Upon enrolling in high school, Tamaki Honda joins a club for making doujin games known as the SNS Club. Joined by programmer Shiina, writer Ayame, and composer Kayo, Tamaki begins working as an illustrator for the club's next game.
Stella no Mahou is another slice-of-life with a generic and frivolous premise that covers a plot about a school-building gaming club that we are already tired of seeing. It has no differential or something that really is worth highlighting in the whole anime, the plot is extremely simple and this in itself is already completely limited to being able to approach a thematic or principle describing or eccentric, so to speak. There is nothing extraordinary from beginning to end, and you can see this from just reading the synopsis, so it's not something you can describe as disappointing or surprising. The comedy is not the
best, because it is as if it acted compulsory in the entire anime, because without it, practically would become something even more empty empty than it already is, so do not expect something hilarious or that makes you cry Laugh here, so it will not happen.
In addition to a medium-sized comedy, the anime was also summed up in cute and moe scenes to try to catch as much as possible who watched. It was almost as if the anime itself knew that its plot itself would not be enough to engage the viewer and felt the need to put a heavy amount of moe in every situation where possible. It worked as a fanservice; The anime could not arrest you and appealed to a cute scene between the characters to get your attention back to the episode when you were already totally distracted from it because it could not keep up with the facts it presented because at certain times was immensely boring. It works well, I have to admit, but it's another factor that pretty much delivers and assumes that anime is like a giant bladder that instead of having oxygen in it contained an absurd amount of superficiality and futility.
This superficiality that, besides being present in the entire plot of the anime, was also present in the characters. Those that have no depth either individually or in the entire development of the anime, and that despite this, you can hardly hate any, but also can hardly love them.
Visually, the anime is strange to say. The graph is the same as Hai to Gensou in Grimgar, and the animation is frighteningly similar as well.
The graphic art and the scenarios are like paintings of scanned screens, and the animation is quite simple. But the OST, by contrast, is pretty cool and can do its job a little better.
Anyway, Stella no Mahou is one more of those animes that serve to pass the time and watch one or two episodes a day, if you have not seen while launching, otherwise, you will hardly be able to put up with such superficiality in a single plot, with A facade covering everything possible to try to make you watch until the end.
Ok, before LA even said that statement, let's get to the technicals shall we?
In terms of the plot, it's your typical moe-moe slice of life comedy under a scope of looking at the doujinshi visual novel circuit but with cute girls in a club working to make their games a reality. The plot tends to blend it's comedic moments of character jabbing and running gags as well as putting their visual novel technical together. As character development goes it more or less focuses on Tamaki Honda voiced by Maria Naganawa as an illustrator and the worries she goes
through trying to fit in into her new club she's in. The plot DOES go through the beats of the visual novel making from events to the visual novel technical themselves but it doesn't drown these technical with silly melodrama as it's shows Tamaki's experience into her new field as an illustrator as well as the camaraderie the club has to one another. Really all these elements of comedy, visual novel technical, slice of life and character development is at best balanced throughout.
In terms of characters, well LA already said that Tamaki has her character development as a major focus for the most part, but the rest of the club does though as a more minor focus and see how they tick. First up is Shiina Murakami voiced by Rie Murakawa, the club president, she's a bit of deadpan snarker but she keeps Ayame Seki voiced by Ari Ozawa the scriptwriter in line, Shiina may be a deadpan but she gets extremely nervous towards strangers. Next is Ayame Seki, she has two persona's her scriptwriter Iris-sensei persona and her more ditzy, normal persona and some of her "creative writing" makes her embrassed and yes, these are her running gags. Kayo Fujikawa voiced by Aoi Yuuki is the sound editor for the club and it felt like for LA that she had the least amount of screentime development but she was LA's favourite character through the series as she is at least the most level-headed and the tsukommi of the entire group. Next to last is Yumine Fuda voiced by Ryouko Maekawa, Tamaki's best friend and she is more or less is a fujoshi and is one of her defining trait of taking most of the yuri undertoned skits into yaoi overtoned moments for her, she along with Tamaki gets backstory to their friendship as well. Finally we have Minaha Iino voiced by Ayaka Imamura, an utter fangirl of Iris-sensei but can't realize that Iris-sensei is Ayame, she has a friendly rivalry towards Tamaki (ohh LA forgot, Tamaki has a tendency to draw old men which contrasts to Minaha's moe illustration experience). Really due to the chemistry towards this main cast, the comedy really bounces well though not all the running gags are all the funny outright. Right since LA talked about comedy...let's move onto..
The comedy runs the running gags and character and situational jabbing, for the majority of the running gags, they are ok, but they wear their welcome for the most part, the only one that lasted longer to the point LA kinda enjoyed it was the entire Iris-sensei persona and Minaha's reactions towards her, really the comedy got better by Minaha's initial appearance. LA "gets" the character running gags outside of this as it's a personality trait, but the ones that gets more or less said nearly EVERY episode (Tamaki's old men drawing tendency) was nearly hammering it in, the rest like Shiina's shyness and Kayo being someone not to mess with was sparse but fun to see. Really, the comedy is subjective here and LA knows your bound to laugh at different character running gags than LA did. Nonetheless, be it the comedy is badly landed or not, the character's chemistry and motivation to make a visual novel is what brings in the anime here.
The animation by Silver Link just exudes moe-ness everything from the character designs to the background palettes, it's bright and just has almost LOADS of elements of moe. The character designs have bright and strikingly moe format and color-coded to know who's who which makes them distinguishable. LA actually have to love the OP's 8bit styling bringing in the entire "visual novel" setting to it as well. Not to mention the watercolored-pastel backgrounds blending well with the more bolded moe character designs along with the bright color palette adds to the bloom for this anime. But sure, the animation also have different stylings, the best being Tamaki's old men drawings as they are more shounen than the moe-moe fanatsy adventure and in a meta-sense, THIS anime's stylings. The animation is at best diverse and really on all fronts, sure the animation is moe as hell, but it's GOOD moe animation and they don't skimp on the detail.
The voice acting, has some typical "moe" vocals especially from Maria Naganawa who voiced by Tamaki and is probably the squeakiest out of the entire vocal cast, but again "moe", so it's kinda a given on that front. Rie Murakawa as Shiina, well it just feels like Rie was typecasted due to her role in ReZero as Ram, as the deadpan snarker but "shy" at the same time. Aoi Yuuki as Kayo does a decent job but nothing got LA to be LA's favourite. Finally, Ari Ozawa as Ayame however is definitely playing the type as the playing the more masculine sounding and "boke" character and because of that, Ari Ozawa was LA's favourite voice actor from Stella no Mahou.
For what the "drama" brings in during the plot, it's takes the more laid back comedic approach and still give them character development in general, the drama is an obstacle but they don't go into naval gazing melodrama, but a more to how these characters go through some trials and tribulations to make what they want to, from Tamaki wanting to be a great illustrator to Minaha just wanting to make a visual novel to the rest of the club really wanting to make a game in general. Obstacles ARE PRESENT in any form of creation, it's just the execution as to how Stella no Mahou does that doesn't make it naval gazing melodrama and really you'd expect it from a slice of life comedy anime?.
And now LA might as well talk about why LA said the statement at the very start of this review, "Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu this is not...". Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu really goes into naval-gazing problem but in greater filler detail, Tamaki and Bunatarou Houjou are essentially the same character, both being characters that doesn't know what they want to do, however Tamaki realizes what she wants to do much faster than what Bunatarou goes through. Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu goes through silly melodrama, hardly focusing on the visual novel aspect it was trying to cater to besides "ohh my god visual novels are stressful to make!!", makes characters hateful or wasted potential. Stella no Mahou at the very least tries to balance out it's comedic moments and character development together, the main cast aren't arguing every time and instead have a sense of camaraderie and in fact they have some good chemistry with one another and best of all, it gives us the experience into the visual novel through doujinshi lens. See why LA means by "Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu this is not...". Nonetheless LA really didn't want to have a comparison to Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu, but it makes a nice comparison and vents more of LA's frustration to what a wasted potential Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu had and something like Stella no Mahou a "moe-moe slice of life girls do cute things", they are essentially antithesis to one another, however Stella no Mahou can do better with all it's elements even with this statement. If you want to experience what the doujin creation "workplace" is like, even if the style of this anime is moe, this will definitely shown and better detail. Besides comparisons, Stella no Mahou is still a good look into the visual novel doujinshi scope under a highschool girls doing cute things perspective.
Stella no Mahou is again your typical moe "cute girls doing cute things" under the scope of the visual novel doujinshi market and LA will say it it's a nice refreshing look at the "workplace anime", sure the elements of comedy and character development are there for moe purposes, but Stella no Mahou has a focus on seeing the experience into visual novel making at the same time. Stella no Mahou may not be refreshing in terms of moe and even some of the comedy gets worn down, but it's definitely refreshing to see the visual novel experience on the lens of an illustrator. Stella no Mahou isn't about "cute girls doing cute things", as much as it is having your creativity and using that creativity along with working with others to make something with it and that in itself is brilliantly shown through Tamaki and her trials and tribulations and comedic antics as a doujin illustrator.
There is bound to be that one feels good slice of life show every season to help you relax after watching a bunch of action filled or depressing, serious anime. Its main purpose is to help cleanse your souls and gives a relaxing, happy feeling to the mind. Stella no Mahou is the exact anime that fits the description. It is an anime that doesn't take itself seriously, have a simple, enjoyable story coupled with cute characters doing cute things. It is one of the underrated anime this season, mainly because it is not one of the main dishes, but rather serving as a dessert.
But a rather sweet one at that.
Stella no Mahou have a very simple and straightforward plot. A bunch of cute high school girls making video games together with slice of life theme fitted in between. For starters, there were a lot of anime with its main story having the characters making video games as its core story, and this is no exception. In any case, it does feels like New Game but less technical with the video game making part, and more of the characters itself. The story is nothing special and mostly predictable, but fun to watch nevertheless. It doesn't take itself to seriously, moving at its own slow pace, and keep the interaction between each characters interesting with a some comedy here and there. It is nothing extraordinary through and through. But just like what I've said before, that is fine for a slice of life anime. There are some progressions in a sense that the group managed to accomplish their goals later on, just to make each chapter to be coherent with each other. All in all, while the story is nothing great, it manages to do its job perfectly well.
The main character in the anime is Honda Tamaki, probably the cutest character we had this season. Her design and personalities screams "moe" and "I want to protect this girl". She had a soft voice, a very cute expression, with messy hair and oversized uniform; it's a definition of cuteness. One of her most memorable characteristic is her passion for old men. In fact, the reason why she loves to draw them in the first place is because the pure, unadulterated love for her father. It is a refreshing and cute traits. Other noteworthy characters in the anime include her fujoshi friend Fuda Yumine, who acts as an emotional support, and 3 others seniors in her game making club. Murakami Shiina is the president of the club, where she is soft-spoken and can be rather pessimistic at time. Seki Ayame is a more outgoing club member, but can be reliable when it counts. Her embarrassment towards her 'dark history' is a running gag of the show itself. And finally we have Fujikawa Kayo, who is the laid back, cool type of member who I wish were given more development. There were also some other characters that join in once in a while, but doesn't have that much screen time to be that significant. All the character are mostly rather generic in design, which is a slight problem in itself considering that where slice of life lacks in story is its strong characters lineup. But it has a passing score, to say the least.
The art and animation done in Stella no Mahou is done spectacularly. Again, this is such an important aspect for this kind of genre. It had a very beautiful and vivid colour palette, mostly soft and pleasant to the eye. The characters are very cute, and special effects like sparkling or flowery background amplify the factors even more. It even feels like a scene out of a painting at some point, which is saying something. The animation is decent with little quality issue. It doesn't have a 'sakuga' level animation but good enough for an anime of its genre considering its slow, relaxing pace. The OP song is very cheerful and catchy which suited the anime, while the ED is a little bit off, with its electronic trance music (no idea why they have to go with it but whatever?). The ost used are fine and fits with the overall mood. All in all, the quality is decent enough.
Stella no Mahou is a relaxing anime that soothe your heart with its easygoing story and moe characters. It is nothing stellar; just an average "cute girls doing cute things" anime, and you won't really missed much from not watching it. Yet, this anime is one would call a light upon some of the other depressing anime this season had. Fan of slice of life would probably love it, while a more serious anime fans would probably ignore it. But alas for me, it is a decent and enjoyable moeblob anime that I had watched this time.
Silver Link has already brought us various anime such as Non Non Biyori, Shomin Sample, Anne Happy ♪ and Girlfriend (Kari), now the levels of diabetes will raise again with Stella no Mahou.
A new school year begins and the freshman that just ingress in high school have to choose a club where they will spend their next 3 years. This is the story about how Tamaki Honda live the first semester of her new high school together with the girls from the SNS Club.
Story: 7 out of 10
The story is good, it have that diabetes effect and is a nice break from heavier animes.
this is a slice of live, it won't have much story to tell and the little development that i'll happen isn't enough. There were several things that could have been explored in a much better way, namely the other club members or the classmates of the protagonist who appear randomly.
Art: 8 out of 10
Its is a very beautiful style of art and very cute that fits this kind of anime, but i think if the art was more like the art from "Is the Order a Rabbit?" the anime could be much better.
Sound: 7 out of 10
They did a good job with the opening, the ending, background music, the voices, the sound effects, but they didn't bring anything new to this kind of anime.
Character: 5 out of 10
The characters didn't bring nothing new to the anime world, and the story didn't develop them. The anime have 12 episodes and i still don't know anything about Kayo or Teru-sempai, and what about her father? We just know that she likes him, but that is all we know about him.
Enjoyment: 7 out of 10
I enjoy to watch light story animes like this between heavy story animes is a nice change of pace.
Overall: 7 out of 10
If you like anime with a light story and a kind of cute diabetes style, give this one a shot.