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.
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. :-)