Note: While not mandatory it is highly recommended to watch the recap movie “Revue Starlight Rondo Rondo Rondo“. It is mostly a recap of the important scenes in the anime but the additional exclusive scenes that tie them together are important for setting up the movie. Plus the movie helps give a certain girl an even bigger spotlight and show a side fans only got a glimpse of in the anime.
As always Western fans have to wait a while for translations of anime movies. The review for this one is convenient because one week prior to it the movie had a limited theatrical screening in the US. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to find out if it was worthy of the hype and people who missed out should one day get the Blu-Ray as we take a look at Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight: The Movie.
Main series review HERE.
Spoiler warning for readers who have yet to watch the series or recap movie.
Genres: Action, Drama, Yuri
Themes: Theatre, Takurazuka
Length: 120 minutes
Plot Summary: The Stage Girls of Seisho Music Academy’s 99th graduating class succeeded in their revolution and avoided tragedy in their second performance of Starlight. As their senior year waxes on, Hikari leaves Karen yet again. With graduation fast approaching the stage girls find themselves once again on stage but this time the stakes higher than merely becoming the Top Star.
Where it all began again.
Admittedly it was a bit difficult for me to follow the symbolism and metaphors during conversations in the first two chapters. It is a movie that requires repeated viewings to understand the metaphors, symbolism and spotting references besides a quick one that confirms the other schools from the mobile game are canon in the anime universe. This is more for deeper meaning behind the girls’ new motivations and unsettled business. I am not saying this is Ikuhara levels of complexity but it is not simple either. Once they were again called to the Battle Theatre World things started making more sense. The setup were the girls discussing future goals, which college to go and their art choice for example. Then uncertainty and doubt clouded their minds as some claimed to have their lives under control while others were openly more indecisive or confused, consumed by anxiety. If the anime has Revolutionary Girl Utena vibes then the same goes for this and the Adolescence of Utena movies.
Where it all became clear.
Once the first battle after the epic reintroduction to the BTW began the main theme became crystal clear. The Revue Starlight movie is about lesbian lovers quarrels. All but one of the duels featured the established couples duking it out in specially prepared stages that reminded me of the second anime series I would love to see Arc System Works turn into a fighting game along with Symphogear. Even the one duel that was not a lovers quarrel was a long awaited duel fueled by gayness…Oh was it ever. So the ladies clashed letting out all worries over their futures and more importantly the futures with their significant other. Most are followups of events in the anime but one was definitely fueled by a specific moment in the anime…or in my meta view “It’s the fault of fans of that one crack ship”. Think the Revues of the TV but with stakes ramped up to quintillion. Most had a similar outcome. Viewers familiar with a certain magical girl franchise with yuri couples in many entries can figure out what I mean. The yum is very much there despite the classic resolution. Nothing bad, mind you, just straightforward routes going forward.
Everything I mentioned above is best presented in the story arc of the main duo of BaKaren and Hikari where we get their complete backstory. Something fans only saw the surface of in the anime. Think of it like an extended edition with many more scenes beyond the classic “Crybaby Karen at the playground”, which they repeated verbatim because it is the catalyst of their story. Uncertainty about the future, things left unsaid, unfinished business, stakes higher than before, all bundled up in their story.
Also this series set in the Bushiroad Universe there were some background male characters featured or mentioned to show viewers they exist but as we already know it is a lesbian dominated universe. Even the Demon Giraffe had moments of grandeur. His catchphrase was at its best in this film with his farewell one being hilariously epic.
Like any good movie long episode/sequel/continuation/conclusion the presentation takes the best parts of the TV anime and cranks them up to 11. That is the Revue Starlight Movie. The stages, metaphors and symbolism about the girls/couples, the intensity of the duels, the soundtrack and dueling songs between combatants etc. Everything that made the show awesome is magnified in the movie. I envy people who were able to watch this in theatres, especially on IMAX. So good.
It was in this one moment the movie went from a 9 to a 10/10. Peak magnificence right here. My poor gut.
Overall The Revue Starlight Movie solidifies this franchise as one of the best in Yuridom. Everything that made the anime great: Great stages, symbolic/metaphorical set pieces and intensely gay duels with clashing performances are ramped up to quintillion. The girls’ reach the climax of their high school lives and face their biggest challenge yet, deciding the futures of themselves and with their significant others. The conclusions are mostly expected routes going forward but everything leading up to the decision is so good and gives viewers a good feeling for our heroines. May require repeated viewings to understand the metaphors, symbolism and spotting references. Recommended to fans of the series and stage/theatre girls.