by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Kageki Shoujo!! ?
Episode 13, “Kageki Shojo!!”, wraps up the auditions for those coveted four positions. But more importantly, it is also a celebration of the series as a whole, though we don't necessarily get to see the actual celebration a.k.a. the graduation showcase.
Just like with episodes 11 and 12, the auditions continue to delight, especially Sarasa's, which is lovely to witness because she earnestly delivers, using her background with Kabuki to depict a Tybalt that could knock the shoes off of any proper actor. Lead character Sarasa may be, but she still has to work hard in order for things to go her way, which is a throughline that I admire and appreciate. Sarasa's on-screen characterization also owes a lot to Sayaka Senbongi, who's carried Sarasa's explosive personality across thirteen episodes. Her acting chops dazzle in this episode, more so than in the previous twelve. In fact, the entire voice cast has been on point with bringing their absolute best since episode 11, and it is also part of what makes the final, in-show casting so fascinating.
Our cast is thus: Ayako as Juliet, Minami Shirota as Romeo, a very minor character (I didn't catch their name) as Juliet's Nurse, and Sarasa as Tybalt. And honestly, I have no complaints. Most of these characters have been so carefully written and thoroughly realized that I would have found happiness with any of the girls getting the roles. I'm especially here for Ayako as Juliet instead of Ai because I really think Ayako delivered and wholeheartedly feel she deserves the role. And despite it being somewhat obvious that Sarasa would get the role, it feels earned, which is really matters in the end. Still, there's this deliciously delightful tension built up before the reveal of the cast list, which includes Sarasa not getting to immediately access the list. It heightens the drama one last time before we say goodbye to these girls.
And actually, that's something I want to talk about because… we never see the performance. We never get to see more than the Tybalt that Sarasa has the potential to play in front of an audience. And you know what? I think that's great! I think it actually would have been less impactful if we'd skipped to graduation and seen Sarasa perform. For me, it's more satisfying to glimpse her potential in the audition than it would be seeing her official performance because it leaves something to the imagination. Rather than skipping ahead a few months, the viewer is left to wonder just how much better Sarasa will be when it comes time to perform. And while not everyone is going to like the series ending in such an open-ended way, I absolutely adored it.
Towards the end of the episode, I couldn't help but think back to the premiere, to Sarasa and Ai standing beneath a cherry blossom tree as the school year kicked off. It's amazing to see how far they've come, and know that there's still a lot to their journeys (at least to readers of the source material). As of the writing of this review, there's been no official announcement of a second season of Kageki Shojo!!, which really is a shame. This show has been a delight from start to finish, and while we've got the ongoing manga series (which is being translated and localized into English), the sprawling voice cast and gorgeous direction of the animated series will be missed. That said, Kageki Shojo!! episode 13 is beautiful way to say goodbye, though it definitely leaves room to say hello once again. It's got all the elements that make a solid episode: drama, character growth, and female friendship, and it all SLAPS, right up to the credits. Hats off to all the people who worked on this: the localization is gold, and leaves me hungry for the dub, whenever that drops.
As always, I'm immensely thankful for being able to revel in the joy of a good series, and Kageki Shojo!! is truly one of Summer 2021's best. It has reignited a passion for creativity inside me, which I think is secretly the best part of the series. It's also just generally gotten me reading much more shojo, which can only be a good thing. Kageki Shojo!!'s gonna live rent-free in my mind: that's just how powerful its narrative is, and how amazing of a series it's been.
Mercedez is a JP-EN localization editor & proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who also writes for Anime Feminist, where she's a staff editor, and But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent guest on the AniFem Podcast, Chatty AF. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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