Mania Grade: B
0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Kaleido Star
Kaleido Star: New Wings Vol. #1
January 11, 2006
Release Date: January 17, 2006
ADV’s release of Kaleido Star in 2004, a gorgeous production from well-respected producer Junichi Sato and Gonzo Digimation, was a hit with fans. The release of the second season was delayed for quite some time, but it’s now finally about to hit store shelves.
This is a preview screener, so I can only comment on some of the packaging. The cover uses a black background, instead of the white that dominated the first season. The use of stars gives Sora a gorgeous backdrop to pose against. The new logo is quite attractive and is placed along the bottom. The only issue is the sales blurb placed right in the center of the cover. The back cover uses the same black background and star field, with small, heavily filigreed circular screencaps down the left side.
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) As the preview screener supplied by ADV only has three episodes on it, and the first two are recap episodes with virtually no new material, there is really only one episode of the new season to review. The only new animation in the first two episodes involves The Fool, who narrates the events of the first season, as well as some new tarot cards from him, featuring people and events from the previous episodes. We are reintroduced to Sora Naegino, a young woman from Japan who has traveled to America to audition for the Kaleido Stage, the world’s premier circus. We watch as she’s initially rejected by the proud Layla Hamilton, the star of Kaleido Stage, then given a trial by fire by Kalos, the owner of Kaleido Stage. Sora is befriended by fellow performers Anna and Mia. She slowly gains the trust and admiration of Layla. The introduction of Rosetta, a diabolo champion, is given special attention, as she will become an important regular character in the second season. In the second episode, we see the betrayal by an important member of Kaleido Stage, which scatters the performers. The formation of Freedom Lights, a group of former Kaleido Stage performers, gives Sora and Layla a chance to perform together again. Finally, the training for and performance of the Legendary Great Maneuver that is the climax of the first season ends the recap episodes.
In the third episode, we finally get to see Kaleido Stage without Layla. Sora is sure she doesn’t have the star power of Layla, so a new performer, the highly arrogant Leon Oswald, has been brought in. He’s the star of the French circus, and he feels that Sora’s irreverence is beneath him. He quits in the middle of their first performance together. Their philosophies are worlds apart. Sora believes that the performers exist to entertain the audience. He believes the audience only exists for the performer’s benefit. Forced to play both her role and his in the show, she wears herself out. Despite brilliant improvisation by her to carry off the illusion of playing two roles, the audience only wants to see either Leon or Layla, neither of which she is.
Suddenly, a young woman with long black hair jumps into the stage, boldly challenging Sora for the position of star of Kaleido Stage. She’s May Wong, the best of the new recruits to the circus, and she believes she is the real successor to Layla Hamilton, not Sora. Intrigued, Leon decides to stay after all, joining the two rivals on stage to thunderous applause.
The first season of Kaleido Star was a show I enjoyed immensely, so the wait for the second season has been excruciating. Now I see it’s been worth the wait, at least if the first episode of new material is anything to go by. English is the only audio track on this preview disc, which gave me the chance to see if the scripting issues that plagued the first season had been corrected. The Fool’s dialogue had been completely rewritten to remove all of his lasciviousness, as well as other, rather ham-fisted rewrites that removed things as innocuous as the girl’s adoration of Anna’s unintentional beauty. The changes were significant, and apparently made at the request of the Japanese licensor. It’s especially odd, since the changes were made only to the ADR script, and not the subtitles. It’s disappointing that ADV agreed to such wholesale changes, but fortunately, as the season progressed, the rewrites became less and less significant. If this disc is anything to go by, the script changes are now a thing of the past. The Fool is the horndog he was always meant to be, restoring a significant facet of the show’s humor for fans of English dubbing.
The two new characters are played by Mike MacRae (Leon) and Hilary Haag (May). Mike MacRae has made a name for himself playing amoral characters, both dramatic, such as Guaron in Full Metal Panic, and comedic, such as the President of Everything in The Super Milk-chan Show. Leon is another amoral character, and MacRae plays him with ferocious intensity. He uses a surprisingly convincing French accent that in no way gets in the way of his performance. Hilary Haag is an actress probably best known for her roles as Nene in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo: 2040, Ryo in Princess Nine and Rosette in Chrono Crusade. This is a new character for her, very arrogant and proud, with a forceful, yet sexy personality. I think fans of hers will be very happy with what they hear.
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player