First off: I really think this show will be the best this season. From deep characters to an enrapturing story, this original has it all.
The story of Stars Align is centered around a middle school boy named Katsuragi Maki. He moves schools and gets convinced by his friend to join the school's failing soft tennis club because of his athletic ability, despite never playing soft tennis before. From there, it seems like it will become a generic sports/drama, but there is a darker side to the story which reveals itself after the ending of the first episode, and the show starts touching on conflicts many people are afraid to talk about. On the outside, Katsuragi is a normal student who is part of the soft tennis club, but on the inside, he is a helpless boy, trapped by the trauma of his past.
The art style of this show is decent. The animation and drawing are perfectly fine, yet nothing especially stands out. However, I really enjoy the character design. The bright backgrounds are also very nice-looking, and the OP is animated very well. The ED is also very funny, with rotoscoped dance moves that *cough* "may have" been stolen without the creators' permission *cough*... nonetheless, I enjoyed it.
Speaking of OPs and EDs, I really enjoy the sound of this show. The OP and ED are both very good, and the OST is also enjoyable to listen to. The sound design is also decent, and listening to this show is very satisfying with good stereo headphones. The voice acting is also very good, as they hired very capable and established voice actors.
One of the best aspects of this show is the characters. 8bit was able to craft a variety of interesting characters, from the assertive Katsuragai and Shinjou to the shy Taiyou and Mitsue. The character development is incredible. Each character in the cast has their own unique quirks and troubles. From questioning their own identities, having family troubles, being antisocial, and more, many of the characters are relatable and much of the show is spent developing these characters. I guarantee most of you (regardless of sexuality, race, or situation) reading this review will be able to connect with at least one of the characters in this show. The amount of care put into crafting these characters is apparent, and as I mentioned before, the character designs are amazing.
I really enjoy watching this show. The rollercoaster of emotions I go through in one episode leaves me thinking about it for a while after I watch it. From the rebuilding of the soft tennis club to the darker themes present, I can honestly say that so far I have enjoyed every minute of Stars Align.
As I mentioned before, I really do think this will be the best show of the season. Stars Align is the show I look forward to most the whole week. The combination of the deep story and the amazing character development makes me want to recommend this to everyone. Give this show a try, and make sure you watch the post ED scenes. I promise you you won't regret it.