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Shima Katase (片瀬 志麻)The hero of the story is Shima (or "Shipon (しーぽん)" as she is dubbed by Arisa) who joins the Stellvia foundation's space program so that she could "see the stars while looking forward, rather than having to look up." In the beginning, she fluctuates between complete confidence in her abilities and believing she couldn't do anything. The series depicts her as extremely diligent, although she is also a natural genius.
As the series progresses, she learns to understand her mistakes and not think that she has to be perfect or else fail. For instance, after a rocky start to her training, during which she was dead last in her class at piloting, she takes the advice of Kouta Otoyama and realizes she was trying to keep track of far too much information on her ship displays. Her piloting improves dramatically as a result. Despite her early setbacks as a pilot, her programming abilities are top notch from the very start, and she eventually combines the two in order to become even more formidable in the cockpit. She is called Shipon because the first time she piloted one of the Biancas she flew around like a ping-pong ball.