Sure, the anime has one episode left at this point, but to be honest, the show certainly felt like it ended this week, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ and why I have such negative emotions towards it.
The show was animated by Studio Gainax, which I feel is still in a state of limbo after important employees left to form Studio Trigger but it’s not like they have made terrible anime after Panty & Stocking, The Mystic Archives of Dantalian was a pretty interesting show, even if it was slightly lacking & a bit forgettable.
I think the warning signs started to go off when Gainax adapted Medaka Box into anime form, considering this was a Nisio Isin manga (with the success of SHAFT’s Monogatari series) I thought this was a great way for them to bounce back, however, the Medaka Box and it’s 2nd season wasn’t well received and sold very poorly in Japan.
With that out of the way, I thought this new Gainax project would be bland and would likely be a “cute girls doing cute things with the subject matter slightly hinted at” airsoft anime but Stella did attempt to do something to try to separate itself from that term, even if it failed.
The show was directed by Masayoshi Kawajiri and has no directing credits to his name, in matter of fact according to Anime News Network, his only other role was a Background artist to the Dantalian show, what a promotion. Strangely enough though, that’s the only noteworthy staff thing I can point out.
So yes, the show is about airsoft, now I might sound of a bit of a hypocrite when I say that, I couldn’t watch Uptotte because it uses guns but I’m fine with watching this, the reason why I can’t watch Uptotte is how the guns are used and how that show sexualities them, for that reason, I don’t want to go near Uptotte and while Stella has a range of actual firearms, I don’t mind it as much, well because I grew up with friends playing airsoft guns when I was a young teenager, also airsoft in this anime is used more as a sport, so I was fine with watching this.
What is the plot though, it centers around Yura Yamato, a 1st year student who excited to join Stella Women’s Academy but has no idea which club to join but a few of the C³ airsoft club members start to take interest in her and after some matches and talking, Yura decides to join the airsoft club.
1. Will this feel like K-ON
2. Will this feel like Girls Und Panzer
I say this because Yura starts off as the usual shy, unconfident, friendless character through the first 3 episodes and I never really warmed to her, she never really showed any sign of backbone and while understandable, I didn’t like the way she moaned and wined in those episodes.
The airsoft club members themselves are mostly cardboard cut-outs, you have the best-friend who cares for the main character, you have the loli sniper, you have the energetic tom-boy and you have the smart one with glasses, the only character in the team that had a bit of depth is leader Sonora but still, I found these characters boring and I never really rooted for this high school airsoft team.
Speaking of the airsoft matches, the presentation of the anime is below average, the animation of these games can either be decently done or lackluster and the soundtrack is just overall terrible, sucking all the tension out of most of the scenes, the only episode that avoids my negativity on the presentation is episode four, which is one of the more visually interesting episodes, sadly we never got another one.
While I criticize the show for being nothing special, the show certainly has one very interesting idea and that’s Yura Yamato herself, after episode 5, there is a moment that changes Yura and starts to take airsoft seriously rather than just having fun, this leads to a five episode run of selfishness, betrayal and depression. It felt like this separated anime fans thoughts on the show, some embraced the dark path of those episodes others thought that Yura’s sudden change was really stupid.
I thought Yura’s change made the show stand out really, sure she was mean spirited in those five episodes but it’s rare to see a main character in this kind of show make such a dark turn and make it believable, since then I couldn’t wait for every episode, that is until the end.
I have a reason why though, take those five episodes where Yura undergoes some dark character development and replace them with some typical, generic Slice Of Life episodes and then episode 12 stays the same, it would be like nothing serious ever happened.
That’s the biggest issue with Stella, the stuff that Yura went through feels like a waste of my time, the resolution felt lazy and uninteresting and it’s just like your typical anime happy ending that to be honest, I didn’t really want from this show.
It’s all my opinion though but considering it had that and failed to grasp the idea fully, Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ is average, nothing special and will most likely be forgotten and I hope it is.
5/10 (I did watch the final episode and considering it’s a pointless filler episode, I won’t talk about it)