Today I'm going to review a series I first saw almost a year ago. Stellvia of the Universe is an introspective sci-fi series that is really based around characters.
Plot: 189 years ago Earth was devestated by an electromagnetic shockwave caused by the explosion of a star 20 light years away, dying space an eerie green colour. Humanity rebuilt itself and has reached the stars again, and stands united against the threat of the Second Wave, consisting of the rubble of the star. There is a plan for the Great Mission to defend Earth against it. Against this background Katase has entered the Academy in one of the Foundations (Space stations orbiting various planets) named Stellvia to teach her to be part of the Great Mission.
Characters: All of the characters are good fun. They have well-defined personalities which are allowed to develop nicely and the series really tries hard to focus on secondary characters to prevent them from becoming mere plot points. The male protagonists (Otoyama Kouta) is annoying, but that is what his personality is supposed to be like. All characters do get at least some screen time. There are two characters in particular, who develop a very slow, very believable romance, which is finally announced in a beautiful scene in the closing moments of the final episode over a ships radio. Nothing I have said does this relationship justice. Oh, and it happens to be two girls, which puts the icing on the cake. :P
Plot: The main plot-point, dealing with the second wave, takes up only the first third of the series, after which the plot changes entirely. It really takes off, dealing with how humanity, which has been forced to unite in the face of an external threat for almost two centuries, starts to fall to pieces when that threat is removed. There are times when it really seems very close to war between the foundations. I really liked this aspect of the plot.
Visuals: The animation itself is medium-quality. The characters are well designed and there are few mistakes made. However, the space-ship designs are bland at best, and the CGI tends to be intrusive. The spaceship scenes would have been much better if they were animated in the same way as the rest of the series.
Music: The opening theme, a sort of J-Pop composition, is excellent, and the Background music tends to be very nice. However, there are times when the music doesn't quite fit. Nothing particularly out of place, but some of it could have been better thought out.
Overall: This is a good series, but not the best. The animation is not the best, and some of the characters can be annoying. The music is good, and the plot and setting are excellent. I would recommend it for anime fans of any stripe, and it even serves as a fairly good introduction to anime.
7.5/10 Very Good.