Posted by psgels on 3 January 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews


Kaleido Star is yet another example of why Gonzo can produce really outstanding series when they really want to. It first starts out as your average shoujo series about gymnastics and acrobatics, complete with ultra-talented female rival, a just as talented male potential love interest and another love male interest. And yet, with these ingredients it grew into everything a good shoujo series should be.

What made this series work so well is its excellent use of its 52 episodes. The first 26 episodes are already a very capable series by themselves. They show perfectly how Sora (the lead character) rises as a capable rival for Layla, emphasizing guts and hard work, never giving up, and including a number of plot twists that make sure to emphasize that not everything always happens in the lead character’s favour. Overall it’s a very satisfying story by itself, and then the second half of the series comes and pushes this development even further. The new characters of Leon and May really manage to get the best out of Sora in terms of development and make her into a really memorable character by the end of the series, and both of them also pretty impressive by themselves.

Since this is a series about acrobatics, performances also play a huge part in it. And while the creators didn’t have an unlimited budget, the animation does look really nice nonetheless. Especially the costume design for the different parts that are played throughout the series are top-notch, and the creators know exactly how to use their camera-angles and lighting effects to create a great show, based on still shots and close-ups.

If I had to mention a flaw in this series… then it lacks realism. Some of the moves that are performed by the characters are near-impossible, while at other times they master top-notch moves with only a week of training, not to mention that this is a series where seals turn into dogs. But really, the characters shine enough to make up for this flaw, and it never really gets in the way of what really is important for this series. Neither is the romance, by the way. When I first started watching this series, I was afraid that typical silly love triangles would develop over time, but the romance only appeared once in a while, and knew exactly that it shouldn’t get in the way of the characters.

So yes, this series deserves all of the praise it gets. Even though it’s got 52 episodes, every single one of them is dedicated somehow to pushing one of the characters forward, and I especially liked how much of an in-depth look it gave into the themes of working to your dreams and never giving up. It’s a wonderful series, definitely the product of Good Gonzo.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

9 Responses

  1. Avatar DmonHiro says:

    Ah…the good old gonzo…not the crap-infested, manga butchering one that we have

  2. Avatar Captain[ChoC] says:

    i was waiting for you to review this someday, and i’m glad you loved it as much as i did
    that’s the gonzo we love :)

  3. Avatar Shippoyasha says:

    Haha, nice. Another old favorite of mine.

    I do agree the realism could have gotten a boost, but alas, it’s as realistic as Prince of Tennis. lol.

    The characters REALLY stand out though. Especially Sora. Her struggle against her own dream is actually sorta melancholic in a way. Very nice anime directed by the director of Sailor Moon and all.

  4. Avatar Ialda says:

    Nice review of a very nice show; the perfect use of melodrama reminded me of older shoujo shows (Garakame, Berubara), aka the masters of the field.

    I would just tend to hold another opinion about the lack of realism. IMO, it serves to convey the faery-tale-like sense of wonder of héroically forging your own destiny and showing the magical quality of the stage (in more than one sense – see Fool).

    (speaking of a J. Sato works, have you reviewed Princess Tutu btw ?)

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Ialda: no, I haven’t. I once watched the first few episodes, but I still need to watch the rest of the series.

  6. Avatar Camario says:

    I actually had the opportunity to watch Kaleido Star some years ago, before certain logistical problems got in the way…and thus I remained largely ignorant and ultimately uninterested, but now I’m starting to regret that. Guess time fixes everything, one way or the other. The show does sound like something I might want to see.

  7. Avatar Captain[ChoC] says:

    well if you havent watched princess tutu, stop everything you’re doing and watch it now, you wont regret it, trust me :) it’s a masterpiece in my opinion

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Juunichi Sato (the director) is great! Kaleido Star, Pretear and Sailor Moon S are some of the most entertaining series in the shoujo genre.

  9. Avatar summerberries says:

    Kaleido star is good series, but I wouldn’t rate 90/100. It’s just a regular shojo series, not unique. Same twist -circus theme, but fun to watch.

    Lots of pretty colours, good flow of story. Towards the end, it gets too extreme and unrealistic. Nonetheless, very colourful and sugary.

    Character-wise, a recycled personality. cheerful, cute, active, innocence, honest girl who always try her best.
    I would rate 75-80 / 100

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

4 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Yakusoku no Neverland – 11[140146]

Its safe to say that this series has been building up to this moment for a long time and it’s finally here. The escape has begun and for once Isabella has been put on the defensive. As far as this episode is concerned I feel it was pulled off excellently. Though I do feel that […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 11

Can somebody explain why, in an episode where Kaguya’s loveless upbringing is shown to have profoundly damaged her, 14 minutes were dedicated to stories about eating ramen and not understanding Twitter? With only two slots left in your single cour run, these had to be among the most skippable chapters in the manga (assuming they’re […]

Paranoia Agent – 9 [Etc.] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, and welcome to a very… odd episode of Paranoia Agent. Which, knowing this show, is saying something. This week we tackle public gossip, the inconsistencies that come with it and if there is any truth to it. Lets go! Starting off, let’s talk about the execution. Normally here, I talk about animation and […]

Kemurikusa – 11

At long last, we have an entire episode in flashback and explains much of its Kemurikusa’s rich settings. Even at the risk of over-informed us with details, all the information we learn this week is both unexpected, and makes total sense. Before we get into the details, (AND WHAT A MAJOR REVEAL), I feel the […]

Winter 2019 Summary – Week 9-10

Another two weeks have passed, and Summer Season is coming in sight. It’s the time where most shows get busy as they reach their final arc. Mob Psycho 100 ventures into its shounen roots,  Run with the Wind does extremely well in its last leg, literally, and Kemurikusa girls part way emotionally. Let’s see how these 4 shows below perform in […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 09/10 [The Vagabond Leader/ The Aggressive Bombers]

Welp, Kotobuki is getting really good. Normally this is the time where shows reach its final overarching arc, and sometimes it loses a bit of it magic because of that (like what I currently have with Gotobun), but with its tongue-in-cheek manner and its main storyline that is totally unexpected but weirdly fit to the […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 15/16 [Overdrive: The King of Distortion 2/3]

The nightmare never seems to end. During episode 15, we have three separate segments of characters stuck in their own dreams: Makoto’s mother, Sakiko and Kentarou. Play into Boogiepop’s strength, these characters have their own drama and each of their story explores different aspect of this phenomenal, all related to the King of Distortion himself. […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 22 [Embrace Your Loneliness]

Hello all and welcome to the penultimate episode of Kaze Fui! This week we see King’s struggle, Kurahara takes off and Sakaki becomes a little less hate-able. Lets take off running, we have a lot to cover! In terms of animation and production, Kaze Fui surprised me this week. I didn’t think that, after Yuki […]

Kemurikusa – 08/09/10

Welp, I don’t think I have taken that long break before since I started blogging. My life has been busier than usual lately and I also feel a little bit burnt out from blogging lately. Writing can be a pain sometimes. Hopefully this is just a temporary slump because I’m not intending to stop blogging […]

Latest Reviews

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

Planetes Anime Review – 89/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 87/100

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 86/100

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018 Fall) Anime Review – 73/100

In the last few years, it’s great to see P.A Works has slowly created their own studio identity, putting more original works with consistent production values. Just in 2018, they produced 4 shows (quite a good number if you ask me), 3 of them were original: Maquia, Sirius the Jaeger and Irozuku. As I said, […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai Anime Review – 82/100

In the wake of many a school based light novel show this may be the small bits of fresh air was can savor out of this overdone setting. Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl(Or by its japanese title above) is a series not about rascals or bunny girls but instead about contextualising common high […]

Banana Fish Anime Review – 72/100

Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]