In case you haven’t been following, this is post number 4 in my Revue Starlight project. These posts weren’t meant to go in any kind of chronological order, but somehow they seem to have ended up that way. The first two posts ended up covering the first half, while I dedicated an entire post to Mahiru, the disaster lesbian of the show. So perhaps I should just get back to what’s the most important thing in the show, which is obviously not the action: the yuri.
The way I saw it, right from the very opening episode, we could already see our main couples in the show. They didn’t try to be subtle about it in any way at all; we all knew who was going to be with who. Karen with Hikari, Maya with Claudine, Junna with Nana, and Futaba with Kaoruko. Saying all this now, I feel even more rotten for Mahiru, as aside from her beloved Karen who is off romancing Hikari, the poor girl’s on her own. Each pairing is unique in its own way, though; something that came of a relief, as I did not want to see 4 couples that ended up all being the exact same.
(NB: Yuri spoilers for a yuri show like Revue Starlight follow)
I think that in my original watch, I had expected each yuri couple to be a little more open with each other, instead of the show being far more subtle with them. By that, I mean that because the opening episodes concerned Karen and Hikari, with Karen discovering the Revue auditions and Hikari letting go of her ice queen persona, I simply assumed that all the other couples would be presented just as ‘directly’. Oh how wrong I was. Especially wrong when it came to a pairing like Futaba and Kaoruko…
I seem to be going back to these two a lot, don’t I? Well I guess the reason for that is because I found their pairing the most wholesome. I won’t be mincing words here: Kaoruko is a spoilt and petulant brat, and Futaba is the most stubborn girl I’ve seen in an anime show. And yet the two gel together so well. When the time comes for the two of them to face off against each other in the Revue of Passions, Futaba goes in with the plan to beat some sense into Kaoruko.
Episode 6 was their episode, where we discover that Futaba has been the one who has had to work the hardest to make it into the academy. Where we see Kaoruko storm off in a childish humph after learning that Futaba has been taking tap dance lessons from Claudine in an attempt to better herself when she feels she needs to. And where Futaba has well and truly had enough of Kaoruko’s shit.
But what just as much interested me in this episode is how both Maya and Claudine got involved in their spat. When Futaba ends up landing the role that Kaoruko had hoped to get in the school production, Claudine agrees with Futaba in that she had to work hard to get that role, as opposed to Kaoruko who simply assumed she’d get it because she’s an heir to a Japanese dance legacy back home in Kyoto. Maya, on the other hand, is more subtle, and lets Kaoruko know that precisely because she is on such a high pedestal (to live up to her name back home), she should put in the extra effort. This in turn leads us to see how alike Maya and Claudine really are, despite the two of them seeing each as bitter rivals.
There’s a good chance that a future post will end up concerning those two alone, but there are other yuri couple to criticize and analyze, like Junna and Nana…
Throughout the first half of Revue Starlight, Nana Daiba is someone that I’ve seen as a bit of an ‘anomaly’. She portrays herself as the ‘mother’ of the group: someone who prefers to take care of others than to rely on others. Nana prefers the production side, and this is something we see a lot in the show, both subtly or otherwise. However in episode 7, Maya scolds her for not pushing herself to her full potential and making the choice to be the selfless mother figure of the group. When they all return from spring break to be second-years, they discover that some of the class had dropped out of the academy…and it is assumed that they left because they felt that they didn’t see themselves as good enough to be a part of the academy.
As I watched this, I ended up agreeing with Maya; theater school should be a place of competition, where students have the right to be as selfish as possible and aim to be the top star. And then we discover why Nana does what she does…it’s because she wants the same performance again and again, even if it means transcending time and space.
Nana has won the Revue auditions before, and wins the opportunity of standing on any stage she wants, and she chooses to stand on the stage of the 99th Seisho Academy performance, which at that time had already happened. So when it comes to these auditions, while it comes entirely new for the vast majority of the class, she’s been there, and knows that the Starlight play ends in tragedy. Even when she loses to Hikari in the Revue of Solitude (aptly titled I should add, for the both of them), she reminds her that the auditions are meant for only one person, and one person alone.
Revue Starlight is just one big yurifest, both subtly and…umm…not subtly. By the time it reaches the second half, we are reminded again and again that Starlight is a tragedy, and does not have a happy ending. Everyone in these auditions, from Nana to Mahiru, from Hikari to Kaoruko, has had to lose something to make it this far. The school production of Starlight may be something that keeps them all together like some close-knit family, but having not watched the final episodes yet, I know that neither Karen and Hikari, or Maya and Claudine, will have their chance to fly off to yuri Valhalla. In the end they will have to sacrifice something.
…but the show’s memes will live on forever though. I’ve seen better/worse/stupider/cheesier memes than this one, and maybe I should just devote a whole post to how bad all of these memes are.
Uhh, no…probably not a good idea.
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is available now on HIDIVE and home video.