Revue Starlight – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

I’m nearing the end of all these Summer 2018 premieres though that doesn’t stop it from surprising me still. There’s been plenty of new shows that caught me off guard but that notion may be most applicable with Revue Starlight. Good Lord, I was not ready for what this premiere had to offer.

At first, nothing seemed out of the ordinary about Revue Starlight. While the main motif of the anime is musical production, I would argue that the show initially seemed to function like your usual idol show. A principal cast of nine cutely designed girls all learning how to sing, dance, and act at a prestigious academy to become the best performers in the world. The context may be different but the premise as a whole feels very familiar. To be honest, I probably would’ve been completely okay if that was all Revue Starlight was. The premiere did a solid job giving you a sense of these characters’ daily lives at the academy they attend. Truth be told though, it really was the climax that really sold me on this show. It just throws all sorts of oddities at you: an unrealistically large, underground stage theater, a competition among magical girls, and a talking giraffe!

Naturally, my first reaction to this madness is confusion but the sheer spectacle nevertheless intrigues me. I currently can’t determine the purpose of the talking giraffe but metaphorically speaking, the fighting between the show’s characters is admittedly symbolic of the competitive nature of showbiz. Everyone aspires to be at the top and while they may be classmates and friends, the reality is they will fight each other in the same market and try to become more acclaimed and famous than the other. Having its characters become magical girls competing for a crown is essentially taking this notion into a very literal sense.

In terms of presentation, I really adore how theatrical the competition all feels. The magical girl transformation is envisioned as the outfits getting manufactured in a factory and said girl receiving them in wardrobe “backstage”. The arena resembles that of an elaborate stage production with spotlights shining on the fighters and props for them to use to their advantage. The characters sing as they fight each other. Even some of the fighting feels choreographed, such as when the opponent of the week dramatically poses her defeat like an actor on a stage would. I may ponder on the logistics, and hopefully Revue Starlight will get to it in soon, but I will admit that all that transpired at the end really got me excited.

Of course, spectacles can only keep me hook on a TV show for so long. Time will give me a better idea on the strength of the characters but so far, I think they’re off to a good start. The protagonist, Karen Aijo (Momoyo Koyama), seems likable enough, reminding me of Love Live‘s Honoka Kousaka in how optimistic and aspiring she is. The real subject of mystery though is Karen’s childhood friend, Hikari Kagua (Suzuko Mimori), who returns to Japan after studying theater for 12 years. Judging from a few scenes, it seems that she yearns to reconnect with Karen but since she is apparently a part of the battle royale, you get why she is keeping her distance. With Karen joining the fight though, the two will most likely have to fight for the crown and that also comes in conflict the two’s promise of becoming star performers together. There’s a potentially strong hook in that dilemma and it’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds as time goes on.

The other characters are introduced briefly though I like that there were some scenes sprinkled in to give you a glimpse at their personalities and chemistry with one another. It’s a subtle approach that you don’t really see executed in other idol anime filled to the brim with dozens of characters.

I really am stunned with Revue Starlight‘s first episode. Obviously, it needs to elaborate and justify its climatic change for the absurd as soon as possible and if it fails to that, I may start to question this show. But for now, this premiere was quite the pleasant surprise and the spectacle it unveiled has convinced me to continue watching the show.

Thanks for reading!

Revue Starlight is officially available on HIDIVE.

For all of my Revue Starlight Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!

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