Volume 3 of Stellvia of the Universe marks the end of the first arc – and was suprisingly more interesting than I remembered the first time around.
One of my complaints has always been that Shima, our heroine, follows that weird “idiot savant” pattern so common in female-lead shounen anime. You know, she’s a failure at a thing the first time she tries it, but after a “Gamabare!” or two from whomever is her emotional prop, she masters it immediately.
Well, upon rewatch, I find that I was mistaken. In fact, Shima spends an enormous amount of time in Vol. 3 practicing her skills, which result in her improving. Perfectly sensible, and how on earth did I miss that the first time around? Not only that, but the lesson is pounded home when Rinna points out that the only reason she herself is so good is that she had no friends, so practiced pretty much all day every day since she was a child.
Leila-sensei even comments that Shima’s seemingly irrational emotional ups and downs make sense – after all, she’s very young, and it stands to reason that she’ll vaccillate between being hyper-energetic and completely self-conscious and unsure of herself. Heck, I do that now, and I’m hardly young any more… lol
So, okay, okay, I was wrong! Sheesh…
So, where does that leave me? Rewatching this series has forced to me turn my dislike on Kouta, Shima’s soon-to-be love interest. I will never like him, on principle. ^_^ But I will grudgingly admit that, at the end of this volume, he becomes an interesting red herring/plot complication.
On the yuri side, we get only a little of the dynamic between Yayoi and Ayaka in this series, as we’re all focused on the resolution of the Second Wave. 20/20 hindsight leads me to believe that Yayoi was attempting to find some closure before Ayaka leaves on the mission, but chickens out at the last second. (Which makes for a nice place to write a fanfic, I think.) I have completely moved over to the Arisa is in love with Shima camp, but even Arisa can see that it’s hopeless, so it stays at low-level crushiness, for which I think Arisa deserves snaps.
Again, the absolute *best* thing about this series is that all the characters act their ages, and the dialogue *sounds* their ages, too. I really feel like these characters are exactly what they appear – something I rarely get from an anime. (Can anyone say Haruka and Michiru? I mean, really – they were suppose to be *16* when we first meet them. LOL)
I won’t whine about the bare packaging and scant episode count again…you’ve heard it before. I’m just getting into the DVD when it’s over. But other than that, I honestly think I’m enjoying this series *more* this time around than I did the first time.
Once again, if you like space opera, good characterization, a catchy, yet unsingable opening theme and a lovely Yuri relationship, Stellvia is still a good watch.