Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3: Episode 7

Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 is an anime series set at Stella Women's Academy, and focuses on a new student named Yura Yamato. Yura is a new freshman at the school, and she's a timid girl with a rather vivid imagination. Yura ends up joining the C3-Bu Club, which is a club at the school that plays "survival games" with air guns.

Episode seven begins with Sonora and Yura talking about illegally modded guns, which are guns that use high-pressure gas to make them more powerful. Apparently, someone was making these guns and selling them; while the seller was arrested, they managed to sell one of the guns to an unknown party.

Just then, Sonora is suddenly shot at, and the shot causes her to drop the pop can she had been holding. After finding somewhere to hide, Sonora points out that the BB pierced a steel can, which means it was fired for an illegally modded gun. Yura gets the bright idea to try to stop the sniper; as she runs into the road, she is almost hit by a car. Sonora jumps into the way before Yura is hit, but Sonora is unconscious and goes to the hospital. As the ambulance takes Sonora away, Yura sees Sonora's rival Rin walking away through a group of spectators.

The next day, the club visits Sonora in the hospital; they learn that she suffered a minor concussion and a sprained ankle. It's going to take three weeks for the sprain to heal, so Sonora will not be able to participate in the upcoming 24-hour tournament. Most of the club members decide that they shouldn't enter the tournament without Sonora, but Yura has other ideas.

After doing some studying, she enters the club into the tournament and comes up with various strategies to use. Yura puts the club through grueling training because she's very focused on winning the tournament, but this annoys the others. The last bit of the episode sees the club arriving at the tournament and doing some final things before the competition actually begins.

After seeing this episode, I can see why the previous two episodes were so light-hearted. With how serious parts of episode seven are, a couple of light-hearted episodes were needed prior to this. This is basically the major "obstacle gets in the way" episode, which almost causes the protagonists to give up. This episode also has a major focus on Yura's focus on winning instead of having fun, which started manifesting itself in an earlier episode in the series. With Sonora out of the picture for this tournament, there's really no one around to check Yura's focus in check. I suspect this will end up becoming a major point of contention between Yura and the rest of the club during the upcoming tournament.

Animation-wise, one thing that really stood out to me was the section of the episode where Yura is training the other club members. This was done as a montage, and the majority of the footage wasn't animated; instead, they were line drawings that weren't colored in. Since this is a Gainax production, it made me think too much of some of the shortcuts that were taken in the later episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion and His and Her Circumstances, two other Gainax productions that I have seen in their entirety. I'm hoping this was just a one-off thing and we won't see this shortcut appear again in this series.

I also have to admit that I was a little surprised that the club actually made it to the tournament grounds before the end of episode seven. But with the way episode seven ended, I suspect that episode eight will launch the story right into the 24-hour tournament. And if the tournament starts in episode eight, will it last for the remaining five episodes of the series? I'm looking forward to watching episode eight to not only answer that question, but to see how the Yura and the others will do during the tournament.
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