Magic of Stella – Preview
Magic of Stella:
Original Air Dates: October 10th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Tamaki Honda is just settling in at her new high school when it comes time to join an after school club. Honda isn’t sure what club she wants to join, but becomes enamored with the doujin game development club, SNS, after playing their first game. Honda decides to sign up as their artist, although she’s worried whether she’ll actually be able to contribute any worth alongside the other members or not.
2 Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The basic premise of Magic of Stella might have viewers immediately comparing it to a similar show last season called New Game!, which also featured a bunch of cute girls working together to make video games. The major difference is New Game! comprised of older girls, college aged and older working, at a professional game studio while in Stella, our girls are all high-schoolers who form the SNS club that makes doujin(homemade/selfmade) games. However, both these shows are moe through and through and will most likely appeal to the very same group of viewers as Magic of Stella features yet another adorable youngster who’s a newcomer to the business/process and has to learn new skills and improve not only on her talents but her self confidence amongst the support of other similarly adorable and quirky girls.
Tom: Magic of Stella has an undeniably moe vibe to the whole proceeding, with characters so painfully cute that they don’t even look their age. That said, Stella seems a bit more intent on delivering life lessons than your average moe affair. The characters may look adorable, but the first two episodes are dedicated to dealing with Honda’s difficulty in expressing herself and sharing her art work. Adding to that messaging is Stella’s mild focus on game development from a club activity standpoint. I might argue it already feels like more useful/enlightening than say last season’s New Game!, but I’m getting the sense that the game development is still more part of the backdrop than an actual feature of the series. Sure it’ll play a role and influence what our characters need to do to succeed, but I don’t get the sense that Stella has any interest in acting as a bit of a “how to do” or “this is what it’s like” like Sore ga Seiyuu or Shirobako have in the past for other industries.
Linny: The humour consists of obvious moe moments and behaviour, and also from one of the characters, Yumine, turning out to be a complete fujoshi and getting carried away with her fantasies and misreading situations. The girls are all quirky in true moe fashion so a lot of the ‘jokes’ come from their strange behaviour though it’s more likely to make you chuckle than laugh out loud. In fact, even as someone who finds moe less appealing than other genres, I found myself melting at the adorable innocence and enthusiasm displayed by our lead, Tamaki. She is so sincere and earnest and her expressions convey it all so well that it’s hard not to cheer her on.
Tom: The designs for the characters are very cute, very moe, and seem entirely off the mark for the ages of the characters. It’s sort of a weird dichotomy as the whole moe atmosphere doesn’t really seem to jive with the high school setting. I’d even argue if you changed the art style, and just used chibi characterizations during the more comedic moments you’d probably have just about the same feel. The moe seems mainly there to pander. As far as characters go, Honda is indeed very cute and her personality doesn’t feel too at odds with the art style unlike some of the others. What’s particularly nice about Honda is this focus on her insecurity over her art, which makes her a perfect vehicle for younger audiences to sympathize with and even learn from, to become more willing to put yourself and your artistic work out there for others to judge. It’s especially powerful as Honda isn’t billed as a standard incredible artist, instead sporting a style that’s definitely got talent, but entirely at odds with expectations.
Linny: The show is very eager to let you know what each of the girls are about right from the start, naming the position each girl holds in the club in the opening sequence even before we have been properly introduced. It’s all well and good as we go down the list of programmer, scene writer, so on and so forth.. and then we have Yumine who gets introduced/labelled as fujoshi which made for an unexpectedly amusing surprise. It’s endearing to watch Ayame, the writer of the group, get all flustered and embarrassed whenever anyone brings up her past work, something that might be relatable to those of us who remember things we did in the past trying to be cool or creative but now realize are super cringe worthy.
Tom: Magic of Stella is based upon a 4-koma manga, although it doesn’t feel like it at all, clearly an adaptation that’s managed to flesh itself out from the source material. Overall I think Magic of Stella does a good job at what it is, and has promise if it can keep the focus on character development rather than exceedingly moe happenings. I didn’t see anything within the first two episodes to suggest otherwise, so I’m happy to list Magic of Stella as one of my recommendations for the season.
Linny: Magic of Stella isn’t going to amaze anyone with its story or characters but at the same time, it’s a moe show that gets its characters and story just right so that the general moe seeking audience will take to it. If you fall into that category, Magic of Stella offers all the things you love about the genre even if it will never overtake your other favourites.
Magic of Stella is available for streaming via Daisuki.net