Kaleido Star: Final Impressions

Kaleido Star tells the story of a 15 year old girl named Sora, who travels to America to realise her dream of being a member of the world renowned circus troupe Kaleido Stage, and is a tale detailing her personal growth and struggles as she strives to become a unique beacon of light on stage.

Kaleido Star is a beautifully executed drama of a girl’s aspirations and the unwavering effort that she puts in in realising her own dreams. Trapeze artists, theatre and gymnastics combined into this performance concept , “Kaleido Stage”, makes the setting a very attractive one. I have always been enamoured by gymnastics, perhaps mainly because their emphasis on form is an aesthetic experience which requires more than a few years of toil, blood and sweat, complete with heightened risk of bodily injuries and/or permanent damage to their bones and muscles. Yet, the outcome is always pleasing to watch as a member of the audience. Perhaps because it is so hard to portray such a sport realistically that very few films have used this sport as a basis of their story. Hence I was naturally looking forward to the show when I was reading the synopsis.

However, as I continued watching, I realised Kaleido Star was more than that. Sora Naegino is a very strong, tenacious female character. The older I grow, I realised that though I give in to my guilty pleasures of well crafted, good looking male characters in a story (resulting in much fan-girling and squealing), well crafted, strong female characters manage to stick in my mind more. In fact, if the main female character is someone I truly admire, identify with as a person, and realistic, that book, story or show is the one that remains at the back of my head, the one that flashes through my  mind as I toss and turn in bed in the wee hours of the morning.

Sora Naegino is such a character. She is good-hearted, ready to help others, and an eternal optimist, able to look at things in a positive way which makes her perspective rather refreshing. Yet, she still manages to stay realistic in her pursuit of her goals, and definitely does not come across as overwhelmingly idealistic or naive. Though her intentions may seem too angelic and altruistic at times, her journey is fraught with obstacles which she struggles to overcome. The process in which she suffers, even loses hope and is sometimes even caught in a downward spiral of negativity and depression, which is in stark contrast to her optimism, makes her more real as a character and one that viewers, or whoever who has had to work hard to get something they want, identify and feel for her.

The people around her also form a close circle and do a great job of supporting the story. Her interactions with her friends and supporters does not make one feel that these characters are merely supporting her, as their backstories are also explored well enough to make them stand alone as memorable characters. The humour is not overdone and repetitive, and the gags that accompany each character trait continuously gives one a good laugh despite the general content of the gag remaining the same each time.

However, some drawbacks remain in the story as it is a tad unrealistic for Sora to continuously get up by sheer power of will when her physical ability to endure painful training is clearly exhausted. This makes her success in achieving her goals one that is too good to be true, especially since they take an astonishingly short time to be achieved.

Last but not least, SORA x LEON = ❤ *fangirls*

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