Kaleido Star: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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Takes your seats, everyone! The high-flying adventure of a lifetime is about to begin!
The acclaimed director of Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu brings fans the breathtakingly beautiful story of a young girl determined to follow her dreams all the way to the top! Sora – an amazingly talented acrobat from Japan – left her friends and family behind and moved to California to audition for a role in Kaleido Stage! This world-famous troop of performers is known for their death-defying stunts and spectacularly sparkling costumes! More than anything else, Sora wants to be a part of the glamour and glitz, but first she’ll have to prove that she was born to perform – no matter how dangerous the next stunt may be! Prepare to be held on the edge of your seat by Kaleido Star, a highly recommend series that Advanced Anime calls the “show that dreams are made of”.
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NOTES ABOUT CONTENT FOR PARENTS AND OTHER INTERESTED FOLKS:
To be honest, there's nothing...amazing, right? I found nothing that could be an issue for the family. There was no language issues and absolutely no fanservice (unless you consider typical acrobatic/circus attire as "fanservicey"). The only remote thing that can be construed that way is that Fool ("The Spirit of the Stage") does have a very slight pervy streak...but not terribly so. It's their for comic relief and it NEVER goes anywhere. It's also never explicit about it and is simply a subtle thing. Generally, Fool is a trusted friend who sincerely cares about those he looks over...and when he does get his pervy side on, Sora is there EVERY TIME to dump cold water through many amusing means and ways. In essence, this really is clean-cut family series with wonderful lessons and a beautiful storyline that shouldn't be missed.
PLOT (ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS):
Though you don't need to be a performing artist to enjoy the drama and lessons found in this show, it really is a show that people in that field (or simply interested in that field) can truly relate, to. There are so many wonderful themes and lessons that make it's way naturally into the show. And on top of that, I love how what happens in previous episodes does influences the future episodes. I love, also, how not all the issues aren't exclusively related to the performing arts. As many artists know, life experience is a key necessity when expressing in the arts. Furthermore, there's a wonderful balance of heart-wrenching drama and uplifting, inspiring moments. There's also a good sprinkling of humor throughout, so you never feel too weighed down by the more serious aspects of the show. You really get to delve into many of the characters' backstories and motivations...basically, they are pretty well fleshed out. The show is fairly predictable...but, for me, I could care less about that. The story telling and pacing was simply well done. I'd rather have a good story than "unpredictable plot twists", anyways. And need I say, there are some pretty amazing action sequences? If you are a performing artist...or at least interested in that "culture"...this is definitely a show worth the watch.
DUB VERSUS SUB:
First off, just so that you know where I'm coming from, I'm a person that is pretty neutral about the DUB VERSUS SUB issue. I take it very much on a case by case basis. In my collection of foreign films and shows (it's not all anime haha) I'm pretty well split between shows where I prefer the English dubbing and shows where I prefer English subtitling. In the case of "Kaleido Star" I will just throw it out there: I greatly prefer (and enjoy) the English dubbing over the subtitling. But please allow me to explain. Yes, it is true that some of the script of the English dubbing isn't always exactly the same as what is found in the subtitling, but this is not so much a case of "inaccurate translation". For those familiar with the translation industry, this is known as "Dynamic Equivalent"...basically taking the spirit of a phrase from the source language and reworking it in a way that keeps the general meaning while is more natural and draws a similar emotional response from the target audience's language. After all, language is very much about culture, too; and some phrases and idioms in one culture just doesn't translate well, or is not as emotionally potent in another culture. For instance, during a segment where some folks are badmouthing Sora behind her back, they are accusing her of "getting on the boss's good side". Then the subtitles say "I heard she's even maneuvered her way onto the stage already." Though the meaning is pretty clear, that is not how a typical American would word it. So, the dub says it this way, "I've heard she's even sweet-talked her way on to the stage, already." Same meaning, but the dub script has much more needed spunk considering the context and the character speaking. There are also a few (very few...but still a few) minor lines that were swapped out in the dub for another line because they were kind of awkward and actually could feel "out of context". Believe it or not, in my opinion, some of the original lines broke some of the mood and context of the situation...but the dub "fixed" that.I'll give you an example: this happens as part of the previous mentioned situation. One character says that she can't believe how Sora got in when she herself had to try three times. Another character (who is a "wannabe-comedian") tries to follow up by making a joke about how that other character took 3 tries to get in...but fails miserably and looks away in shame and embarrassment. At that point the other girl responds: subs say something to the effect of "wow! you look so cute with that look on your face (referring to her look of embarrassment)!". The dubbing, on the other hand, says (and I paraphrase), "uhhh (in an awkward sense)....let's just forget about it, okay". Both lines were meant to be a minor comic relief...but, frankly, I think the dub was much more effective in it's slight humor while maintaining the mood of the overall situation. Point is, the dub was actually really well done and stays quite true to the storyline and situations therein...in fact, it adds the necessary "umph" that the original lines kind of miss (simply because we wouldn't say some of those things in that way). As to the dubbing voice work, I love the voices...but I say that realizing that may not be the case for every viewer. The voice types are not "Cowboy Bebop" where almost everyone universally agrees it's phenomenal, but a type that is more of a "you'll love it or hate it" kind of deal. I personally like it over the Japanese voices. Also, it helps that this show takes place in California, USA (looks like the San Francisco area) most of the time haha. As diverse as California is, culturally speaking, I'm sure that not everyone there can speak fluent Japanese.
There are really no extras besides an episode commentary and textless opening/ending themes all in the last disc. Also, of course, there are trailers for other shows. Most of the fun extras are in "Kaleido Star : The Complete Second Season" (including the OVAs)
ALL IN ALL:
This is a wonderful show that captures the magic of performing...and hard work it takes to put together a beautiful production. I love how, though it focuses especially on the performers, the background crew isn't too overshadowed and does play a fairly prominent role as well. There are many wonderful lessons...but most of all, it is an inspiring story that leaves you feeling like you can conquer the word, and inspires you to use your abilities to bring joy and beauty to a world that is already filled with trials and tribulations. I would definitely recommend the show.
The quality is great; not blurry at all.
If the price was set just a little bit lower, then that'll be great.