|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
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, especially with what Sora has to be trained through for her Swan Lake performance in the second season's finale. 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.
Last updated Friday, June 21 2013. Created Friday, June 21 2013.