ADV Films // 2003 // 650 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 22nd, 2006
Making good on your threat to "...run off and join the circus!"
Kaleido Star is among the brightest, most uplifting anime ever released. It's about a girl with a dream to perform in a show much like Cirque Du Soleil, and the trials and tribulations involved with making her goal a reality. Sora (voiced by Cynthia Martinez) leaves Japan to join the acrobatic circus on the Kaleido Stage in America. She gets her chance, but discovers her dream is something she'll have to fight for. She's going to train hard, suffer from setbacks, fall in love, and discover who she really is. If you're looking for anime carnage and computer razzle dazzle, this isn't the title for you. The central conceit of the show is overcoming adversity, and building character by facing impossible odds. Sora never lets anything stop her, and she soldiers on through any set back with a cheery determination that is nothing short of amazing. It's inspirational with high energy. Kaleido Star comes from director Junichi Sato who is celebrated for his work on Sailor Moon. The animation is led by Gonzo, who previously worked on Full Metal Panic. The series makes a nice companion to either show with its youthful cast and colorful sequences. It's considered a classic of the genre even if it is less popular than other titles.
Kaleido Star: Amazing Collection is a five digipak collection of the entire series housed in one slim cardboard slipcover. I love these sets, because it means you get an entire show without having to wait agonizing months for the next volume to be released. The technical presentation is flawless, with bright colors and clear delineation in the fullscreen transfer. The English dub is offered in a surround sound mix, while the original Japanese is offered in stereo. The only downside of Kaleido Star: Amazing Collection is that none of the extras from the initial individual volume releases are contained on the discs.
Kaleido Star seems perfectly aimed at young girls, but would definitely entertain a wider audience as well. It's such an amazingly uplifting story about never giving up that many people will find it engaging. It certainly defies the clichés of the genre with no robots, gun fights, or innuendo. It's about sweet life lessons, the nature of determination, and relationships. It may be trite to say this, but "cute" is the word that comes to my mind while watching Kaleido Star: Amazing Collection. The American voice cast does a great job bringing the show to life with Cynthia Martinez playing precious and determined in equal doses. It's great for fans looking for a sweet diversion, or an anime series perfect for young aspiring circus performers.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site (Japanese)
* DVD Verdict Review of Previous Volume 1
* ADV Site for the Show