Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu – Episode 1

Welp, Danganronpa subs still aren’t out, so I guess I’m watching Gainax bet whatever portion of their reputation remains on cute girls doing airsoft things. If this ends up being Girls und Panzer-esque (in that it isn’t just random moe nonsense, it’s actually a well-paced and self-aware sports drama or something), I will be ecstatic. But I hope you’ll forgive me for keeping my initial expectations somewhat low.

C’mon Gainax, you can do this. You mustn’t run away.

Episode 1

1:20 – Well, we’ve gotten up the steps. Progress

2:30 – Damn she’s awkward. I feel that cringe.

5:14 – Well, this OP is Panzer as fuck, and clearly emphasizes the action element over the derping teatime element. The show has added another three minutes to its drop clock, and will almost certainly outlive Servant x Service (that one survived about 11 minutes)

6:42 – And the current club members all seem to have both strong personalities and a powerful streak of insanity. Add three more minutes to the clock!

7:58 – And now they’re daydreaming about assaulting the student body with mock firearms. I think we’re getting somewhere!

9:12 – Rambo reenactments: moe as fuck

9:46 – Noooo, don’t bring out the cake! We were doing so well

10:07 – “They just drink tea and do nothing actually club-related.” What subtle jabs, Gainax

11:26 – “It goes Bam and everyone goes Woooo!” It’s kinda weird seeing the classic Gainax loose, evocative character animation style after all these years, in a show like this. Nostalgic, I guess

12:17 – “She’s already found a friend.” I like the way they use the muffled voices to drive home the barrier between her and other people. A good trick of perspective

13:05 – These semi-fantasized flashbacks also make use of some good tricks of visual style. This show’s not there yet, but it’s definitely exceeding my expectations

14:48 – “Please try out our mock battles!” Is it just me, or does that VA just have a constant note of near-insanity in her voice?

Also, her isolation stuff continues to be handled well. Not only does the sound design work hard to show-not-tell you her experience, the disconnect between her actually pretty lively private personality (the rambo stuff, her self-directed outburst about enjoying high school) and the fear she feels in public makes her a much more interesting and alive-feeling character than an eternally timid one would be

16:02 – Oh man, and they’re actually gonna set up real battles with rules and distinctions and everything? I was basically kidding about this show aspiring to GuP levels of unexpected excellence, but now I’m not so sure!

21:46 – Couldn’t pause it during that setpiece. Fantastic music, the direction cut well from each character’s perspective to the next movement to maintain a coherent flow and understanding of the fight, the internal pacing was great and amped up confidently throughout. You had my curiosity, C3. Now you have my attention

And Done

Whew! That last act certainly made an impact. The direction and character work was well above the standard for this genre throughout, which admittedly isn’t a very high standard, but that setpiece was legitimately impressive. I enjoyed this episode, and I’m definitely on board to see where this goes.

One thought on “Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu – Episode 1

Comments are closed.