Uchuu no Stellvia ( ÓîÖæ¤Î¥¹¥Æ¥ë¥ô¥£¥¢ ) XEBEC/Imagica/Media Works/TV Tokyo/King Records, 2003 U.S. Distributor Pending. (Wow...ADV hasn't licensed this one yet...) Directed by Tatsuo Sato (Martian Successor Nadesico, Cat Soup). Not Rated (Suggested 13-Up). Contains violence and mature situations. The year is 2356 A.D. ¨C 189 years after a distant supernova caused a global catastrophe that wiped out 99% of the world population. To keep track on all space activities, mankind has built colossal space stations called "foundations" all over the Solar System. After passing the Space Academy entrance exams, Shima Katase embarks to the Earth-based foundation Stellvia to fulfill her dream of seeing the galaxy and to prevent another interstellar catastrophe from destroying Earth. Story: A- The first episode starts out really slow, but it picks up very quickly as the characters grow on you and the development flows smoothly. In a sense, Stellvia has the feel of great anime sci-fi classics like Gunbuster with a little bit of Battle Athletes Victory on the side. Animation: A+ After receiving tons of negative feedback from their 2000 flop Candidate for Goddess, XEBEC (Martian Successor Nadesico, Dai-Guard) make an outstanding comeback with Stellvia. Makoto Uno¡¯s (Love Hina, Chojuushin Gravion) character designs are well-drawn and mix perfectly with the show¡¯s elaborate CG effects. Soundtrack: A Stellvia¡¯s soundtrack is a lighthearted orchestral score by Seikoh Nagaoka (Tenchi-Muyo!, El-Hazard), accompanied by an upbeat opening theme in the form of ¡°Asu e no Brilliant Road¡± by Angela. Cast Stellvia features Ai Nonaka (Rika in Platonic Chain) as Shima, Yuki Matsuoka (Osaka-san in Azumanga Daioh, Mireille in .hack//DUSK) as Arisa, Megumi Toyoguchi (Mimiru in .hack//SIGN, Parfet in Vandread) as Ayaka, Fumiko Orikasa (Chise in Saishuu Heiki Kanojo, Pacifica in Scrapped Princess) as Yayoi, Rie Tanaka (Chii in Chobits, Saki in Steel Angel Kurumi) as Akira, Naomi Shindo (Aries in Macross Zero, Cagalli in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) as Leila, Mitsuki Saiga (King of Bandit Jing, Tsukasa in .hack//SIGN) as Masaru, Akio Suyama (Hige in Wolf's Rain, Ogami in Sakura Wars) as Joy, Daisuke Kishio (Chitose in Happy Lesson) as Kent, Yusaku Yara as Michio, Masahiko Tanaka (Gaulin in Full Metal Panic!, Vampire Priest in Hellsing) as Carl, Keiji Fujiwara (Eledore in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Edmundo in Heat Guy J) as Jinrai, Jurota Kosugi (Dryden in Escaflowne) as Umihito, Rumi Kasahara (Misao in Magical Project S) as Chiaki, Romi Paku (Maki in Air Master, Loran in Turn-A Gundam) as Masato, and Katsunosuke Hori (Schwartzwald in The Big O) as Richard James. Additional voices by Michiko Neya (Nancy in Read Or Die, Melissa in Full Metal Panic!). The Bottom Line Stellvia is Candidate for Goddess done the right way. Highly recommended for any anime or sci-fi fan.