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Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Shape My Story」 by Yano Anna & kz (livetune)

「志願兵ハ居ナイノカッ!」 (Shigan-hei Ha i Nainoka~tsu!)
“Is There No Prospective Soldier!?”

The characters are vibrant and lively, the setting is beautiful, and the combat is damn fun to watch. If you want something that’s lighthearted while still keeping all the excitement of an action show, this is for you. I for one very much enjoyed this first episode.

A New School

The pacing of this episode started off a little slow as Yamato Yura (Makino Yui) arrived at her new ojou-sama school, Stella Women’s Academy. I was ready to call Gainax out on dragging the pacing because they didn’t have enough source material to work with, and maybe that’s still the case, but I’m not so sure anymore. Here’s the thing that surprised me the most about this episode, and it was a very good thing indeed: throughout these mere twenty minutes they delicately wove in strains of Yura’s teenage social anxiety, giving reason to why she would eventually agree to try out the C3-bu, and why it would appeal to her at all. She’s an awkward teen who wants to have a fun high school life (including making friends), but she’s shy. Gainax showed us this in exactly the right way – by actually showing us through Yura’s interactions (or lack thereof) with other characters, not just telling us.

Sorry, I’m flying at a high level right from the start. Let me back up. On a more superficial level, Stella Women’s Academy is your typical ojou-sama school, except they let the background designer go nuts and were rewarded with some very luscious scenery. Which is kind of odd in a way, because the characters themselves look a bit childish to me, almost like they’re middle schoolers rather than high schoolers. Not a problem necessarily, just struck me as odd. Moving on.

Weirdos

As for the characters themselves, they get full marks so far. Compared to the other show I introduced earlier today, these characters weren’t quite as cookie-cutter. Sure, the glasses-wearing Mutsu Honoka (Saito Chiwa) was still playing the organizer/iincho role, and the tiny Hinata Yachiyo (Yonezawa Madoka) was all feisty, but then you see the glint in their eyes when they have their hands on some guns, and oh my! All these characters are just a little crazy, but it’s the good crazy, the kind where the story doesn’t beat you over the head with it. It’s not like they were yelling WE’RE CRAZY, they were just being themselves and crazy things happen.

Special props go to all the seiyuu, both for doing such a good job and for doing it in roles we don’t usually hear them in. Saito Chiwa and Sawashiro Miyuki can do anything, but it took me a while to realize who was voicing the rough-and-tumble part-Japanese Hatsuse Karila (Kayano Ai). Yonezawa Madoka’s genki girl was also quite good, especially since I still mainly think of her as Ui from K-ON. Only the newbie voicing ditzy Kirishima Rento (Nishizaki Rima) ever gave me pause, but it was only once. She’s doing a great job bringing her character alive, just like everyone else.

Fun Combat

To me, the biggest selling point of this is the combat. In the summer preview I likened this aspect to Girls Und Panzer, and I feel like this was spot on. The fight they showed in this episode had the excitement and fun of some good gun play without the constant worry that a character is going to be maimed or killed. Okay, so that does drop some of the tension a little bit, but then Karila jumps down from a tree and “knifes” someone, and I’m like woohoo! Clever girl.

Speaking of, the combat here was genuinely clever and interesting, and overlaying it with Yura’s dream-like rendition of the scene they were playing out tied it all together with her character conflict. That plus all the other teams they showed in the OP give me high hopes for the sports-like combat in this show. Get pumped!

Looking Ahead

After having reading some of the manga, I was a bit surprised they held off on giving more than a cursory introduction to uber-sempai Kashima Sonora (Sawashiro Miyuki), but that’s not a criticism, because it ended up working out quite well. RandomC currently does not have any plans to cover this show, but you can bet I’ll be watching it, so feel free to check in on my twitter (see below) for my thoughts on the latest episode each week. Until then, enjoy!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Exciting, lighthearted combat with a bunch of vibrant & interesting characters. Also, some killer backgrounds. A strong first episode #C3bu

Random thoughts:

  • Gun play, in skirts? Sure, why not. Fuck you, this. is. anime!!
  • No girls, I don’t think an (airsoft) massacre is the right way to recruit new members. Also, the NSA heard all of that, so you should probably hide.
  • Yura thought they just drink tea and goof off? Pffft, this isn’t the keionbu!
  • I have dreams that start like this. And also like this. They’re usually not the same ones though.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「弾けろ!しーきゅーぶ!」 (Hajikero! C3!) by 牧野由依, 沢城みゆき, 茅野愛衣, 斎藤千和, 西崎莉麻, 米澤円 (Makino Yui, Sawashiro Miyuki, Kayano Ai, Saito Chiwa, Nishizaki Rima, Yonezawa Madoka)

Preview

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

July 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm
67 comments »
  • July 5, 2013 at 12:07 amDiyedas

    Hmm, lighthearted but with some good action? I may have to check this out.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:18 amTSouL

    I was sold on this series when that Jazz theme started playing during the gun sequence.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:27 amc2710

    C

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:36 amc2710

    Caught this on a streaming site while at work (>.<)

    I must say, I do like what I see. Cute girls going all nuts about guns and survival games as such, I'm thoroughly sold for the idea.

    I didn't know that Chiwa Saito and Sawashiro Miyuki are in it. That being said, does this remind you of a certain time travelling mahou shojo?
    http://randomc.net/image/Stella%20Jogakuin%20Koutouka%20C3-bu/Stella%20Jogakuin%20Koutouka%20C3-bu%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    I've this feeling that my whole body system would turn to mush this season… All thanks to Stella High and Bake2 (just to name a few)

    That being said, it'll be nice to have this blogged

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:41 amStilts

      Alas, there are no plans to continue blogging this, so you’ll likely be disappointed on that point.

      • July 5, 2013 at 8:00 amAtalla Wanderer

        Can’t you just magically add it? “Hey guys, this show is awesome, I’m gonna blog it.”

      • July 5, 2013 at 3:16 pmc2710

        Onegai Stilts nii-chan?

        *puppy eyes*

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:48 amGreyman

    Poor Yura. A shy girl with an over active imagination. All she wanted was a fairy-tale high-school life where she could finally make friends, eat cake, drink tea, and just goof off. Instead she finds a gun under her pillow. What the.

    “Ah! You’re an oddball! I found an oddball! A real weirdo!”

    • July 5, 2013 at 12:50 amc2710

      I’d suggest she joins HTT instead

    • July 5, 2013 at 9:42 pmstarss

      Okay they REALLY need to stop using the word “hental” for “weirdo”. It’s got a double-meaning, and it weirdos me out.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:55 amZannafar

    Girls und Schusswaffen.
    Deal with it.

    One more anime on my watch list.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:58 ammianghuei

    Karila is one badass female version of Rambo! ;)

    Imagine being in Yura’s situation, finding that your roommate hides a gun under her bed, has a stash of guns and a lot of Rambo movies…..Yikes!

    And dafuq is that Jazz music playing in that battle scene???

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:42 amStilts

      Because Jazz music is AWESOME

      • July 5, 2013 at 2:32 ammianghuei

        :)

      • July 5, 2013 at 10:48 amStranger

        I’m glad to see Jazz/Swing making something of a resurgence these past years. A major fan of the genre, it’s nice to see new blood and new material being brought to the table- there’s only so many times someone can do a cover of the same songs.

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:18 amHarpy12

    Was looking forward to this like I do all Gainax productions, but I just couldn’t make it through the first episode. Tapped out from boredom half way through =/ Will try again later. Not sure what’s up, used to be a total Gainax fanboy, but this and Medaka Box didn’t do it for me.

    Maybe it was the change in staff a while back.

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:36 amGreyman

      Do try again. The fun really begins after you get passed the pink frosting and sprinkles setup.

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:45 amStilts

      This isn’t very “Gainax-y”, and most of what was Gainax-y is pretty much gone. Honestly, I never fanboy over a studio as a whole because they change over time and often adapt things that are outside of their wheelhouse. Sure, you can see certain threads – SHAFT, the J.C.Staff romcom division, etc. – but when even KyoAni is making things outside of their usual moe girls doing moe things niche, it’s wise to look at each show independently. Studio is only one part of the puzzle.

      That said, I really enjoyed this episode (unlike the Medaka Box anime, which I honestly never bothered with…the manga was fun though!), so you should definitely give it a shot again.

      • July 5, 2013 at 4:24 amHarpy12

        Very true.

        It’s very difficult for me to let go of the idea of the folks that gave me Royal Space Force, Nadia, etc when I was young. I suppose I’ll have to start looking at things on a more individual basis from now on :)

      • July 5, 2013 at 1:34 pmStilts

        That and watch whatever Trigger puts out, heh

  • July 5, 2013 at 2:13 amTassadar

    “Yura thought they just drink tea and goof off?”

    Come on. We all thought of this, right?

    http://s2.zerochan.net/Hirasawa.Yui.full.417557.jpg

    • July 5, 2013 at 11:08 amNKNKN

      “We all” including the producers, yeah.

    • July 5, 2013 at 9:44 pmstarss

      She also nearly got roped into the club because of cake! And they later used it as a lure! More K-On! simiarities!

      Yeah I don’t care if this is my fourth comment on this page! This is the only time this blog is going to cover the show!

  • July 5, 2013 at 3:01 amZhinvu

    For some reason Karila reminds me of an older Dekomori Sanae. It must be the hair. And I also liked the jazz music during the battle.

    • July 6, 2013 at 12:51 pmagr0n

      I loved the Jazz it fit the seen great and was totally unexpected. By the way if anyone is interested there is anime called Sakamichi no Apollon that is about Jazz :D

      • July 6, 2013 at 12:54 pmagr0n

        I really wish there was an edit comment feature, because that “seen” is just plain embarrassing >.>

  • July 5, 2013 at 3:51 amKevin Yamagata

    The battle scene is surprisingly good. Nice coordination, complete with hand signals, and accompanied with jazzy BGM.

    Considering some teams that appear in OP scene, I think this probably will follow tournament theme like GuP. Can’t wait for battle scene against those teams.

  • July 5, 2013 at 3:55 amgawrshness

    This is like watching Gunslinger Girl, except by the end of each episode you’ll have a good laugh and some d’awwww moments instead of feeling depressed for all the tragedy.

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:34 pmStilts

      This. Totally this right here.

  • July 5, 2013 at 4:21 amStranger

    Pity this won’t be blogged. Girls und military/combat thingies generally end up being quite fun.

    And since last season, any such anime shall be dubbed “Girls und _______”.

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:03 amDvalinn

    This…was actually pretty fun. I was expecting some kind of disaster like Upotte!, but I can’t say I was bored at all watching this episode. It sets up its characters (who look like a fun bunch), explains its premise and provided good entertainment to boot (and that Jazz music, hell yeah). And yeah, it does have a good sense of ‘show, don’t tell’. I’m kind of looking forward to the rest of it. It’ll probably develop into some kind of tournament thing, but as multiple shows these past seasons have proven, execution can triumph a lack of originality.

    First non-sequel this season I’m going to watch. Too bad it won’t be blogged though.

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:37 pmStilts

      This is definitely more Garupan than Upotte. The latter was only for gun otaku who wanted to see info dumps on a bunch of guns, whereas, this has dropped a total of, what, two gun types so far? The M60 and the desert eagle, if memory serves (and it rarely does).

      No, the story and especially the characters look to be the focus here, and that’s a very good thing.

      • July 6, 2013 at 1:52 amjohn

        I hereby dub this Girls und Gewehr. Patent pending.

      • July 6, 2013 at 2:32 amc2710

        P90

        Hope to see MG3

      • July 6, 2013 at 10:38 amBear

        Except that it doesn’t seem to have any more of a plot than Upotte! did. More like K-ON! with guns.

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:14 amLuxrays

    I wasn’t too certain of this at first but then the mock battle began and that jazz music started to play and everything was better. Looking forward to Sonora’s proper introduction next week.

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:32 amKickingFish

    its like K-ON with guns hahah

  • July 5, 2013 at 7:00 amB.I.T.W

    tell me i did not just watched i think is like a all female Moé version of the expendables with using air soft shoot weapons?!

    so new girl yura going to new school with dreaming it would be like fairy tale princess give til when arrive in her room her roommate got a desert eagle like weapon?

    then we meet on all female c3-bu expendable crew with wonder to expand it’s club going idea having take all first year to join but bad idea then long brown hair see yura playing her roommate items so bring her in.

    give with offer them yet cake work well for yura & give thought would be tea, candy, cakes, & girl time til they just show weapons being like c3-bu expendables.

    yura run give bit hmm give past not much friends or living in fairy tail cinderella story then got cake’d trap to c3-bu expendables to give try to see how their club works.

    so they play rambo vs sheriff with yura a sheriff & blonde going rambo to shoot all while want chew bubblegum yet during the playing it yura tempt & feel the real rambo doing

    & we see another female doing shoting with real ammo?!

  • July 5, 2013 at 7:33 amWanderer

    Hmm… I’ll consider checking this out once more of it is out, but if it isn’t being blogged that’s already a mark against it.

    • July 5, 2013 at 8:40 amEbisu

      You mean a mark against Random Curiosity :P

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:39 pmStilts

      Please don’t take it as a mark against the show. There are always good series we don’t blog because it takes 2-4 hours to do a post and we have lives and sometimes we just want to sit back and enjoy a show rather than writing about it. Also, it’s frequently the case where the people who have the time don’t want to blog it and those who want to don’t have the time, hah!

      Besides, if it stays good we will probably talk about it on a podcast, so there’s that to look forward to too!

      • July 5, 2013 at 7:17 pmWanderer

        “A mark against it” probably wasn’t the best choice of words… I’m not sure how to say it. The problem is, by the time enough episodes of it have aired for me to properly be able to judge whether I would like it or not, if it isn’t being followed on the blog (and thus I’m not getting reminders that it exists), I probably won’t remember to check it out.

  • July 5, 2013 at 8:32 amkatsudon

    This is going to be fun, it’s cute, quirky, and has a lot of charm. Also, gunfights to jazz music is awesome. Plus, it has Chiwa Saito, Miyuki Sawashiro, AND Kiyano Ai? WIN.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:32 amCassiee

    I loved this ep more than I thought it would. With all the light-hearted comedies that’ve aired this season, this one stood out to me ’cause of its Girls und Punzer-like premise. Looking forward to more episodes! :)

    • July 5, 2013 at 1:41 pmStilts

      I agree. I always prefer comedy + ________. Comedy is good, but it’s better when it’s mixed with a little plot or action or romance. It keeps things fresh and keeps me interested. I think this one is going to do that.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:40 amstarss

    Moe and GUUNNNNSSSS!!!!!

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:40 amewok40k

    Girls und Ammo, I’m sold.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:42 amstarss

    THe only way I’ll watch this is because it’s by GAINAX and appears to be a return to form for their more successful shows (it looks NOTHING like that wasted shonen adaptation Medaka Box, and looks like it has the same character designer as Gurren Lagann)! We;ll see how this fares.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:44 amHaseo

    Sorry just no. NOOOOOOOO! Tired of all this Moe stuff already.

  • July 5, 2013 at 10:23 amVaans

    This could be the underdog anime of the year like GuP.

  • July 5, 2013 at 4:39 pmdaikama

    Sorry, but IMO “Girls und panzer dies nicht!”

    While Girls =/= guns, this reminds me more of Upotte! than GuP – though I did see a bit of similarity between Yura and Miho in their reserved/shy reaction to people they don’t know (Yura more so that Miho IMO). Wonder if that’s intentional.

    Only the first episode, but so far I’m singularly unimpressed. On the plus side, there is a LOT of gun candy if you like that sort of thing. The “combat” was pretty good with, as Kevin Yamagata noted, some nice detail such a hand signals (evidently Yura’s a fast learner for that stuff). I rate “pretty good” because I’m not sure why there’s a knife “kill” in an paint ball battle, and I don’t understand why the “sheriff” team didn’t grab the “M-60″ (using proper cover) when “Rambo” abandoned it. If nothing else, disable it. Anyway, Stilts is entirely correctly that the “combat” and “gun candy” (IMO) are the biggest selling points for the show.

    On the downside, in terms of the characters, I’d have to disagree with Stilts on this. IMO, they were OK though a bit exaggerated/”over-the-top” in demeanor at times. Yura isn’t just shy, she’s shy to the point of literally being unable to converse at times when meeting new people. It’s seems pretty clear one theme is that through “paint ball”, Yura will be come a strong, confident and successful woman popular with men :P. As for the rest of the main characters, paint ball isn’t just a hobby, but a way of life to the point of obsession. I’d prefer a little more character depth and variation. Perhaps we’ll get that later so I might be unfair regarding that last point.

    TBH, I found too many “over-the-top” moments the first episode. In addition to the myriad of assault rifle knockoffs, an M-60 paint ball MG? Nice “gun candy”, but still… Per above, why is there a “paint ball knife”? Each girl evidently has a weapons cache which, if the guns were real, would make any mercenary force jealous. Sonora just had to shoot sub 1″ groups (almost, if not actually, one-hole groups) at a fairly quick rate with a .50 cal Desert Eagle semi-auto as if it was an afterthought. >_> LOL’d at that. (FWIW, I’ve fired a .50 cal LAR Grizzly semi-auto pistol (very similar to Desert Eagle) so I do have a basis for my opinion). She couldn’t use a 9mm or perhaps a.40 cal?

    There were a couple of other things as well, but not worth the added post length. Given the comments above, it seems quite a few people like the show, so perhaps I’m alone on these points anyway. There will probably be enough “gun candy” and simulated combat for me to keep watching. Even so, like I stated above, it’s no GuP IMO. Hopefully it will at least be equal to Upotte!.

    • July 6, 2013 at 1:04 amMekem

      One thing: this isn’t paintball, it’s airsoft, totally different. A lot cleaner, but definitely wouldn’t recommend playing out in the dirt and mud and getting all sweaty in a school uniform. Also, those shots would be painful against the exposed skin and through the thin fabric.

      • July 8, 2013 at 7:28 pmdaikama

        Thanks for clarifying. I wasn’t familiar with that so used the wrong term. Make’s sense given that there wasn’t any paint splatter. Definitely a lot cleaner though a bit more honesty required since you can tell when a paint ball hits. I can imagine it would hurt as well without the right gear, though I have no idea whether more/less/same as a paint ball.

        In terms of game play & tactics, I would think they are the same since the only difference AFA I can tell is the projectile.

  • July 5, 2013 at 8:53 pmTaiakun

    For a second there I thought Tamako from Tamako market dropped all the mochi and picked up air pistols instead…http://randomc.net/image/Stella%20Jogakuin%20Koutouka%20C3-bu/Stella%20Jogakuin%20Koutouka%20C3-bu%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    • July 6, 2013 at 1:13 amMekem

      Heh, seems Gainax is substituting for KyoAni in the moe schoolgirl department this season, except these girls have gun battles instead of doing nothing.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:40 pmstarss

    Hold on. Was the girl at the end speaking Engrish, while the subs translate it into German!?! What the fuck!?

    • July 5, 2013 at 10:12 pmWanderer

      That probably means Commie-subs has gotten their inept hands on this series. I suggest you look for a different sub group.

      • July 6, 2013 at 8:16 amRoguespirit

        By the logic of the subs: Commie does subs for English speaking people who can’t understand Japanese, and for German speaking people who understand Japanese but not English?

      • July 6, 2013 at 10:19 amWanderer

        I honestly don’t know what they’ve been thinking since they started with the German, but I doubt it’s actually intended for German-speakers. It seems to be a new level of trolling for them. I’m guessing someone over there thinks they’re being “cool” somehow by doing it, but that’s just my guess. I haven’t seen their reasoning.

        No, Commie just does bad subs. Even without the German, their translations are riddled with errors. Their Girls und Panzer subs were full of things that were just plain incorrect. Not even localizations: they were just wrong translations. Commie doesn’t really seem to care about the quality of their subs: they just try to get them out as fast as possible and throw them to the winds, hoping people will just grab the first translated episodes they see and not realize that a bunch of the information they’re getting from the subs is just plain wrong.

  • July 5, 2013 at 11:13 pmskyhack

    Who the hell gave Dekamori a gun?

  • July 6, 2013 at 2:00 amLonghaul

    well this was much more enjoyable than I expected, as long as they do not go full tacticool this should be a keeper

  • July 6, 2013 at 6:59 amIzzard

    Kirishima Rento reminds me a lot of Mugi-chan from K-On.

    • July 6, 2013 at 10:03 amKairoru

      She sure have that Mugi-vibe on her.

  • July 6, 2013 at 8:06 amRoguespirit

    Having played some airsoft myself, I think this will be a fun show.

  • July 6, 2013 at 12:46 pmagr0n

    I hereby rename this show Girls und Airisoft :D That ditsy girl is freaking awesome!!! “Drop like a rice sack. Oh it feels so good!” I was cracking up so hard at that moment. This show is definitely a keeper. Did anyone else see the first episode of Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi? Isn’t funny how 2 brand new shows had animated Rambo in them :D Fricken awesome!!!!!!!

  • July 7, 2013 at 2:41 amdh19440113

    When does BB/airsoft gun need flash hider and how is that flash generated from the M60 pig.
    They are not using airsoft, but rather Simunitions.

  • July 9, 2013 at 2:40 pmMagoiichi

    I was gonna pass on this

    then I watched it

    :)

    Another one added to my watch list, MMHMMM. If only Girls Und Panzer could’ve been this enjoyable to watch.