An in-depth analysis of Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ or Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu, an anime about a group of down to earth high school girls, their ambitious survival game club and airsoft guns — lots of them.
This article contains major [SPOILERS] that will reveal the story’s main plotline, as well as the ending.
We first meet the adorably timid Yura Yamato taking her first steps in her prestigious new school, Stella Women’s Academy. Although she flat out fails in striking a conversation, and quite possibly the start of a new relationship, with a wandering fellow first-year classmate, Yura manages to eventually find herself in the survival game club’s room.
There, she is welcomely embraced by a bunch of girls who simply enjoy partaking in airsoft skirmishes, be it among themselves or against other teams. The girls tell Yura that her inexperience is nothing to worry about and they are desperately seeking new members.
Sixth Gun Gunslinger Ed HC Vol. 01
from: Things From Another World
Mixed with a perfect blend of comedy, action, drama, and guns of all caliber, Stella Women’s Academy offers a rather refreshing and surprisingly relatable story of a young girl taking endless, and perhaps too many, leaps in an attempt to be the best version of herself. With the help of her goofy but caring friends, Yura takes the plunge to become the top gunslinger and club member of C³ she can possibly be.
Getting the hang of things
Starting off, Yura was a bit shaken by airsoft guns and the survival game in general. She agreed to partake in the club’s upcoming tournament, but Yura was still unsure of whether she could actually put together a meaningful contribution. During her first match, she managed to successfully get a hit on another player. Despite having to fight off her nerves, as well as the fear of looking down a barrel of a gun, Yura blasted away the enemy team and helped Stella Women’s Academy win their round opener.
The feeling was indeed phenomenal for Yura, but it would serve as the starting point down her gradual progression towards a path of solitude. We learned that Yura enjoys being praised by others, especially from her club members. It reassured her that she was doing the right thing and the attention she received was more than an incentive to continue. There is a good possibility that Yura has gone through much of her young life without any form of companionship, considering how shy and reserved she was in the beginning.
The transition from being alone with her own thoughts to a group of friends who genuinely enjoy her company is an emotion that surprisingly comforts Yura. We also notice that Yura naturally acts on instinct, even if that means going against a set strategy or plan. With only a few seconds to make a decision, Yura almost always gives in to her impulses during the heat of the moment. Her tendency to act on her own assumptions is also a driving factor and main catalyst to the eventual character development Yura goes through. More on that below.
The turning point
During the rest of the tournament, Yura remains a bit tense with her capabilities but is reassured by their club’s leader Sonora Kashima and the rest of the members that the outcome does not matter, as long as they have fun as a group. When matched up against Meisei Girl’s Academy and their apparent rival, Rin Haruna, most of the C³ club members were swiftly taken out, with only a rookie Yura remaining on the playing field.
This may be off-putting for some viewers, but Yura’s imagination is constantly visualized in the anime. When Yura was forced to fend off Meisei Girl’s academy, she imagined herself fighting in a rundown city against an actual lethal force of assaulters.
This active imagination Yura possesses can be seen either as a good or bad aspect of her mentality. The good being that Yura takes her fights seriously, to the point where she believes her actual well being is at stake. On the other hand, it may serve as a negative attribute because Yura sometimes becomes too immersed and focused on her priorities that it tends to block out the subtle actions that happen around her.
Regardless, when outnumbered by Meisei Girl’s Academy, Yura instinctually surrenders to Rin instead of fighting to the end. After the fight, Rin tells Yura that there is no meaning to surrendering in a survival game. Sonora also echoes what Rin says and adds that someone who has no will to fight has no place fighting alongside others. With Yura being on the verge of tears, Sonora tells her to never do that again. Yura apologizes profusely for her mistakes but unknowingly became motivational fuel to further her ambitions as a C³ club member.
Contest of Champions TPB Vol. 02 Final Fight
from: Things From Another World
Locked and loaded
Yura, the once meek girl who was afraid to speak out, is then seen entering the club room with short hair and a new perspective on survival games. Yura would spend the next exhibition matches with rival schools to tune up her combat skills and strengthen the weak points she once had. Her progression during this phase was extremely significant. Yura could be seen easily defeating two or more opponents at once with her quickstep and incredibly accurate shot.
With the 24-hour survival game tournament approaching and Sonora out due to injury, Yura took it upon herself to become the club’s leader. Knowing that Meisei Girl’s Academy, and subsequently Rin, would be competing, Yura had even more motivation to prove her worth and showcase her drastic change in the art of survival games.
As Yura becomes even better as an attacker and overall player, she notices her teammates’ weaknesses and continually tells them advice on how to improve, sometimes a little too bluntly. Yura becomes too focused on winning that she neglects to see the effect she has on her club members. Although they don’t say it outright, they inform Yura that she’s becoming too overbearing and that C³ club values having fun just as much as winning.
Whatever it takes to win
While it’s great to see character development, Yura’s might be one of the few exceptions. Her skills in the survival game have greatly increased, even to the point where rival schools acknowledge her prowess. However, that came at the cost of alienating her friends and prioritizing winning over their safety.
Yura’s actions could be seen as no different from a dictator or as a boss who views their employees as work minions and nothing more. It’s a shame but it’s also understandable. As mentioned before, Yura takes pride in being praised for her accomplishments, and winning is the ultimate achievement for her. She subconsciously blocked out the considerations she once had for her team, and replaced them with victory plans. The new passion Yura found among friends is now a substitute outlet to find her own sense of validation.
As fate would have it, the 24-hour survival game tournament is left with just two teams, Stella Women’s Academy and Meisei Girl’s Academy. The match boils down to Yura and Rin having a close quarters’ gunfight. Yura ends up being shot in the arm while taking aim at Rin.
Instead of honestly calling her hit, Yura’s crazed determination causes her to remain silent and shoot Rin anyway. Rin calls her shot and Stella’s C³ club ends up the victor. Overcome with a wide array of emotions, Yura pleads to the organization that her team wrongfully won because of her cheating, but Rin denies any such allegations. Again, Yura’s tendency to always act on her own causes yet another ripple among the C³ club, this time with Yura leaving for Meisei Girl’s Academy. She tells Sonora that she has nothing more to learn from the C³ club and departs.
No place to call home
Yura’s stint with Meisei Girl’s Academy was not long-lived. She joined the rival team’s club in order to get stronger. Yura was under the impression that Meisei Girl’s Academy had ideals that aligned with her own — true strength is winning. While her superior marksmanship on the battlefield was evident, Yura failed to follow orders and serve her role as a team player. Rin tells Yura that she does not fight for the team’s sake but rather for herself. Yura is ultimately kicked from the team.
During this time, Yura had more than enough time to reflect. Deep down inside, Yura is still that sweet girl who enjoys the company of the C³ club and because of that, she couldn’t fathom the idea of coming back. After all the drama and selfish actions she put the C³ club through, Yura knew that she did not deserve the opportunity to rejoin.
That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. The girls at C³ club were still fond of Yura and would take her back in a heartbeat. Rento Kirishima led the charge to bring Yura back, but with no luck. She reassured the rest of the members that from now on, they must be more transparent with one another and not let their egos get the better of them. Yura finds the courage to go back to the C³ club thanks to her imagination spirit, Choujirou. Before the send-off party for Sonora ends, Yura enters the survival game and the club members fight off one last time.
For old times’ sake
So, while the ending is a great send-off for the leader of the C³ club, the reconciliation between Yura and the rest of the girls seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Yura did not apologize properly and hardly any words about the situation were ever spoken. Survival game is why the girls have such a strong bond in the first place, sure, but to get over a serious quarrel with an airsoft battle is hard to believe and just seems like lazy writing.
The battle between Yura and Sonora, the protege versus the master, turned into a cartoonish gunfight that meant to relieve any seriousness between the two. It was the anime’s way of stating that it was never about who the best survival game player was, it was all about the camaraderie and enjoyment of the sport. Yura’s transition from the shy and nice girl, to badass, to control freak, and eventually back to nice was a pleasant surprise, despite some changes feeling a tad bit forced.
At the end of the reunion episode, Yura can be seen taking the initiative by offering schoolmates an invite to the c3 club, a feat she was too scared to do in the beginning. Her transformation wasn’t always a healthy one, but a great amount of self-realization and a newfound outlook among those around her was a satisfying development to witness. It was the happy ending we were looking for, but it did pan over some needed transparency as if it were nothing more than an act.
Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu suffers from fast pacing and an ending episode that felt more like an add-on rather than a true conclusion. Regardless, it was still an enjoyable story about a young girl who finds her true self through the art of airsoft battles. It’s a great anime for those who like the slice-of-life genre but with an actual progressive story to it as well.
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