Animated by Xebec, aka the studio which never made an above average show in their whole lives. It is directed by Satou Tatsuo, who has made lots of mecha shows, most of which are unorthodox but otherwise slow and usually anti-climactic (Martian Successor Nadesico, Gekiganger 3, Shingu, Lagrange). So you kinda know right away this is not going to be a masterpiece.
Stellvia is a show that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Although to its core it is the coming of age tale of a teenager girl, it throws that premise amongst a rather complicating and confusing sci-fi setting that expands to philosophy, humanitarianism, and the end of the world. It eventually loses itself amongst the weight of it themes and gets crushed by a lot of themes that were never developed as they could have.
The story is about Earth recovering from a devastating space phenomenon that caused tremendous damage on its surface. Since a second wave is expected to appear after a few years, mankind comes together to prepare for it and manage to survive. Thus the beginning of the show finds all people in peace for centuries, as they build shields in space and train their young to pilot robots that will take out any debris the space event will leave behind. One of those youngsters is Shima, who gets a big vase of rock candy and goes to space to train as well.
A big part of the plot is about her interacting with her fellow pilots and crying… a lot. The whole thing about saving humanity ends up being nothing but an excuse to have a plot somewhere in there and fancy robots doing stuff. Despite the serious premise both slice of life and sci-fi end up being too light for their own good, as the first is unremarkable in its presentation and the later is just a vague objective. Eventually the most memorable scenes of the show end up being her crying, eating rock candy and OWNING EVERYONE WITH HER MAD SKILLZ! You see she seems frail but eventually becomes a top pilot who blows meteorites with her eyes shut and her hands tied behind her back. How the hell she does that; I don’t know; it is supposed to be an inborn talent. She even gets herself a boyfriend, believe it or not!
All that happen in the middle of the story by the way and the rest appears to be what follows after the destruction is prevented. At this point the expectations are really high as the story left open several interesting windows for continuation and further analysis. Despite the average slice of life, we got to see how she slowly matured to a more secured person, she is now famous worldwide, she has a boyfriend, she has a jealous best friend, mankind no longer needs to be friendly and cooperative with each other and then hostile aliens appear… WOW there is something really good cooking here! The series can very easily turn to an amazing space opera full of betrayal, death, civil war, and pondering about the folly of mankind!
… And none of that happen. The rest of the show is almost like a rehash of the first part, where she again needs to train, her relationship is hardly looked into, the world has forgotten her, the jealousy part never occurs, the aliens never make sense or do anything major, humanity never tries to get violent again, and I wonder WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF ALL THAT??? Surely, all the good ideas in the show were not only presented light but also never developed further, ending up to a soup of a plot. The cast is also nothing remarkable past the main three teenagers, who are again nothing worth remembering because of the simplistic things they do.
The production values are nothing worth remembering either; the soundtrack has a good opening but dialogues and BGM are forgettable. The robots flying around in space (and not fighting because there is no fighting in this show) is cool all things considered. The characters are drawn too simple, with huge eyes that makes those crying scenes to feel ten times more overblown. They obviously went for semi-moe here but because they don’t blush or eat cake every ten seconds the result is plain passable.
In all, it is an average to boring series. It had potential to be great but gave up and just went for beers and more rock candy.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (lame)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (too disappointing to bother watching again)
Memorability 2/4 (the themes are interesting but everything else simply lacks)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (interesting themes but lame presentation)
Characters 1/4 (they could be great if the story didn’t forget their development)
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