Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³
September 15, 2013
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Yura Yamato has just arrived at the high school division of Stella Women’s Academy, when Sonora Kashima invites her to join a club called “C³”. Sonora is the third-year student who became the new head of this club for military survival games. The other members include two second-year students (part-Japanese Karila Hatsuse and G36K-wielding Honoka Mutsu) and two other new students (Rento Kirishima whose family runs a Japanese sweets shop and the really short Yachiyo Hinata).
It seems a great deal of anime I’ve been watching lately is set in the ever-so-familiar high school setting, about yet another girl who wishes to reinvent and rediscover herself during high school. During this time, she comes across a club and becomes a member. Back in my high school days, the only after-school club I participated in was the yearbook committee: I was involved in this club for all three years and produced some of the most interesting yearbooks of my age, although aside from yearbook, I went home after classes concluded and studied, then played World of Warcraft or Ragnarok Online on a friend’s private server. Japanese high schools are different and place a larger emphasis on club activities, going through far more efforts to create, maintain and promote said clubs. As such, while classical elements are still present in this umpteenth anime I’ve watched about school clubs, Stella Women’s Academy takes after Girls und Panzer, substituting airsoft guns for WWII-era tanks.
- Yura Yamato is a first year who recently transferred from an unnamed middle school. She possesses a timid personality and a vivid imagination. Since middle school, she has been struggling in making friends, and ends up in the C³ Club after meeting Sonora and the others.
- Here are the current members of the C³ club: from left to right, we have Karila Hatsuse, Honoka Mutsu, Rento Kirishima and Yachiyo Hinata.
- Stella Women’s Academy represents the first time I’ve seen anyone go about recruiting new members for a club in the same way that spec ops teams complete their missions. The difference being is that this is a school environment, and as such, the techniques fielded by special forces generally won’t work on high school students.
- The C³ Club stands for Command, Control and Communication, referencing military slang for the infrastructure and resources required to carry out military operations. The club members’ enthusiasm is a little off-putting to Yura in the beginning, though.
- “Battlefield 4 comes out in a little more than a month and I’m dying waiting to play it on my computer!” Actually, Yura is reacting to her frustrations about her first day at the Stella Women’s Academy.
- Presently, with her soft voice and gentle nature, Rento is perhaps my favourite of the C³ members, reminding me greatly of Tsumugi Kotobuki from K-On!. Her affinity with cakes and friendly personality reinforces this parallel further.
- The girls decide to give Yura an introduction to airsoft through playing what I call “Juggernaut”. In this game type, a single individual is the so-called juggernaut, whose aim is to kill as many people as possible. Individuals who aren’t the juggernaut are tasked with taking the juggernaut down. Because things like increased run speed, overshields or unlimited ammo are impossible in reality (or the anime representation thereof), the juggernaut here gets a M60 airsoft gun.
- The girls give on-the-fly advice to Yura as the match progresses, teaching her to move lightly and communicate via nonverbal cues to avoid giving her squadmates’ positions away.
- I see Stella Women’s Academy as a combination of Girls und Panzer, Battlefield, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and K-On! rolled into one package, swapping out jets and killstreaks for airsoft guns. It is hardly surprising that this anime has increased my want of playing Battlefield 4.
After the first episode, I am left with a warm impression of Stella Women’s Academy for its combination of airsoft and life as high school students. The premise may be about airsoft, but the character composition and interactions also give rise to a familiar feeling that stands in contrast to the girls’ hobby, reminding viewers that while the girls do partake in such a sport, they are still at heart high school girls. Given the setup, Stella Women’s Academy will likely take the story in a direction to depict Yura’s gradual transition and growth, contrasting her initially shy nature, as she continues to participate in competitions with the members in the C³ club. Stella Women’s Academy is a 12-episode series and will conclude this week: I will see if I can wrap up the remaining eleven episodes and draft a reflection before Battlefield 4 comes out. Whereas Girls und Panzer revived my interest in armour, from what I’ve seen so far, I will probably develop an increasing inclination to play FPS after Stella Women’s Academy finishes.