Posted by psgels on 8 August 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Xebec is a strange animation company after all. You never see them among the big guys and most of their works are seemingly mediocre, and yet as I watch more of their works I have to admit that they somehow hit the mark a surprising amount of times. If I had to mention something at which most of their great works stand out at, it’s the way in which they put in a lot of slice of life and quiet scenes in seemingly action-packed premises; only Pandora Hearts doesn’t have this and I have to admit that it’s not really the best thing to advertise your series with. Still, it does work; Stellvia again shows how when it takes a premise doomed for failure and yet turns it into a very enjoyable series.

Stellvia of the Universe starts out with a really flawed premise: in a certain science fiction setting, a seemingly average girl boards a space pilot school, suddenly turns out to be a l33t hax0r and somehow ends up piloting the mecha that holds the fate of humanity in its hands. I watched the entire series and still find it hard to believe how far she came in only one year. On top of that, this series also has some utterly horrid character-designs to work with, along with CG that really doesn’t try to integrate with the rest of the show.

And yet the characters made this premise work somehow. The above mentioned slow pacing really allows for the creators to show the daily lives of the protagonists, which allows the characters to get fleshed out really well; this doesn’t just go for the main characters, but also the side ones, and because of this they become able to carry the faulty premise of this series. Obviously you don’t want to watch this just for the drama, but eventually the drama that does come out is poignant and genuine.

Near the ending however, the series does get a bit annoying, though. It keeps focusing on the angsty romance between the two lead characters a bit more than what’s healthy for this series, especially because the romance tends to get in the way of just about everything else that also needs attention. Because of that, the finale lacks a bit of the impact it could have had.

Nevertheless, this series definitely has its good points and even the graphics don’t get much in the way as soon as you get used to the horrible designs. Science fiction is obviously a very popular genre in anime, but Stellvia does stand on its own amongst some of the behemoths of this genre, rather than being a mish-mash of other series. It’s neither the best from Xebec or science fiction obviously, but a very nice watch nonetheless.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 8/10

11 Responses

  1. kistories says:

    Another review! Is there multiple writers on this blog? Do you actually watch all the series you review? You must have amazing time management skills, I have no idea how you can get through so many series like this.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Actually, I watched the first half of this series around four years ago, after which I for some inexplicable reason dropped it, so it might seem a bit too fast this time.

    But yeah, I’m currently having my holidays, which probably never are going to this long again (the next year is going to be my final year in university), and I’m going to make use of it!

  3. astrocurrent says:

    I myself would rate Stellvia a little higher than 80. It’s a very enjoyable show, and original, compared to the other shows that aired at the time, especially since this is a robot show without any evil enemies lol, but focuses on the students themselves. The characters feels really connected and alive. And I actually like the character design. It does reminds me of some galgame character design, but it’s also rich and unforgettalbe.

    I wonder if you are going to watch nadesico. It is directed by the same guy who did Stellvia and also produced by Xebec. Actually Nadesico is the one anime made Xebec stood out in the first place. I watched it when I was still in high school and didn’t understand it. Then when I watched it again 10 years later, it became my favorite anime of all time ever since. You can call me silly, but yeah, I see Nadesico beyond the defination of average anime. The annoncement of “there is not going to be a sequal ever again” really boke my heart…

    As for Xebec, the director of Production I.G once said Xebec’s works of the celluloid’s time are better than right now, which is just the oppisite of most other prodcutions. The words are not confirmed, but it does show some of the aspects of the Xebec now. Production I.G is very connective with Xebec. As a matter of a fact, Xebec became a subsidiary company of the IG Port in 2007.

  4. astrocurrent says:

    And there is one thing about Nadesico, it never ages. Everytime you watch it, there is alwayes something you don’t find the last time. It is one anime that you can take with you forever. And I’m not saying this just because it’s my favorite, well, at least it is not the whole reason.

  5. ojisan says:

    Nice post, and so true of Stellvia. Although has its flaws and follows the ancient anime cliche of Child Soldiers Do Space Camp, I get caught up in it every time. I put it alongside other flawed yet moving slice-of-life space operas like Infinite Ryvius or even Twin Spica. I’d add PlanetES, but PlanetES is the one that really gets it right.

  6. Jabba says:

    I had actually dl this series a few years back because i really liked the songs in it… XD

    BTW, i thought the reason Stellvia was chosen to enter the school is precisely because of her “l33t hax0r” skill?

    But i’m REALLY annoyed at the ending… What about those aliens???
    They left that issue hanging! >_

  7. Kalandra says:

    Psgels, are you gonna stop blogging once you start working? Oh the woe!

    If anything, you can reduce the series that you blog every episode, but still write a semi long review for those anime during monthly summaries. Honestly I think its better cause its put things into perspective, and even if I like a series, I rarely reads every episode review. I just go for the entire series review.

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Kalandra: to be honest, I have no idea what’s going to happen to this blog once I start working. It’s all going to depend on how much free time I’m going to have left, but at this point I have no idea. I have no intention to just quit, though. ;)

  9. Windspirit says:

    What do you study, psgels ?

  10. psgels psgels says:

    Windspirit: computer science.

  11. Hettan says:

    Psgels. Have you watched Fafner in the Azure? It’s another Xebec production and even though it’s not an original take on the genre, the focus they placed in slice of life scenes makes it quite enjoyable.

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  • Raggers
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:58 PM)
    And an important thing to remember is that while all thoughts may be interesting, only commit the best to paper. Knowing what to leave out is almost as important as having stuff to put in.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:56 PM)
    @ninja: having not read any of your posts I can’t comment specifically, I just said that based on what kind of lengths look comfortably readable.
    Thanks to uni I’ve barely managed to watch a few episodes this season, so I’m trying to avoid spoiling anything. That said, I will say that if you limit your word count you will have much more focused posts than if it was just free.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:48 PM)
    Just for example, when I had a hard day, watched an episode of the show and then go onto some anime blog to read about it and then there’s some 1000+ words review about it, I’d really LIKE to read but just don’t have the attention to do it, I won’t bother at all. And I believe an impression about an anime episode can be put into way fewer words than that.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:45 PM)
    @Aidan: Nonono, that’s just a plus of shorter reviews. That’s not the main reason I’d like them. Of course I only read reviews of shows I DO watch, to listen to another opinion, because reading something you don’t know a thing about is pointless. Regarding episodic reviews at least. However I do enjoy reading a review of a show I like, I hope you didn’t misunderstand that. I guess I didn’t really put it into the right words.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:11 PM)
    @K-Off You know it.
    @Bam NTR finds a way.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 10:46 PM)
    @Hal, So to summarize. You want the reviews to be shorter so that you don’t have to read them and can take in whether a show is worth picking up? In that case your problem isn’t with the reviews. It’s that there’s not a rating at the bottom.
    If need be we can bring that back.
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:11 PM)
    The thing is, aside from disliking reading long texts on screen, I looked over some texts about shows I didn’t watch sometimes, to see if they’re worth to pick up (That’s also the reason why I actually miss the rating system. I picked up some shows only because psgels rated one episode as fantastic and I got curious) I don’t know if other people do the same, but short reviews are easier to look through for interesting developments.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:09 PM)
    @K-off: not sure how NTR works under incarceration, someone steals their prison-bitch I guess? lol
  • hal
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 09:08 PM)
    concerning the length discussion, it is true, that reading walls of text on the screen are a pain. As I said 500 words should be the absolute maximum for an episodic review. A full review on a series can be longer of course. You should also think about breaking the text down into smaller paragraphs of 4-7 lines each. It’s much easier to read longer texts that way.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 08:53 PM)
    @Bam make that ntr for ninja.

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