Shōjo☆Kageki Revue Starlight is one of those rare pieces of fiction that the more I revisit the better it gets. And holy shit, when I think about it I’m really glad that I got to know it, albeit via a pretty awkward scenario but that’s a story for another time.
That being said, there’s still one big puzzle that has yet to be solved, which is also a pretty important element of the show itself, namely the Revue.
Let’s first take a look at the premise of the underground auditions, as provided by the Giraffe aka the showrunner:
Song and dance woven into a mesmerizing play.
To whoever puts on the brightest-shining revue, the path to becoming the top star will open up.
The more they can feel the glimmer that the stage girls emmit, the more the lighting, the audio system, and the stage mechanisms will begin to dance on their own.
Acting, song, and dance… This stage will respond to the glimmer of the stage girls.
Given all the information above, it appears that the Revue isn’t just a showcase of skill and raw talent, but something much more impactful and meaningful.
Take Revue of Pride for example. It started off normally but when Karen became arrogant with her naivety, Maya went all out with the song and dance and thus shaped the stage to her own will, which obliterated Karen.
Another great example is the Revue of Solitude where Hikari literally threw a fucking Tokyo tower into the middle of the fight, not to mention a gigantic wave of tsunami to further overwhelm Nana.
There’s also the Revue of Jealousy that features Mahiru, though it might come up as meme material but seriously speaking, it does give some food for thought about the system behind the auditions. Like how was Mahiru able to interfere with the other stages that were running in the underground theater during that time.
Spooky isn’t it? Because from the first 2 cases above it was simply object manipulation, but here it’s something more whimsical, kinda like breaking the boundary of common sense.
How it Works
All are desperate. Normal happiness, the joys of girls… All will be burned to aim for a distant glimmer. That’s what it means to be a stage girl.
So basically, a Revue doesn’t necessarily reflect a girl’s capability in their ordinary world, as it can be manipulated through sheer will or desire. The stronger it burns inside the girls, the more advantageous the revues become to them.
With this, it all adds up to me how Nana was able to seemingly one-sided her battle against Maya.
Nana was interested in backstage work so she got deep knowledge of how it’s run, thus giving her even more advantage against Maya in the field that doesn’t solely rely on raw talent.
On top of that, her hidden potential as a stage girl and the desire to carry the burden all of her classmates (30 of them!!) just simply made her too stacked against Maya and thus resulted in an overwhelming victory.
That’s not to say that Nana falls short behind Maya in terms of talent. I just find it hard to believe that Nana made the fight look one-sided, part of this is because they didn’t show the full audition or the full picture behind it (really though, we only had like 10s before they showed the aftermath of the actual first audition lol).
Another thing to take into account is how Hikari and Karen were able to defeat Nana despite their previous failure against other girls. Hikari was overwhelmed by Junna on the Revue of Passion, while Karen was defeated by Maya. So does this really say anything about their victory against Nana?
Yes, again, this backs up the idea of stage play being greatly influenced by a girl’s desire.
Maya has always and will always be at the peak of her own brilliance, all thanks to her obsession with being the lone star and the duty as the head of her class to those chasing and cheering behind her.
Nana, on the other hand, can only be at the top condition when she pursues her ideal world of an everlasting 99th stage play, meaning that the appearance of Hikari and Karen basically spoiled her conviction and thus made her lose her top condition.
Top star, the one who will stand on the stage of destiny, emitting an infinite glimmer, unleashing their full potential, they will transcend time to shine on: the eternal lead.
To make it simple:
- Nana cannot always be at peak condition due to it being tied to her idealism, which was greatly shaken by Hikari and Karen.
- Nana’s top condition > everyone else in the gang.
- Maya is always in peak condition because she refuses to rest on her laurels and always strives to reach great heights.
- Maya’s top condition > everyone else in the gang but Nana.
Long story short, Maya and Nana are on the same tier when it comes to Revue prowess, one is stable while the other requires overclocking to be OP. However, there are still lots of questions that remained unsolved to me.
- Like, were Nana and Maya the first 2 stage girls? What happened to the others?
- If they really were part of the very first Revue then did they just simply decide to offscreen every other audition?
- But then that begs the question, what does it really take to obtain the Star Tiara?
- Because on the main timeline Maya had been no.1 for quite some time, defeating many of her peers, but she just somehow never got qualified while Nana only needed one victory to take it all?
- Or maybe Maya won as well but she didn’t give a shit about what the Giraffe was offering so she just went along and kept the stage on to challenge others and continue to evolve?
The more I think about it the more questions arise and frankly while it’s a bit frustrating to not get the full answer of all things, it only makes me appreciate this anime more.
There are literally infinite potentials for Revue Starlight to expand its universe even further but sadly due to the limited duration it had to make do with this pretty tightly put plot to reach the conclusion.
With all said and done, while everything about stage play or audition is not crystal clear yet, especially the Revue of Astral Sins, the anime did a solid job at polishing the symbolism and the characters so I guess I can’t complain much because it is those factors that define this anime.