The game that shared the same name as the series, Stella No Mahou, has already taken its place in the catalogue of past games made by the SNS club, and the members are moving on to the game that they will debut at the Summer Comiket, the same comic market they couldn’t attend with the Magic of Stella.
Japanese Title: スキルアップその2
Episode 9 is about three stages that every artist goes through:
The first is self-doubt. Honda feels that her lack of the necessary skills to create art for the club’s games is going to make her position redundant. That fear is shown through many comedic tidbits that, to be honest, are starting to become a little repetitive. I feel that the 4-koma format of the original is forcing each episode to a series of seemingly unconnected situations, which are actually based on a certain theme. And Honda is not the only one that succumbs to self-doubt. Murakami is also doubtful of her abilities to be the president of the club due to her supposed failure to console Honda about her own self-doubt.
The second stage is the need for mentoring. Every artist needs to be able, directly or indirectly, to have the courage to learn from his senpai and don’t fall into the trap of pretentiousness. Everything we know is a compilation of knowledge passed down to us from other people. When we devote ourselves to a cause, we are certainly not the first and definitely not the last to have done so, and in that light we must build upon our predecessors if we are to teach something to those that will come after us. Maybe that goes a bit too far and doesn’t necessarily apply to Honda and Minaha, but it’s still true that Minaha is better than Honda when it comes to the style that the club needs, and Minaha knows more about the craft. From the moment that Minaha, out of her love for Iris-sensei, joined the club, she and Honda had to put their former rivalry aside and work together to bring the necessary results they need to actually get their game debut at the Summer Comiket. Honda asks for her guidance and she is more than willing to give it.
The third stage is practice. Like Iino points out more than once, practice is the Holy Grail of all arts. If you think yourself a writer, you write. If you want to be an actor, you act; a dancer, you dance; a painter; you paint. There is no shortcut to greatness, and certainly there is no shortcut to building the skills.
The rest of the episode was the usual silliness we have come to associate with Stella no Mahou, a silliness that was accompanied with surreal scenes and cultural notes that I failed to grasp.
I love the little comedic shots of Stella no Mahou. From Honda’s nightmare of being betrayed by her clubmates to Hinata expressing her love and disappointment under a spotlight, the episode is full of these little surreal moments.
Themes & Trivia
Rainy Season: Japan is one of the few countries I know to have distinguishable seasons. The rainy season coincides with the season of plum ripening, and that’s why in Japanese it’s called tsuyu. In most of Japan, the rainy season lasts from the beginning of June to mid July. Contrary to popular belief, during the rainy season it does not rain every day. Even though it would have been cool.
Writer’s Block: The slump that Honda refers to is the illustrator’s equivalent of a writer’s block. She fears so much her own unskillfulness that she can’t pick up the pencil and draw. Imagination and creativity can dry up leaving an artist with a blank canvas, and the most effective way of overcoming such as block is to just do the work. You find it difficult to write? Write. To draw? Just doodle. Persistence works miracles.
Blood Vomit: Usually, a character is either dying or badly injured when they start bleeding from the mouth. In this episode, Murakami and Seki vomit blood after they are forced to do something that is totally opposite to their character, and it probably is an indication of taking heavy damage.
Summer Comiket: Comiket (コミケット ) otherwise known as the Comic Market (コミックマーケット ) is the world’s largest doujinshi (self-published games, manga, etc.) fair, held twice a year (Winter, Summer) in Tokyo, Japan. The first Comiket was held on December 21, 1975, with only about 32 participating circles and an estimated 600 attendees. The last Comiket had over half a million attendees.
MANGA.TOKYO is taking part in Winter Comiket 91! Check our articles to find out where you can find us and what kind of good you can buy from our booth!
Sometimes I wonder if Stella no Mahou could have benefitted more from the short-anime format. Small weekly shots of random surreal moments that could have better translated the comedic character of the 4-koma manga it was based on. The latest episode enforced that opinion, because, quite frankly, it failed to hold my interest in the plot, and instead required concentrated bursts of focus on each different mini plot that was included in the episode.
In my last review, I expressed my wish to learn more about Seki’s story. I guess I will have my wish granted in the final episodes. I wonder how the girls are going to translate the script into a game (probably a visual novel) but I know that the rest of the episodes won’t focus on the game. Instead, I have to expect the same silly and light-hearted episodic bits that filled almost the majority of the episodes until now.
Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews!
NEXT TIME: Precision Machinery (精密機械)
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