Posted on 24 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

It makes sense that after 10 episodes of dueling and auditioning, this week takes time to focus on the central pair Karen and Hikari. As soon as she “betrays” Karen in the cliffhanger last week, it soon reveals that the reason she does it is to not steal anyone’s else brilliance (especially Karen’s), even at the cost of herself. Admittedly, while I myself was expecting a bit more, this episode does have some emotional impact with some powerful scenes. By taking Hikari out of the equation (I swear if I ever come across with any document that has giraffe logo on it, I would dump it to the rubbish bin immediately), it takes a toll to Karen and effectively kills her joy to perform. Or as my sub says it, she loses her brillance. Which makes it all the more tragic because Hikari sacrifices herself in order to save Karen and the rest from it. As far as the narrative goes, I don’t think anyone of us is surprised at all these developments. Revue Starlight has been foreshadowing about this star-crossed love for quite some time and how Karen-Hikari relationship parallels with the Starlight story.

So it’s inevitable that we learn there is some more chapters in the Starlight book and it’s Karen the one who is willing to translate the whole book, with the help of every other member of the cast (poor Mahiru, always plays the housewife role). It’s the way for Karen to get back to the root, not only finding her own inspiration again after Hikari gone, but also finds Hikari through there. I also feel it’s more than appropriate that Karen’s walk to Hikari’s castle is accompanied by the whole case with their decor settings. We’re reaching the end of the stage production now, it’s perfect that these scenes play out like a play. Characters sing, characters function within their role (and their allocated spot) and leave Karen so that she can face her own issues by herself.

These stage-like quality, unfortunately, reduces our supporting characters into “roles”, so this episode we don’t feel them like real characters. There was one little moment that breaks that trend, however, which hit me harder than it should. It’s the moment when Tendou Maya implies, through her flashback, that when she sees Hikari’s eyes in one of their practices, she can sense that her eyes are empty. Hikari had been fighting and dueling even though her “brilliance” is forever gone, just barely make it back by the promise of Karen, and decides to win so that she can be an ultimate sacrifice. I already love the surrealist background of her palace, which vast desert and here she is, bare naked and all alone. That single image speaks more strongly than thousand words and I hope that, really hope that Revue Starlight can sweep me away again with its final episode.

Posted on 17 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The narrative beat of Revue Starlight has reached its new tempo with the end of the audition. All the things that Revue Starlight has been building up to begin to payoff this week. I must say though, it comes out a bit too predictable this week. We have the last stage audition with literally the supporting cast was put on the audience sits, the duet duel that decides the ultimate pair. But before that we have both Karen – Hikari pair and Tendou – Claudine reaffirm their roles and their relationship again. And then the ending which parallels exactly with what going on in the Starlight play. Mind you, there are still two episodes left so it’s possible (there’s a high chance it will happen eventually) that Karen and Hikari will rewrite the Starlight’s written fate. That can’t hide the fact that Revue Starlight this week lacks a factor to truly wow us.

“The central pair” emerges as the main theme of this week. Revue Starlight cast functions in pairs (poor Mahiru) and in this instance the final test is to decide the ultimate pair. Last year’s Tendou and Claudine against our Karen and Hikari. Before that final audition, we have a glimpse to Karen and Hikari’s time together, which sadly plays out as an extended episode 4. We don’t learn much of new thing regarding their relationship, and that’s the main thing that makes the final scene where Hikari “betrays” Karen doesn’t feel earned. You don’t see much of Hikari’s motive and I suppose she does it because she’d be the one who sacrifice. It makes more sense in that context so I just want to learn the true ending of Starlight play. Is that one girl fall of the cliff while the other one reaches for the star the true ending after all?

We also learn more about Tendou Maya – Claudine relationship and for me it fares better. They can’t hide the fact that they’re rivalry, but they also have deep respect for each other’s talent. It’s like they’re your typical fated rivalry where both try to improve themselves to surpass the other. Claudine and Tendou lose, with Claudine crying in French can be a little cheesy for my taste, but I love how Tendou accepts it quickly. She (and Claudine) have tried their best, so there shouldn’t be any regret, right?

It’s this episode where we also get the real sense of “supporting cast”. Personally, I would prefer to have develop every member of the cast more, in this episode they’re only there as your typical side-characters. It feels as if the climax (or the closing act, depend on how you view it) has no place to flesh them out more, which for me is a wasted opportunity. Maybe it’s me who was fond of the Banana-arc so that now when they address the main arc I don’t feel it as exciting. Hopefully Revue Starlight stays away from the soap opera and still manages to catch us off guard again, like what it did in the first episode and the Banana arc.

Posted on 11 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

The last three episodes when Revue Starlight focuses on Banana’s arc brush off my own reservation for the show. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the one who changed the fate, figuratively), and it introduces the Starlight play, in which serves as a foreshadowing to our pairs. Last week, I criticized the episode for abruptly put Banana against Hikari without us to learn about how she feels now. Turns out that the last episode only raises the stakes for Banana’s broken dream this week. First, she sees how everyone in her class moves on to the 100th Starlight play with enthusiasm, leave her completely behind (with the old script). Second, she comes to a realization that it wasn’t Hikari who changed the fate, it was Karen who crashed the stage in the first episode that cause the audition to have 9 members instead of 8. Finally, Revue Starlight raises her situation into desperate level, where she knows that losing mean that her hope to revive the 99th Starlight will be gone.

That raises the stake to this week’s duel (Duel of Bonding) where you can see Nana’s increasingly frustration through her heavy blow and her eyes. I especially like how Revue Starlight conveys her emotion visually. The sword she draws hiding her eyes, indicate that she rather turns her eyes away from the present. As she draws the 99th Starlight show poster on the stage, and Karen refuses to be a part of it anymore, it’s almost heartbreaking. Nana lose is written very clear in the first moment, not necessary because Karen is a better opponent, but it’s more because Nana loses the fight mentally. We also learn that the last audition will happen next week, which I think is appropriate. After all, the overarching climax is about Karen and Hikari so there has to be more beyond the audition part.

I’m also glad that we learn about the Starlight play in full context. It’s rather clear (too clear in fact) on how the Starlight act parallels to Hikari and Karen’s relationship. The two mains of the play: Claire and Flora is your ultimate star-crossed lovers. They go through their promise (tick), one of them lose memory (tick), but they meet again and both reaching for (Hikari’s hairpins) the stars (tick), just so that the other fallen off the cliff. It foreshadows clearly enough that Karen will go through some sort of sacrifice for Hakari, although in all fairness Karen is always the one who breaks the rule so we will have to see on which route Revue Starlight will ultimately take.

But the calm moment after the duel is what seals the deal for me. It’s true that with this episode, Nana won’t be an ultimate villain but it does the job to close her arc off with a rewarding development. Junna has a great moment of comforting her friend. I love the way Nana rather curious reaction to see Junna breaks out of her strict personality for her friend. It’s that, even if things never be the same again for Nana, they will keep making new memories, go through the stage light again in a brand new experience. And again, this new “side” of Junna, or “Bananice” can only happen in this timeline.

Posted on 4 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Last week, with the earth-shattering revelation of Banana’s secret, I expected Revue Starlight addresses 2 developments. First, Nana and Hikari’s chemistry in the present now that we see the true reason why Nana is so fixated to Hikari and Second, why does Hikari crashes this timeline which she doesn’t in previous loops. As it turns out, we learn most about the Second part this week (and next to nothing on the First part) given this episode plays out through Hikari’s perspective. One important detail in this world-building this episode manages to spill out is that the Revue Audition doesn’t strictly happen at Karen’s school. The extra-dimensional duels occur in London where Hikara studies as well. It becomes quite clear to me that these auditions are a manifestation of all these Takarazuka Revue trainee girls’ drive and competitiveness to be a Top Star and that talking Giraffe is like a guard of that world (but why Hikari? Torture him more! I want to hear him speaking English more).

While this episode isn’t as crucial in term of changing the plot into another direction like last week’s, it’s still a perfectly fine episode that moves the narrative forward. We see again how important Karen and Hikari’s childhood promise that guide them to basically give their all. I was struck at first how Hikari was too energetic earlier compared to her stoic current self, so imagine my satisfaction to learn the reason behind her lack of enthusiasm. She literally has her ‘drive’, or ‘radiance’ (depend on which subs you watched) taken away from her. It’s a high price to pay for the auditions, given that Hikari wasn’t aware to all that. Through her big slump of why she’s doing all that in a first place, the only thing she can hold onto is that promise. So she makes a deal with the devil almighty giraffe, thus appear in Karen’s world and single-handed destroy Banana’s perfect world.

But then, when we learn about the ultimate cost the losers will have to pay, isn’t that what Nana been doing all along is to protect these smiles? Keeping the status quo so that no one can lose their power. What can be more noble than that? Hikari and Nana’s fight isn’t simply a clash between past vs present, it also a conflict of self-ambition vs team mentality. In addition, I particularly enjoy the contrasting in weapons’ choice this week: Hikari with her dagger and Nana with double swords. The duel has a nice dynamic, and the stunning compositions with strong dark red color and shadows motif certainly give a strong impression. Revue Starlight also set itself up for a melodramatic climax, with Karen and Hikari have to fight one another in the end. While we have strong development from one of our main lead, I still feel the way this episode cuts from Hikari’s backstory to their duel a bit abruptive. Hikari and Nana’s clash is certainly interesting in theory, but the lack of their on-screen time together means that we can’t get behind them as much as I like. I also want to see more of Karen – Claudine duel. With 4 episode left I guess it’s time for Claudine to be in the spotlight very soon.

Posted on 27 August 2018 with categories: Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Like this week’s Chio-chan, Revue Starlight reminds me a great deal to the its premiere as it marks some dramatic shift in direction that we all wish we see it coming before (I honestly doubt anyone can see this coming). Like its first episode, the piece at first plays out like some typical idol show. I literally thought that Revue Starlight had succumbed to Idol route with Idol’s concern until again, it pulls the rug out of our feet. This week is about Daiba Nana, AKA Banana, the mother figure of all the girls. Everyone could recall a moment in their lives that they consider perfect. Maybe it’s “perfect” not because of everything runs exactly the way one plan, but to borrow “Inside Out” image, it’s because the moments were so relatable and powerful they stick out to your mind. For Nana, it’s her first Starlight performance with the first-year class.

Now, while the narrative of Nana still leaves a lot to be desired (which I will get to that later), the visual cue you in to her mindset magnificently. All Nana does is to preserve her happy moments: record what they do, take pictures with the cast. Unlike previous episodes when Revue Starlight resolve the cast’s friendship issues through pairings, Nana doesn’t really have “a partner”. She walks from one place to another by herself (the images of her walking in opposite directions each time), there’s always a phone or camera that distant her from the rest (the camera’s images also signal Nana’s “chosen” perspective – that she would rather prefer looking through this lense instead of reality). I also enjoy how other characters tend to move away from the center (look at one of the screenshot), as if they extract themselves from the central force: Nana herself.

In addition, unlike other characters who want to fight to become Top Stars, Nana lacks the ambition to become one, yet she’s the most talented girl out there. That’s why her actions tick Maya off. What’s use of a talent if she doesn’t want to advance herself? Turn out Nana’s answer is: she uses her talent to relive the past. That reveal turns the show into a completely new perspective, but everything adds up because it builds from everything that came before it and gives many characters more significant roles than what they appear before. The yellow-bathed stage where Nana meets the Giraffe, for example, never feels this sinister. Basically it’s Madoka twist all over again, although I would say it’s more appropriate to compare this twist to Yuno’s in Future Dairies. She relives the past year all over again because for her, it’s the perfect moments where everyone she loves participating the Stage together. There hasn’t any girl who dropped out yet. If I have some criticism over this episode, it’s that I still feel her “this moment is perfect” kind of vague. I still don’t really know how much this timeline means to her so that she would trade anything to relive it all over. One thing is clear though, while her intention is selfish, it isn’t without its reason. Who wouldn’t want to relive their best moments over and over.

It would’ve been perfect for Nana if Hikari doesn’t come in the picture. Hikari is an abnormality in Nana’s perfect world, and suddenly both Hikari and Nana’s roles change significantly after this episode. Hikari is the one who will disrupt Nana’s perfect world, and that leads to two interesting factors. First, we learnt from previous episodes that Nana decides to step down in order to assist the stage, but what is her real deal here? Will she plan to duel against Hikari? And second, why is it that Hikari appears in this timeline and not previous loops? We know for sure that with her appearance, the loops are basically gone, but is there more into it than meet the eye? I’m personally feel that Nana won’t be the “ultimate villain” and that her arc could very well be resolved next week (since we have more characters down the line here). As it stands, Revue Starlight opens for more intriguing questions and proves once again it has more ambitious thematic reach (along with great visual storytelling) than most of the anime offering out there. This episode is a pleasant surprise for me, and easily amongst my favorite Revue Starlight episode.

Posted on 20 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

With this episode, it becomes clear that Revue Starlight is less about Karen and more about the development of the entire cast. This week we get into the insights of Kaoruko and Futaba through the former perspective. Although spoiled, bratty and not-at-all serious about the Revue audition, I very much welcome her as a person who offers a different perspective to Revue Starlight. Previous characters have showed us time and again how much effort they work on to be the chosen ones, especially the girl with glasses Junna who compensates her lack for talent with tremendous amount of practice. That leaves Kaoruko as the one left behind since she’s clearly too laid back to put all her effort into improving herself. And like how a spoiled kid acts she behaves selfishly, making decisions just for the sake of making certain people (Futaba) feel bad, and in the end one could argue that she doesn’t really earn it – her character arc and her Starlight audition. While these claims are not incorrectly, for me it’s more about Kaoruko learns to change and be more serious in the process.

Needless to say, Kaoruko and Futaba’s dynamic isn’t Revue Starlight greatest moments. We have seen these kind of friendship breakdown and reconcile before in Revue Starlight, with better success (Karen & Hikari, Karen & Mahiru), add to the fact that 1) they’re side characters with predictable development and 2) this relationship is unbalanced somehow. As for 1), the moments Kaoruko announces she’s going back to Kyoto, we all know for sure that Futaba will run after her and that she’d never leave. It taps on all the similar beats and makes me think why don’t shake thing up a little? For 2), I can totally see that Futaba can be better off without Kaoruko. Futaba has been following the girl’s step in every decision, and this episode is meant to be a trial for Kaoruko to realize and appreciate how much Futaba has done for her. At the end, while she does acknowledge that, things pretty get back to status quo.

In fact, I’m more interested with the other angle Revue Starlight focus on: the parallel between Karaoku and Tendou Maya. This show has been consistently bring up the point between natural talent vs hard work. Take Tendou and Claudine for example, for all the efforts Claudine make, she’s still one step behind Tendou because Tendou has the talent plus the heavy effort. Karaoku is one of the natural talent. She’s the prized kid where her parent is an expert at Japanese dance. But without the will to be on top she starts to fallen behind to Futaba, who practices day in, day out. Because of that Tendou somehow seen through Karaoku. There’s a line that Tendou said to her (it’s pretty vague by the way) that reminds her that she needs to try harder for those who support her and “the feeling that you have a duty to be the best you can be”. The duel, unfortunately, isn’t that exciting compared to previous duels. For the show that consistently surprises us with its smart visual storytelling, this episode is also unremarkable in that regard. Karen is sidelined into a loud, one-dimensional character and I didn’t appreciate that much. Not really Revue’ Starlight’s high point, but it’s still solid enough to make it a damn good time.

Posted on 14 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Revue Starlight is back to business this week with its bizarrely entertaining duel. In a way, this duel is a long way coming as this is one of the development I expected to happen sooner or later. What I didn’t expect, however, is the overall light-hearted tone with cartoonish paper cut-out design and Mahiru -Karen fight literally stage-crashing other duels at the same time. I guess it’s because Mahiru is a kind-hearted person so we see her point of view in a rose-tinted glass with almost too naive outlook. Overall, while I have some nitpicks over the episode, it’s a delightful one from start to finish. My only beef with this week is that, for an episode that is about jealousy, we get little to no exposition of that theme. We see Mahiru feeling left out by the appearance of Hikari, but it plays out mostly for laugh (good one at that though). Moreover, Revue Starlight frames her conflict more as her own insecure with the rest of the cast, with all the country pumpkin imply and “sparkle” stuffs. Which again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that “jealousy” isn’t really much there to begin with.

But what this episode of Revue Starlight does extremely well, it’s how they manage the comedic beat. There are recurring gags about whenever Mahiru doing something “perverted”, Hikari appears with that deadpan expression and walks away. The visual cues sum up very well Mahiru’s situation than many words can tell (it’s show, don’t tell). We have Mahiru’s affection to Karen and we also sense how she feels Hikari invading Karen and her own space. Another notch for great visual gags come later in the duel, where other various auditioning girls get distracted by the duo’s crashing their stage. As for Mahiru, working with all the greatest faces also make she feels unconfident about herself, that she can’t shine like others. It’s her frustration triggers the audition so that she’d have to fight Karen (why not Hikari?) at the revue stage.

The revue duel this week is a total delight with catchy song, humorous, original (even to this show’s standard) and again brimming with many symbolisms that might or might not have a meaning. I mean, I can’t still get my head around the significance of baseball and she hits Karen off. Or even the fact that Revue Starlight animal-codes her as a white kitty cat. As for the duel, well… it’s purposely different from the rest of the duel we’ve encountered so far and I enjoyed every minute of it. With this duel done, however, I hope Mahiru still stay relevant. She’s the odd one out of the 9 members cast and it would be a let down if she remains the least developed character out of this mix. As the final note, two things I can takeaway from this duel: 1) there are simultaneously other auditions happening around at the same time in some extra-dimensional space and 2) I have the most single bizzare image of the week, not from the weird duel, but from our giraffe gets his head down to drink water in the lake with silver coins, while talking no less. Thumbs up for originality!

Posted on 6 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

I bet most of us coming out of this episode feeling a little underwhelming. Where’s all these revue duel? Where is the talking giraffe? To its defense though, this week builds the central dynamic of our main Karen and Hikari, and giving the rest of the cast the whole “we are together” vibe. While one could argue these members looking out for each other plot thread goes against the competitive duels to pick out a “Top Star” Revue Starlight has accomplished for the last few episodes, I think it’s rather appropriate development. These 9 girls, as competitive as they are, still need to work together as a team for the Starlight production. So in fact they’re not unlike idol girls who work together for the group’s benefit. That doesn’t mean I’m selling short these girls’ dynamic towards looking out for Karen and Hikari as they’re well over their curfew, these are charming moments, especially the way Claudine speaks nonsense French and Futaba and Kaoruko have to tiptoe around the hallway to cover these girls. I like what we see so far and I guess I would become more dramatic when these girls who obviously enjoy their time together have to fight on a surreal audition later on.

So this week Revue Starlight focuses on our main duo Karen and Hikari. I enjoy the way the show highlights the girls’ lack of emotional bond by the showing the physical distance. Karen leaves out of campus and Karen goes out her way to look for her. I also enjoy the way their communication getting better as the day progresses. At first we have blurry pictures that prompt Karen to pick a totally wrong location (the miscommunication?), to Keren figuring out of aquarium but ends up in the wrong aquarium, then they have phone conversation together which is actually their first heart-to-heart conversation since Hikari moves back to Japan and finally, they meet up face to face at their destined place, the Tokyo Underground. For whatever the aquariums might represent in terms of their relationship or Hikari’s psyche I have no idea, but them meeting at the Tokyo Tower feels like a long-awaited fated encounter. From this point on I’m certain that they’d work together as the duel.

What they exchange over the phone is also important. They recall on the past they shared together, about the initial inspiration and their promises that basically shape their lives the way they are now. Hikari might be angry with Karen for losing, but it turns out she doesn’t know more about Revue audition compared to Karen. As a result, while this episode is indeed the Revue Starlight’s breather episode, it’s still an important one to establish all the bright sparks that these relationships bring (notice that the cast goes for usual pairs this week, I don’t suppose it remains like that as the story kicks into gear), also develop our main Karen – Hilari so we have reasons to care for their goals, so that when it’s time for these girls to “destroy” each other, it adds up in context. I still feel the confidence from the production breathing through in every detail of this episode.

Posted on 30 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Well, we have a slower week of Revue Starlight compared to the first two episodes, mainly because the first half is more about setting up the girls’ dynamic than introduction. It’s not a complaint, either, since this week we see the girls go for different pairing, as a result they create a more complex web of relationship now. The audition duel this week is a classic “two steps forward – one step back” for our main Karen, as she fight the Top Star and realizes how much of a gap between her and Maya Tendou. If I have one issue during the episode, it seems so random that Karen fights with Maya because there’s no proper setting up prior to the underground audition. Other things stay ambiguous without any actual explanation and so far I pretty enjoy those. There’s apparently another duel happening simultaneously with Karen’s fight, for example, but for whatever purpose and even what those fights even mean remain a mystery.

But in this episode 3, we learn a lot about other cast members of the Starlight team, so let dig it up. First, we have Banana who steps down of the acting role in pursuit for production design. I suppose we learn more about this development once we get into her episode. For now though, it feels like a set-up to get every piece into place. On other notes, we get a better look at the duo Kaoruko and Futaba, but amusingly when they’re separate. Futaba, the most boyish character of the group, is the only member who aware of Claudine’s struggles to surpass Maya, as we see last week she lost to the fight against Maya. That, however, doesn’t explain why they battle at the end of the episode (another note: Futaba uses an axe as her weapon, an interesting choice). At the same time, Kaoruko proves to be more than her sleepy, spoiled appearance, as the way she talks signify that she’s a calculated, and maybe a bit manipulative character. The character that receives the least treatment so far is Hikari. We don’t pretty know much about her apart from her tsundere act which kinda get on my nerve in the beginning of the second arc.

I also noticed there’s a theme for each audition’s sword fight. Last week, it was “Revue of Desire”, this week, it’s a “Revue of Pride”. Now whether it’s mean those are the themes of the week, or about the personality from a character Karen has to fight is up in the air, but I’m leaning more about the latter. Maya is full of pride, and the main conflict between her and Karen is mostly about the idea of every woman for herself (Maya) vs I fight for me and my partner (Karen). The visual motif of the fight shows how out of depth Karen is compared to her opponent. Maya is always stationed at a higher place, and everytime Karen tries to climb up the ladder, she immediately fails. This fight also serves as the reality check for Karen, that in order to achieve her dream, she has to put more efforts. In addition, Hakari isn’t pleased at all the way Karen put everything down the line for her sake. It means nothing for Hikari if Karen is the sole person who work for the goal. Despite it’s a less dense episode compared to what we had seen so far, it’s still a pretty good week for Revue Starlight, all things considered.

Posted on 24 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight

Please check out the Starlight theme to get in the stage-dueling mood.

This show climbs up to be my favorite show of this season. It has all these elements that personally are my cup of tea: many layers of symbolism, a surrealism sense and a stage duel set piece that is even more impressive than an actual action show.

Disguised itself as an idol show with Love Live-esque character designs, the first half of the first two episodes could fool viewers thinking it’s a harmless idol girls, until the surreal part comes in and sweeps everything out of its way. In retrospect, I couldn’t think any better way to turn the Idol genre inside out than this. In the genre, girls with different personality working together for the same goals, and they regard each other like a family members. Revue Starlight put them against each other instead, making it a whole lot more complex in character motivation and interaction.

But that was just an on-the-surface part of this show, so let’s dig a little deeper. What I love the most about Revue Starlight so far, is its sense of surrealism and its heavy use of symbolism. The way the show uses symmetric images and put Karen right there in the middle, for example, suggest that she’s the one in the central (ground zero), the place where the lead role usually occupy, and signifies that she’s the one who brings the cast altogether. Many have said that Revue Starlight taks an inspiration if Takarazuka theatre, and at the same times criticize some traditional aspect of it. Karen (or BaKaren), is a stark contrast to what the Takarazuka build around, and to a larger degree what this Starlight audition is for. The audition is about exclusion to pick out the top star, yet she wants to include everyone together. In Starlight, the girls fight for themselves, yet Karen fights for the shared dream of her and Hikari. The talking giraffe asks her to leave when she entered the audition ground for the first time, yet she basically gate-crashing the audition. She has a great role so far that compatible to Utena’s role in her series. And that isn’t a far off comparison either since the ballet duel reminds me strongly of Utena duel, for good reasons.

I also like the theme of individualism in the focus of unity. Like the way Revue Starlight shows their costumes are mass-produced or the use of mannequin. To become a star, they need to stand out from the rest. And the girl Junna really shines throughout this two episodes. She’s in the position where she’d devote every effort to become a main star, yet she knows doesn’t matter how hard she tries, she can’t close the gap to the top stars. I reckon that her arc is basically done now that she accepts “her lose”, but knowing this show I know she won’t get sidelined in the service of the plot. We have a total of 9 girls in this series but judge from the way this show treats Junna, I have a good faith that Revue Starlight will develop them thoroughly.

In addition, the stage duel is simply stunning. It’s bizarre, yet gorgeous to look at and it has so much personality on its own. Now, it’s when the surrealism really kicks in. Many of its images: like talking giraffe, Karen get pushed down the Tokyo tower, might or might not be real. But it makes sense. You could take the stage duel as a battle to survive, as an audition,as a performance all you like and it still works. As a final notes, there’s some hints that we’ll have yuri undertone and for that I say: Bring it right on.

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There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Vinland Saga – 6 [The Journey Begins]

Another week, another dose of Viking murder, courtesy of Vinland Saga. This week we watch our baby boy grow up, learn a bit about Viking history, and get into the series proper. Let’s dive in! Starting off, as always, the production aspect. This week showed us some of the cracks in Vinland’s production. For while […]

DanMachi2 – 5 [The Hearthfire Mansion (Home)]

DanMachi, you have me scratching my head. It takes you less than 20 minutes of air time to wrap up a 4 episode built, fortune changing battle – and then you spend the next 20 discussing Hestia’s Homebuilding. And what’s more – it was a very enjoyable Fixer-Upper-At-Your-Enemy’s-Expense episode. Just…a bit puzzling pace. Let’s take […]

Fire Force – 5 [The Battle Begins]

For the second episode in a row, Fire Force has quietly impressed me. Obviously the episode of the week would have to go to Yaiba (see Lenlo’s excellent post on it!), but Fire Force turned in an admirable performance. With the mess of Episode 3 still looming, I was quite happy to see an episode […]

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