Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
I rarely sit to consider the title of an anime. Most of the time it is either too obvious or too obscure and neither can make me go out of my way to research its meaning. I don’t know what made me question the title of Stella No Mahou. Writing reviews has made me a little more sensitive to this kind of stuff, I guess.
The third episode of Magic of Stella was about two things: Stella and the creative process.
Japanese Title: 伝送アイテム
— TVアニメ「ステラのまほう」公式 (@magicofstella_a) October 17, 2016
Have you ever been a member of a school club? School clubs, especially in Japan, are trying to give students a secondary purpose besides academic excellence. While the school curriculum is the same for all the students, the system recognizes their need to express themselves individually and gather in groups according to their unique preferences. A club is essentially your own taste of personal freedom. It’s the place you make more friends, the place where you can chill out, and a way to stay connected to the school when you try to disconnect from studying.
Murakami Shiina stresses that fact throughout the episode. The main theme is something between ‘you can’t judge someone from her looks’ and ‘there are two sides to everything.’ The girls decide to sleepover at Tamaki’s house to work on their game. The purpose of the sleepover is to start scheduling the game and hopefully have a working plot written by Ayama by the end of it. Shiina uses a camera to take pictures from their experience, but not for programming purposes. A club, she says, is a place where no one gets bored. Contrary to her controlling nature, Shiina uses the same toned-down voice to express some very reassuring and kind thoughts about what a club really is. It’s not a competition or a prison. The members shouldn’t feel obligated and their first objective must be to have fun. This club, and maybe clubs in general, are meditation for the creative – athletic- curious soul. Shiina knows that, and she makes sure that Honda realizes that.
The second part of the episode focuses on our writer, Seki Ayame, and her word struggles. She has to give the team a plot to work with and she comes up with a rather peculiar story about a girl named Stella (have I missed this fact in the previous episodes? I am not sure. But this is where the name of the series refers to) who has a disease that allows her to listen to the thoughts of the items around her. Her lover slash boyfriend slash second protagonist Samyu, wants to help his beloved to get better but there is a problem. His ‘player’ has left the game and there is no one to make the game choices for him. The climax of the story comes just before the major decision and determines if the player gets the BAD ENDING or the TRUE ENDING. A few elements of breaking the fourth wall here and there, a basic scenario, some really cheesy lines, and there you have it: the plot for the spin-off game. The story was… awful and wonderful at the same time. I don’t think I had realized that this is the fun project of a bunch of teenage girls. This is supposed to be bad and fun. This is supposed to be amateurish and wonderful. And it is and it made me feel warm inside. Now I want to make a game that sucks as well.
The rest of the episode played on that theme: a grandma that is kind and terrifying, A Yumine that is protective of Tama and full of lewd thoughts, and in general a group that is dead serious of what it’s doing but somewhat not sure of how the end result will be.
And a bath scene. Because where do you stand in the world of anime if you don’t have your fan-service?
— TVアニメ「ステラのまほう」公式 (@magicofstella_a) October 18, 2016
Pixel Art: I was looking forward to the opening and next episode preview scenes. Those pixels are amazing. I think I am slowly becoming a pixel addict. Or rather I am discovering that I’ve always been one. Blame nostalgia if you must.
Character Levels: In the opening scene we get a small bio of each character. I think that the character levels on their descriptions are not changing, but I wonder if they will in the future. I will give a detailed list of each of the girl’s characteristics next time, so look forward to it!
Brainstorming: I am all about teamwork when it comes to creative projects like games as long as the team is at least one person and maxes at five. I feel the same way about video game playing, table top RPGs, and travelling. This is the perfect group and I was astonished by their teamwork.
— silverlink (@silverlink2007) October 18, 2016
Chirashi Sushi: Chirashi Sushi, also known as scattered sushi, is actually a salad. It was first prepared along with the more traditional maki sushi (the rolled ones) in the 18th century. The ingredients are just scattered on top of the sushi rice. You don’t roll or otherwise shape the sushi. It’s very convenient if you have leftovers from your precious sushi party.
Multiple Endings: The game genres that feature the most titles with multiple endings are those in the RPG, Fighting, and Visual Novel. Our girls are making a game of the VN genre in which the endings are often very different from one another and each one of them has a significant impact on the storyline. That way the creators are enhancing the replay factor and they are also creating a depth to their in-game universe and characters.
Golden Week: The Golden Week is probably the longest public holiday anywhere in the world (I’m not sure but it feels like it). It is a cluster of national Japanese holidays that come together at April 29 until and beginning of May. April 29 is the birthday of Emperor Showa who passed away in 1989.
— silverlink (@silverlink2007) October 18, 2016
I don’t even know what to write in the comments description anymore. The art was good and the backgrounds still had that artsy painting feeling. The colors were vibrant and the girls’ reactions and facial expression were your average TV anime quality. It’s your average seinen story with a focus on a specific part of the industry that is not as famous as others. I really love the synergy between the girls and I am honestly curious to see how the video game ends up like.
— TVアニメ「ステラのまほう」公式 (@magicofstella_a) October 19, 2016
Tamaki-chan is still not accustomed to the digital way of drawing. She needs to skill herself up if she is going to be the master of the tablet and provide some good visuals for their spin-off game!
NEXT TIME: Skill Up (スキルアップ)