Stella Women’s Academy–Anime Early Impressions

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Stella Womens Academy PosterStella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 (Stella Jo-Gakuin Koutou-ka C3-bu) (Crunchyroll) sounds pretty generic on paper but it actually has a contagious enthusiasm that makes it fun to watch.

This is an example of what seems to be an emerging genre: “schoolgirls playing games that resemble warfare.” Sort of a cross between a sports anime and a fighting anime. Last year’s Girls und Panzer had the girls playing tank warfare, which isn’t even a real sport.

This one at least has the girls playing Airsoft which is a real sport, sort of like Paintball without the paint. It’s particularly popular in Asia though I don’t know if there are really any high school teams.

The protagonist, Yura Yamato, is thrilled to be admitted to an exclusive and very ritzy boarding school. Unfortunately she is very shy and timid and has trouble making friends.
Club with cake
Fortunately or unfortunately she attracts the attention of some girls who are desperate to find new recruits for their club. This is the “C-Cubed Club” whose members enjoy tea and cake when they are not shooting at each other with plastic pellets.

It is, in fact, pretty common for upper-class Japanese girls to practice traditional martial arts. (The Japanese longbow is considered particularly appropriate.) However the key word here is traditional. It all fits in with the notion that women have a special role in preserving traditional Japanese culture. Something like Airsoft is not generally encouraged.

Sonora Kashima is Yura’s roommate and mentor. The president of the club, she has an aggressive style, often attacking with a pistol in each hand.
Rento Kirishima is a sweet by somewhat spacey girl who takes the lead in trying to befriend Yura.
Karila Hatsuse (Carla?) is supposed to be 1/4 foreign (which in anime is usually enough to make a girl blond.) She has a brash tomboyish personality and is considered the club’s ace fighter.
Honoka Mutsu is calm and clear-headed, the club’s master tactician.
Yachiyo Hinata is short and childish, though a skilled sniper.
Yura jumping
Yura finds all of this rather terrifying. She is not at all sure that she wants to get involved in this.
Yura as sheriff
In spite of all the silliness this show seems in many ways a conventional sports anime, emphasizing the value of the sport for team-building and personal growth.
Rin Haruna
Rin Haruna is a newly-introduced villain, or at least a rival. The captain of an Airsoft team from another school, she is a fierce and ruthless competitor.