***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight. Reader discretion is advised.***
At the prestigious Seisho Music Academy, the 99th graduating class performed an unforgettable rendition of the stage play Starlight. Going into their school’s 100th year, the 99th class is determined to outdo themselves with a repeat production of the Starlight story.
Among the 99th class is Karen Aijo (voiced by Momoyo Koyama). Karen loves the theater but is lacking in stage presence when compared to her classmates. However, a spark alights within Karen when her childhood friend, Hikari Kagura (voiced by Suzuko Mimori), returns to Japan after a twelve-year absence.
Unfortunately, Hikari is distant, cold, and the person Karen once knew no longer seems to exist. To discover what is going on with her friend, Karen follows Hikari to Seisho Academy one night and stumbles upon an unbelievable sight.
In the shadows of the theatrical world is the competition known as Revue Starlight. Here performers battle one another with music, dance, and swords to determine who is the legendary Top Star. Karen sees Hikari’s audition, and without fully understanding what is happening, jumps in to aid her friend.
That act of passion qualified Karen to join the ranks of Revue Starlight. Now Karen, Hikari, and the rest of the 99th class face each other as they all aim for center stage.
There was good stuff in Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight. For one, this series employed a genre combination I would love to see more of – music and action.
Throughout my time with LofZOdyssey Anime Reviews, I have seen a decent amount from the music genre (results have varied). I must admit, most of the musically based shows I’ve watched have involved idol groups or school or both in some way.
Revue Starlight, from the start of episode one, had a familiar feel to it that – and I need to be honest – did not grab my attention.
Let’s do a quick rundown shall we:
- There was a prestigious theater academy with a long history.
- We had an ordinary protagonist – in this case, Karen Aijo – who seemed less invested in the performing arts compared to the rest of her classmates.
- A few of the supporting characters had egos and talked in condescending tones.
- Then, an important person from Karen’s past, Hikari Kagura, made a surprise return.
- Upon arrival, Hikari was not who she once was, and Karen was mostly unaware of this shift in personality.
From this beginning, I suspected Revue Starlight would be cut-and-dry with little to no uniqueness. Then from out of nowhere, Karen found her way to a mysterious elevator that brought her to a large theater stage/battle arena where competitors fought to see who would achieve the rank of Top Star. These “auditions” were filled with swordplay, music, choreography, bright visuals, large action, and a talking giraffe (voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda).
Seeing this, I thought to myself, “Congratulations show. You now have my undivided curiosity.”
Without question, these action scenes – a.k.a., Revues – were easily the best moments of this show. The Revues were everything I like about the music genre. They let songs, the animation, and movements tell the story. They allowed the accompanying battles to be a lot more intense and meaningful.
For a rough comparison, let’s split up one episode of Revue Starlight. About ninety percent of the resulting content involved no-thrills dialogue, stale character development, and generic school-life drama. The remaining ten percent was the Revues. This small chunk managed to say so much more about everything.
If a character was in anguish, it came out in their performance. When someone was determined, it shone through in their fighting style. If there was doubt, loss, disillusionment, and longing, it was all there in the Revues.
This series hit upon something that it could be proud of. These segments of musical action were what broke Revue Starlight away from other entries in its genre. Unfortunately, there was just one problem.
Never forget, the Revues were only a tiny fraction of this show. Everything else about Revue Starlight fulfilled the initial impression I got while watching the first episode.
This is going to come off as superfluous, but nevertheless:
Why was there a talking giraffe? It was just a giraffe, and that was it. This series could have gone with any animal, and it went with a giraffe. I don’t mind giraffes, but then again, seriously, why a giraffe?
My biggest gripe with this was, Revue Starlight was doing something weird only for the sake of being weird.
That is a sentiment which can work, except such a mentality was misguided here because this story did want to go somewhat more profound. It chose to discuss what drove people to stand up on stage and what inspired them to perform with all their might.
Perhaps it’s merely my personal expectations, but if there is no explanation as to why a talking giraffe is the best way to convey a message, I’m not going to take said message seriously.
Speaking of “seriously,” no one in Revue Starlight minded that there was a goddamn giraffe next to them talking up a storm who, based on what I could gather, was a bit of a prick.
I apologize for the rant, but I had to get it off my chest. This aspect of Revue Starlight was, frankly speaking, really stupid. However, the giraffe wasn’t the worst part of this show. No, that honor goes to everything that wasn’t the Revues.
Now I want to be clear, I am not saying Revue Starlight was a lousy series. I have seen way worse from this show’s Summer 2018 companions, as well as from 2018 in general. That notwithstanding, this series was as generic as they come.
For example, Revue Starlight had characters. Scratch that, this series had a large cast of characters. Too bad I cannot remember any of their names or what made any of them unique.
Although I have referenced Karen Aijo and Hikari Kagura by name – to give you some behind the scenes insight – the Revue Starlight Wikipedia article was never a click away while I wrote this review. Concerning who was who, I was unable to rely on my own memory.
On top of not caring about any of the characters, the overall story of Revue Starlight wasn’t anything special. In fact, if you wish to attempt this, try watching the first episode in its entirety and then only sit through the Revue scenes. I suspect you will catch everything there is to catch about this series. You do not need to get through all twelve episodes, nor will you want to.
That said, I do want to add one caveat to my challenge. Good luck with Revue Starlight’s ending.
I did sit through this entire series, and I have no idea what happened at the end. This show appeared to go against its own rules while at the same time made up nonsense to achieve…something.
I honestly don’t know what this ending was going for.
This was not a great series, but it did have a great idea I am not ready to give up on. I actually want there to be a season two because there was good stuff that can be expanded upon.
This story’s Revues were excellent. Beautiful music, fantastic visuals, fun action; there was so much you wouldn’t expect from this type of series. However, there needed to be something to complement these scenes.
The characters weren’t fleshed out. The main narrative had nothing to it. Some meaning to the strange and the bizarre would have gone a long way. Since this series was lacking so much, my hands are tied. After all, there may never be a continuation.
Although promise exists with this idea, for now, Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is a series you can skip.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
Post Edited By: Onions