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Stellvia #8 PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 03 January 2006 00:00
Stellvia - Volume 8 (Cover Art)After well over a year since the first volume, the final volume of Stellvia is here.  The first time around, this was one of those rare shows that managed to bring a tear to my eye with some moving scenes in the final episode.  Almost two years later, is it still capable of having the same effect, or will it simply leave me cold?  Let's see...

23 - That's Why You're There
Infinity's "sister mecha", the Halcyon, is almost complete.  Rather than have Shipon and Kouta working together in Infi, it's been decided to give Shipon the Halcyon to pilot on her own - two is better than one, and this way she's not in direct competition with Kouta, so everyone wins.  Shipon's own self-doubts are still a big issue for her, though - no matter what anyone tells her, she's convinced she's not learning what she needs to know for the Genesis Mission as quickly as she needs to  Meanwhile, the evacuation of civilians & the rest of the students from the Foundations is due to begin (although not everyone is planning on leaving, natch), while Shipon gets encouragement from an unexpected source when her mother appears on TV...

Stellvia - Words of encouragementStellvia - Public display of affection?

24 - Darkness Falls Again
The Genesis Mission gets underway as Stellvia leaves Earth and heads for Pluto, where the remaining Foundations will make their stand against the cosmic fracture.  Just don't mention the seven stowaways on board.  Shipon's still pushing herself too hard in training, though, and it's beginning to have an effect on her health.  Meanwhile, a change in the fracture's behaviour leads to the destruction of the El Santo, forcing the start of the Genesis Mission to be brought forward - but Shipon and the Halcyon aren't quite ready yet...

Stellvia - The end of El SantoStellvia - Mission, Start!

25 - Goodbye
The Genesis Mission isn't going too well - more unexpected fluctations in the fracture have led to the loss of a large chunk of the mission's Ora-avis machines, and it's taken Shipon a while to get the Halcyon properly configured.  Never mind the problems caused when they miss their target during the final phase. With only a few chances to get things right, failure doesn't just mean the loss of Stellvia, but the loss of the entire Solar System - and with just one chance left events take a major turn for the worse when a fluctuation hits the Halcyon...

Stellvia - Shipon in determined moodStellvia - Facing the cosmic string

26 - Shining Voice
The immediate concern after Halcyon's barrier is hit by the fracture is that Halcyon and Shipon have been destroyed, but it would never do to kill the star of the show so close to the end of the series, would it?  Shipon survives, although Halcyon did take some damage.  However, there's only one more chance for Shipon and Kouta to arrange a direct hit on the fracture, and this shot will see the destruction of the Stellvia.  The remaining crew transfer over to the Vision - but Pierre, Jojo, Akira and Ren have a few things they want to do before leaving and stay on board until the last possible moment.  As the station is finally destroyed, there's one last chance to save humanity...

Stellvia - I'm here...Stellvia - The new generation

Most of the series' relationships get dealt with in the runup to the Genesis Mission, with some good scenes between Akira and Jojo & Ayaka and Yayoi.  Even Shipon and Kouta semi-sort out their love-love problems, even if only by putting their relationship on the back burner for now.

As far as the Genesis Mission goes, it's Shipon's realisation that she just can't use the DLS system that helps her turn the corner from neurotic & over-competitive to realising she can finally do her job.  There are some good moments of tension as the mission plays out, and the final scenes are just a joy.  In a way, it's good to see Kouta almost lose it at one point - he's been portrayed as Mr Perfect for so long that it' goo to see the boy is human after all.  I did notice one continuity glitch, though: it's definitely mentioned in the subtitles that Stellvia's destination is Pluto, but in the scenes of the Genesis Mission it's fairly clear the action is taking place near Saturn.  It's a minor detail unless you're really paying attention.

WIth all that said, the finale isn't quite the tearjerker it was first time around, but it's still a damn good ending.  The cycle begins again with Shipon's brother and Arisa's sister (the sparkles!!) arriving at the rebuilt Stellvia.  There was meant to be a second season following on from here, but sadly it never got past the planning stages - it would have been good to see the original cast growing up & the new characters taking on their roles, but alas it's not meant to be.

As a series overall, Stellvia has its ups and downs - the alien side of things probably didn't get as much use as it could have & feels a bit wasted, while reaching a climax with the Great Mission partway through the series messed up the flow of events somewhat.  If you can stick with it through the less good patches, though, it's well worth it - a group of great characters showing real development and some good work on the story make this series well worth watching.

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