If you haven’t yet seen Stellvia of the Universe…you should. It’s a space opera, plain and simple, with some of the typical cliches of the genre: threat from outer space, humans bonding together to confront the universal foe, young boy and girl become heroes, etc., etc. However, this hardly describes the complexity, not only of the characters in Stellvia, but also the plot.
The initial plot is resolved by episode 10, leaving the viewer with the feeling that either something big is going to happen, or that the writers were even lazier than usual. Luckily, the former is true. A second plot structure develops which is completely *unlike* the first, and focuses on how humanity is as likely to be divisive as it is to unite at the advent of a threat.
Despite the decent plot of Stellvia, the show’s strength lies in its characters, most of whom are fleshed out enough to be genuinely satisfying. While the lead character is a bit weepy, she’s delightfully free of whining. Her friends are in many ways more realistic and three-dimensional than she is, and almost all of the characters are better than the lead male who is dopey and unrealistically gifted by turns. The *real* strength of the story is in the byplay between the secondary characters and the relationships that form between them. All of the dialogue is amazingly age-appropriate. The teenaged characters actually *sound* like teenagers…even their disagreements are rendered realistically.
At the heart of Stellvia is not one love story, but four. There’s little doubt that the lead male and female will get together, but an unlikely relationship between two of their friends is rendered exceptionally well. There’s a romance between an “older” (i.e., adult) couple, which I found goofy, but charming, and lastly, a lesbian romance which is painful and fascinating. From my perspective, it was obvious, but at the end, Stellvia offers us one of the most delightful “coming out” scenes ever, as it’s done on an open radio channel in front of the whole world – quite literally. It’ll have you grinning like a moron, trust me.
One last added benefit, Stellvia actually *ends*! With a resolution that makes sense and everything… and an epilogue that ties together all the threads. So on that note alone, this series stands out above others.
Art, Stellvia scores only a 6 – I found the main characters drawn to look much too young for their ages
Story, though, scores a 9.
Yuri- this is not a hot lesbo sex story, but the relationship between the two women is as present and accounted for as any other. I’ll give it an 8.
Overall – 8 out of 10 , mostly because of the great ending.