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Kaleido Star - Reach for the Brass Ring
The last volume of Kaleido Star sends Sora on an emotional roller coaster as she and Layla become partners once again. The stakes get higher and higher, as fate of Kaleido Stage itself rest on the girls shoulders. This DVD wraps up the first season of this entertaining show with an outstanding finale.
Layla can see the Fool now, and that means that there is a possibility that she can preform the Legendary Great Maneuver. The last time it was tried both performers died, but Layla and Sora decide that they want to achieve this ultimate stunt.
Meanwhile, the new Kaleido Stage, under Yuri's direction, is going down-hill fast. The audiences have been avoiding Yuri's new shows that feature special effects rather than gymnastic skill. With no audiences, the Stage is running into dire financial difficulties. When Yuri finds out that Layla and Sora are planning to attempt the Great Maneuver, he publicizes the event. He sells non-refundable tickets to their performance, without their permission. The two stars are irate when they find out, but Layla makes Yuri promise to give Kaleido Stage back to Ken if they succeed.
Ken flies the pair to the desert to train them, and the training is intense. Sora isn't sure she can handle the tough regiment, and starts doubting herself again. But even if Sora does get her confidence back, fate has more ordeals in store for the plucky young athlete.
This was a great way to wrap up the first season. The volume has some great moments, and the ending really pays off well. Looking back over the whole season, this series had a nice story arc. Sora and Layla's characters evolved nicely over the course of the season; changing slowly but firmly. They learn and change through their trials and tribulations, and by the end of the series they are different and stronger people than when they began. A great ending to a very fun and exciting series.
This DVD has a 2.0 Japanese soundtrack and a 5.1 English dub. The sound quality was very good in both tracks. The voices were clear and there wasn't any hiss or distortion. The English dub was more full and rich, being a 5.1 mix, but I enjoyed the Japanese dub a little bit more. I really disliked a couple of the voices on the English audio track. The actress who voices Sora in the English version has chosen an annoying voice for her. She sounds like a three year old, with a very high-pitched cutesy voice, and it gets old fairly quickly. The dorm leader Sarah's voice had a fake British accent that sounds incredibly inane. The other actors do a good job, but I still prefer the original language track.
I was very happy with the way this show looked. Being a recent show, the full frame picture was very good. The colors were bright and full, and the lines were tight. There was some light aliasing but this was minor it wasn't distracting. This is a nice looking show.
The DVD comes with a clean opening and closing, and a four-minute reel of production sketches. There is also a fun commentary for episode 25 with Cynthia Martinez (Sora) and Sandra Krasa (Layla.)
Included in the case is a small standee of Marion.
Kaleido Star is a fun and enjoyable series. I always worry that the story will fall down at the end of a series, *cough* Neon Genesis *cough* but this one kept going strong right through the last episode. A great show for both kids and adults. Highly Recommended.