Book Review: Kageki Shojo!! The Curtain Rises by Kumiki Saiki

Kageki Shojo!! The Curtain Rises

Author: Kumiko Saiki
Publisher: Publisher (date)
Paperback, 464 pages
Comics & Graphic Novels, Manga, School Life


The critically acclaimed shoujo manga about the drama of all-women musical theater!

Watanabe Sarasa has always dreamed of being an otokoyaku, an actress who plays male roles in an all-female theater troupe. Narata Ai also has a dream: the disgraced former idol wants to live in a world full of women and not have to deal with men at all. When they both get into a competitive all-girls theater school, the stage is set for Ai and Sarasa to enter the limelight and take their first step toward stardom.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

CW: sexual assault (remembered on page), pedophilia (remembered on page), fatphobia, eating disorder

I ADORED this graphic novel! Please tell me there is more coming soon, because I need it. After finishing this manga I was reading another book and I kept thinking things like “Oh, Watanabe would really like this,” or “I wonder what Naracchi will say when…” My brain refused to be finished with this book just because I’d turned the final page.

I adore an opposites attract trope, especially when it’s the grumpy/cold one likes the sunshine one. Watanabe Sarasa is so amazing and I want to be her best friend, and I just want to give a big hug to Narata Ai.

For such a fun and fluffy manga, this book also deals with a lot of really heavy issues. There is one plus-sized girl in their year group and one of the teachers is really horrible to her. Another character deals with PTSD because of a sexual assault as a child. Of course Sarasa, as the sunshine main character, loves them and accepts them and helps them deal with their trauma – not by telling them to forget about it or by minimizing it, but by offering her own philosophy that if you shove enough happy memories into yourself they help balance out the bad ones and help to blunt some of those hard edges from cutting as deeply.

I really love this manga and will be watching ravenously for another volume.

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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