant parts of these productions are often kept hidden from the viewer until performance day, with the only hints of their content given through maneuvers that the performers must master in practice, which makes for some very exciting buildup. The characters often have yet to perform a stunt perfectly multiple times or even once before performance day, and while it stretches belief that they would even be permitted on stage at
that level of production, it drives the suspense to even greater heights, especially when said stunts have yet to be completed perfectly by a majority of the most skilled and famous of stars. In contrast to this slightly fantastical approach that adds a necessary, additional boost of excitement, you can almost feel the characters’ muscles strain as they mercilessly train their bodies to do what they want them to do. The weight of the performers’ bodies and the muscle power it takes to perform their maneuvers is evident in their every move and Kaleido Star never takes on a cartoony look with noodle limbs or overly-nimble movement. That being said, the series does sometimes break free from realism in its stunts, with such elements as faith producing maneuvers that would otherwise be impossible. However, these elements are always firmly coupled with a copious amount of hard work, effort, and natural talent, and they never take on an overly cheesy, “You can do it if you believe,” quality.
Similarly, it is often said throughout the show that there is something special about its heroine, but this element is portrayed as her willingness to take risks, her determination to accomplish her goals even with great physical strain, and her joy in and love of the stage rather than some supernatural ability. Sora works just as hard (and sometimes harder) than any of the others, and this coupled with her natural talent and incredibly good spirits is what drives her to the top. That said, her ascent is rather too speedy, with several coincidences leading to lucky breaks, and the opportunity for a leading role offered altogether too soon after her introduction to the stage. That Sora would be able to excel at this pace and be able to perform maneuvers even most tried professionals cannot attempt is hard to believe.
Even so, Sora is a joy to watch with her contagious energy as she pursues her dream despite the obstacles and as she strives to understand and befriend those around her, even her rivals. Sora’s willingness to forgive and her determination to earn respect unclouded by selfish ambition are refreshing to watch, and while such people are surely rare, they are not nonexistent. Despite her determination, Sora does suffer normal discouragement and the temptation to give up, especially when despite her efforts she still struggles and wonders if she is a hindrance to her co-stars. In addition, the rapidity of her rise to stardom in the first season is offset by the immediate, almost insurmountable obstacles she faces in the second half of the series. The reluctance of some members of Kaleido Stage to give her opportunities and the refusal of some to work with her is incredibly frustrating, especially since her many triumphs in the previous season should have earned her enough respect to surpass such prejudice. But this overly harsh attitude is owed to the backstories and experiences of those who oppose her. Every major character in Kaleido Star has their own goals and motivations, and it is their encounters with Sora that force them to confront their own fears and failures, whether they view her as a rival to be defeated, a nuisance, or a potential match for their own abilities and a possible partner. There are some minor characters that at first seem to act as one-dimensional tools for ridicule or encouragement, but even these undergo their own development as a result of Sora’s arrival.
The greatest treasure of this series is the relationship between Sora and the current star of Kaleido Stage, Layla Hamilton. Layla is at first extremely skeptical and dismissive of Sora’s efforts, but she is not the kind to withhold respect where it is due. It is a wonderful thing to witness Layla slowly and stubbornly allow Sora to change and influence her own attitude toward Kaleido Stage, herself, and others. For various reasons, many explained in the following 50-minute OVA “Legend of the Phoenix,” Layla is as harsh and cold to herself as to others, relying on no one to make her dreams come true for her and only letting go of any with great reluctance. Sora’s idealism and optimistic approach as well as her reckless effort in all that she does puts her at contrast to the calm, realistic, and even calculating Layla who has pursued her goals with just as much rigor and passion but with little self-indulgence. As she works with Sora, she begins to see a potential partner to equal or even surpass her talents, a hope for the future of Kaleido Stage, and even a friend to rely upon. At the same time, it is Layla who provides the main inspiration for Sora’s efforts to accomplish her dream and never ceases to instruct her as a mentor in the ways of the stage. Perfectly matched, they continue to inspire and learn from each other throughout the whole series.
What defines a masterpiece? Well, for me it isn’t something that is objectively perfect, it’s something that I find enough personal significance in point that I could consider it subjectively perfect.
Kaleido Star may not have the prettiest dress at the ball, it might not appear or sound unique, but the way it pulls together all of its elements makes it so much more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps some people may not get the same experience that I got from Kaleido Star, but it does have undeniable strengths that captivated me through 51 fulfilling episodes.
Passionate people worked on this and created
a product of consistent quality, so why have so few people watched it? Well, the answer is probably that 51 episodes show with a seemingly female target audience is something many people might not want to devote nearly 20 hours too. I almost passed on it too, but after I watched the first episode I knew it was not just a simple show catered to a certain audience. With a protagonist who has the same drive you’d expect of a shounen lead and intense rivalries that reaped some of the most satisfying battles I have ever seen in an anime without ever being violent, Kaleido Star’s range of appeal becomes very wide.
It evokes a myriad of themes that are carefully woven into the show, they’re applicable to anyone’s lives which increases the potential for anyone to resonate with it. Some of the themes include following your dreams, not pushing down others to move yourself up in the world, real people are not as simple as they may seem on the surface. Also, even with a predominantly female cast, the main focus isn’t feminism, but it does empower its female characters at many points and always treats them respectively.
As the name implies, Kaleido Star is like a kaleidoscope, the story has multiple layers and the characters have many sides which become more evident as you watch.
Kaleido Star tells the story of a dopey young woman who leaves her home in Japan to join a world famous acrobat circus known as Kaleido Stage in America to become a trapeze artist. The show opens on Sora, the leading lady, coming to a city in America that vaguely resembles San Francisco, in a time period that looks like the early 2000s but is intertwined with anachronisms to keep the audience intrigued by the setting. She comes to America with a dream of becoming the star of Kaleido Stage, a world-famous circus, and to perform alongside her idol, and the current star of the show, Layla Hamilton. Sora arrives late to her Kaleido Stage audition but the owner gives her a second chance, which causes her peers, including Layla, to ostracize her for receiving special privilege. She practices twice as hard as everyone else in order to prove to her peers that she was worth special consideration, once people catch on to her dedication they warm up to her.
Most of the characters who become Sora’s friends begin by scrutinizing her for her unrefined talents and overly optimistic personality. The process of people treating her harshly, then once they see her dedication to her dream they become friends with her is repeated multiple times with new cast members. After seeing Sora struggle through blood sweat and tears to approach her dream, it feels incredibly uplifting as the people who once heckled her cheer her along, and at the end of every training arc is a beautiful and cathartic performance on the Kaleido Stage. My favorite moments of Kaleido Star were those performances. Everything that occurs in a training arc felt like it was building up to the performances, they punctuate the story well, only happening once every few episodes, the longer the wait the more stunning the performance.
Separating the main arcs are brief one episode long stories that act independently of the main conflict. These episodes may seem like filler, but they each had something incredibly valuable to say. For example, in episode 6 Sora found a sickly seal on the beach and is compelled to take care of it; that entire episode serves as a metaphor for the life of single mothers who struggle to follow their dreams and sustain their children. Episodes like this serve to balance out the pacing and connect one arc to the next; they also add more development to the supporting cast, while the main arcs develop Sora and the rival who she struggles to prove herself to.
The director has a keen eye for detail, consistently offering metaphors as another way to experience the story. His sincere care for the product he has created comes across with incredible panache; I will definitely watch his other work, Aria, after reviewing Kaleido Star.
It’s worth mentioning that the 51 episodes are divided into two seasons. In the second season Sora regresses back to being at the bottom of the food chain, new characters join the fray so inevitably more rivalries are formed. The pitch for the second season may seem like a retread of familiar ground to some, but I believe the addition of new cast members, one being a major rival, cause Sora be seen at a different angle, which further adds to her character. She is forced to question her dreams in the second season. Instead of desiring to be the best of the best, she explores why she has her dream and now that she is achieving it how can she make the most of it.
Sora's goofiness and optimism felt offputting initially, but it grew on me as I saw she was more than just a dope, she has dreams and is willing to work harder than most serious people would. She takes training very seriously, sometimes even at the expense of her safety. It gets to a nearly ridiculous point when she's covered in bruises that it looks like she's been in a war zone, but it adds to the endearment of her character, her realistic dedication is what made me take her seriously. She comes under scrutiny by many of her peers at Kaleido Stage but avoids it by inviting them to parties and being just nice in general to everyone. Sora is the type of character everyone would want to root for because of her power to bring people together and put an end to discord.
All of the supporting cast that surrounds Sora grow and change as people throughout the show, it never felt like a moment was wasted. Even the smallest cast members are given care and attention so that they’re compelling and not forgettable, the writer really never misses a beat. The supporting characters all start out as simple one sentence long descriptions, but as the episodes proceed the cast members become realistic and relatable people with themes that anyone can connect with, which is the reason why I’ll remember the ones that resonated with me long after I finish this review. Some of the themes that form the characters are, regretting not following your dreams, changing your dream upon discovering something else you’re passionate about, and the scrutiny from people who judge you for following your dreams.
The themes proposed in the show are never forgotten, they stick with the characters and form them into believable people. For example; Sora’s friend Ana loves making people laugh, once we discover why it brings her such great joy, her character becomes a real person with dreams of her own, not just a one-dimensional comic relief side character.
The major cast consists of Sora and her friends and coworkers at the Kaleido Stage. One of her greatest friends and employee at the stage is Ken, the guy who’s is always there for Sora, from the moment she arrives he is friendly. When she loses hope or strays from her dream, he is there to guide her back onto the right path. Despite not being able to participate in the sport himself he still offers wisdom and advice that could help anyone, which is thanks to his experience on the sidelines. He reminds the viewers that all people need someone to rely on to help them overcome obstacles in their lives.
On the flip side is Layla. She has a harsh and unwelcoming personality, but it makes her sympathetic mannerisms more perceivable thanks to a visible contrast between her coldness and kindness. In the first season, she’s Sora’s rival and pushes her to be the best acrobat she can, sometimes to seemingly unrealistic ends, so that she can grow not only as a performer but as a person. In the second season She pushes Sora to question why she is pursuing her dream and what it stands for, she does this so that Sora can better grasp what she truly wants from life. I connected with Sora throughout the show, so when Layla questioned if her dreams were what she really wanted, it made me contemplate what I aspired towards. There were many times Layla imparted her worldly experience onto Sora and the viewers, which convinced me that the director made the right choice to include her prudently in the show. There are a couple of acrobats that Sora faces off against on the stage, but her and Layla's battle is the most visually stunning in the show, and it felt infinitely satisfying to see her obtain her dream after hours of time spent working up to it.
Visual quality in the bulk of the episodes is solid, but it’s clear that a large percentage of the budget was put towards animating the performances, which was a good choice considering how important they are to the show. The increased animation quality in the most spectacular moments only serves to heighten suspense and emotion.
The show's character designs are fairly standard, but their given life through the development.
All of the music is good, it’s for the most part standard and repeated throughout the show, but it does shine when it really matters. Beautiful orchestral music enhances the trapeze scenes reflecting the performer's reaction, it significantly adds to the emotional impact of these moments, making them my favorite scenes in the show that I constantly awaited.
There are multiple openings/endings and all of them are incredibly upbeat and catchy. They are very much tonally in keeping with the rest of the show. I watched the English dub and it's serviceable, but some of the minor one-note characters are poorly voiced. There were a few occasional awkward pauses and wooden deliveries, but the Sora and the other leads are well voiced.
If you want a show just for the sake of entertainment this one’s got you covered. The metaphors in Kaleido are everpresent but never intrusive or heavy-handed (unlike the ham-fisted allegory that Angel Beats was, it forced onto the viewers the idea that succeeding in school would lead to the best life possible). If you want to ignore the metaphors in Kaleido Star and solely watch it for entertainment’s sake you have that option. If the idea of searching for a hidden meaning in a show sounds off-putting then don’t worry because a side character known as Fool appears in every episode and lets the audience know roughly what theme is being tackled in a cryptic manner. The most enjoyment I got from Kaleido Star came from the performances. They’re thrilling and cathartic, you never could quite be sure of the outcome of each one, she fails many times along the way, leading up to the final and most satisfying performance at the end of the show to complete Sora's character arc.
Final Score: 10/10
I tried my best not to spoil it much, but even if you do feel you know too much about the story don't worry. It's not a show about twists and turns, while it does have it's fair share of them, it's about the journey each character goes through along the way and the messages they each have to offer. Kaleido Star has so much to say about life and the human condition that I feel as though I could watch it forever. It’s 51 episodes of pure brilliance, and I'll be returning to it throughout my life as I confront the obstacles that Sora and her friends faced.
What are dreams? Why do you need a precise goal in your life? Are you sure that the path you’re walking is really yours? Does innate talent exist? Does fear for the sudden changes of life stop you or motivate you?
These are not retorical questions, these are what this show is all about: The show is a tale of growth, of success, of failures and of self-acceptance, it’s able to mix everything life can throw at you in a beautiful cake made of comedy, happiness, hard work, tears and a bit of satisfaction, everything in order to give a satisfactory experience that, life itself,
is full of high and lows, of extremely irritating moments and incredible ones, This is Kaleido Star
Kaleido Star is a 2003 original anime produced by Studio Gonzo and Production I.G., an original creation by Junichi Sato, who you might know from Aria, Amanchu! And Princess Tutu, directed by Daichi Akitarou, who directed the original Fruits Basket and Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku; and written by Reiko Yoshida, who worked on Aria(of course), D-Gray Man, K-On! And Tokyo Mew Mew. The series is composed by 51 episodes, 26 are part of the first season, simply called Kaleido Star, the last 25 are the second season or Kaleido Star:New Wings
Even though this show is “technically” composed by 2 seasons, i will show the bigger picture and will present the entire story of the series overall, divided in 3 parts
-The first 26 episodes are a tale of “Acceptance” and “Growth”, it has kind of a generic Slice of Life\Shoujo start, with the cheerful main heroine who accidentally arrives late to her first show but, thanks to our dear friend Mr.Convenience, she miraculously gets a spot on the show and begins her new life with a rival, friends and two potential love interests while, at the same time, prepare for her future trials. This doesn’t sound that exciting or unique, do they? This is what the show does right, it presents familiar situations, but how the writers dealt with those situations is what made the entire experience unique and wholesome and, while i can admit that the first episode doesn’t build the show and its main heroine well, everything after that is a spectacle to behold: What i described previously as “tropes” and “stereotypes” are dealt with in a believable and normal way, our main heroine is not a natural talent but, at the same time, she’s not a complete and utter idiot who can’t even do her job correctly, she is a normal person with normal problems, just like me, just like you. The structure of the story continously changes and avoids being formulaic and repetitive through continue character development, story development and interesting shows, which not only advance the plot and the world, but serve as a metaphor for our characters’ journey and personalities. Every show, every plot detail, every piece of storytelling can be subtle at times, because the show takes its time and has quiet moments which take your heart and move you; every development comes together in episode 26, an episode that i will never forget. The writing of this first part is very good, every character has a clear motivation and a role to the entire story, no one is useless and the character arcs of our main protagonists, Naegino Sora and Layla Hamilton, have a wonderful mixture of amazing dialogue, light symbolism and impactful moments
-The final 25 episodes have a really rough start(notice a pattern here?), the first two are recaps and episodes 29 through 33 are so much different in tone and themes that they can put a lot of people off…until we understand that we have been “Accepted” and that we have “Grown” along with Sora, that tale is over, this part of the journey is one of “Completion” and “Realization”, because everything that happens now has a clear goal, just like life, Sora must realize that her journey has started now and that everything before the big event(ep.26) was just preparation. We have a slight problem here: the show introduces new characters that act very differently from the ones we were used to and the entire show gets darker, heavier and starts to have a pretty depressing tone, these things are fine and executed well, but i have a problem in the presentation, there is no natural continuation from the first part and everything feels so distant and unknown that we, the viewers, feel angry and irritated, because we feel that the show is slowly losing quality; the first 6 episodes, 2 of which are recaps, don’t do a good job of presenting the show’s new themes and direction but this is saved by the last 16 episodes, which are probably among the best of the show, culminating in a finale that is almost perfect, that closes every major arc and opens new possibilities for the future, while never feeling empty of unsatisfactory
-These two parts, while not blending together perfectly , are what make this show very good, it’s a bold series that it’s not afraid to take risks, there is a supernatural element that’s not only funny but gives context to the characters and the various parts of the story, and the quality of the writing makes up for it, even though the heavier change in tone is not executed well, but the story is incredibly solid, moving and has a great message, that it’s not forced on the viewer, but only presented as a part of various possibilities, which is splendid because it doesn’t force one singular message and it makes sense with the show’s themes. Sora’s journey to stardom is something happy,sad and touching, that is assured to leave a huge impact on the viewer
This is where the show shines: While the plot changes in tone and sometimes loses its focus, the characters remain the ones that we grow to love and appreciate, each and every one of them offers something to the story and each arc is completed, but no character feels useless or out of place, outside maybe of one(We’ll see later)
The Main duo is composed by Sora Naegino and Layla Hamiton, both of them start off as your “typical” cheerful protagonist and cold,distant rival who acts cool. During the entire story they evolve, they grow and they never feel like distant fictional characters. Their struggle is human and their problems feel genuine. Their dynamic is easily the best part of the show and provides some of the most emotional moments of Kaleido Star. Sora’s character in particular is the focus of the show(of course) and, while feeling energetic and giving a positive vibe to the viewers and everyone around her, learns that life is not easy and maybe her new job at Kaleido Stage is not that fun as she thought. Her character arc is the best executed and, despite some moments where the script tries to be darker and deep(in which the show shows its limitations), her joyful moments are the heart and soul of Kaleido Star. Layla might be the most interesting character in the show thanks to her personality, cold and passionate dialogue and very good personal background, which adds a lot to her story, her actions and her motivations: There is an entire OVA episode centered about her, i highly recommend it because it brings an entirely new point of view of her character. The supporting cast is lovable, relatable and has a perfect balance of drama and comedy, especially in the characters of Anna, who has one of the best personal episodes of the series, and Leon.
There is a black stain on this white dress though: May Wong, she is the main reason the second half of the series feels so heavy and insufferable. The show tries its best to motivate her actions and her behaviour but, for the only time in the entire series, it feels like a cheap way to “redeem” a character by introducing some events from the past that have affected her in a big way. For several episodes she ruins the entire flow of the narrative, this is a real shame, because when she is given light hearted material and when she is involved in less serious situations she is really good, almost funny, but she feels rushed, acts annoyingly and creates a conflict that is ultimately useless, in fact, during the last 12-13 episodes she is clearly written out of the story because she hasn’t got anything to offer to the plot, not that she was that important to begin with.
Sadly, the animation of the show is solid throughout: some episodes clearly don’t have as much budget as other ones but this is not my main problem with it, even though the frames are all modeled well, the backgrounds are detailed and the attention to details is really good, the show never makes that leap that it’s expected, especially in the biggest scenes. It’s not a problem to have a consistent design and consistent animation, but it’s sad to see the series never reaching its full potential because of these decisions. There are some great emotional moments here but the animation never steps up and never becomes something more than “good”
Direction makes up for it, Junichi Sato is well known for his directorial skills and this is a nice prelude to one of his biggest works:Aria. The choreography of the shows are extremely detailed and well-directed, this shows the big work put into researching trapezism and circuses. The way the direction amplifies the biggest moments of the show are probably the best things from a technical standpoint; the camera, the shots, the layouts improve the overall experience and serve as really solid character work. If only the animation were better and not just “solid”, some still frames and reused animation really hurt the series
The music is a great mix of classical and modern tunes. It is strong, it is passionate, it is emotional, it is cool; it does a great job of selling an entire scene or moment and it’s perfectly used in the series, the songs and OSTs never feel out of place, in fact they seet the mood and tone for an entire “performance”. “The Battle Music”, “Ready for the Challenge”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Solitary Tears” are the musical pieces that stand out the most. The openings and endings are in contrast with the majority of the music of the show: In the series you hear classic themes accompanied by violins, bases, trumpets etc., while the Ops and the EDs are modern songs, with some belonging to the Rap and J-Pop genre, this gives a very distinct feel and creates a cute parallelism. The soundtrack is not that varied and, despite having some amazing tracks, the excessive use of some of them kind of ruins their “uniqueness”, not a big problem, but one worth pointing out nevertheless, a bigger set of songs and variety would have helped a lot
Enjoyment 8.25 (This is the subjective-only part of the review, if you care you can read it, if not you can skip it )
Kaleido Star made me happy, made me sad, made me angry but, in the end, it made me feel complete. I’d describe the first half of the show as a joyful walk in a flowery field while the second one as bitter medicine: very sour and disgusting but necessary and, in the end, the exact thing that we needed. This show could have been the complete package if it didn’t have some glaring mistakes and some insecurities in the writing: I laughed a lot, i cheered for the characters, i felt invested but throughout the entire viewing i waited for a jump, i waited for that episode that would have brought this series maybe in my favorites list but, despite episodes 11-26-50-51 which i will never forget, the quality was very inconsistent. My favorite character, Rosetta Pastel, is probably one of my favorite female characters to date, her journey personally resonated with me and especially that she seeked perfection while, at the same time, knowing that perfection doesn’t exist, in fact i highly suggest the OVA entirely dedicated to her, very similar to the Layla’s one, even though it is a bit shorter, it has probably some of my favorite shots in Kaleido Star. This is something aimed to everyone and that can be enjoyed by everyone, even if you just want a light comedic series or if you seek a serious show that can give you some serious questions. This Balance is the biggest strength and biggest weakness of Kaleido Star: It shows how “all rounded” the script is but, on the other hand, its lack of focus might alienate the audience, the show tries to be for everyone but in doing that it creates some very abrupt shifts in tone that can frustrate viewers that have come the show for a very particular thing that’s not displayed anymore
This was Kaleido Star, it’s been hard for me to give it a specific place or a specific genre, i will say that it is a Shoujo\Slice of Life\Drama\”Sports” series( i know it’s pretty vague but please understand). This was a very particular and amusing experience, filled with unforgettable moments and great laughs, insufferable characters and tears. It touches something that it’s not well known or appreciated, trapeze artists and circus performers, makes them interesting ; it’s not an easy topic to develop but the production has done a really good job of making it believable. It’s a recommended series that is able to tackle various themes and aspects of life itself in a way that doesn’t feel forced or too dramatic, everything feels real and that’s probably what makes this show so good. Everyone feels relatable in some way and the viewer can easily find their “character”. Maybe how the show is balanced in every way, how it has a good combination of comedy and drama, character moments and story developments, is a reflection of life, which can be unexpected and infuriating at times but ultimately satisfying , in one way or another.
Might you fly under the sun with The Angel’s wings during your Legendary life,never lose your determination and,most importantly, May our Sweet and Merciful Madoka be with you
Due to the fact that this is a 2003 and 2004 anime, I would most definitely give it a 10. haha for some reason older animes have better plot lines (just found out recently). To be quite honest at first the anime didn't seem interesting... and i'm not really into an anime that has quite a lot of episodes... though when I kept watching it, there was no doubt that I couldn't stop.
Story: Amazing, by far the most detailed and well planned out story i've seen. Everything had a moment, a conflict, a climax. It's exactly how an actual story is suppose to be
Art: Though I did prefer Sora and her partner to look a bit better, I'm pretty sure i'm fretting about the hair, I did love everything else of the art of the main character's surrounds, friends, and the way their movements were phenomenal.
Sound: Gosh the sound had a lot of effort into it. Every moment where there is a situation due to face or environmental aspects, they'd use great expressions.
Character: Each and every characters had an important impact to the anime. They were astonishing and fun! Truly an amazing cast!
Enjoyment: I loved it overall! It had a certain vibe that I never felt before. There were times where I want to hit my head on a wall and there are times when I feel like shipping characters together! It was without a doubt absolutely fun!
Overall: After watching skip beat I thought i'd never encounter such an anime again. You have no idea how happy I've become and I'm more than satisfied! Hope you watch this with as much happiness as I did!
Cheerful, optimistic, vibrant, colorful, heartwarming - these are some words to describe Kaleido Star. It would be a lie to say that Kaleido Star is perfect, but every episode leaves you with a smile on your face, wanting to see more. It is the journey of Sora Naegino, an optimistic, energetic and down-to-earth young girl, who aspires to become a star on the Kaleido Stage - a world-famous american artistic theater.
It is without a doubt the strong cast that holds this Anime together. Soras magnetic personality and her ability to not only change herself but also her surroundings (her friends, her parents, her co-workers,
her audience) is what makes a great part of why Kaleido Star is so enjoyable to watch. But it's not just Sora, the whole cast consists of many, many different characters that are extremely fleshed-out and have plenty of room for character development, like Layla, the defrosting ice queen. Even the most "evil" characters are shown with their history, their thoughts and all have their own chance of redemption. The importance of friendship is highlighted most strongly - as seen in all instances when Sora is at a low, her friends are there for her and care for her. Aside from friendship, the Anime also highlights rivalries between performers and sometimes the importance of family.
The relationships between the characters are diverse and presented with such depth that it's hard to not care for a character. But everything is presented within reason. Histories between characters are explained and relationships change in the same way that the characters themselves change: Mutual hate becomes rivalry, rivalry becomes friendship and friendship becomes love. The strong characterization and development make the viewer invested with the characters and their ambitions and the further you progress into the Anime, to more you want to see everyone fulfill their dream.
The actual story of Kaleido Star is average, mostly predictable and the second half leaves some questions open, but it takes some interesting turns here and then. Instead of progressing in a linear fashion where the protagonist improves steadily, Sora is thrown back multiple times throughout the Anime, sometimes even due to disillusionment. Seeing Sora at her lows was a heavy contrast to her usual cheerful self and showed the hard reality that fulfilling ones dream is not an easy path. In fact, the role Sora plays throughout the story is actually a deconstruction of the "average teenage girl protagonist" (mostly found in shoujo Anime), due to her facing rejection and loss already at the beginning of the show.
The artistic performances were very unique. Even though the animation wasn't that outstanding, the choreography and the characters behind it made them thrilling. When the great legendary maneuver was attempted, I noticed my heart beating faster than usual. I could feel the thrill of the performance and the danger the characters put themselves in - and that was exactly the moment when I knew I was fully invested with them thanks to the phenomenal characterization. The performances themselves were also quite enjoyable and packed with symbolism, usually fitting to the internal struggles of the characters at that particular point in time.
Kaleido Star radiates positivity, vibrancy, cheerfulness, optimism and hope, the likes of which usually is only present in magical girl Anime for a young audience. And Kaleido Star may even be targeted towards a younger, maybe female, audience. But I think adults can enjoy this Anime as well, especially with the at times dark and complex themes handled throughout the story. At the end of the day, despite some flaws, it puts a smile on your face. Much like Sora and her audience, Kaleido Star is an Anime that wants to make you feel good and therefore is extremely enjoyable to watch.
Lastly, Kaleido Star manages to avoid common mistakes and cliches, especially those that shoujo Anime usually show. One such example would be an excessive focus on romance. While it is hinted that Ken indeed has a crush on Sora, there is thankfully no romantic development between those two. The Anime also does not suffer from melodrama (there are a few scenes that could be considered overdramatic, but in relation to how many episodes this Anime has, that amount is inconsequental) or bubbling, sparkling moments and things like that. Instead, Kaleido Star is more down-to-earth and realistic within its setting and does not show an over-the-top presentation.
Kaleido Star is one of the most fun and enjoyable Animes I've watched so far. It is hard to describe the appeal of it by using words, it's an Anime you have to experience in order to understand why it attracts its viewers. I can only advise anyone interested in Kaleido Star to just start watching it, as a text-based review cannot fully describe the emotions that this Anime evokes.
Took me a while to work up the nerve to finish this. Kaleido Star appeared to be aimed for a younger audience with its "doing your best" style story focused on Sora's rise to fame with the Kaleido Stage troupe. The story itself is a decent one as Sora struggles throughout the course of the series to gain the trust of those involved with Kaleido Stage, rise to become the troupe's main star and having a number of dilemmas come along that challenge her bright and optimistic outlook on experiencing the joys of performing with Kaleido Stage. There is a good amount of focus on
many of the characters involved in Kaleido Stage and their interactions with Sora, as the show's various characters serve to either aid, test or deter Sora in her efforts to be a successful performer. Outside of Sora, these characters also go about their personal growth throughout the course of the series as they seek to either improve their skills as performers or try moving on from personal tragedies affecting their outlook on their performances at Kaleido Stage. Comedy is also mixed in at a number of points in the series to show off comical quirks of the cast or to relieve the suspense and drama coming from tense or emotional scenes, though I didn't find myself laughing much at the show's efforts at comedy.
The series is actually two seasons long with its 51 episode length. The first season explores Sora's rise to fame through Kaleido Stage and getting into a conflict with major star Yuri Killian, who has his sights on the troupe's owner for revenge from a past tragedy. The second season explores Sora trying to settle into her role as one of Kaleido Stage's main attractions and struggling to get along with the seemingly cold-hearted Leon Oswald. The first season is the more solid season in terms of its storytelling with Sora playing newcomer and improving in her abilities to become a major player for the Kaleido Stage troupe, with her resolve tested in later episodes when Yuri's plans come to fruition. The second season suffers from some bumps in quality with a number of irrational character decisions and mentalities over how Sora is tested/ treated and dealing with aspects of Leon's character that are quite questionable in ethics, as well as new character May Wong being quite obnoxious with her holier-than-thou mentality with her involvement in Kaleido Stage. The show also gets in the habit of having Sora get into angsting fits when faced with a conflict rather frequently throughout the series, which can get grating to those who can't stand their occurrences.
Moving on from story and characters, the major element of Kaleido Star comes obviously from the performances of the troupe. Being a mix of acrobatics and musicals that adapt literary works in many instances, the troupe create various entertainment and acrobatic routines used to excite the audience and to accompany elements and themes of whatever work they adapt. While the acrobatics of the troupe are exciting and thrilling to see, they do push into unbelievable territory at points. The visuals to Kaleido Star are on the average side, quite often lacking consistency in the amount of detail that is given to characters and scenery throughout the show's 51-episode run and resorting to animation shortcuts fairly often.
While a decent series, Kaleido Star's storytelling quality does take a hit in its second season thanks to the storyline involving Leon and it will likely not be for everyone thanks to its simple themes and clearly being aimed for a younger audience. It's a great title to show off to children, but your mileage could vary on enjoyment if you are not the title's intended audience.
If your in for a heartwarming, growing experience than Kaleido Star is for you.
Kaleido Star is probably the best show I have seen thus far. And I've watched my fair share of anime. And I don't particularly like all kinds of anime. I'm a very selective person. But Kaleido Star captured my heart from the first episode. Each new development and challenge that Sora faces, kept my heart racing, hoping that she would succeed. And her trials were so realistic I was moved by each new experience that she had gained. Every time she succeeded and failed, it moved her forward and she learned
from it. It wasn't easy but it was so wonderful to watch that it made me want to become a Star of the Stage myself.
This story focuses on friendship, the growing of the heart and hardships faced, and if your looking for romance, or action, than you should rethink watching Kaleido Star for those reasons. But you should still watch it anyway.
Sora will capture you in every episode, and you'll laugh and maybe cry with her. But you will most likely grow just as she does.
And any anime that can make me feel this good, this happy about life, deserves the highest praise it can get and it goes on my top favorite list.
The art is simple and clean. There's nothing fancy about each of the characters. The music and the sound was perfect. If fit every element of each scene. But the development of the characters is what is most notable about the entire series. Every single person in Kaleido Star grows, and develops and the show does focus mainly on Sora but you do get to see the other important roles of Sora's life. The development of the characters is graceful, beautiful, sad and fun.
Through this journey of self-discovery, you will be moved.
Although, if you can't take the 'I can doing anything, no matter what, as long as I put my everything into it' than you should prepare yourself before watching. But if you can put that behind you, than you'll enjoy this every bit as I did.
Trust me. This is one anime, that you just shouldn't pass up.
The first time I watched Kaleido Star I was nine, it was the first anime I have ever seen. I was always outside with my friends but when Kaleido Star was starting, I would always run back home to see every episode. I often got into fights with my best friends because I left them like that, but I didn't care. When I was watching Kaleido Star, I had the best feeling. Even now, when I'm watching the show 3rd time I have the same feelings, though I already know how it is gonna
end. A year ago I decided to start watching it again, since I believed that I didn't see every episode when I was younge as I didn't really know the hour it begun. To my surprise, I remembered every episode.
If you want to know if it's worth wasting your time watching Kaleido Star, my answer is definetly YES! You won't regret a single second you spent watching this anime.
Season 1: I have to say that here are some episodes that will maybe get on your nerves, since this season's purpose is presenting each character, their personalities and make you fall in love with them. Sora, a japanese, cheerful girl comes to America hoping she'll join Kaleido Stage. Due to some... special circumstances, she does join the circus.
Season 2: This is definetly what makes this anime SO GREAT. Two new characters will appear (actually, there will be more but those two will be main characters). You will absolutely love this season.
Story(9): It's the dream-chasing type. Even though there may be countless other animes about dreams, this one is different. Believe me, I watched many of these. There are some fantasy elements about this story (I'm looking at you, Fool), fantasy isn't the main nor a too important theme.The story gets better on the second season, as I said, though some people prefer the first season. The second one is more serious. Also, the anime is real. Unlike Pretty Rhythm who is more girlish and for little kids, Kaleido Star is more serious, like Glass Mask. The main character isn't loved by everyone from the beginning and all happy-go-lucky. Sora goes through a lot, breaks down and suffers, but the thing about her is that she always gets back on her feet. She learns from mistakes. That's what makes a good main character, in my oppinion.
Art(9): It was good, really. I mean, really good. The characters are well drawn and they seem ordinary, it makes the anime more real. I absolutely love how Kaleido Stage(the circus) was drawn. Even though the characters look ordinary, the costumes from the shows and the background are absolutely gorgeous.
Sound(10): The music is perfect. I usually don't even bother listening to the opening nor ending theme, but Kaleido Star's opening and ending themes were really good. They matched the anime really well. Also, the background music was heart-touching as well as the music in the shows background.
Character(10): I think this is the best thing about the anime. The characters are all lovable. While watching the anime you won't be able to not root for Sora. Like I said previously, Sora is a very good main character. The characters grow and develop as the anime goes on and by the end of it, you won't be able to hate a single one of them. While the first season may be not so impressive, the second season is more dynamic and dramatic.
Enjoyment(10): Again, the second season was better. This anime will make you think 'I want to do something' or 'What is my dream?'. I watched the anime three times and cried at the end everytime. Not because it's sad, but because it's beautiful.The ending is perfect. Though I would love a sequel, the ending didn't leave space for something like this.
*NOTE* About romance.. There are small signs, but romance is not one of the themes. I usually have trouble following an anime if it doesn't have romance, but now I think that if Kaleido Star had any romance, it would have ruined it.
So, if you want something to give you motivation and make you smile, watch it. It's worth your time.
When I first heard about Kaleido Star (which was quite long ago due to how long this has been out) I didn't find much interest in it and dismissed it as another lame girl-who-gets-everything-and-helps-everyone cliche.
By the time I finally watched the first episode, I understood why this was popular. Sora not your average I'm the best and I can save everyone heroine. She fights hard and gives it her all which is quite inspiring to watch! It also goes to show that hard work pays off and there are good sides to many people, etc, etc. She also wasn't perfect and constantly failing at
things, however that appeals to people more because its natural! The stunts are amusing, the stage absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, the music adorable. You'll definitely fall in love with this from the first episode.
Storyline: Although the concept of gymnastics is quite unique, Sora as the typical heroine is quite cliched. However, cliches are used because they work and it most certainly did for this series!
Music: Beautiful. It gives off a whole different meaning.
Characters: From Sora who you'll love, Layla the princess with a sad past, snotty show girls, loyal friends, Jonathan, and Ken's puppy dog love there's a character to love, hate and laugh with the entire time.
Animation: Breathtaking. There's no other way to say it. Kaleido Stage is beautiful, the shows unique. It compares quite well to Circus d'Ole.
Overall: It leaves a good feeling and you'll defiantly want to go watch the second season! Recommend!
This review is based on the first 26 episodes. Kaleido Star is about a girl and how she joins a stage in America and performs. Kaleido Stage is about performance, so the trials and tribulations of the character were centered around how she struggles to pull off a series of acrobatic maneuvers and interfaces with the audience. The series took this very seriously, which can feel slightly strange at times, reminiscent of Yakitate Japan which is incredibly serious about breadmaking, but I found that disconnect a bit more entertaining.
Kaleido Star falls into the comedy/drama genre, however it's mostly drama. There are a few humorous
interactions and a number of other parts that attempt to get the viewer to laugh, but end up falling on their face. Most of the comedy is related to the "stage spirit". It took me some time to get used to him, it's basically a weird little man with a card covering half of his face, with a deep voice and long curly hair. The stage spirit was responsible for reading tarot cards to predict the outcome of the conflict the main character was going through. It's hard to say whether this added or detracted from the series. The comic relief of the stage spirit generally comes from the main character trying to disable it from peeping at her during a shower, which seems too cliche to be entertaining.
Watching the first 5 episodes of Kaleido Star was painful for me. Trying to adjust to the subject matter and it's importance was quite a difficult proposition. Eventually I got used to it, and there was enough happening toward the end that I didn't have to take breaks every couple of episodes. [mild spoiler] The last episode was lacking in conflict, and it felt like it didn't have enough resolution. [ end of mild spoiler]
Overall I have to say that the series didn't really pull me in. I know I'm not really the perspective audience for this type of show, but good direction can usually overcome this. I can say that the animation and effects were top notch. There were a few instances of a frame being out of focus, but it wasn't enough to get upset about. The sound was decent, and the intro music for the first 13 episodes is strangely unique. If you have a special place in your heart for performing arts and can take the subject matter seriously, this is probably worth a watch.
This is my first review, as time goes I will learn new things and of course I will update this review.I will talk about the different aspects that the series has and how it uses them.
Kaleido Star is a series made by Gonzo in 2003, basically a slice of life with a famous circus as a setting, this scenario makes Kaleido Star something unique because there are not many series with a scenario like this in this medium, but that's not the main reason why this is a good series,what makes it a good series then? Let's find out.
Characters / History:
What Kaleido Star wants to
tell is a story of self overcoming and the seek of fulfill your dreams ,even if they look imposible .The main protagonist of the story is Sora Naegino and she is who mainly takes this theme throughout the series, she of course has something special and talent but the series knows that it isn't enough to reach all her goals, comply with the acts is not only a matter of practice ,it's a matter of learning lessons ,she has defeats and fears,but also there are joys and victories, the series is not about show great acts to the viewer, is about how the characters overcome their failures to achieve them. The other characters also have an episode focused on their conflicts and these also help Sora in solving or understanding her own conflicts (I would have liked see more conflicts on their part), these characters play well their supporting role. This is a series where the characters make the story with their actions There are no fanservice, the girls and boys are attractive, and it makes more sense for these characters to have a body in good shape than other animes characters ,but the series knows where to focus , This leads me to another aspect,Direction.
Direction / Music:
Junichi Sato is the director, the other series I saw with him as director is Princess Tutu and like in that show the direction is focused on the artistic, the series knows where to spend its budget that’s why the acts have a great animation, with many focus to the movements of the acrobats to help to transmit the tension(in any moment someone can fall), the music is not very outstanding but it complete its mission specially in the important parts.The series tend to use the parts with bad budget to make comedy with the deformations of the characters,overall the animation is good
The conflicts, themes and characters do not end up being so complex but I appreciate the effort put in this series(the show even has more themes to comment). I recommend it, especially those who seek to know the diversity that can have this medium and those who look for Inspiration.
When i saw the cover of kaleido star i thought "it's going to be a girly anime with sappy sh@#!" and like everyone else i said to it "the hell with you". anime network changed my mind big time(there was nothing else to watch) *bam*. this anime slapped me across the face telling me "hey btch this is greatness". i never seen an anime that makes you feel so much determination. the animation is so good on the eyes and the story pulls you in so strong that you feel everything the main character sora is going trough. it makes those dreamers out there question
themselves "how far will i go for my dream?". i'm sure everyone will love the series, just give it a chance and it will make you happy i guarantee it!
Holy crap this is an awesome anime. It somehow has the ability to force me to feel every emotion i can think of. It's amazingly adapt at giving emotional experience. In all honesty it should not be as good as it is... yet is IS as good as it is. My theory for the extra bit of awesome, is the music. It's really good background music.
The ending is so good too. I won't spoil it for you, but it is a really good ending.
this story is really good..
because it has a real life lesson, about faith, dreams and perseverance to follow your desires..
i also love its opening and ending songs especially Yakusoku no Basho e,
and Real Identity..
I really love it and recommend it to all^^
This anime is one of the most underrated and most under appreciated anime of all time. The story is wonderful, the character is an inspiration, and it's got some pretty amazing animation. The story is good and it inspires people to go for their dreams, while at the same time showing the harsh reality that you can't simply "wish" for your dream to come true, you've got to work, and suffer, and go through a lot but in the end it's worth while!
I started watching this because one of my friends recommended it to me saying that i remind her of the main character. Because of that i just had to see it and i'm glad i did.
For me this show gives alot of inspiration because it is about following your dreams and giving it your all. This show personally relates to me because i am a dancer and i dipped a little into the acrobatic world for some time using the trapeze but gave it up for dance and the main character gives up her life in her home country to become
the greatest star of the Kaleido stage.
The show is very realistic and nothing is really far fetched like most people say it is. In the showbiz world you are either in or out and you can't complain because there is always someone on the sidelines waiting to take your job as you will see during the second season. It's hard work and sometimes it can overwhelm you with emotion and instability; There is real rivalry, Jealousy and pure hatred that is betrayed in this show. Despite all of this, the main character Sora never gives up and always works hard to make friends with everyone and Make the stage into a peaceful place where all competitors and rivals alike come together to give the audience a great experience and to shine brightly together.
The art and sound were perfectly matched for this show with all the bright colors and joyful music that really matched what it would be like at cirque de soleil.
I think the characters and their personalities were perfect and matched the story very well even though i would have love to see more of Yuri to be honest.
Another thing that i want to address was that some were upset because this type of show should have had more romance.
The creator of this show really captured the essence of the stage and knew just enough about the love life that goes behind it. fact is, Alot of very serious performers don't date or "fall in love" easily because they are more focused on their work. of course there will always be romantic encounters and awkward moments but sometimes that generally it.
I'm not saying it's always like that but think about it, when you are focused on something and you don't want any distractions, why risk the possible drama and agitation a relationship can bring and possibly affect your performance. that's what goes through alot of entertainers minds when it comes to that stuff. Some just might be so immersed in what they are doing they are oblivious like Kaho from La Corda, or they know about it and do date but keep it to a certain level.
All the aspects of the stage were carefully taken into thought and were devised well to make this show like real life in a cartoon.
I think every performer should watch this show, whether it be an acrobat, dancer, gymnast, ice skater or singer, it will spark a little light in your heart giving you the inspiration to keep going.
Everytime you step on that stage, there will always be a little of Kaleido spirit in you.