Stellvia of the Universe

Japanese Title: Uchuu no Stellvia
Also Known As: Stellvia
Genre: Drama
Format: 26 Episodes
Allegiance: Xebec
Director: Sato Tatsuo
Vintage: 2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Lady Sage
It is the year 2356 AD. One hundred eight-nine years ago, a devastating shockwave caused by the supernova of Hydrus Beta killed 99% of the human population. Now all of humanity cooperates on the Great Mission, as humans aboard space stations struggle to prevent a second shockwave. Into this world steps Katase Shima, who is coming from Earth to go to school onboard the space station Stellvia. Shy Shima must not only struggle with the new environment and the regular troubles of being a teenage girl, but also with the difficulty of being a participant in the Great Mission.

Field Agent Report by: Lady Sage
Overall 8.50

Stellvia is what you get when you combine a high school slice-of-life story with a good-quality science fiction drama. Realism is key: realistic situations, realistic characters and interactions, and a realistic vision of the future.

There is a remarkable balance between the slice-of-life and science-fiction plotlines, and they mix and intermingle seamlessly. Although it’s a bit hard to swallow that they would be recruiting children to save the world, they also have quite a few adults on the force that often do the brunt of the work. Shima herself is, of course, exceptional; otherwise, she wouldn’t be the protagonist. However, there is never the sense that she alone is the savior.

One thing that Stellvia never forgets is that much of its cast is teenagers. Unlike in many “teenagers save the day and the universe” series, they function in much the way normal teens do. They go to class and struggle with the material, they feel self-conscious, and they fall in love. Even if some of Shima’s friends never really develop beyond names and faces, Shima’s closest cronies are all believable.

Stellvia is remarkable for going against the conventions of the “teenagers in space” genre and championing realism in a fantastic genre. Science fiction fans looking for a series that revitalizes an often tired genre should definitely take notice.