Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Revue Starlight
Anime Studio: Kinema Citrus
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Released: September 14th, 2020
Language: Japanese / English
In theatre, the competition for the lead roles can be cut throat …
and at this school they’re using real weapons!!
As the 99th graduating class of the Seisho Music Academy prepares for their annual review, “Starlight”, aspiring actress Karen Aijo is happy just to have the chance to be in the cast. But when Karenʼs childhood friend Hikari mysteriously arrives after years abroad, Karen quickly learns that there is more going on at Seisho than the normal drama classes. Following Hikari late one night, Karen discovers an elevator that takes her deep below the Earth, where the secret auditions for the leads in Starlight is underway… a competition that is fought with real weapons as well as song and dance! Goaded by the
giraffe in charge of the trials, Karen throws caution to the wind and takes the stage herself… but will she be ready to survive the ultimate contest of drama and skills.
Revue Starlight, also known as Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight, is an interesting release. Much like School-Live!, this starts out looking like one type of show, then swerves you into something else entirely different. In this instance, the set up is similar to a typical ‘girls competing and reaching for their dreams’ tale. Then you meet the talking giraffe.
From a story standpoint, the series does pretty well. The magical ‘auditions’ are well put together, and they play nicely into individual character development arcs. It all builds up to an interesting finale that goes against (certainly my) expectations. On top of that, it’s not without surprises. One character, in particular, is given an excellent twist half-way through the series, and it’s that twist that not only alters the tone of the series but sends the story heading towards those final scenes.
You can expect the character development to be dealt with in a ‘monster of the week’ style, with single episodes focusing on different cast members. This works fine, but it does mean that the episodes sometimes feel like extended introductions. The exception is our hero, Karen, who I felt like was at the heart of everything that happened but didn’t seem to move forward as much as a character.
Visually, the series is at its strongest during the magical scenes. It was clear that a lot of care was taken in making these look as strong as they possibly can. In a way, it’s a shame that the same time wasn’t dedicated to the real-world scenes, as these often hover at – and below – being fine, but nothing more. The Japanese voice cast is strong. I would say too that the English VAs also generally do well, especially Brittney Karbowski (Black Star in Soul Eater) who played Karen. I did feel like Junna’s voice sounded a little forced in the dub though.
The collector’s edition release includes a 64-page art book and 10 art cards. It’s currently only a little more than the regular edition, which is good to see, though I would say that the price may still perhaps a little high for some.
Revue Starlight is a wonderfully surreal series with a strong story. Its biggest downfalls are undoubtedly the inconsistent animation and the simple fact that it may be too surreal for some. It’s an easy one to recommend, but it won’t be for everyone. I give this 3.75 out of 5.