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AKA: 銀盤カレイドスコープ, Skating Rink Kaleidoscope
Genre: Sports romance drama with fantasy elements
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: PG (mature themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Princess Tutu, Kaleido Star, Full Moon wo Sagashite, His and Her Circumstances
Notes: Based on a novel that is serialized in Super Dash (Shueisha) with 6 volumes compiled. Story by Kaibara Rei, art by Suzuhira Hiro. Also recently a manga adaption serialized in Margaret with 1 volume released, story again by Kaibara, art by Hasegawa Jun.
Rating: Five StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive Stars

Ginban Kaleidoscope

Synopsis

Tazusa Sakurano is one of Japan's candidates for the upcoming Olympics. However she has to beat out fan-favorite Kyouko Shidou, a feat that seems all of impossible with the judges and media antagonizing her every step of the way.

Things only get worse when, after taking a nasty spill during a performance, Tazusa is suddenly possessed by the ghost of a teenaged Canadian boy by the name of Pete Pumps. Where did Pete come from? Why did she wind up being possessed? How will she stand 100 days being stuck sharing every single moment--every living sensation--with a happy-go-lucky teenage boy?!


Review

After obsessing over Black Jack the past month, it is nice to come across this little jewel as a reminder of why I love shoujo so much.

Ginban Kaleidoscope follows the rise of Tazusa Sakurano, an aspiring Olympic ice-skater. Now at first you would think that Tazusa would be a cute, energetic "I wanna be the best skater in the world! Tee-hee!" sort, but too much time on the ice must've chilled her heart. Tazusa is a snarky, cynical, haughty little brat, a far cry from your average shoujo heroines full of hope and joy.

But we can't really blame her for her bleak outlook on life. The odds are clearly stacked against her. She takes herself too seriously, and the audience, though supportive, simply want her to lighten up.

The media, always hungry for controversy, love playing up conflict and rivalry. The young, immature Tazusa buys into it hook, line, and sinker. She plays into the media's hands half-wittedly, digging herself into a deeper and deeper hole of dispair.

Enter the dearly departed Pete Pumps, teenage ghost with the cuteness and charisma of--holy cow. I got it. This is so totally Casper: The Movie done shoujo style. Except no one can see Pete...

At first, Tazusa fights her circumstanced tooth and nail, performing hilarious feats of self-abuse in an attempt to rid her body of its new spiritual freeloader. Realizing that her once-cherished privacy is now a thing of the past, Tazusa resorts to outrageous denials of forces of nature--blindfolding herself while showering, and outright refusing to use the restroom, for starts.

All the hilarity ensues that would be expected of such a setup--but a pleasant surprise is that Ginban Kaleidoscope never dwells on tired gender-centric jokes, and instead focuses on how crass and ungraceful Tazusa is. If it wasn't obvious before, having Pete's sunny disposition to counter Tazusa's bitterness only emphasizes the need for character growth in our female lead, and Pete is just the man--er--ghost to do it!

The characters in Ginban Kaleidoscope are charming and funny--and Tazusa is just flawed enough to remain likable. The partner ship that develops between her and Pete is gradual and never forced. But like Full Moon o Sagashite, death is a central theme from episode one, and gosh darn it, we love Pete so much--is he really going to cross over to the other side after all that he and Tazusa have been through? Do we want him to go? Will Tazusa?

Ginban Kaleidoscope takes a new look at the "rising star" plotline that is common in shoujo titles (such as Glass Mask, Kaleido Star, and Kirarin Revolution) and injects a supernatural monkey-wrench which provokes more than a few laughs.

Ginban Kaleidoscope is a beautiful coming of age story. It manages to pull off a complete story in only twelve episodes, yet somehow manages to create memorable characters where other titles twice or thrice as long keep serving up the cookie cut-outs.

Great characters, smooth transition between comedy and drama, catchy character designs, and a fresh premise. This series was heartwarming and fun. Full of energy! Pete was as cute as a button, too. A perfect offset to Tazusa. Melissa Sternenberg

Recommended Audience: Nothing objectionable here. Girls might like this best, but guys who like fun anime where comedy is frequent will not doubt enjoy this one, too. Unless you unrealistically expect an anime to have sound doctrine on the afterlife, the handling of death here is inoffensive.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Ginban Kaleidoscope © 2005 Aniplex
 
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