Kaleido Star: Stage 1: Welcome to the Kaleido Stage (review)
Sixteen-year-old Sora does what lots of kids only fantasize about: she runs away and joins the circus. Arriving on a whim from Japan, she lucks into an audition with the Kaleido Stage, a kind of Ringling Brothers meets Cirque du Soleil, an amazing coincidence, considering that snagging an audition was precisely what brought her to the U.S. in the first place. Sora’s adventures in making new friends and building her own self-confidence are depicted in the standard way of Japanese anime: lots of girls with enormous, limpid eyes screaming at one another and getting red in the face. There’s a bit of supernatural hokum with the talking doll that “befriends” Sora who turns out to be the “Spirit of the Stage” and goads her regularly to follow her dreams, but it’s just one more bit of the varied and overt go-girl stuff in this harmless flight of fancy. Anyone over 12 will find the five half-hour episodes fluffy at best.