There have been many successful shows using cute girls and heavy machinery such as Girls und Panzer or even So Ra No Wo To. But nothing left me as disappointed as Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu. I consider myself a Slice of Life fan with reasonable tolerance for slow paced, low action rate type of shows and therefore had some expectations for this Anime for the summer. But boy oh boy this show felt like a one way rollercoaster, and it wasn't going up that's for sure.
For the first couple episodes we are introduced to this Highschool club type of setting that's not uncommon, where these 5 girls play with airsoft guns against each other as club activities and we are welcomed to the C³-bu. On the other end we have the somewhat antisocial protagonist Yura Yamato who is struggling to fit into the all girls school she just recently transfered to in hopes she will be able to make new friends and change herself to become a better person. What she soon realises is that everything is still the same and no one really wants to talk to her, which is never explained why, perhaps just her own awkwardness and unability to communicate with others. But this isn't an unpopular feature in shy protagonists so there's nothing too bad here.
As cliché as it sounds, Yura ends up in the same dormitory room as one of our main characters, the C³-bu president Sonora, and there she is introduced to the world of airsoft guns by watching Sonora's DVDs about the military and playing with her guns. Soon after this she is invited to join the C³-bu from the other members and participates in a match with them to test it out. And of course there we are introduced to the airsoft world for the first time and much like other simple sports anime such as Saki there are some odd elements involved aside from the game itself, though this is put really bluntly and not explained in the slightest. After this trial is over and a lot of hard deliberation by Yura she decides to enter the C³-bu because she felt like she was accepted there. And thus the adventure of these 6 girls and their airsoft gun filled highschool life began.
It wasn't that bad of a premise to start a show and could have worked out, until they completely changed the formula to seem like they purposely wanted you to hate the show. At their first match against another highschool Yura meets her antagonist Rin who also happens to be Sonora's somewhat close friend. In this match she realises how powerless she is when compared to everyone else, and thus begins the downfall of this Anime.
Yura, our nice cheerful protagonist who just wants to have fun begins to deteriorate and becoming one of the most despicable characters in the show. Everything you could have liked her for will suddenly disappear and you will be left with this dull and spiteful "protagonist". You're better off paying attention to all the side characters if you want some form of entertainment other than the soap opera this show becomes. She starts being determined for all the wrong reasons and the viewer has no will to support her whatsoever. It's as if this show suddenly turned our protagonist into the worst kind of person that's as dense as a brick and can not differentiate right from wrong.
As a result of this sudden change we are left with half of the series showing Yura being selfish and everyone else around her being depressed, and the show follows this formula until the very last episode. It was a real drag to put up with and not worth the time and effort. There is no main plotline, it sort of was thrown away in the middle of the series. It's basically like a really bad soap opera with airsoft guns. Forcing your viewers to wait through painful episodes that have barely any to no development in character and are just focused on Yura being a terrible human being is not okay at all. I guarantee you you will like the antagonist more than the protagonist. I sure did.. This show has no direction whatsoever for episodes and episodes.
The poor story and even poorer characters made me want to bash my head against my desk every time I was watching an episode. I had to check how much time had passed every 5 minutes to see how long it'd take until it was over. The Anime had no regard to plot or story and just left us viewers with an awful protagonist and a bunch of plot holes. But not everything is doom and gloom. What you can however enjoy from this show (and probably the only thing good about it) are the rest of the characters that convey a happier and more bright feeling to the viewer, with their positive attitude and their determination while still having fun doing what they do best which is playing airsoft matches.
Had the show made the protagonist do the same as every other character I would have had no problem with it, it would have become an interesting Slice of Life about girls having fun within their club activities. But now all I am left with is a huge wave of disappointment for the genre.
The soundtrack isn't anything out of this world and both the opening and ending sequences are bright enough for it's genre. The art isn't anything over the top and the color range is pretty bright which thank god it was or else I have no idea how I could have withstand all these episodes if the art wasn't decent. The overall physical aspect of the show is reasonable and acceptable and should not be a pain for anyone to watch using today's standards.
Overall, Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu was a show that promised something and did not deliver, much like many shows out there. This is not unusual for the Anime industry, there's always some shows that are bound to fail and in my opinion this one was one of them during the 2013 summer. I'm thankful it does not have the Slice of Life tag or the Comedy tag in it, that would have been an insult to the genre but it is what this show is trying to pass by as using all the bright and cheerful elements. If it's one genre this show needs to add is Drama, it completely turned into a sappy soap opera after some episodes and completely plummethed into oblivion as the protagonist that is supposed to be the core of the Anime turned into the most hateful subject of all. If you really like military themes or even sports, I personally do not believe this show delivers it but if you really want to watch a sappy drama about girls and airsoft guns you're free to try this one out. The only positive aspect I have about it are the other main characters which made me appreciate the show a little, nothing less and nothing more.