So, I haven't really bought a lot of anime in 2005, there were other things I needed to spend money on: Tokyo, wedding, supporting an unemployed wife, (love you, honey.;), so my DVD collection has pretty much stagnated. Which I suppose is all right as we're starting to run out of room in our apartment.
Anyway, while, I haven't been buying DVDs, I have been renting them. I have accounts with both Netflix and RentAnime.com. This allows me to nominally support the domestic industry and not bankrupt me.
Netflix, obviously, has the better service, there's a Netflix depot in my area of the state, so I usually get movies a day or so after I send them back, so I go through my Netflix queue a lot faster than my Rentanime queue. Though, I may start to catch up, now that Rentanime has a 5 disc program, though it does take about 4 days via USPS from Florida, but that's a minor complaint, really.
I've had Kaleido Star in my Rent Anime queue for a while now, and the first five discs showed up within the last couple of days. I had put it in my queue because of some discussion on the Yuricon ML nearly two years ago now. The discussion centered on yuri goggle subtext, so, being a total yuri fanboy, naturally, I had to check it out.(Full disclosure: most of what I watch these days will probably have some yuri connection to it. I'm just that dedicated. ;)
The story is basically your typical sports anime plot: young person with aptitude goes through trials, tribulations, and rival collecting on their way to the top of their sport.
Whenever you see a show with an formulaic plot, the question always then focuses on execution, and the characters. Kaleido Star does well in both aspects. And the story really just sucked me and my wife in. We were both up way too late last night watching discs 3-5, because we both just kept wanting to see what happens next. So, obviously the story and the characters are compelling enough for us to keep watching.
Unfortunately, I only just sent back Disks 1 and 2 this morning, so we won't see the end of the first half until next week. Oh, the indignities!
Anyway, some observations: Anna and Mia definitely strike me as a couple. My wife, who doesn't wear the yuri goggles, well, at all really, started referring to them as "the lesbians" about halfway through the series. So, there's clearly something going on there. :-D
Koyasu Takehito is forever doomed to be Touga from Utena in my mind. Every character he plays is a just a variation on that cool red-haired bastard. Having said that, my wife liked the Fool, but then again she has a thing for perverted older men who occasionally say something wise and helpful. (Don't get it? Here's a hint: she married one.)
I would SO pay money to see any of the Kaleido shows live. Layla and Sora's swordfight on the burning, swinging ship tightrope FTW.
Layla's and Sora's rivarly/partnership has an intensity that I can only describe as HAWT!! once it gets going in earnest about half way through the first series. I suppose it could be also described as a form of shinyuu, a "friendship that goes above and beyond the bounds of sense and propriety" (Defintion cribbed shamelessly from Erica.) But I'm quite sure all they need is a little too much wine and they'd be all over each other faster than either of them could say "take me." Clearly, there's a need for each other percolating below the surface, but the opportunities don't seem to be there to develop it into a romantic relationship, and their only outlet for that seems to be performing together. I keep thinking of how half of the Olympic figure skating pairs end marrying each other, as a sort of template or guide to how a Sora/Layla relationship might develop.
I'll comment further when I get further along.