2. Revue Starlight
Director: Tomohiro Furukawa
Assistant director, Revue and weapon designer: Takushi Koide
Series composition: Tatsuto Higuchi
Character designer: Hiroyuki Saita
Animation production: Kinema Citrus
Revue Starlight, a true multimedia franchise with beginnings as a musical, needs to be seen to be believed. The anime series taps into the history and grandeur of Japan's Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theater troupe that adapts mostly Westernized productions, but the unbelievable symbiosis between its themes and the anime’s creative team elevated the concept further than anticipated. On a surface level, Revue Starlight is the tale of a group of girls competing to secure a spot as the lead performer. It’s cute, cheerful, and there’s a real sense of musicality to the daily life events… until all the pleasantries are tossed out the window and the fight for the top becomes very literal: The characters face each other in fantastical staged matches.
Though this is his major directorial debut, Tomohiro Furukawa has proven he’s one of Japan’s most noteworthy up-and-coming creators. The theatrical anime concept he inherited from his mentor Kunihiko Ikuhara turned out to be the perfect toolset for this project, and his team of animators ambitiously capture the passion of the fighting duet songs. Revue Starlight is a stunning experience that deals with the sacrifices one makes for a career, challenging systems, the constant fear of having already peaked, and much more. It's a joyful series that knew how to get serious without following the modern trend of overly grim twists. And it does all that with serious style