Kaleido Star: New Wings True Star Collection - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 59.98
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kaleido Star

Kaleido Star: New Wings True Star Collection

By Luis Cruz     November 12, 2007
Release Date: September 04, 2007


Kaleido Star: New Wings True Star Collection
© ADV Films


What They Say
If our little runaway Sora is ever going to become a Kaleido Star, she has to overcome some pretty tough, not to mention gorgeous, adversaries. Sora and May give it their all, but neither is sure what will satisfy Leon. Layla invites Sora to New York to perform, but then battles with May when she tries to steal her part. This toughens Sora up because she may soon have to be a little ruthless herself. But at what cost? Should Sora just quit the Kaleido Stage and go home to her family? Maybe that‚€™s just what she needs to get her dreams back on track. Much to May‚€™s disappointment, Sora bonds with Leon and goes back to France where they run into Leon‚€™s former trainer. After rigorous training, she attempts to perfect the Angel‚€™s Maneuver - one that could make or break her dream to finally become a Kaleido Star. But can she do it? Will Leon push her too hard? Will her nerves get the best of her? Or will Sora awaken everyone‚€™s hearts and soar? Find out for yourself ‚€“ watch Kaleido Star: New Wings ‚€“ True Star Collection.

The Review!
The second half of Kaleido Star is just as charming and captivating as the first.

Audio:
The original Japanese audio track was used for the entire viewing session. It is a solid stereo track with no noticeable defects. While it lacks the "punch" of a full 5.1 track, it did provide some great directional effects during the stage productions and balanced all elements from music to dialogue appropriately.

Video:
Kaleido Star is a colorful series and has been given a fantastic, clean transfer. From bright costumes to the shifting lighting of a stage production, colors were solid and vibrant allowing a lot of detail to shine through. There were no noticeable defects to distract the eye.

Packaging:
Five discs are housed in a sturdy box; the box artwork is gorgeous and features Sora in her angelic costumes. The front covers of the discs feature the same beautiful artwork used for the box and a couple of the individual releases. Back covers contain the requisite disc and episode information in a clean, readable layout.

Menu:
The main menu is a static image with a snippet of instrumental music playing in the background. Transition delays are non-existent making it quick and easy to get setup and into the fun.

Extras:
N/A

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naegino Sora has achieved her dream; she has become a star on the Kaleido Stage, partnered Layla Hamilton, and executed the "Legendary Great Maneuver". What does a young girl dream for now? That is the question posed to Sora in Kaleido Star: New Wings. Sora's answer is to become a true Kaleido Star, but what does that mean? Not even Fool and his new constellation based scrying can say. New Wings is Sora's arduous journey to discover what a true Kaleido Star means to her.

Initially, New Wings appears to be a simple retread of the first season. Sora must endure harsh training, cruel rivals, and her own doubt; the end result is a performance that captures the hearts and imaginations of everyone around her. However, it approaches the material in a subtle but important difference. Where the build-up to the "Great Maneuver" taught Sora to be a strong performer, she must now learn how to be a strong individual. She must confront the uglier side of the stage and competition and discover that the only path she must tread is the one she chooses. Even if her peers and heroes disapprove, she must remain committed to her own dreams.

Her rivals along the path are Leon Oswald and May Wong; Leon is known as the God of Death, a performer that breaks his partners. He is searching for the one person that can truly be called his partner. May is a spunky and extremely talented performer who seeks to dethrone Sora as the top Kaleido Star. They treat Sora with contempt and dampen Sora's usual optimism. However, they serve as the perfect tools to strength Sora's emotional and mental resolve. By the end, Sora's newfound confidence and resolve opens their hearts and reveals that they have their own doubts and fears.

Everything that made the first season special found its way into the second. The story can be predictable and melodramatic at times, but it sidesteps most of the usual clichés seen in similar titles. The core of the series is simple; your dreams are achieved through hard work and determination. There are no contrived romantic angles and no shortcuts to stardom; New Wings is free to tell an engaging story filled with charm and humor.

Sora's character really draws me into this series; rising to every challenge, she inspires those around her and motivates them to become better performers and better people. The first season ended with the breathtaking "Great Maneuver", a move that was the culmination of Sora's hard work. The second season finalé is not so much a culmination but rather a celebration of Sora's maturity, growth, and ability to inspire those around her. As she performs the "Angel's Maneuver", she illuminates the angels within everyone's hearts and creates a stage with no battles, just performers enjoying the stage together. While the methods used to arrive at this celebration are familiar, it is the journey Sora takes and the subtle changes to her character that make it rewarding.

Included as a final send-off is the first OVA; this touches on Rosetta's first starring role and her own doubt about her abilities. Initially, this piece felt like a rehash of the entire series and added nothing substantial to the story or characters. However, I feel this is due to watching it too close to the end of the entire series. This is something one should watch after letting some time pass; with distance, this piece would be a fun reminder of how Sora's spirit was infectious and a reminder that our own dreams touch others and spark their own dreams.

New Wings and the entire Kaleido Star series has been a unique and refreshing experience. Few shows manage to hook me enough to keep feeding discs into my player as fast as possible. New Wings ignited the same fervor I felt during the first season and kept me hooked down to the finish.

In Summary:
The second season of Kaleido Star does not end with the rousing crescendo of the first, but it culminated in an equally beautiful and moving finalé. While the trials Sora endures are familiar, they transform her into a strong, determined woman; she can finally stand and see what her personal path in life is. Everything I enjoyed about the first season holds true for the second; predictable and melodramatic at times, the story and characters still thoroughly captivated me. The simple charm and honest storytelling, something seldom seen, has been refreshing. One of the under appreciated gems available, I very highly recommend this entire series.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable

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