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Stellvia of the Universe Review

by: sothis
November 16, 2006

story 9/10

Stellvia of the Universe screenshot 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 8.5/10

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 9.5/10

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 8.5/10

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 9/10

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!

Anime Info

It is the year 2356 AD, 189 years after a shockwave from a distant supernova decimated the Earth. Since that fateful day, humanity has begun training for a final mission to protect the planet from the inevitable oncoming 2nd shockwave - a mission whose failure means the annihilation of mankind. For Katase and her friends, their training at the foundation Stellvia is just the beginning of an adventure that could lead to saving the world, or seeing its end...


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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comments

MrAnime avatar MrAnime
Jan 18, 2012

I enjoyed it! It even manage to get into my favorites somehow...

It's always refershing to see mother nature as the enemy in a story.

ChaosSanc avatar ChaosSanc
Jul 12, 2011

when i found this anime i was like i hope its good and it was i was so happy just like this review says it is one of the best in that time i totally agree with this reviews score

ProjectBlackRai avatar ProjectBlackRai
May 9, 2011

I completely agree with that review, sothis. I found it by accident and was totally impressed with the animation, the story, character development...everything.

Shindou avatar Shindou
Feb 22, 2011

I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. One of my favorites now. Great review!

n00bl3t avatar n00bl3t
Nov 29, 2009

Morning.

Definitely a review I was skeptical of at first.

After watching the series, I can safely say that this review is spot on.

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