Stratos 4 is deservedly obscure anime.
I was surprised to note that I have never even *mentioned* it in this blog, and yet I clearly remember watching it all. It wasn’t bad enough to be good, nor was it good. It just sort of..was. I have yet to buy the DVD and I’m fighting hard with myself about it. I kind of don’t want to spend the money on such a lame story, but the Yuri is *way* over the top and funny.
In the near future, the earth is threatened by constant waves of meteors, so an elite force (primarily consisting of sexy young women,) has been created to destroy the meteors before they threaten the planet. These so-called Comet Blasters are “the” elite pilot force, full of young, beautiful things who are superstars to their millions of fans. Stratos 4 follows four girls, Shizuha, Ayamo, Karin, and Mikaze, as they train to be Meteor Sweepers – a sort of space cleanup crew that blast leftover meteor fragments left over from Comet Blaster missions…essentially, they get to follow the elephants. Everyone dreams of being a Comet Blaster, but only the best Meteor Sweepers ever even get a chance to try out.
Mikaze is our nominal heroine – from a long line of pilots, she feels a great deal of pressure to succeed but is, as usual, an idiot savant, showing only barely passable skill in everything until an emergency makes her mad piloting skillz appear. Sure, she saves the day, but she’s a danger to those around her. She and Shima-chan from Stellvia would make an exciting air show, that’s for sure.
While non-Yuri fans may be watching Mikaze and her trials and travails as she tries to keep her unpredictable skills under control, Yuri fans will be watching Miharu, the uber-sexy Comet Blaster as she seduces all the women under her command, and Karin, Mikaze’s friend, as *she* fights off an unnatural passion for Mikaze that has begun to possess her.
Which brings us to the bit that actually makes this series worth watching – while the main plot is complicated by a government conspiracy that threatens to ground the girls just when they are needed the most, *we’re* watching this bizarro case of viral lesbianism spread through the secondary cast. And that’s *exactly* what it is – a space virus spread by kissing (and, one hopes, by passionate sex). It appears initially to affect only women, but in the end we see some guys with it, too. However, we are spared the sight of any of the lovely Comet Blaster ladies actually kissing any those whatsits without the chest handles.*
Of course Miharu and the rest of the CB ladies aren’t gay – silly Yuri fan, what were you thinking? They are all possessed by the evil space virus. Miharu is really in love with her old flame, a loser mechanic who has the super-duper special prototype Spaceship That Will Save Us ALL (TM) in his garage.
And Karin isn’t a lesbian either, of course. In a feverish battle with her virus-borne lesbian pathogen, she realizes that she loves Mikaze too much as a friend to want to have passionate sex with her…or something like that. She overcomes her unnatural tendencies to return to being the bland and uninteresting character she was previously, with moderately more lines, and Mikaze and her posse roar off to save the day from space viruses, lesbians and sexually frustrated Comet Blaster babes.
Is this a good series? I don’t know. Fans of space opera may enjoy it. All I remember was thinking, “Uh-huh.” A lot. The fanservice was of the panty variety and, IMHO, quite utterly dull. Because we *needed* to see them on their rockets from the back looking forward. Yup.
Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Music – 6
Service – 6 The creative team sure likes asses
Yuri – 6
Overall – 6
* This line was paraphrased from a parody of Boku no Sexual Harrassment called Boku no Sucky-Sucky. The original line is from one of the salarymen (who isn’t gay, he just prefers sex with men) about a group of women sitting at another table. The salaryman says something to the effect of, “Oh look! It’s a group of those, whatsits, with the chest handles.” This line slayed me and is now a standard around the house.