Kaleido Star, to which I ascribe the award of Gonzo's finest work to date, has been engaging from start to finish. We begin with a very likable ensemble of main and secondary characters with which we have our adventures. While there are romantic components, it was quite refreshing to find that the focus had not been on love interests, as our Kaleido Star Naegino Sora is both oblivious to and unreciprocating of the interest being shown her. Instead, we have the most interesting take on a shounen anime formula, in which the main character strives to be the best and undergoes trials and hardships towards that end, but spices things up quite a bit by giving us a lovable female lead whose aspirations are noble to begin with but by way of conflict is torn, broken, only to emerge with a clarity of purpose becoming firm and unshakeable.
A talented crew and cast lend their magic to produce this highly entertaining title. Saito Junichi is very daring to take on a circus backdrop but gifted that he is he demonstrates his exceeding competence and brilliance as director and creator. The orchestral music by Kubota Mina is also praise-worthy, featuring nice themes and motifs. I have some minor quibbles, wishing for a richer variety of costume designs and more development of the characters Rosetta, Mia, and Anna.
If ADV can only manage their resources more effectively, we can continue the journey with the much anticipated second half, which introduces a new and fun rival as well as a tragic villain. ADV, hurry it up will ya!