Stellvia of the Universe
I'd read quite a few good things about Stellvia over the years. But I just never put it high on my to watch list. Despite reservations I eventually bought the series last year In a Bundle and having now watched it I thankfully have no regrets. Stellvia while not outstanding is Pretty Good.
Its certainly alot better than it first appears. You'd be forgiven for passing it off as a rather generic sci fi show after first episode impressions.
I couldn't shake of the feeling after the first episode that i knew what this show was going to be, Like i had already watched the show through a combination of other shows of similar styles i had already seen over the years. It defintely doesn't stand out from the crowd on first impressions. The initial setup felt stale.
Thankfully the over riding plot is interesting. On Stellvia, young people train for the most important mission of mankind: protect the solar system from a devastating shockwave. A plot that sometimes tackles quite Dark moments and the show does well at balancing those themes against by a quick burst of more daily Life episodes for its students. Is a formula that works well.
Now Highschool Kids and their daily lives is a well trodden concept in Anime.
But sometimes the simple addition of telling that Story in Space is all that is needed. Or at least it worked for Stellvia. Even if they are taking Space Piloting lessons instead of Home ed.
It's Character Designs aren't worth praising as much as they aren't worth complaining about. They are just plain and of their time. Although for 2003 this is a good looking and very well animated show. Its clean and has slid colours. Its use of CG was extremely impressive then and is still of a very good standard even now. Its CG in the Hanger on Stellvia was superb and even better than Saki's CG despite being 6 years its senior
It was alot better at telling those tried and tested formulas than i've seen recently in a show of this type. The principle cast of Stellvia grow on you. They're a balanced crew of personalties and were worth becoming invested in over the course of the show.
They enjoy an arcing story of ups and downs and only the core romance of the show felt a little disappointing and forced. It never really felt real and so any drama it tried to create never clicked with me. Kouta just wasn't very interesting. There was alot to like about him because there wasn't alot too him. He was the only person of the group that suffered from a dull personality.
Other inner drama of the cast though worked really well. Creating interesting stories with the relationships of the group. The Crew of KATASE and friends are a fun bunch. Only a couple of characters cross the line into occasionally annoying, The use of over cute Female voices on them attributing mostly to that.
So yeah a good cast, Helped greatly by an Interesting Story. One that has Multiple Arcs to keep you watching. Along with better than expected Animation for the time it came out and a good Opening theme and a really good Ending theme. Stellvia all in all is very good at what it does and how it tells it. Solid Throughout and a nudge above alot of others of its type.
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