Kaname saw Miki-sama perform ballet and immediately decided that she would try to enter that refined, beautiful world. So, with only a few years of ballet classes under her belt, she transfers into the elite school at which Miki-sama trains. This is the setup for the title story of Kaname no Etoile (かなめエトワール)
Inexplicably, Miki-sama encourages Kaname, which causes her to be bullied by the second-best student, Sugiura-san, and her fans. To make matters worse, when Kaname is suddenly (and also quite inexplicably) assigned to dance in the competition with Miki-sama, Sugiura is (rightfully, I think) enraged.
But Miki-sama continues to encourage Kaname, despite the other girl’s lack of confidence. They are assigned to dance a pas-de-deux from Swan Lake, Kaname as Odile, with Miki-sama taking the role of Odette. (Which is an interesting idea.) Everyone, even Kaname, is shocked at this choice. Sugiura-san challenges Kaname to a dance-off, which Kaname wins. Sugiura backs off, but the worst is yet to come for Kaname.
Kaname undertakes grueling practice, only to find that Miki-sama is practicing twice as hard. She despairs of ever being good enough. When Kaname quite accidentally, attempting to protect Miki-sama from the unwelcome attentions of the press, slightly injures Miki-sama, she breaks under the pressure and stops going to school.
Walking around a park one day (after being yelled at by her mother to get the hell out of bed) Kaname stumbles upon a crowd watching an attractive young man in a hoodie dancing. Kaname watches, entraced by his moves. When he approaches he and asks her to dance with him, she’s speechless. But, he says, I can tell you love to dance, and so they do, moving together as if they belong together…Kaname is amazed, she’s found her very own prince.
After the crowd has dispersed, the Prince takes her aside for a little talk and cautions Kaname to get back to school and start practicing again…there’s not enough time before the competition. What? How? Kaname cannot understand how he knows, until he pulls down his hood. Her Prince is none other than Miki-sama!
Kaname returns to the school and works herself to near collapse.
Eventually the day of the competition arrives and we finally see Kaname become the black swan that Miki-sama needs to win the competition. But her triumph is short-lived, as Miki-sama announces she’s leaving the school to go to Europe to study. Kaname asks her to not leave, but Miki-sama assures her that she’ll always have her eye on her, and that she looks forward to dancing with her again.
The other stories in the collection are conventional love stories set in high school. All three stories ran in Shogakukan’s Sho-Comi magazine.
If you watched Kaleido Star and hoped that you’d find another series that captured the same kind of rival/friendship tension in regards to performing arts, colored with longing and rich with the potential for Yuri, Kaname no Etoile, short as it is, fits the bill. Miki-sama seems to be as interested in Kaname as she is in her mentor…and, after the scene in the park, our thoughts will naturally stray to the “what ifs” of a future situation. Miki’s street dancing moves give her more personality, too, than we might have otherwise expected from a longingly-admired sempai. At the end of the story, it’s not at all hard to imagine that Miki’s just waiting for Kaname to catch up with her, then they’ll dance off into a bright future together.
Art – Typical shoujo magazine – 8
Story – It could not have been more full of holes if it actively tried. ^_^ 8
Characters – Unrealistic in every way – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Why is Miki-sama so encouraging of a younger woman who will one day be her rival for a limited amount of roles? We’ll never know.