Kageki Shojo has aired its episode 1! This pilot episode opens the door for intense academic rivalries, odd and unlikely friendships, as well as an exploration of deeper themes surrounding Japan’s idol culture and the difficulties of modern-day womanhood.
Kageki Shojo’s story centers around the Red Flower (Kouka) Opera Music School, where hundreds of hopefuls apply to become a part of the Red Flower Opera Company. It is a dream for many young women to join the prestigious group and to get to perform on stage as one of its esteemed members. Among these applicants are Sarasa Watanabe and Ai Narata. Sarasa brings lofty ambitions to Kouka, aspiring to play the role of “Oscar-sama”. Ai applies to Kouka for far different reasons. As a disgraced idol, she yearns to start anew at the school, wanting to make a name for herself away from the eyes of men.
The episode opens with the two main characters receiving acceptance letters from Kouka’s Theater and Arts department. Ai, who had just narrowly escaped some eccentric fans from her idol days, receives the letter from her uncle, Taichi.
Elsewhere, Sarasa’s family rejoices at the prospect of her getting accepted to the school. But amid the celebrations, Sarasa herself is nowhere to be found. She has a quiet moment by some family gravestones, promising to give the opportunity everything she’s got.
At the school, Sarasa and Ai run into each other under a beautiful cherry blossom tree. Onlookers are mortified at the sight of the two there. Supposedly, there is a curse saying that those who stand under the cherry tree before admission will never make it as a Kouka star. However, neither of the ladies know or care about the curse. The bubbly Sarasa greets Ai with a smile, helping her get her admission ticket from a branch. Ai marvels at Sarasa’s towering height and is surprised at her request to take her picture under the cherry tree.
The days go on and Ai gets more and more irritated by the bubbly blonde. Sarasa’s friendly advances embarrass her at orientation. Her silly tendencies, such as sending the same message to each member of her family instead of just sending a group text, infuriates Ai. She complains about Sarasa to Taichi, who is a teacher at Kouka. She then wonders how Sarasa even got accepted to the school in the first place. Her uncle responds by saying that Sarasa’s acceptance of Kouka came down to a combination of her fearlessness and a creative gamble among the school’s staff.
Ai readies herself for life at Kouka, moving into the dorms and putting any thoughts of Sarasa behind her. However, as fate would have it, her roommate is none other than the bubble blonde herself. Ai is mortified at this prospect. She implores the dorm staff to reassign her, to no avail. Trying to cope with the circumstances she faces, Ai purchases a few curtains. She just “really needs her privacy” apparently. This seemingly does not register with Sarasa, who attempts to befriend her yet again despite curtains separating them.
The preliminary week of classes goes by without a hitch. However, on the final day, Military man Captain Anai heads their synchronic development. He drills them hard, demanding discipline and compliance. He then singles out four girls from the class, with Sarasa and Ai being among them. Anai remarks that Ai’s core is weak and her posture is crooked. He is also taken aback by Sarasa’s height, commenting that due to her massive wingspan, she must consider her surroundings earlier than other girls. However, Sarasa’s strong legs and core impress him. Anai is impressed further when Sarasa challenges him to make her budge, insisting that she couldn’t be moved.
Sarasa then expresses her desire to land the role of Lady Oscar. This catches the attention of nearly everyone in the room. It’s a bold statement that highlights Sarasa’s desire to become a Kouka top star. The declaration sets an ominous and competitive tone among the ambitious ladies present.
As the credits roll, Sarasa catches up to Ai and insists they walk back to the dorms together, much to Ai’s chagrin.
The Kageki shojo episode 1 was quite a fun watch! It introduced a number of compelling characters. Sarasa is incredibly charming and is a joy to watch whenever on screen. And though Ai seems rather subdued, she does seem like a character with a lot more to her than meets the eye. The episode also sets up so many interesting questions the show could delve into later on. How will Ai’s status as a former idol affect the story? How will the relationship between Sarasa and Ai develop moving forward? What challenges lie for the girls later on?
All in all, it makes for a very interesting setup. There’s so much fun potentially in store! It’s incredibly exciting to see where this charming story will go as the show goes on.
Kageki Shojo episode 1 is available to watch on Funimation! Episode 2 will premiere on July 10, 2021.