(Note: this review covers the first series and its sequel, Kaleido-star: New Wings
Creator/Studio: Junichi Sato/Gonzo
No. of Episodes: 52
Age Rating: 13+ (just barely)
Summary: Sora Naegino is an orphaned Japanese girl who is adopted by her father’s cousin and his wife. Before her parents’ death, they took her to America to see the Kaleidostage, an acrobatic circus similar to Cirque De Soleil. This memory inspires her to travel to America in the hopes to star in it herself. There she meets a fairy called the Fool or the Spirit of the Stage. He can only be seen by those who are destined to excel in the theatre. Can Sora achieve her dreams?
Review: I’d heard this was a great series, and I’d already reviewed two other series created by Junichi Sato, Princess Tutu and Pretear. Of the three, this is my second favorite (Princess Tutu is my #1).
I enjoyed Sora. She had a great spirit and I admired her determination. She’s very much like Joy from Inside Out, in that she’s optimistic and pleasant most of the time. She has a magnetic personality and even those who would otherwise be her rivals admire her.
Layla was one of my favorite characters once I got past her icy exterior. While she may appear arrogant on the surface, underneath is a heart that has been hardened by the struggles of the stage. She is unsure whether Sora has what it takes, so she is harsh towards her at first, but once they get to know each other, she warms up to her and becomes one of her closest friends.
I also liked the director, Kalos. He was sort of the surrogate father for the cast. He is a firm director, but willing to let his cast members have the freedom they need.
The final character I want to talk about is Ken Robbins, the stage manager. He actually wanted to be in the limelight, but his health made it unadvisable. He has a shy personality, and actually prefers to help sets things up rather than be in the spotlight.
Sub/Dub: Not bad, especially since many of the voice actors aren’t as famous among fans. I like having more people than those we know best do roles, especially when they do as good as this cast did.
Music/Score: Not anything spectacular, but not bad either.
Violence: (3/10) Many of the stunts are intense.
Language: (1/10) Almost a non-issue.
Sexuality: (3/10) The Fool is perverted, but he’s ultimately harmless.
Nudity: (0/10) None, although many characters wear outfits showing their midriffs.
Religion: (2/10) The Fool uses tarot cards and astrology to predict the future, yet his methods aren’t always that reliable.
Related Media: There are two OVA’s.