Stellvia of the Universe

Alt titles: Uchuu no Stellvia

Reviews

sothis's avatar By on Nov 16, 2006

Story
On the foundation Stellvia, young people train for the most important mission of mankind: protect the solar system from a devastating shockwave. Close to two hundred years ago, a supernova sent an initial shockwave that destroyed the Earth, prompting the survivors to design the Great Mission that will save humanity from being utterly annihilated. The story of Stellvia follows a bright-eyed and talented cadet who is lovingly known as Shipon, as she makes new friends, experiences life on the foundation, and most importantly, discovers her place in history.

You can think of Stellvia sort of like Harry Potter in space. Like many slice of life series before it, Stellvia focuses on both plot elements (which are very serious and dark at times), and the daily life of the students. Relationships, hardships, tests, and rivalry all come into play. The series has a balanced mix of lighthearted moods and serious tones, so you don’t get overwhelmed by one or the other. It’s common, for example, to watch a dark story arc which is followed by a few episodes dedicated to watching the students prepare for tests. There are two main story arcs, both of which are engaging and interesting. A similar series in that aspect would be Gunparade March. A great ending is also included, which can be a rarity for anime.

The crux of Stellvia is not the sci fi plot; rather, it’s the character development. Yes, there’s a giant shockwave coming that can destroy the solar system, but that isn’t why you’d watch Stellvia. Rather than get into that here, I’ll continue down in the characters section.

I really enjoyed Stellvia. I’m a big fan of sci fi, especially when it involves something that could really happen. For all we know, a star COULD go supernova in our lifetime, and we’d be totally unprepared to protect ourselves. Thus, the story was very interesting for me. I also like slice of life series, so I enjoyed the downtime episodes as well.
Animation
Stellvia’s visuals are gorgeous and colorful. The futuristic sci fi environment was portrayed incredibly well, with lavish ships, sleek outfits, impressive cutting edge technology, and more. The series mixes regular animation with various 3D elements, including the space scenes and the occasional others. Though it’s no Final Fantasy Advent Children, for its time the 3D was very well done. That being said, if you are spoiled with watching anything from the last few years, the 3D scenes will probably look cheesy. Character designs aren’t super realistic but are still the kind I love. Brightly colored clothing, solid shading, interesting hair styles and large eyes.
Sound
Stellvia has an intro song that I adore. In fact, I always make it a point to watch the intro with each episode, just to hear the song! It’s catchy and somehow different from a normal intro song. This same song is repeated throughout the series in a variety of speeds and tones to match what’s going on at the time. Other songs are very appropriate for any scene they are paired with. Voice acting is superb. No complaints here!
Characters
Stellvia has a compelling and lighthearted story, but where the series truly shines is the characters. A group of friends is formed on the foundation, and we experience their growth over the course of many events. Shipon arrives at the foundation alone, but soon gains a good friend. She falls in love, doubts herself, and achieves success all in the course of 26 episodes. We see the same growth in each of her friends as well.

Now, I do have to make one note in this section: a lot of people didn’t like Stellvia for one reason alone: the "whiny" factor. Specifically, there’s a period of a few episodes where all of the girls go through a PMS phase and are all fighting, which culminates into a huge crying fest where they are all crying at once. Though I can understand why all of the girls might have gone off the deep end in a state of emotional weakness, I still don’t see any cause for a crying session. In addition, Shipon sometimes is a bit whiny throughout the series, but in general I can understand why she feels the way she does as far as pressure on herself to succeed, not living up to her own expectations, etc. So, though the whiny factor IS a part of Stellvia, in my opinion the story and character development should dwarf it.
Overall
Stellvia is definitely one of my favorite series of all time. Like Gunparade March, Gunbuster or a variety of other series, Stellvia combines, almost flawlessly, an amazing sci fi plot with just enough "kids in space" moments to make a great final product. The animation is gorgeous, the music is (in my opinion) damn good, and you’ll leave the series having watched a satisfying ending that won’t fail to please. Do I think you should watch Stellvia? Absolutely!
9/10 story
8.5/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
Dralha's avatar By on Nov 11, 2009

Two hundred years after a nearby supernova devastated Earth, orbital space stations known as "foundations" are built. Students who pass the Space Academy entrance exams are given the opportunity to study and live in space. Katase Shima is one such student, and it is her hope to work towards the prevention of another such disaster. This was a fantastic tale, with scifi action, coming-of-age romance, and intense teen angst.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
galacticdude7's avatar By on Jul 10, 2010

-Story-

I found the story of Stellvia of the Universe to be very compelling, especially in the last few episodes. Before that however, I felt that the creators had trouble deciding on if the series was a slice of life type story in space or a hardcore science fiction, and it felt that the storylines for both aspects got in the way of each other and prevented either one from growing to a meaningful level. I feel that the hardcore science fiction aspect had the stronger story to it, and that the slice of life in space should have played more of a secondary role in the series. However, I was pleased when they left the slice of life styled story was abandoned during the most crucial parts of the hardcore science fiction story, with the slice of life story permiating at the most opportune times to give the overall story a nice flavor to it.

-Animation-

The animation was above average, but not the best that I've seen. The depictions of the technology were very good, but the characters needed to look a bit better to convey the emotions of the characters properly. There were times that I felt that the characters were robots and they didn't convey emotions in the best way.

-Characters-

The characters in Stellvia of the Universe were pretty much hit and miss. Some characters were ok, but others were not so good. Few if any characters left much of an impression on me. The female lead, Shipon, was a character that I could hardly stand, especially right before the climactic finish, and I especially found her annoying at that part of the series.

-Overall-

Not the best anime, but you can do worse.

6.5/10 story
6/10 animation
?/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
Otaku108's avatar By on Oct 3, 2009

Story/Plot: 8

It was refreshing to find a story not about man vs man, or man vs hostile alien in a space sci-fi anime. I'd give it higher marks if it didn't use the same doom and gloom to all of human kind 3 times in a row but as it stands, this is just a personal taste thing. Over all the story and plot were excellent.

Animation: 9

The designs, the fluidity, the over all scope of the show was highly enjoyable. Everything seemed to have a purpose and not just some randomly techy looking junk thrown in for atmosphere. It was highly thought out and it showed. Plus, their attention to space scapes were very much appreciated.

Sounds/Music: 7

Pretty good considering that, as most space shows do, they forget that explosions in space don't make sound. Minor really and I don't care so much about it but I still deduct points for it. The sounds in general were good and the music was ok. The change overs from scene to scene weren't bad either.

Characters: 5

Here's where the show fell apart for me. The two "main" characters, or perhaps I should say the two "genius" characters, were both annoying a lot of the time. The girl was mainly an emotional basket case while the boy was an emotional dip shit... common trend for most "genius" characters in many anime/manga. There were other characters which also had a lot of lime light but they didn't seem to change a bunch, a few did but not by a whole heck of a lot. Having very little real development/growth I can't say I was impressed here. It was mainly done, in my opinion, to keep tension high and interest in the anime up.

Overall: 7.5

This was one of those shows that skirted the line of noteworthy for me. All of it's facets were pretty good, and it kept me wanting to watch more but it lacked one thing for me. Likable main characters, even the side characters sometimes irked me randomly.

End Note:

It was a good show and worth watching if you enjoy space shows. It had a fair bit of romance to it but nothing beyond puppy love, and a few comedy elements but it's not a gut buster. Mainly this was a unique show to it's space fairing peers.

8/10 story
9/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
Ymarsakar's avatar By on Oct 14, 2011

I didn't know quite what to think of Stellvia until the ending plot arc. This story is more or less a two part tale. The first part deals with schoolgirls on a space station. That concept by itself would have gotten boring by episode 12, except for the fact that the series transitioned to part 2: which was something much more interesting and used the material from part one quite well.

 

So thematically, this is a slice of life show about a teenage girl who wants to go to space and learn how to be a pilot of spaceships. Plot wise and character development wise, this is about a teenage love story in space juxtaposed against a... well, spoilers aside, it's an interesting problem they face up in space. I don't group the love story in the theme group because it isn't really used as a theme: it is more like a plot device to heighten people's tension as the characters deal with the problem: Heroic Age's Princess Yunos and Age, now there's an entire song and ED devoted to those two. People's performance tends to decrease if they have relationship problems: unlike in certain Hollywood movies, a romantic problem doesn't result in a job loss or loss of some insignificant social status. A disruption in a person's mental focus and concentration is lethal in space. In Stellvia, romance eventually becomes part of the plot development when it comes to operations in space.

 

Here is some explanation for why I promote things from 4/5 to higher ranks. I did not particularly like the main character nor the character designs. There was no beauty in them, compared to some other artwork I have seen in anime. Yet my standard for rating a series depends upon whether it had something innovative or demonstrated an ability to take on high risk challenges, without falling down too often. Stellvia, based upon the romance, the slice of life comedy, and the space station setting, was worthy of a 3.5/5 or 4/5. Above average or worth watching, respectively: both of these have flaws as well as points in their favor. But something has to do more than interest me or make me dislike it, for it to get a higher score than 4/5. Whether I liked the character or the artwork, didn't really matter in the objective sense. What mattered was whether the series could pull off their plot line without me detecting any inconsistencies or flaws once the last episode ended. If it had music, art, story line, epic plot, or great enough characters to overcome its weaknesses, it's almost guaranteed a promotion to 4.5/5 or 5/5. If my emotions were smooth and consistent with what the show tried to get across, it will get a promotion above 4/5, assuming no erroneous mistakes show up. This is independent of whether I like the ending or not, or some of the characters. So this is why irregardless of the artwork creating no draw in me, I gave this series 5/5. The story progression was that good and interesting: while there were some shaky parts where I wondered whether they could pull it off or whether they were being just a tad too melodramatic by intermingling someone's private life with their professional job, it was not enough to make me detect a critical error. This suspense ended up bolstering the great ending.

I greatly liked the ending and rewatched it a few times. The beginning and middle portions I avoided rewatching simply because the atmosphere is too much like high school. Immaturity and growing pains is only tolerable for so long for the sake of the plot and story development. There's no need to go over it when unneeded.

 

5/5 Excellent ending, interesting plot development, rich world building, and a novel coming of age story.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
10/10 overall