Sora Naegino (苗木野そら) is the main protagonist of the anime Kaleido Star. Born and raised in Japan, Sora's dream is to become a true Kaleido Star.
Sora has shoulder-length purple hair and light brown eyes. When practicing and rehearsing, Sora wears either a pure white or a light blue shirt, dark blue pants and navy blue shoes with pink leg warmers.
Her street clothes and costumes for performances vary throughout the season and she is hardly seen wearing the same clothes more than twice.
Sora comes to America to join the Kaleido Stage, a theatre company located in Cape Mary, California. When Sora was very young, she and her parents came to Kaleido Stage to see their production of Alice In Wonderland, which helped give birth to Sora's dream of becoming a Kaleido Star. Shortly after, Sora’s real mother and Sora’s real father passed away in an unknown accident and she was taken in by her aunt and uncle, who didn't have children of their own. For the rest of her life until she arrived in America, she trained in hopes of becoming a member of Kaleido Stage. Her aunt and uncle were both hesitant to let her go but Sora manages to convince them otherwise. When she arrives, she becomes lost in the bustling city and stops for directions. There, she meets Kalos Eldos, who she believes is a pervert since he is examining her legs at the moment she asks for directions to the stage. As Sora is disturbed by Kalos' actions, her bag is stolen and she performs amazing feats through the streets to get her bag back.
Once getting her bag back, she is brought to the Police station under the belief that she ran away from home. But after an understanding, one of the officers, Jerry, drives Sora personally to Kaleido Stage wishing her the best of luck in her audition. However, she arrives too late and she asks for a chance to audition. But Sora's idol and Kaleido Stage's top star Layla Hamilton rudely rejects her saying that she should leave since she missed her audition. Outside, Sora feels defeated and plans to go back home. She meets Ken Robbins, one of the stage helpers who takes her on a tour backstage. She accidentally "saves" one of the performers from a balloon falling down on her. The performer is injured and cannot go on. But Kalos returns, to Sora's shock that he is the boss, and sends Sora on stage to replace the performer. On stage, Sora is completely embarrassed and cannot perform straight. But by luck, she manages to make it through and even receives help from Yuri Killian, the other top star and Layla's partner.
After the performance, Layla criticizes her on her lousy performance and tells Sora to leave. But Kalos has other plans for Sora, which Ken makes clear when he tells Sora that Kalos has allowed her to join Kaleido Stage. When she moves into her new dorm room, she meets Fool, the Spirit of the Stage who only the chosen few can see. And thus begins Sora's long and hard road to becoming a Kaleido Star...
During her time at Kaleido Stage, Sora is first rejected by everyone because they call her way of being accepted into the company as "getting in good with the boss" while they had to work hard and she is doing poorly in the training sessions. But soon after daring to attempt Layla's Golden Phoenix maneuver, in which she would be forced to leave if she failed to do so, she makes new friends in Anna and Mia. She manages to almost perform the maneuver and earns Layla's approval to stay at Kaleido Stage. She soon starts to make more friends like Sarah Dupont, the dorm supervisor, Marion Benigni, a young girl whose mother was a trampoline performer, Johnathan, a baby seal and Rosetta Passel, a diabolo prodigy who had trouble making the audience enjoy her performances. During Sora's beginning, Ken becomes Sora's personal trainer to help her with the basic skills she needs to improve on. At one point, Sora's adoptive father comes to visit and convince her to come back home. But ill fortune strikes when he has to be rushed to the hospital during one of Sora's performances. She still goes to see her father and agrees to return home. But at the airport, her uncle sees how much Sora loves being with her new friends and she is allowed to stay as he returns home. When Layla left for a movie filming, Sora was casted alongside Anna as a lead role for The Little Mermaid performance as the mermaid.
During this time, Sora starts watching Layla's performance from the last show and starts to try and mimic her movements. But when she tries that during the show, she doesn't receive the applause she hopes for. Feeling like that failed, Sora began trying to do her own thing during the show, ad libbing during the performance and confusing her fellow performers. She then asks the audience for their opinions about her performance after the show. At this point, the crew is just angry at her and scolds her, telling her to try and pass ideas to them before doing ad lib in the middle of a show. Sora feels so lost after that point. But she starts wondering what her character, the mermaid, must be like. She starts to live life as a mermaid, which included trying to move around without her legs and playing in the water with Johnathan, even to the point of sleeping in her costume. She then pitches her ideas to the crew and the other performers seem intrigued by Sora's suggestions. And when Layla came back to see Sora's show after the many bad reviews, she's shocked to see that Sora changed the sad tale into a happier story where everyone is more into their characters and are really having fun. After Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, she gets a chance to star in the production Arabian Nights alongside her idol Layla (it was a suggestion by Mr. Kenneth that Sora be Layla's partner). While Layla is against the idea of performing with Sora instead of Yuri, Sora's hard work and determination soon show Layla that there is something inside of Sora that she doesn't have.
During training for the production, Layla moves into Sora's dormitory so the two can learn to get in sync with each other. It proves beneficial as the two are doing better in practice. Before the opening day, Layla brings Sora out onto a ferry ship into the ocean during a lightning storm to have a "real fight" between the two of them for the performance. After a fierce battle between the two, they take refuge in the ship when the storm is too severe to return to shore. There, Sora asks Layla why she joined Kaleido Stage and it was the same as Sora, she saw Alice in Wonderland when she was a child and she trained hard to become a member after her mother passed away and her father buried himself in his work. When they returned to Kaleido Stage the next day and perform together, the audience's applause is like nothing Layla has heard in a long time and the two have kindled a friendship.
But soon after, Kaleido Stage is losing performers to Yuri's new company and they put on a performance called Freedom to win back their performers and to keep the stage alive. However, Yuri takes over control of Kaleido Stage and cancels all of their future performances. He then kicks Sora and friends out of Kaleido Stage. Soon after, Sora's adoptive parents come to America telling Sora that her aunt Midori is pregnant. Sora is upset at the thought that she might lose her aunt's love when the baby is born. But after a pep talk from Ken, Sora sees that her aunt would never forget her. When her new baby sister was born, Sora was given the honor of naming her little sister. Sora chose the name Yume, which means "Dream" in Japanese (she was born prematurely like Sora was). Soon after, Sora, Anna, and Mia work together to make their own theatre company, which they call "Freedom Lights", and invite their old friends to join, among which is Rosetta herself. Through many hardships and aide from Layla as "The Masked Star", Sora's group draws a lot of attention to them. But Yuri's affairs ruin their chances of anything more, including when they joined a competition with Layla and Yuri forcefully unmasks her during their performance and in front of her father. But during this time, Sora learns how devoted a friend and partner Layla is to Sora and she soon gains the ability to see Fool.
Fool reveals that Sora and Layla have been chosen by fate to perform The Legendary Great Maneuver, a maneuver that has caused the deaths of many performers including Yuri's father. With aid from Kalos and all of their friends, Sora and Layla's training in the Grand Canyon really pushes their limits as partners. But when Sora feels unable to do it, Layla's kind words help Sora stay on track. What really moved Sora was Layla's commitment to dieting and exercising to match her body weight with hers (it was a myth that two people who perform the maneuver would succeed more if they weigh the same). Sora hurries out and stops Layla from pushing herself anymore, crying that she'll gain weight and do whatever it takes to make sure the show is a success and not let Layla down. But right to her face, Layla replied "I never had a single doubt in my mind that you and I wouldn't be able to do this" and Sora starts to feel better. Even after promising not to keep secrets from each other at that point, Layla's shoulder is injured during training and Sora tries to help her, much to Layla's annoyance. When they return, despite all that's put against them, Sora and Layla perform the maneuver and succeed in winning back Kaleido Stage from Yuri's control at the cost of Layla's injured shoulder worsening and ending her Kaleido Stage career. Layla then asks Sora to be her dream and become a true Kaleido Star as she will be the new best performer when she leaves.
With Layla gone, Kaleido Stage is losing audience even with the addition of the incredible Leon Oswald, who performs for short whiles and then leaves during the performance. Sora meets May Wong, a new addition who declares herself Sora's rival and blames her for ending Layla's career. While Sora plans to throw the new performers a welcoming party, she runs into her old friend Rosetta, who wants to follow in Sora's footsteps and become a trapeze artist. Throughout the first half of the season, Sora battles with May in a fierce rivalry to become Leon's partner. In an ice skating competition, May wins and becomes Leon's partner for Dracula, making this the first time Sora had a bit part in a performance since Cinderella. But while she felt defeated, her mood soon rose after she helped her friends create the Children's Stage, when Dracula began scaring the children in the audience. On it's debut appearance, Sora performed with Marion and she once again was back to her old self again.
Later, Sora is offered a chance to perform in a Broadway performance called Salome In Vegas, which has her old friend and idol Layla as the star. Even with May sneaking along, Sora and Layla's reunion is a heartfelt one (mostly for Sora) as Sora is with her dear friend once more. After seeing Charlotte and Julie again, meeting Cathy and learning how she and Layla are like partners now (something that hurt Sora's feelings), she performs with Layla and makes the performance a success while competing with May as a background character. But Layla tells Sora that she seems to be losing the same feeling she had when they were partners. Later on, during a performance at Kaleido Stage, Leon sprains May's arm and leaves her feeling rejected and hurt. Sora sees this as a chance to be Leon's partner for the upcoming Circus Festival, but May pulls through her injury and overshadows Sora again to be Leon's partner with her Demon Spiral. Sora finds a loophole in the admittance system to the Circus Festival, in which both of the winners from last year are given Phoenix Tickets to enter, she turns to Layla's partner Yuri. They train for The Angel's Maneuver, the best bet against May and Leon's Demon Spiral. But when it comes time to perform at the festival, Sora's heart is broken when she sees two other performers who she thought were her friends attempting their maneuver and failing. When Yuri and Sora go on, she is seen crying on stage and she drops from the festival while May and Leon stroll away with the win. After which, Layla tells Sora that she is disappointed in Sora in the same rude voice she used on her at the start.
Feeling defeated, Sora leaves Kaleido Stage and May takes her place as the best star. But while she is home in Japan with her family and friends, she realizes that her dream is to become the Kaleido Star - not by fighting other performers, but by creating her own stage with no competition where the audience and cast's hearts are one. When Sora returns to Kaleido Stage and starts down this path, Leon soon sees that Sora is his true partner (she reminds him so much of his younger sister Sophie). Through hard determination and pain, and even winning May's friendship, Sora and Leon become the leads in Swan Lake to perform the Angel's Maneuver. But Layla returns and challenges Sora for the lead. While Layla seems to match Sora, she soon realizes that Sora's skills have far surpassed her and she wins the challenge. And when it comes time for the performance, Sora's Angel Maneuver brings together everyone's hearts together and her stage is born, making her the new Kaleido Star.
Performances Through the Series
- Romeo and Juliet - Rabbit (Supporting Cast)
- Cinderella - Clown (Supporting Cast) and then Fairy Godmother (Along with Anna and Mia)
- The Diabolo Battle - Competed With Rosetta, Rosetta wins
- The Little Mermaid - Mermaid (Lead, partnered with Anna as the Prince)
- Arabian Nights - Pirate Captain (Lead, partnered with Layla)
- Theatrical Camp - Guest Appearance
- Freedom - Lead, partnered with Layla
- The Legendary Great Maneuver - Lead, partnered with Layla
- Sayuki - Princess (Lead, partnered with Leon), Son Goku (replaces Leon at one point)
- Dracula - Skating Vampire (Supporting Cast alongside Anna and Mia)
- Salome In Vegas - Background Character (Supporting Cast alongside May)
- (Half) Angel's Maneuver- Lead, partnered with Yuri ( Circus Festival in Paris)
- Exhibition Show - Monkey (Lead, performed with Rosetta and May)
- Swan Lake - Odette (Lead, partnered with Leon)
- The Princess Without A Smile - Prince (Lead, partnered with Rosetta)
- Legend of Phoenix - Lead
At first, Layla and Sora's relationship starts off on a rocky start due to Layla's immediate despise of Sora for expecting to audition when she was late. Her hate against Sora keeps up until she sees Sora performing the lead in The Little Mermaid, a performance that she was once the lead role in. What really surprised Layla was seeing how Sora's suggestions changed the show and made the cast seem more into their characters. When Arabian Nights was in production, Layla automatically rejects the thought of performing with Sora as her partner. But she admits that there is something about Sora that she can't ignore, so she holds an audition to see if the two can perform together. Both pass, including Sora's amazing move of grinding a trapeze rope using a diabolo, and Layla soon begins opening up more to Sora. When they are living together to get into sync, the two of them become closer even more and by the time their first show ends, a friendship has started between them. When Yuri takes Kaleido Stage, Layla openly admits that the only person she feels can be her true partner is Sora, even rejecting Yuri directly to his face at one point afterward. Soon after Layla can see Fool, their ability to perform together is pushed to its limit when they attempt The Legendary Great Maneuver and gain control of Kaleido Stage from Yuri and back to Kalos. During training, Layla injures her shoulder severely and this ends their partnership, in which Sora bursts into tears. But before the episode ends, Layla asking Sora to become her dream: a true Kaleido Star, which is Sora's drive in the second season. When the two meet again at Broadway, Sora automatically starts to cry and hugs her former partner. Even with a few difficult moments facing Sora up to the end of the series, Layla remains closest to Sora.
Ken is the first face Sora meets when she comes to Kaleido Stage after her missed audition. Unlike Layla, Ken is gentler and more kind hearted to Sora and they easily become friends. Ken also acts as Sora's manager when she needs help training. She is oblivious to the fact that Ken has a crush on her, often stating that they're just friends or saying something that completely embarrasses him. There's one time when Ken declared Sora his feelings, however, they were interrupted by Mr. Police-man.
Anna Heart and Mia Guillem
Anna and Mia are the first friends Sora made after joining Kaleido Stage. At first, they both hated Sora for the same reason as the other performers did. Anna had a feeling Sora had got in good with the "boss", which was Kalos, and they even teased Sora when they saw her cleaning the stage alone and how she had trouble in practice. But after seeing the burning determination in Sora to pass Layla's challenge of performing her Golden Phoenix, Anna and Mia are first to suggest that Sora quit. But Sora doesn't quit because she wants to prove to everyone that she can stay. From that point on, Anna and Mia are Sora's closest friends and the three are almost never seen without the other by their side. Their friendship helped give birth to their three man performance during Cinderella when all three were Fairy Godmothers. Whenever Sora starts to doubt herself or feel lost, Anna and Mia are always the first to respond and they do their best to cheer her up.
Just like with Layla, Rosetta seemed kind of cold to Sora. This is first seen when she doesn't shake Sora's hand during their first meeting and how she insults Sora for the fact that she got her birthplace wrong. When Kalos decides to terminate Rosetta's contract after her first show, Sora is the first to try and get Rosetta another chance. Kalos agrees under the catch that she has to train her. Rosetta automatically believes Kalos is a fool when she learns the news, as Sora doesn't have any diabolo experience. Rosetta even decides to give up early. But her look on Sora changes when Marion and Ken bring her to one of Sora's live shows and asks her to see Sora during Cinderella. Rosetta is just awestruck that Sora can make everyone watching her performances applaud, even if she makes a mistake. She then tells Sora that she would still like to perform with Sora and their diabolo battle is a hit. Rosetta feels so alive again that she thanks Sora for everything before leaving again. When they meet again for their show at Marine Park, Rosetta's personality has completely changed and she is a close friend to Sora. When Rosetta returns in New Wings and fully joins the main cast, Rosetta idolizes Sora and they have a sister like bond. She is also probably the biggest supporter Sora has and even offered to share her room with her when her contract was terminated. Rosetta is also learning about trapeze performing with Sora and is the third lucky girl from the cast to see Fool. In Sora's eyes, Rosetta may very well be the one to surpass Sora one day since her vision of the older Rosetta in The Princess Who Never Smiles OVA.
Officially the first person to despise Sora for "causing Layla's incident" last season, May declares herself Sora's rival and the two are always vying for the chance to perform with Leon and to outshine the other. And when the Circus Festival came, May had won and Sora left Kaleido Stage heartbroken. But with Sora gone, May was lost. She couldn't feel the flame she had when she competed with Sora and as thus has lost the ability to please the audience. But when Sora returns, May realizes that Leon's true partner is Sora and she ultimately admits defeat before becoming a friendlier person to Sora. During special training with Layla, May discovered what Sora had that she lacked. And that was the ability to smile herself. She then learns to get her own smile back as well as supporting Sora when she was casted as the lead for Swan Lake and not freaking out when she was casting as a lower importance character. May even prepared a large breakfast for her. Since then, May's sarcasm is still in her but she's more of a good friend to Sora and the others.
Leon is originally from France with his little sister, Sophie, who was in a tragic accident during the Circus Festival 3 years back when Yuri and Layla won. At first, he was very cold to Sora but after time he grew fond of her because she reminded him of Sophie and even pulled her on stage after her contract was banned. Before Leon grew fond of Sora there were many competitions to see who could be Leon's partner and the two competitors were Sora and May, May won the role of Mina Murry and then the role of Leon's partner in the Circus Festival after being injured by Leon who was testing her strength. By saying "okay, I will give you the perfect chance", Leon dropped May off the trapeze to test her but she did not respond forcing him to fall down and brutally grab her which dislocated her shoulder. He goes to the Circus Festival with May only to see Sora there with Yuri (who was the one to cause Sophie's accident with an oncoming car), Sora drops out causing Leon and May to win. They go back to Kaleido and are the top dogs and May finds out that Leon's stage name is the "god of death" because he has ended the career of every single partner he's had. This is when Leon gets more patient for Sora and lots of stuff happens and then he performs Swan lake with Sora and even Legend of the Phoenix later on in the OVA. He becomes way more gentle towards Sora and is the reason why she is back on stage.
Songs Featuring Sora
- Blanc et Noir - Sora Naegino and Rosetta Passel - Kaleido Star OVA 1: The Princess Without A Smile, Kaleido Star Vocal Album ~Minna no Sugoi Character Song~
- Yakusoku no Bashe e - Sora, Anna, Mia, Layla, and Rosetta - Kaleido Star OVA 3: Good day yo! Good!
- Reach For My Dream - Sora Naegino - Kaleido Star Vocal Album ~Minna no Sugoi Character Song~
- Tsubasa wa Yume, Soshite Sora E - Sora Naegino - Kaleido Star Vocal Album ~Minna no Sugoi Character Song~
- Everlasting Rainbow - Sora, Anna, Mia, Layla and Rosetta - Kaleido Star Vocal Album ~Minna no Sugoi Character Song~
- The name Sora means "sky" (空 or 昊).
- She is one of the few characters to be able to see Fool.