Creators: Xebec, Ryo Akitsuki
Publisher: DrMaster
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi
RRP: $9.95
Stellvia v1
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

�Stellvia is a space academy and one of the Space Foundations dedicated to saving Earth from a second wave of supernova explosions that is scheduled to hit the planet in 70 days. Shima Katose is a newly-enrolled student at Stellvia with exceptional skill as a programmer and lackluster talent as a pilot. Her dream � to be chosen as one of the elite pilots needed to help save the Earth. This is Shima�s story of struggle and perseverance � a touching story of friendship amongst unbeatable odds.�

Is it fair to compare Stellvia to Orson Scott Card�s Ender�s Game? Maybe not, but Stellvia certainly reads like Ender Lite. Space academy, simulation training, friends and loyalty and an imminent threat � the one similarity Stellvia lacks is deep and interesting characterization. There really isn�t much more than hairstyle and a single personality trait to tell the characters apart, and there are so many of them introduced so rapidly that it�s rather difficult to keep track of the cast.

It�s also something of a challenge to follow the flow of the story. Certain dialogue balloons are sometimes attributed to characters who aren�t speaking. It�s usually still clear who�s supposed to be talking, but the arrangement of text can be distracting. Also, for a story that has the aide of visuals, I had trouble discerning exactly what the piloting games entail and what their objectives are.

Though they debuted in the same year, I�m not sure which came first: Stellvia the manga or Stellvia the anime. The latter seems to have a greater reputation, and those curious about the manga might want to sample the anime on www.youtube.com before making a purchasing decision. I�d sooner recommend Ender�s Game, but anyone looking for a lighter, cuter approach to the sci-fi genre, particularly younger reads, can find a decent start here.

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