Even though Stellvia, Volume 7 doesn’t actually have any specific Yuri scenes (despite Ayaka and Yayoi prominently displayed on the cover), I’m still classifiying as a Yuri anime, both because the series has strong Yuri content – and because Ayaka, having found herself once again, uses what she’s learned to assist Kouta and Shima, in a way that still let’s you see where her actual interest lies.
This volume strikes a really nice balance between the plot, the characters and the larger body of humanity behind our immediate vision. For once we’re given something to hold on to regarding the threat of the “Cosmic Fracture.” It’s not just a vague thing with BEM (Bug-Eyed Monsters for those of you too young to have read any old school sci-fi) attackers. Destruction is actually imminent and the time-line is short, like a good space opera ought to be. The tension builds between different military and governmental factions – differences that will come to affect the people on earth, as well.
And meanwhile, our heroes are still just children. They are learning to figure out who they are, and where they want to go (or need to go) to be the people they have to be; both for the current crisis and for the future. In the middle of all this is Ayaka, who suddenly arises to the position that she never felt comfortable in before – guide, mentor, sempai. She repeatedly tells Kouta, Shima and us that she’s not “good with things between guys and girls”, well duh, darlin’. But it’s equally as obvious that having found her own center and rebuilding her relationship with Yayoi has given her greater understanding of human relationships as a whole.
The vibe between Kouta and Shima in this volume really rings true. Kouta is still clueless and Shima is still irrational and, as the others point out repeatedly, that’s pretty much the way it is between men and women. Jojo and Akira get a little extra screen time so we can see how they are doing – they seem to be doing pretty well, despite occasional setbacks. And the commander and the doctor are still kind of cute – there’s a certain awkwardness about their courtship that makes one feel that some things never really change.
Rinna becomes a lynchpin character for a little while, as we get a glimpse of the larger politics behind the formation of a last ditch effort by humanity to survive. As much as I find whiny little sister types annoying in anime, I wasn’t bothered at all by her in this volume. Perhaps the soothing influence of being with her parents again…another thing that reads pretty real to me.
Overall, as I said in the beginning, there’s a very solid balance in this volume of story, character and peripherals. If you haven’t enjoyed Stellvia up to this point, there’s nothing here that’s going to make you like it – but if you like it, you might begin to love it. ^_^
Art – 7 the noses are back, whee!
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Music – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 2
Overall – a strong 7
It’s easy to appreciate this volume knowing that we’re heading into the final stretch. But even on its own, it’s easy to enjoy this volume for all the classic signs of the “battle is nigh” in the grand tradition of Seven Samurai and all its Western, War and Sci-Fi relatives.