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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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.

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