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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