Archive for the Kaleido Star Category


Yuri Manga: Cirque Arachne (サーク・アラクニ)

May 19th, 2013

Do you remember Kaleido Star? I do. I remember I had a very contentious relationship with the series. I disliked some of it to distraction and loved some of it to tears. The series was constantly made worth watching for the intense relationship between the star of the show Layla and the energetic newcomer, Sora – a relationship that was almost, but not quite, what we hoped it would become.

I am, it seems, not the only one who felt the story needed to be “fixed.” ^_^ Yuri manga artist Saida Nika clearly felt that if there was less “break your self-esteem into shreds to force it to grow” and more “Sora and Layla sitting on a trapeze” it would be better all around, as well. And so, we find ourselves reading Cirque Arachne (サーク・アラクニ). smiling, because even the Amazon JP description say what we can all see – this is the version of Kaleido Star we always wanted.^_^

Thetis, called Teti, is a newcomer to Cirque Arachne and is paired instantly with the show’s current star, the emotionally distant Charlotte. Lotte finds her gaze returning again and again to Teti, finds herself remembering and confronting her painful past, her self-imposed loneliness and, at last, her feelings of attraction for the new girl.

Teti is everything Lotte is not – she’s openly passionate about her love for acrobatics, for her enjoyment of…everything, from high places to delicious kebabs. And Lotte.

While they train together – as Circus Mistress Leni planned all along – they grow closer until, inevitably, they open their hearts to one another. Cirque Arachne will now have two stars, who will face the audience with hands and hearts entwined. Awww.

An extra chapter of Saida’s earlier work “Berry Girl” closes the book.

Because Cirque Arachne was very obviously written for those of us who had seen Kaleido Star and wanted to see it re-created in our own image, the story has little padding. It gets right down to the meat, without much digression. Both Teti and Lotte get just enough backstory to render them individual and apart from their earlier influences. In a sense the story moves too fast,  but because we all knew the rest of the story, it’s just the right length. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 9 Fixed, at last
Characters – 8
Yuri – 10
Service – 4

Overall – 8
Now that’s she’s gotten this out of her system (for which I thank her immensely!) I look forward to more from Saida-sensei. Let’s see what else she can do. ^_^

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Yuri Anime: Kaleido Star, Volume 5 (English)

October 12th, 2008

My relationship with Kaleido Star has always been one of love-hate. One moment I’m ready to put my fist through the screen, the next I’m sobbing because of the intense emotionality, and the inexpressible, if impossible, beauty of the performances.

Volume 5 (Volume 6 as a standalone, Volume 5 in the box set) of the series focuses almost exclusively on Sora and Layla. Having realized that her perfect and only true partner is Sora, Layla puts everything she is on the line to perfect the Legendary Manuever with her. Yuri’s continued attempts at being an asshole alienate everyone around him. In his final attempt at making fools of Layla and Sora, he provides them with an intensity they might not otherwise have been able to muster.

Of course, the Legendary Maneuver is perfect, magical and filled with all the unspoken things Layla and Sora can never say to one another.

No, this is not Yuri in the sense that they are in love or lovers or anything like that, but this is Yuri in the sense that the two of them have eyes only for one another. In fans’ minds and hearts, we can fill in the rest of the relationship as desired. :-)

As much as my relationship with this series is totally love-hate, I would not hesitate for a second to recommend it to another person. While there are many things in the series that I do not like, there are many moments that make this series absolutely magnificent.

Rating:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 1
Service – 2

Overall – 8

Once more I find myself thanking Ted the Awesome for sponsoring today’s review and being an Okazu superhero!

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Kaleido Star Anime, Volume 4 (English)

September 7th, 2008

It hasn’t taken me as long to review this series as it did, say, Noir, but I feel like it’s taken a darn long time. But, finally, we’re getting to the best bits of Kaleido Star, in Volume 4. And it’s all thanks to Ted the Awesome for his sponsorship of today’s review! Thanks Ted!

So, all of a sudden Yuri, who up until now has seemed to be pretty much a nobody and leading man to Layla’s leading lady, suddenly becomes a raging asshole. He joins Carlos in a head to head race to see who is more of an asshole. This race will remain tied until next volume.

Thankfully, the parts of the story that do not involve Yuri or Carlos are awesome. Sora and her friends band together to save their vision of the Kaleido Stage, but as usual we don’t really care because we’ve watched a lot of these anime things and are pretty used to the whole idea of our heroine overcoming great odds to do whatever it was she wanted. We’re not really worried.

No, what *we* care about is the website that Mia builds called “Mia’s Room” and how she mostly populates it with sexy pictures of Anna. LOL That was so awesome I watched it twice over. lol

So, as Yuri continues to be a jerk, and the storm before the calm brews, the gang gets together to put on a show (just like a Mickey Rooney movie!) and in a moment of wonderful, Layla Hamilton realizes that what is most important to her is having Sora as her partner. Yahoo!

Rating:

Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 2
Service – 1

Overall – 7

The best part of Volume 4 is that it sets up Volume 5 which is so utterly totally awesome that I will never be able to stop thanking Ted the Awesome for sponsoring today’s review!

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Yuri Anime: Kaleido Star, Volume 3 (English)

July 7th, 2008

Yuri fans hit paydirt with Volume 3 of Kaleido Star, in which Layla suddenly comes to the conclusion that Sora is her important partner. (Finally!) And we get to spend moments here and there noticing that Anna is acutally quite hunky and cool and that Mia is besotted, although more of that will come later. lol

We start the volume with a little time wallowing in Anna’s backstory, then we spend not nearly enough time as Layla and Sora bond over their “Amazingly Hot New Production” (the amusing title of the episode) – in which they star as pirates fighting in a storm, while the ship/swing bursts into flame below them. Seriously, if you do not want to see *that* you are clearly beyond help.

To cap off the volume, we get a painful episode where we learn that Carlos is in love with Sara, even though he treats her like crap (ah, beautiful Japanese-style heterosexual love.)

Nothing against the straights, but, I’m sticking with Sora and Layla fighting with swords on a swinging, burning pirate ship. Are you with me? Yar!

Rating:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 2
Service (oh yes, less Fool for a change, too) – 3

Overall – 8

This volume is one of those moments where you remember why you’re watching this stuff in the first place. ^_^ And it’s all due to the kindness and generosity of Ted the Awesome that I was once again able to wallow in the Yuri goodness that is Layla and Sora. Ted, you are indeed Awesome. ^_^

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Kaleido Star Anime, Volume 2 (English)

June 2nd, 2008

For anime fans in general, but more specifically for fans romantic pairings, there’s a delicious moment when one of the couple starts getting very irritated at his/her reaction to the other one. Often that irritated reaction is the sum and total of their personality, spawning any number of tsun-xyz combinations. Sometimes, they move beyond that phase…but not too often.

In Volume 2 of Kaleido Star, Layla Hamilton – for a brief moment – becomes pointlessly and hopelessly irritated at Sora. It’s kind of cute, but mostly because I know it’s temporary. ^_^

In any case, there are all sorts of Yuri-esque situations floating around Volume 2, but the main plot is Carlos giving Sora all sorts of amazing opportunities, but doing it in the most assholish way possible. Of course, because Sora is our heroine, she overcomes every obstacle, and starts to create her own unique presence on the Kaleido Stage. It works. It really does. I gotta hand it to the writers, the whole “Little Mermaid” arc just – worked.

So, for Yuri, we have Rosetta gleefully piling on the Yuri-service for the Kaleido Stage audience by both hugging and kissing Sora in front of them (the latter of which prompts a juicy “whoooo!” from them.) There’s the aforemetioned tsuning by Layla, and we get to enjoy Mia’s kvelling over her princely Anna.

Speaking of Mia and Anna, one of my favorite things about Kaleido Star is how Mia, Sora and Anna all start off as a performers, but as the series progresses and Sora transforms into a Kaleido Star, Anna focuses more and more on comedy, and Mia shifts her focus to trick choreography. The tricks still remain the best thing about this series. I’d genuinely love to see a swing Diablo fight, like the one Rosetta and Sora did. Don’t you think that would be totally cool?

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4

Overall – 8

Once again, thanks go out to Ted the Awesome for sponsoring today’s review!

And for the person who asked me once why I watched this anime when I don’t like circuses, here’s my answer: For the same reason I watch Vampire Princess Miyu, when I don’t like vampires, or Devil Lady, when I don’t like horror, or Simoun, when I don’t like war stories. ^_^

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