Dec 21, 2016
LegendAqua (All reviews)
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu this is not...

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.