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Kaleido Star New Wings Vol. 2 - A Tale of Two Rivals
The first volume of the second season of Kaleido Star was a big disappointment. They seemed to throw out the charm of the first season and added a group of unbelievable characters and situations. Unfortunately the second disc doesn't improve the story at all. Trying to recreate the tension filled moments from the first season, they put Sora in some difficult situations, but none of them ring true. This is a pale imitation of the original.
In the first season of Kaleido Star, Sora Naegino travels to the US from Japan to chase her dream, joining the world famous Kaleido Stage. Though she's talented, young Sora has to prove herself to the current Kaleido Stage cast, especially the star, Lala Hamilton. Over the corse of the season, Sora's skills grow and she slowly wins over the cast with her energetic personality and never-say-die attitude. She even wins over the stuck up Layla. In the end Sora becomes the star's partner and the two of them manage to preform the Legendary Great Maneuver, the ultimate trapeze stunt that leaves the crowd speechless. While preforming it though, Layla breaks her arm very badly and has to quite the stage. Layla hands over the staring role to Sora, and puts the care of Kaleido Stage in her capable hands.
With Layla gone, Kaleido Stage is having a tough time of it. The crowds are a bit thin, and to boost attendance the management hire Leon Oswald, the world's greatest trapeze artist. Leon's even more stuck on himself than Layla ever was. On opening night he decides that the talent of the performers, especially Sora, is lacking and leaves in the middle of his first scene. So Sora decides to save the show by preforming both roles, hers and Leon's, for the rest of the show. To make matters worse, a new rival jumps on stage during the closing number and challenges Sora's right to headline at the Kaleido Stage. (My gosh, where was security? Do they let just anyone jump in and take part in the show??) May Wong was the highest scoring candidate in this year's crop of applicants to the Stage, and she insists that she's going to be the next Layla Hamilton.
Leon doesn't think much of either Sora or May, saying that their amazing acrobatics are boring and trite. Now both gymnasts are vying to meet with Leon's approval so they can declare themselves a true Kaleido Star.
We get more of the same odd situations that filled the last volume this time around. In the first episode May gets Sora's goat, so she challenges her to an ice skating competition. The only thing is that Sora doesn't know how to skate and May is a world class athlete at the sport. Poor Sora only has three days to learn how to skate, can she possibly do it???
No, of course not. It's stupid to even think that someone could become a top skater in three days, but Sora does in this show. In the previous series Sora would have to learn a particular trick or act in a short amount of time and worked really hard at it. It's believable that a top acrobat could learn a new maneuver in a week. But mastering a new skill in such a short time is ridiculous.
After Rosetta sees how fast Sora has mastered ice skating, she declares that she'll master the trapeze in three days or quit Kaleido Stage for good. She turns to Sora to help her learn how to preform on the equipment, but even with Sora teaching her, three days isn't a lot of time.
Okay, now Rosetta is a world famous performer herself. You'd think she'd know how long it takes to master something...but no. She seems to think that three days is sufficient to bring her to the level of the other performers who've worked at it their whole lives. Oh yeah, and she doesn't even know how to swing!
The next episode was just as dumb, with Layla inviting Sora to New York to preform with her in an off-Broadway show, and May tagging along and getting a part too. Then in the only episode that harkened back to the first season, little Marion, the stage builder's daughter, wants to perform on the trampoline in a kid's show, but she's afraid her father won't let her since her mother died while doing a trampoline act.
This was a set of really dumb shows. Leon acts as if he owns Kaleido Stage now, telling people what acts they can and can't put on. Of corse the real owner doesn't seem to mind. The situations are just absurd (Sora and May have one day to perfect a dance number that's going to be included in the play that Layla's in) and everyone seems to have forgotten that Sora is a fantastic athlete. At least she was at the end of the last season when she performed the ultimate maneuver. They are trying to paint her as the underdog again, and it just comes off as being really dumb.
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 three-minute reel of production sketches.
Unfortunately this show hasn't improved any. It's amazing how it has gone down hill so fast. The first season was great, but this time around the stories are idiotic and unbelievable and the characters aren't enjoyable. There are a lot of shows out there that are better than this one. Spend your time and money on one of them. As for this disc: Skip it.