a.k.a. Cosmic Stellvia
a.k.a. Uchuu no Stellvia
a.k.a. Sora no Stellvia
One hundred and eighty-nine years ago, the Hydrus Beta star went supernova and the first shockwave destroyed much of the Earth’s surface. The year is now 2356 A.D., and the remnants of mankind desperately seek to stop a second shockwave by putting all of their resources towards the Great Mission. Katase Shima is a young student who has achieved her dream of joining the Great Mission’s space station Stellvia. With the second shockwave on its way, Katase and the members of Stellvia must pull together to deal with this great danger.
summary by Eek
Highs: Plot that gets increasingly interesting; solid soundtrack
Lows: Slow beginning; some characters lack background; mundane mecha and spacecraft designs
It seems that many anime being created these days lack the knack to carefully balance style with substance, and in some cases such as Last Exile, style is able to overcome shortcomings. In the case of Stellvia of the Universe, the style is a bit lacking, but the substance supports this series with ease.
OK, so it is not very realistic to force such a task as saving the Earth onto the shoulders of young children, but nevertheless, it works rather well in this case. Stellvia of the Universe may not be original in that regard, but it never stops being interesting after the first quarter. Once the Second Wave takes full priority, the series whisks itself along and does not stop for a steady breath until the last episode’s credits. On some level, this series feels very much like Angelic Layer; the characters are all trying to be the best at what they do, some angst gets thrown around in order to keep things realistically fresh and they fight against something that is not necessarily evil. Even Shima has personality traits that are similar to Misaki. Still, it never gets predictable and manages to keep moving along at a comfortable pace. Topping it off, this series also boasts a pretty good soundtrack. With opening and closing theme songs by Angela, as well as background music by Nagaoka Seikou, it concurrently manages to set the right pace and puts a smile on your face.
What will turn many off is the slow beginning. Much like Noir, the beginning is used to set up direction and give proper background. Stick with it, though, this series picks up the pacing after Episode 8. The beginning also tries to give some information on characters, but with such a large cast, many are left as being hollow bodies. This takes away from the series because it is difficult to sympathize and understand the motivations of certain crew members. I really could have cared less for some individuals; they really did nothing for the storyline or even help develop other members of the cast. While some of the characters needed work, the mecha and spacecraft designs need a full overhaul. There are only two mecha, but their designs look worse than some from Gundam and older mecha anime. Spacecraft dominate most of this anime, but they seem bland and uninspired; originality is not its strong point.
Stellvia of the Universe is nothing new, yet it is endearing because of its combination of story and characters. While not oozing with style, this series still has enough style and plenty of substance to keep you happy.