As a talented young acrobat, Sora has dreamed of sharing a stage with the performers of Kaleido Stage, a world renowned circus that combines graceful acrobatics, dazzling costumes, and stunts that keep audiences on the edge of their seats. She makes the move from Japan to California to audition for the show, in hopes of one day basking in the glitz and glamour.
However, finding her place in such a competitive world will not be easy. Sora will shed blood, sweat, and tears on her path to becoming a performer, buoyed by the friends she makes along the way. Of course, there will also be rivals and other individuals who do not believe Sora has what it takes to shine as brightly as Kaleido Stage needs her to.
Sora will need to endure these trials and tribulations in her quest to become a star, earning the respect of both those who doubt her abilities and by those who are threatened by her. Watch as Sora flies through the bright lights in Kaleido Star!
Sora Naegino is an enthusiastic and acrobatically talented girl with the dream of performing on the Kaleido Stage. She had traveled from Japan to Los Angeles for the opportunity. In search of her chance, she inadvertently and unknowingly meets the head of the Kaleido Stage, Kalos Eido (a.k.a. the boss). Soon afterwards, a thief runs off with her luggage; and she uses her acrobatic skills to catch up and retrieve the luggage. Combined with time lost at the police station, she ends up missing the audition. Though Sora asks Layla Hamilton for an audition, she declines. Sora persuades stage manager, Ken Robbins to grant her access backstage, where she ends up with an opportunity to perform as commanded by Kalos. In the dressing room, Sora meets Fool, a mysterious spirit of the stage only seen by her. Sora's efforts fail and she is depressed, but Kalos accepts her into the Kaleido Stage.
Sora deals with Fool, who indicates her as a future star performer. However, the other performers view Sora with jealousy, because she qualified without an audition. Motivated, she cleans the stage early in the morning. After the cleaning work, she ends up late to ballet lessons. At practice, she stumbles and draws further disrespect from the other performers. In addition, she blurts out her prospect of performing Layla's special trapeze trick, the "Golden Phoenix". Overhearing Sora's boast, Layla is adamant that she will practice and perform the trick in one week's time. Motivated to earn respect, she learns the trick with the help of Ken, even without prior experience handling the swings. As she trained, Sora shares her determination with Mia Guillem and Anna Heart, whom she gains support and friendship. Sora persistence earns Layla's approval.
Fool reiterates his claim of Sora as the stage's "chosen one". For the next stage production, Cinderella, everyone is given a role, except for Sora. Disappointed, she complains but is assigned the task of distributing toys to the audience children. She feels doubtful and demotivated as a toy distributor and makes mistakes early. After one day, Fool advises her to create her own path. So, she takes up a clown outfit and treats her job as a performance. However, she makes the mistake of delaying a show, which makes her reflect upon her job. Yuri Killian tells her objective: to make other people happy. So, on the third day, she does her job well and learns the true meaning of performance.
The Cinderella production is presented, and Sora meets Marion Benigni back stage. During practice, Mia struggles her role's trampoline portion, and Layla threatens to cancel the performance. The next day, Mia's proposes to share the fairy godmother role with her two friends. Given three days, the three friends practice their own specially designed acrobatic routine, The Triple Illusion. During practice, Marion struggles with the idea of other trampoliners replacing her dead mother. Furthermore, Layla is adamant to replace Sora and Anna with more qualified trampoliners. After talking with Marion's father, Sora practices on her own to Marion's satisfaction. Mia and Anna join the practice to perfect their routine; after the demonstration, Kalos grants them their proposal.
Sora's adopted father makes a surprise visit to Kaleido Stage. For the debut of the Triple Illusion, the team performs poorly and receives a negative review the next day. The review spread to her worried father and among the performers. In another performance, the three continue to struggle, and Sora's father sees the negative atmosphere back stage. Worried, he suggests for her to return with him back to Japan. Soon afterwards, her father has a heart attack, and with an hour till another performance, Sora runs off to her hospitalized father. Missing a performance, she decides to return home, but before boarding the flight, she becomes depressed once again, expressing her childhood dream of performing. In turn, her father lets her return to Kaleido Stage; Sora apologizes to the stage crew and follows up with a better performance.
Prancing happily on the beach, Sora trips over an unconscious baby seal, whom she names Jonathan. With pity, she sneaks the seal back to the dormitory, with the intent upon keeping and taking care of him. In addition to her Kaleido Stage work, she fills up her daily schedule with part-time work, over Layla's objections. Eventually, the doubled workload renders Sora exhausted, and her concerned friends look to pick up some of the burden. However, Sarah Dupont shows a flyer of a juggling contest, where first prize can feed Jonathan for a month. Having never juggled before, Sora and company work on a routine. Having been gone for six days, Kalos returns and sees the juggling act. After some convincing, he allows Sora to keep Jonathan as a company mascot, under the care of Marion and her father.
At Jonathan's new pool, Marion notices the arrival of a new performer, Rosetta Passel, a diabolo expert. As a fan of her, Sora tries to befriend her, but she displays a perfectionist attitude. Despite one perfectly executed performance, she failed to gain the interest of the audience, and Kalos declines her offer to perform again. Emphasizing her own perfection, she doesn't understand the importance of the audience and runs off. After Sora pleads for another chance, Kalos assigns her as Rosetta's partner and allows six days for Sora to improve Rosetta's performance. Having never performed with a diabolo, Sora learns the skill and ends up teaching Rosetta about enjoyment on stage. After an entertaining diabolo battle performance together, Rosetta changes her attitude and returns home.
Before a performance, Layla receives some roses from her father, who owns a large hotel chain. As much as Layla wants his audience presence, he often has a busy reason not to attend. After the performance, Kalos, Sora, and her friends are invited to Layla's father's party. Sora makes numerous interactions with Layla and her father, and she notices the distant relationship between the two, especially when guests are paid to attend Layla's birthday and her annual cancellation of the party. After speaking with Layla, Sora makes plans and actions to bring the father-daughter pair closer together. After a public birthday wish at a performance, Layla receives a note from her father, and she receives it heartfully, despite expressing feelings of humiliation to Sora.
Kaleido Stage is presenting a new stage production, The Little Mermaid. Kaleido Stage featured this theme before, and a sponsor, Mr. Kenneth, wants someone other than Layla featured for the lead role. At the audition, Sora becomes the only candidate. On the same day, Sora makes an attempt at the featured trick: a trapeze triple somersault jump through flowing water. Her attempt fails, and she is rendered injured and fearful of falling. Consulting Fool, Sora must conquer this fear, or she will lose her ability to see Fool. So with the help of Ken and a martial arts specialist, she gradually works to restore her confidence. Still fearful, she makes one more attempt at the stunt per Kalos's remarks. For her attempt, she uses a blindfold and executes it successfully, despite almost falling again.
While in cloud nine, Sora goes through her schedule as the leading role, including photo shoots, practices, etc. Via video-tape, Sora looks to mimic Layla's previous performance. After some performances, audience opinions on the Little Mermaid have been lackluster, and attendance decreases. Fearing poor reviews, this prompted Sora to study her role and experiment in order to "make the performance her own" by incorporating her personality. After upsetting the stage crew over changes, she figures out the role of a mermaid and shares her ideas. With some script adjustments, the production crew finally pleases the audience.
After a Little Mermaid performance, Anna reads about a comedy act performed by her father, Jack Barron, whom she had not seen in a decade. Then she looks back to her childhood memories of him, and the day he left the family. Yet, Anna had maintained contact via correspondence. At a comedy club, they watch his bitter and cynical act, which insults the audience. This "new" version of her father is stark in contrast to the father she remembers, and she runs out of the comedy club. Apparently, his career was marked with disappointment and deception. After calling her mother, Anna attends Jack's comedy act once more dressed as a waitress to confront him on stage. Together, the two talk through some old truths and reconcile.
As Layla rejects a film role, Sora gets the chance to co-star with Layla in the next production, Arabian Nights. The featured act involves a tight rope act attached to a rocking ship. Immediately, Layla mounts the tight rope and tries out some gymnastics maneuvers. For the production, Kalos adds the idea of the ship surrounded by flames. Both Layla and Sora think through the idea of co-starring and dedicate a week of practice towards the viability of co-starring. With the help of others, Sora quickly learns to handle the movable tight rope, despite inexperience with the tight rope. After a locker room prank, she brings the diabolo into her routine to address the issue of falling. For the audition, Sora uses an innovative diabolos trick and demonstrates her ability to co-star with Layla.
With a week till the show's opening, the practice for the tight rope act is underway, and Layla and Sora have issues regarding synchronization. To address this issue, Layla looks to observe Sora's day-to-day activity, which includes living in Sora's dorm room. As a result, the two learn to synchronize with each other. Their practice improves, but the stage director looks to tone down the climactic scene. On the last practice day, Sora and Layla practice on a tight rope rigged to a boat out in open water. Layla looks to stage a "real fight", and the two duel on the tight rope using stage props, even in the middle of a rain storm. After practice, Layla shares her reason for joining Kaleido Stage. Then the next morning, they return to start the show on time, and it becomes an instant success.
Instead of vacation, Kalos assigns Sora as a guest performer for a faraway circus group called "Theatrical Camp", accompanied by Ken. The two arrive at a rustic town with a rustic circus. For the next performance, Sora is assigned as the lead princess role. The following day, Ken and Sora find out that the group does not dedicate time for rehearsal. Instead, Sora is advised to notice the individual performers and their specialized acts, plus, she must adjust to the crowd and each other. For her first performance, she is simply shoved into stage and is humiliated on stage. Despite the humiliation, she figures out the need for adaptation and improvised performance interaction with the audience and the others. Later, she learns the trapeze specialist used to work for Kaleido Stage.
An old love triangle resurfaces between Kalos, Sarah, and an old friend named Andy. After speaking with Kalos, Sarah is left crying after being told to be "no longer needed". Speaking with Sora, Sarah reveals an old picture of herself with Kalos and Andy, and she talks about the beginnings of Kaleido Stage and her reasons for staying the past 10 years. Despite Sora's plea, Kalos maintains his stoic decision in front of Andy. So, just as Sarah departs with Andy, Sora and friends executes a plan. In Kalos's office, Sora teases Kalos to reveal his true feelings, while Fool looks for evidence. In the meantime, the others bring Sarah to the stage, and she listens to Kalos's words via Sora's hidden microphone. With the truth revealed, Sora leaves Sarah and Kalos alone together.
Manami, Sora's old friend, visits Kaleido Stage while on the way to Boston. Throughout the day, Manami overhears various backstage discussions and observes Sora's regular day schedule. During practice the following day, Yuri takes Sora out to lunch and offers her a job outside Kaleido Stage. He reveals his intent on creating a new circus to rival Kaleido Stage. In addition, Kaleido Stage workers leave in droves, which cancels further performances. After the last Arabian Nights show, Yuri makes his separation official, and Manami departs feeling satisfied about Sora's choices. In order to keep Kaleido Stage in operation, Mia submits ideas for the next show, and Kalos orders its one week preparation.
Entrusted with the next show, Mia devotes her efforts towards writing the script. In the meantime, Layla turns to Simon, an experienced scriptwriter. Also, Sora talks to Yuri about his motivation towards dismantling Kaleido Stage, which involves revenge for his deceased father. The next day, Mia presents her rough draft, and Layla disapproves. Yet, Kalos appoints Mia as the director, and Simon is assigned as Mia's mentor and the script supervisor. Just as Mia nearly quits writing, Sora inspires her with additional story ideas, and Mia asks the others to practice some routines, even with an unfinished script. A week later, the show is successful.
Kaleido Stage continues to thrive with Mia's production. However, their hopes are dashed, as Yuri takes ownership of Kaleido Stage and cancels the remaining performances of Mia's show. Likewise, anyone refusing to work for Yuri resign their positions at Kaleido Stage. Regardless of the circumstances, Layla continues to view Sora as a worthy partner, but her father makes a greater presence on her career path. With the transfer of Kaleido Stage, the stage crew have one last show, but Sora deals with the bleak outlook of Kalos's words and not seeing Fool. In addition, she contemplates the last performance as the end, but she overhears Layla's conversation with Yuri, where she depicts a more optimistic view. As a result, they move onward with good spirits.
Sora, Anna, and Mia move on from Kaleido Stage together. With their new life, they temporarily stay at Ken's home, and throughout the day, Sora thinks about her pregnant mother. They quickly find a new place to stay with the help of Mr. Policeman. In the meantime, Sora's adopted parents suddenly fly over for a visit, and after meeting up with Sora, they ask her to return to Japan. During the conversation, Sora utters some heartbreaking words and upsets her mother, but then her mother immediately goes into premature labor. With tears full of guilt, Sora fears the idea of a miscarriage, but in the end, the delivery of a newborn girl is successful. Mending with her mother, Sora is given the privilege of naming her new sister, Yume.
Sora and company had not worked for 2 weeks, and they attend the first Kaleido Stage production under Yuri. Soon, the three work at a seafood restaurant, which ends shortly after humiliating themselves in front of Yuri. Upon Sarah's return, she arrives with a job opportunity at the marine park. Auditioning for the job, they invite other former Kaleido Stage members, including Rosetta. On the other hand, Layla declines. At the marine park, the group is notified of a show cancellation, which brings suspicion of Yuri's intervention. Nevertheless, they perform their routines in the park anyways, and they impress the park attendees. During their impromptu show, Sarah surmises that it was actually Kalos who cancelled the performance to give them an opportunity to perform in a more open space with a bigger audience. Just before an angered park owner interrupts their performances, Dio and a mysterious masked performer arrives.
Sora and company are granted a contract with the marine park, on condition of more appearances by the masked performer as the featured attraction. However, unable to guarantee masked performer appearances, Sora disguises as the masked performer; however, the replacement performance ends as a flop. On the next day, Sora and company meet two children who sought their autographs, and this motivates Sora to perform. Prior to performance time, Mia devises a balloon themed performance, and as Sora does the rope jump, the masked performer arrives. For a better view, the two children climb a dangerous ladder. This prompts Sora and the masked performer to save them and amaze the audience in the process.
Performances at the marine park continue, and a low-profile Layla scurries off after the rain. Apparently, Yuri is aware of her identity as the masked performer, and Layla's father confronts her about it. In the meantime, Yuri buys out a large number of marine park tickets, on condition for the cancellation of Sora's contract. This forces the group to enter a performance competition in Vancouver, where Yuri is unknowingly one of the judges. Concerned about Sora, Layla temporarily leaves her movie production and helps with the group's performance as the masked performer. Afterwards, Layla's identity is revealed in front of everyone, including her own father, and Layla expresses her desire to continue performing. In the end, Layla gains the ability to see Fool.
Now able to see Fool, Layla is reasserted by Sora, and Fool informs the two about their worthiness for the Legendary Great Maneuver, which risks the lives of any performer attempting the trick. Keeping the maneuver secret, he gives them the idea of performing the maneuver together. In the meantime, Kaleido Stage under Yuri's management suffers dwindling attendance rates, and as Yuri seeks Layla's return, she informs her decision. Angered, Yuri publicizes the intention of performing the maneuver, without consultation. Given one month to train, Layla throws the ownership of Kaleido Stage as a wager. Together along with the rest of the group, they meet up with Kalos for coaching at the Grand Canyon. Upon arrival, Sora and Layla begin the relentless and necessary physical regiment.