Yuri Anime: Kaleido Star "New Wings Extra Stage"

November 15th, 2005

I have a total love-hate relationship with Kaleido Star. I hate about 90% of it, but the other 10% I honestly adore.

I had begun watching the original animation when it came out on TV, but quickly began to loathe it. Anyway, I did a few reviews of the first series back in January 2004. Once when I said there wasn’t any yuri, really…and the next entry when I slapped myself silly for saying that.

I found the men oddly horrible. Like there was a coded message that girls need to lose them all if they want to be happy. Maybe it wasn’t so coded, I don’t know. All I know is that Carlos and Yuri and that goopy-eyed Ken made we want to spit. And I am *so* not a man-hating kind of gal. I hate people based on their individual idiocies, never on the basis of sex, color, creed, etc. However, I don’t like circuses much, and cannot abide Cirque du Soleil, so this series wasn’t really my cup of tea, but…

…gods, were the relationships between the women dynamic! Sora and Layla were electric together, and Mia and Anna made a cute couple – even Sora and Rosetta had vibe which didn’t bug me too much.

I never even bothered writing up the second season, because I felt that it committed all the same exact sins over again – same horrible male characters, the same unecessary emotional torture…and not nearly enough tricks, which were the best bit of the show.

The thing that made the first season bearable, and in the end wonderful, was the energy between Sora and Layla. Animated as it was, it was breathtaking. The tricks they did were absurd, sublime and brought tears to my eyes. So I skipped the middle of each season, watched the last half dozen episodes and forgot I hated the series.

Some while went by before I could bring myself to watch the OVA New Wings Extra Stage. I went back and watched the last episode of the second season, to get back into the swing of things, and found myself with a handful of tissues pressed against my face, as the Sora’s Tenshi no Waza started. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. A great big kiss to whoever came up with the idea. I wish you’d do a real circus.

So, I *finally* checked out what is referred to as Episode 52. And it was actually not bad at all….

Rosetta is pegged by the Fool of the Stage to be the next star. True to her belief in a stage without conflict, Sora encourages Rosetta to step up as the Princess, while she herself steps back to play the Prince. Leon, another one of the vile male characters, pulls the stick out of his butt to be the fool who will win the princess. But the real Fool and Rosetta are confronted with a memory – this might be their real story! Okay, whatever. It’s only an OVA, we really don’t go anywhere with this.

The predictable Yuri does show up – this time in the couple of May and Rosetta. I’d forgotten that it was May who forced Rosetta to take part in Swan Lake – and now she’s the caretaker whose pushing Rosetta to become a star. It’s kind of sweet in a weird way.

What was totally different in this OVA was the unsubtlety of the fanservice. Of course the original two season had fanservice – but it was all done with at least some subtlety. Not so the OVA. In this we watch crotches and breasts for about 1/3 of the screen time. It was a little startling, since the series is targeted (at least in the US) to a younger female audience. I guess they know they won’t be bring this episode over here. Or not…I don’t know and really don’t care. :-)

The animation on all Kaleido Star episodes are pretty good – this one has maybe slightly better than usual animation. And the music is much the same as any other j-popish OP/EP theme. “Tattoo Kiss” is a nice enough song.

A new Kaleido Star OVA is in production, btw – this one is called Layla Hamilton Monogatari, so I’m already stoked. Layla was my favorite character. But I bet we end up following a young Layla, when I’d much prefer the older sexy one, myself.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Music – 6

Overall – 7

If you are a huge Kaleido Star fan, its a must-see. Otherwise, its a fun, fanservicey, colorful killer of time. :-)

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5 Responses

  1. I’m sorry, but I really don’t agree with your review. I haven’t seen nor felt any of the bad things you’ve felt abotu the series.
    You felt that the creator was saying the female characters would be happier if the male characters were gone? How? I never got that impression. That’s a really off-the-wall view you’ve got there.

    If you don’t like circuses, then why the heck are you watching Kaleido Star? It’s a series about a circus-like show! If you don’t “abide” Cirque du Soleil, then what are you doing watching a series that almost mirrors Cirque?
    Of course you wont like the series if you don’t like the two about things. Think about it.

    Overall, I think you’re being way too harsh on the series. Though I do realize this is only your oppinion. So I’m stating mine.
    Kaleido Star is a beautiful series with memorable characters and a great story. Yes, a number of the male characters can be a bit… odd, but there are also a number of male characters that help the story along, and that are truely nice and caring. Like the stage designer and the guy who did whip tricks at the Camp (unfortunately I’ve forgotten both of their names, heh…). These male characters, along with a number of others, help the story develop.

    There are lessons to be learned in Kaleido Star, and a powerful message. Atleast, that’s how I feel.

    Kaleido Star has a great story and beautiful animation, along with a capitvating array of events that befall the characters. In both Kaleido Star and New Wings (I haven’t seen the OVAs yet).
    I think Kaleido Star is indeed a must-see series for anyone who wants a series that will really move you. Both I and my girfriend– who, I might add, is the love of my life and I never would’ve met her if it wasn’t for Kaleido Star– feel this way. It’s a truely great series, a masterpiece.
    And this is coming from a member of the male sex.

    But the way, the boss’s name is “Kalos”, not “Carlos”. :)

  2. Yoshimi Kurosaki says:

    Wow. One of the most horrible reviews I’ve ever heard. Bashing a series merely for the fact that it’s not your ‘cup of tea’. Disgraceful. You’re as bad as reviewers on YouTube.

    You may have your opinion, but if you’re going to write a review, it cannot be in any form of bias. A reviewer must describe the reviewed with an open mind and show both good and bad points regardless of whether they enjoyed it or not.

    Please consider the reader’s feelings when you write such things. A review like this can make a person not even consider watching the series when they might have otherwise enjoyed it entirely.

    Please write carefully.

  3. All reviews are the reviewers’ opinion. This is not an academic paper – it is my opinion of thet positive and negative qualities of any given anime or manga.

    If you are looking for an objective authoritative discussion of anime, check 4chan /u/ – they think everything is awesome and they are always right.

  4. Rikimaru says:

    I have the same opinion as ZeonZumDeikun. I don’t even understand what you don’t like about the male characters. Only male character I disliked was Ken, and it wasn’t for the same reason as you I bet.

    As for your opinion, I don’t care about what the rules for reviews are. We can leave that out and you review still looks way more biased and self centered than any other I remember reading.

    Furthermore you make it seem as if you “opinion” is correct for the series even though you “skipped the middle of each season”. How can you write a review on something you haven’t watched?! What a person you are to do something like this and think they are right. How can you possibly rate the “story” and “character” if you skipped half the series?! And to even add “Yuri” as part of the rating… this isn’t even a Yuri genre…

  5. Hayata says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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