Awakened to the desire of being Top Star, will Karen be able to go back to her old life? And what about Hoshimi, the girl longing to achieve her dreams? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. With things underway, it’s probably a good idea to discuss what we know as the Rules of the Audition. Though last episode made the existence of the audition itself seem random unless you were particularly eagle-eyed, every girl involved thus far has actually been emailed—decently high-tech considering giraffes shouldn’t be able to use computers.
In any case, Revues are supposed to be one on one between girls aiming to be Top Stars. You carry a cloak over your right shoulder held in place by a golden button, and if it falls the Revue is over and your opponent is declared the victor. Finally, the chosen Stage Girls aren’t allowed to talk about the Audition to anyone who isn’t already involved, lest they risk being…penalized. What that involves at the moment is unclear.
2. Let’s revisit the idea of how there are different levels to wanting to achieve a goal. There’s a simple fancy, in which you think the mere idea of the goal is nice but you don’t make any steps to achieve it. Then there’s actually acknowledging what it would take to achieve the goal you claim to want—this is the level most of the girls in the school are at. Once again we’re shown the girls going through practice—singing practice, stretching, memorizing dance steps and routines.
…And then there’s the level beyond, where you go beyond wanting to needing, or even “longing” to have something. That’s where Junna is currently, and it’s meant to be the level of every Stage Girl—which is why at one point she even admonishes the other girls while they sit in awe of the skill of their classmates Maya and Claudine, pointing out that if they don’t believe themselves capable of being on the main stage they shouldn’t even be here. She pushes beyond everyone else—getting up early to go for runs to increase stamina, staying late for extra practice, and she eventually reaches her limit, passing out in the middle of class.
This is actually going a bit too far, near the level of obsession, but in many fields (including this one) this kind of desire is bare minimum if you’re going to compete. Speaking of…
3. Karen is invited to Day 2 of the Auditions, presumably this time for her first real performance instead of just busting in on other people’s. I wanted to talk briefly about the transformation scene here—as everything about it is so fascinating.
Bear in mind we’re still very early days here, and the potential for things to go completely batshit bananas is still high, but in a show where everything is as purposeful as this the signs will be there early on. Signs like every Revue beginning with a blood-red curtain with the words “I Am Reborn” written on it. This could refer to the idea of only feeling “alive” on stage, which is amplified by the fact that each time we see the full transformation scene—from make-up to the actual creation of their costumes.
Now I’ve been calling it a transformation because it’s literally that—last episode Karen hopped off the talking giraffe’s neck down several dozen feet and in between being in the audience and reaching the stage somehow became a Stage Girl. This show has as much magical girl/Sentai in its DNA as it does commentary on Takarazuka.
4. This week’s challenge is a revenge match between Karen Aijo and Junna Hoshimi. Unlike last week, it’s a much closer match between the two—and I believe a lot of that has to do with the chosen Revue. This time we’re covering The Revue of Longing, showing who has the greatest passion for doing this.
While Junna’s passion might not have blazed like hot-blooded Karen’s, she absolutely Wants This. During their match this week, she talks about how she’s never felt special—just a studious girl who never had anything she wanted to reach for. Until she was able to witness the stage, and for the first time felt like she could reach for her own star, and become the protagonist of her story. Because of this, she’s able to keep Karen on her toes—manipulating the stage through the use of mirrors and mannequins.
Of course, once again Karen succeeds. Seeing Hikari again has caused her dream to become even brighter in her mind than before. While Junna is still hiding behind props and not being as direct and open with what she wants, Karen’s become even more out about her desire. Her friend Hikari asks her not to participate in the Audition any further, claiming she doesn’t have the talent and wasn’t invited to begin with, but even then she refuses. Karen’s finally realized the error of her ways and refuses to stand aside so other people can become Top Star any longer. She wants to stand on the stage with Hikari and shine brighter than anyone else, and it’s that desire that wins her the day, even if very narrowly.
Still, this time around Hoshimi isn’t nearly as dour about it. She accepts not being the Top Star this time, and that she’ll simply have to keep trying rather than just give up after a loss or two, even making friends with Karen.
5. But elsewhere, another Revue is going on—one between the two girls believed to be Top Stars of the 99th class: Tendou and Claudine. Last week’s episode showed us the competition these two have with one another, and it often seems rather even between them. It’s logical for them to be among the best, as both have the most experience among all the girls—Tendou’s parents grew up working in stage, while Claudine was an actor as a child.
Still, there must always be a victor, and from the looks of things Claudine suffered an absolute destructive loss to Tendou Maya, who points out that dreams aren’t something you have, they’re something you exemplify. With such a position, if Maya isn’t the arc antagonist, she’s going to at least be the mid-season “boss”.
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is available for streaming on HI-DIVE.