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.
The latest episode of Stella no Mahou introduces a new character and many different aspects of game making, but it is less about something concrete and more about random bits of game-making knowledge presented through comedic tidbits. Even the in-game story written by Aya had a more concrete plot than the anime itself. That is not a bad thing, however, and it just adds to the everyday reality of a group of schoolgirls who want to make games.
Japanese Title: デバッグなめたらダメだよ?
— TVアニメ「ステラのまほう」公式 (@magicofstella_a) November 23, 2016
I’m not sure how many 4-koma this episode covered, but Minaha was in the spotlight. She is an energetic young woman whose fixation to Iris-sensei (aka as Seki Ayame) portrays perfectly the kind of idolization status fans give to otherwise perfectly normal people. Her competitive spirit drives Honda first to realize that there is always room for improvement and second to pick up the pen and improve her skills. Minaha is a sort of unofficial rival to Honda, and as it happens, a little friendly competition can only help an artist seeking to improve her skills.
Delivery man: I actually went back to the episode when Ayame drove Minaha out of the room to see if the delivery man is the same. Little details like these can make or break a show, and this time it definitely improved its flow. Minaha’s appearance transformed from a random encounter to a purposeful interaction.
Aya’s Story: The backbone of the episode, Aya’s story kept the plot together. It was present, directly or indirectly, in every scene, from the animated scenes to Minaha’s admiration for Iris Sensei, who she refuses to believe that is the same person as the four-eyed useless debugger that had the nerves to sign on the CD. Actually, Aya and Baruta’s story is very basic and very interesting. I would have enjoyed a small Stella no Mahou anime short telling their story.
Idolization: The idol industry is huge in Japan. But in contrast to the young manufactured stars who are marketed to be admired for their cuteness, Aya is representing a more artistic, more pure kind of role model. Minaha though in her admiration of Iris-sensei keeps one aspect of idol fandom – fanatical devotion. There is no way that the amazing writer Iris-sensei, the person who wrote such an amazing story as that of Aya and Baruta, can be as mean and low-profiled as this uninspiring girl with glasses that’s probably just a debugger.
Competition: Competitions are necessary in any field. The inclusion of money and fame, especially in sports and art, has tainted what is otherwise a perfectly healthy way to demonstrate your skills and improve on areas that you lack, but small-scale rivalries and aspirations to mimic the great are still perfectly plausible ways that help you strive to become better.
Pen Name: I’m sure you noticed that all members of SNS club are using nicknames. Aya is using the pen name Iris. Many famous authors have been known to use pen names. A pen name (nom de plume, or literary double) is a pseudonym adopted by an author to use instead of his real name on his works. A pen name can be employed for many purposes, but the most usual are either to hide the author’s genre or to distance the author from previous works. Imagine if Rowling had a secret admiration of Chuck Tingle and she wanted to write dinosaur erotica; I don’t think she would have used her real name. Most probably she would have gone with Harriet Potterausurus (that’s a terrible pen name, by the way.)
Credits: I hate to be one of those pretentious people who preaches to always read the credits. I have done so in more than one occasions. It’s difficult I know. So many names, and why should you care? Well, you should because all of these
Stella no Mahou makes for an enjoyable 23-minute episode. It will probably not be one of the shows that I will keep in my imaginary ‘Best Anime’ collection, but the interactions between the girls are funny, and you learn a thing or two about art and the process behind game-making.
— silverlink (@silverlink2007) November 22, 2016
After Minaha’s appearance and her numerous attempts to challenge Honda’s skills, we can all probably guess why the next episode is titled Skill Up Part 2. Honda is going to pick up the pen and draw. I can’t wait to see in which ways she is going to improve her skills.
Did you like the latest episode of Stella no Mahou? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews!
NEXT TIME: Skill Up Part 2 (スキルアップその2)