Kageki Shoujo!! (Kageki Shojo!!) is an underrated gem of the Summer 2021 anime season, and before its finale, we’re here to spread the word and recommend you more of the same flavor! We’ve got school shoujo series, dramatic anime, performers, tough competition, music, references to the famous all-female theater troupe Takarazuka review, and awesome OSTs.
Let’s take a look!
Similar Anime to Kageki Shoujo!! / Similar Anime to Kageki Shojo!!
1. Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (Revue Starlight)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 – September 2018
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight tells the story of driven performance school students who want to become top stars. Seisho Music Academy prepares its students to become top-notch performers, in acting, dance, and music. Karen Aijou dreams of reconnecting with her childhood friend Hikari Kagura because they made a promise to perform together on stage when they grow up. When Hikari transfers to Seisho Academy from abroad, they have to face each other, the past camaraderie, but also competition and bitterness. All students are called to compete on a secret, underground stage, for the position of Top Star! Who’s going to win?
Both Revue Starlight and Kageki Shoujo!! are based on the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theater troupe that attracts swarms of devoted fans, and produces Broadway-quality musical plays. Revue Starlight is adapted from a game of the same name, while Opera Girl’s source material is a manga series. They are both set in prestigious performance academies, show the rigorous process by which new students are selected, similar to the real Takarazuka selection process, and emphasize relationships between the students. Opera Girl’s Sarasa has the genki qualities of Karen Aijou, while cold beauty Hikari Kagura reminds us a bit of Ai Narata. Starlight Revue’s pairings have more of a shoujo-ai vibe, while Kageki Shojo!! shows a wide range of connections. Both anime are full of references to original Takarazuka plays, paying homage to them. The Starlight Revue OST is phenomenal, and the Opera Girl ending theme is beautifully theatrical. We’re sure you’ll enjoy both!
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight PV
2. Kaleido Star
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2003 – March 2004
Sora Naegino wants to join the Kaleido Stage. She moves from Japan to the US just to become part of the famous performance troupe. However, she soon realizes that this is a tough and competitive environment. Sora has to undergo rigorous training, take on difficult challenges, and learn how to captivate the audience. She will do anything to achieve her dreams, and we follow her in this exciting journey.
Director Junichi Satou has worked on Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu, and The Aria Series, phenomenal series that have marked the shoujo genre. Kaleido Star shares qualities with these top shoujo series, and with Kageki Shojo!!. Sora is the shoujo protagonist who wants to achieve her dreams no matter what. The colorful setting and beautiful background music set the tone in this anime series, full of ambitious artists who want to make it on Kaleido Stage. Like Sarasa and the other Kouka students, Kaleido Star characters compete with each other to improve and show their worth to the world.
Kaleido Star Trailer
3. Glass no Kamen (2005) (Glass Mask)
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2005 - March 2006
Maya Kitajima seems like an ordinary girl, lost without a dream, living with her bitter mom. However, she is a performance genius, who gets discovered by famous actress Chigusa Tsukikage. There’s also Ayumi Himekawa, another promising young performer, who wants to make it through her talent, not her famous family’s influence. Both work hard to achieve their dreams, against each other! For their star to shine, they have to compete for the role of the Crimson Goddess, the highest achievement in the theater academy.
Glass Mask is a classic and this 2005 remake is a must-watch for shoujo enthusiasts. There is an older adaptation of the original manga from 1985, but the 2005 version won our hearts. It’s a long one, so if you are missing the times of multiple cours, this is for you. Rivalry and competition are in the center of it, with Kaoru Hoshino reminding us of Ayumi Himekawa, both with connections and famous families in the art world, and both committed to making it with their own powers. The main cast in both series is fleshed out, the dramatic moments feel genuine, and the experience of being on stage. Glass Mask is a classic not to be missed.
Any Anime Like Kageki Shojo!! / Any Anime Like Kageki Shoujo!!?
- Episodes: 47
- Aired: April 2006 - March 2007
Nana Komatsu is a cute high school graduate who is moving to Tokyo to join her boyfriend and friends, already studying there. Nana Osaki is a cool punk girl, the vocalist of Blast. They have a fated meeting, sitting next to each other on the train, and end up renting the same apartment, too! The Nanas work hard to make it in Tokyo. Nana Osaki has big dreams for her band and Nana Komatsu lives for love and romance. Through unexpected twists and turns, their fates change, and they start growing apart...
There is renewed interest in Ai Yazawa’s Nana, who never completed the manga series after her sudden illness in the 2000s. Despite the manga never getting a proper ending, the anime series wraps up the story adequately, focusing on the relationship between the two Nanas, their romantic lives, and Nana Osaki’s rise to fame. The fashion is superb, the soundtrack still brings us chills, and the friendship between the Nanas is one of the best in anime history. Be prepared to tear up, though! We hope that Sarasa and Ai only grow closer and talk out their issues, unlike the Nanas…!
5. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2016 – April 2016
Yotarou desperately wants to train under rakugo master Yakumo, since he sees this form of traditional Japanese storytelling as his only way to get back on his feet, after spending some time in jail. Yakumo initially tells him off but due to Yotarou’s resemblance to his old friend and colleague Sukeroku he decides to take him in. What starts as a show about Yotarou’s attempts to make it as a storyteller becomes a retelling of Yakumo’s tumultuous life along with Sukeroku, their rivalry and deep connection, and the role of Konatsu’s mother, Miyokichi, in their lives.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a beautiful josei series, focusing on Yakumo’s and Sukeroku’s lifelong friendship and rivalry, as top rakugo performers, the joys and regrets. Being raised in a competitive environment, they blossom into magnificent storytellers, like the girls in Kageki Shojo!! Work hard to achieve their dreams. This might not be an anime about an all-female theater school, but Kageki Shoujo!! Fans will still love it, thanks to the opposite personalities and friendly rivalry between the protagonists, mirroring Sarasa and Ai. The live performance scenes are captivating in both anime series, and the atmosphere is similar.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu PV
6. Oniisama e… (Brother, Dear Brother)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: July 1991 – May 1992
Brother, Dear Brother is a classic shoujo drama, focusing on Nanako Misonoo, a newcomer in prestigious all-girls Seiran Academy. Nanako is sweet and friendly, but her new school has a complicated system that segregates students based on their skills and general appeal, with Sorority members being on top of the hierarchy. Nanako is befriended by intense Mariko and gets closer to mysterious and artistic Rei Asaka, sporty and gallant Kaoru Orihara. She also gets the attention of Sorority leader Fukiko Ichinomiya, though, and she is soon nominated as a member of the Sorority… To deal with all the stressful changes, Nanako writes letters to her former teacher, Takehiko, who she sees as an older brother.
This is a classic for shoujo fans, and it holds surprisingly well, considering that the source material was published in the 1970s. Written by Riyoko Ikeda, whose other famous work is The Rose of Versailles, frequently adapted by the Takarazuka Revue (this is where Sarasa’s obsession with playing Oscar comes from), Brother, Dear Brother is all about young women’s friendship and teenage issues. As we see Ai’s painful past in Kageki Shojo!!, or Ayako’s developing eating disorder, Dear Brother sheds light on its characters’ mental health issues: Rei is highly creative but prone to addiction, Mariko is a passionate friend but with deep trust issues and a broken family, and the list goes on…
And there you have them, six anime that are like Kageki Shoujo!! (Kageki Shojo!!) and will keep you on your toes with school drama, beautiful performances, and competition between talented young people! Let’s not forget Hoshiai no Sora (Stars Align) too, which focuses on sports, but has a similar flair about teenagers finding themselves, following their dreams, and forming strong friendships. Which is your favorite recommendation off this list? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading.