Stella No Mahou

April 22, 2017

Wait a minute. Wasn’t it not too long ago that we had a bunch of females making video games? Well, if you do not like the setting of a game company and would prefer the environment of high school girls making games, Stella No Mahou is what is right for you. I think. You may argue that D-Frag is also a high school setting but because of feminism and the need to eliminate any single guy from the entire series and you don’t want to be viewed as an idiot for watching a hilarious (some read it is stupid) slapstick comedy, then this series has got it all for you. All girls. High school setting. Cute and moe. Cute girls doing cute… Uhm, cute game programming?

Episode 1
Tamaki Honda and her friend, Yumine Fuda head to Hoshinotsuji for their first day of high school. As usual, there are many clubs recruiting for new members. One of the clubs is a game making club. But both the members, Ayame Seki and Shiina Murakami seem ‘dead’! The duo try out the action puzzle demo and since the PC freeze, they almost died of heart attack. I can understand putting your heart and soul in making a game only for everything to hang. They reboot and the duo try it out. Tamaki is impressed and asks more questions. Not sure if Shiina is being a pessimist because she keeps repeating how hard it is to make games. Yumine can’t join since she has her own commitments and Tamaki is unsure of her own ability. Tamaki ponders what kind of life she has been leading. Reading, drawing, copy drawing and doodling. Doesn’t look so proud there. When Tamaki remembers grandma praising her for some paper game she made, she decides to go back to the club. This time she meets another member, Kayo Fujikawa who is in charge of the game’s music. At first Kayo is sad that Tamaki was engrossed in the game that she didn’t notice her BGM but that also means the game is a success if she didn’t hear her music. Is she saying her music sucks? Tamaki wants to join this club because she likes the illustration and wants to learn more. However they tell her the person in charge of illustrations has already graduated. They were hoping to find a talented one through this recruitment drive. Of course Tamaki will try her best and without hesitation joins the club. They have her draw a test sample. Well, that looks quite surreal. Next day, Tamaki shows up at the clubroom as they all formally introduce themselves. Shiina is the programmer and her ‘serious’ eyes helped Tamaki decide to join this club. Actually she stayed up all night programming and trying to fit in the whims and last minute fancies of certain people. Don’t get on her bad side when she is in this bad mood. Ayame is the story and scriptwriter while Kayo handles to BGM and SFX. So what is their club called? Shinda Sakana No Me (Dead Fish Eyes) Nisshou Busoku (Not Enough Sun) Shuttle Run Club. SNS for short. Deep name… Don’t ask… They discuss the details of their next puzzle game. They caution Tamaki they want this game out by Summer Comiket so there are deadlines to meet. Thus this is not an easy task and hopefully she won’t burnt herself out. Tamaki is confident she has got passion for this. Let’s hope so. They give her the demo game they recently made to her because they want to incorporate her style into their next game. And so Tamaki’s first night she burns the midnight oil copying the illustration style.

Episode 2
Tamaki is happy that all the club members somewhat meet while on their way to school. It’s like they’re in sync. But the mere mention of that has Ayame feeling down because it means they’re a small club and Tamaki was the only freshman who joined. Let’s hope they got more members along the way. When Tamaki enters the clubroom, she sees and hears Ayame passionately acting out her storyline. Wait. Ayame is crying upon realizing Tamaki was watching? Tamaki tries to go away but Ayame changes the subject by wanting to see her sketches. They’ll trade stories and sketches. But Ayame realizes an old embarrassing story she doesn’t want Tamaki to hear. Shiina almost recites it out… Everyone heads to the café where Kayo works part time to brainstorm. It seems Tamaki cannot start drawing until Ayame figures out a story. Because it descends into a noisy past digging (Ayame and Shiina trying to outdo the other), Kayo kicks them out. When Tamaki takes the train home, she realizes Ayame’s sketchbook is in her back. Ayame is frantically searching for it because the story is her life. Imagine her horror when she learns it is in Tamaki’s hands and she has read her adult-like story. She keeps denying it is her old self. Because Tamaki has some chores to do, Yumine will help pass her sketches to the club. She had always wanted to see what her club is like. You know she’ll be in for a weird ride when she reads the long ass club name. Expressive name? Then Shiina is really scared about Yumine thinking she would spread bad stuffs about the club. Kayo is making weird annoying sounds in her bid to find the right one. Yumine blows her top thinking the club is trying to make Tamaki draw lewd stuffs but they explain. When Yumine asks if Tamaki is being taught by anyone, they contemplate if they should bring up their senior’s name, Teru Hyakutake AKA Temawari. Apparently she is also a famous illustrator and Yumine is a big fan of her. Guess what? Yumine too has her own quirk. She is a fujoshi! Seeing their work is in line with some BL theme, Yumine agrees to help with Tamaki’s work. When Yumine returns the sketchbook, Tamaki asks about her members’ thoughts. At first Yumine is in a dilemma on what to say but tells her the truth that as long as she is happy when she draws, that is all that matters. Next time, Tamaki shows the sketches herself. They’ll try to incorporate her drawings into the story. Yumine will help Tamaki if she helps with her projects too. Of course the real intention is that she doesn’t want Tamaki to hog drawing all the BL stuff. Naughty girl…

Episode 3
Shiina suggests an outing. That’s because Ayame is running late on her storyboard. Don’t want the club to end up rotting and then disbanded, would you? Everyone converges at Tamaki’s house in the outskirts. Shiina installs the necessary programmes on her PC so she can do her digital drawing. They then brainstorm the visual novel adventure game they want to make. However Ayame is still having writer’s block and it is really getting to her. Is it because they dropped the love comedy plot for this adventure? Kayo helps give some motivation by mixing a recently recorded sound. Funny enough to give Ayame some encouragement but it made Tamaki’s grandma mad and out to kill! She thinks someone is playing with the bamboo clacker! This is going to be a long lecture… As Shiina teaches Tamaki the software, the latter asks how the club got its name. To cut things short, the trio were in charge to name it. Each pick out a name from the suggestion box. All 3 names were from Shiina’s suggestions. Shiina also recalls the progress the club made and how fun it was during the year. It would have been a boring life without the club. After dinner and bath, Ayame has finished part of her story and copies it for the rest to read. I’m going to spare you the details seeing I myself don’t really understand what is going on. All I know is that there are the main protagonists, Stella and Samyu. Stella is sick or something and Samyu has to find a cure. There is a bad end and true ending in which Ayame wanted to make the latter more interesting with a .exe popping up on the screen but that will be just suspicious as people would think it is a virus or something. When Yumine is going to read Ayame’s old story, she tries to stop her. Grandma just walked in with snacks and Ayame crashes into her. Oh no. Not again. In the end, everyone goes to the public bath to bathe. Ayame and Kayo observe the good rapport between Tamaki and Shiina. And Yumine couldn’t shut up about her BL fantasies. Or is it yuri fantasy with Tamaki? While her friends are sleeping, Tamaki continues to practice what Shiina taught her.

Episode 4
Tamaki continues her drawing in class. Her fellow classmates, Marika Shimizu the halfie and Natsu Iino the animal lover give their 2 cents worth. Tamaki is so into her scribbling that she couldn’t pay attention in class. However she is also in a slump and as she sits by the riverbank eating candy and accidentally dropping it, she observes the cat licking it and wishes she was one. Then a strange cat girl pops up. More like a crazy girl cosplaying as one. She is Teru and volunteers to be her model. After looking through her sketches, Teru can tell who she is and wants to keep the sketchbook. In return, she treats Tamaki to snacks. Tamaki wants her sketchbook back but Teru asks why she is trying so hard to make a game because it is difficult. Is she being forced to draw? Tamaki thinks back of all the times SNS spent together and mentions they genuinely wants to make a game. Seeing how passionate she is, Teru gives her sketchbook back and believes she’ll create something great. Of course this Teru is SNS’ graduated senior. She visits Kayo at her café and decides to give a little cash donation after seeing today’s ‘cute kitten’. Discussing with the other girls this heavenly fund, Tamaki cannot remember Teru’s name as she was preoccupied with the sketchbook but feels something familiar about the cat girl that her pals are talking about. They plan to use this money to get Tamaki a scanner. As they browse, Tamaki remembers she forgot her sketchbook. She manages to get it but it soon pours. Luckily Ayame’s house is nearby so they take respite there. Ayame’s younger brother, Haruma seems to be having love at first sight on Tamaki. Till he realizes she is older than her petite looks. Haruma is also into drawing and he takes up Tamaki’s request to teach her some. Shiina plugs in the scanner and uploads some of the sketches in Tamaki’s sketchbook. So far she has completed Stella and Samyu only. Haruma suggests using search engines for ideas because if she is going to draw, she needs to look at lots of things and use it as model. Didn’t think of that, did she? Then the question that the girls ask that has Haruma’s heart stop for a while: Does Tamaki have a boyfriend? The only guy in her life now is her dad. Is he disappointed or relieved? Ayame teases him about his first love that will be unrequited but he hits back saying she never has a boyfriend. Let the sibling rivalry begin!

Episode 5
Tamaki falls ill. I know she overworked herself but what’s this about Shiina saying she looked at too many manga for men and can barely breathe? Is that a joke? Shiina and Ayame are kind enough to go out their way to go visit her. Since the deadline is coming up, they have to complete their work there too. Ayame’s fears come true when Haruma reads over her script over the phone to Shiina so she could programme it. Embarrassing story? When Shiina goes to make porridge, Ayame tells Tamaki more about her friendship with Shiina. Tamaki feels restless that she couldn’t help but as Shiina points out, her part there is more than enough time to make it so please concentrate and recover. The next day she is well again. However Ayame relays the devastating news that their club’s name isn’t selected. This means even if they completed the game, they still can’t enter Summer Comiket. I guess Ayame couldn’t bring herself to tell everyone yesterday. Don’t worry, they can enter the next event. That’s in 6 days… This means Tamaki, Shiina and Ayame will be staying overnight at the clubroom to rush things out. They’ve brought their favourite stuffs to get through the night like snacks and for Tamaki it is a picture of her dad. As punishment, Ayame gets a big load of work share. Kayo relays message that she wants to do more sound effects and BGM but Shiina ‘strangles’ the laptop that they don’t have time and to stick with the schedule! They are so focused in finishing their job that they push anyone else away at the door. Including a newbie who wants to join. Later! When there is no word from Kayo for 5 hours (no she isn’t sleeping either), they fear she might have quit. Remember, they are making this game on voluntary basis without pay and can’t force anyone to work. Tamaki feels depressed but chooses to believe in her. Then a message from Kayo came. She has just finished 6 songs and has sent it to them. The trio then make a final last spurt to finish up the game, Stella No Mahou. As explained by Shiina, Stella isn’t just the protagonist as there is another hidden meaning for her name. Because the game is collectively made by 5 different people like a star, and thus this phenomenon is what she calls ‘stellar’ magic.

Episode 6
When they arrive outside the exhibition hall, Shiina gets panic attack and falls sick. She excuses herself home after passing the baton and making it sound like a dying wish. Ayame couldn’t be more appalled because apparently she has been pulling this sort of trick since young. So the duo man their booth and with nobody approaching it, Tamaki starts thinking it is her drawing when in reality Ayame says it is because they did no advertising whatsoever. Yumine is also here but she can’t stop and say hi as she wants to get Temawari’s works. When they finally have their first customer, Tamaki panics as the customer is taken in by her drawing and wants her to sketch in her sketchbook. She is pleased and even has Tamaki autograph it. In the afternoon, they have more sales. One of them was Teru in disguise and they couldn’t recognize her. She is glad they are doing fine. When they go home, Shiina calls Ayame to apologize she couldn’t help. She still sounds very sick. Rest up. Once she is well, everyone gathers at Ayame’s house to celebrate. Kayo is thanking Tamaki for covering her. She is being too close so Yumine blows her top. What’s her problem? Well, she thinks Tamaki should be the dominant one. Oh, it’s her delusion. Tamaki doesn’t even know what it means… Too angelic. Shiina suggests telling Tamaki how SNS was formed like Ayame was from the drama club and when Teru read her script and suggested making a game out of it, it was the birth of the club. Tamaki would love to hear each of their past stories but how far can they dig before it gets forbidden? Instead, Tamaki wants to tell love stories. Is this so she can praise her dad? Yeah, it’s the only guy she loves. Shiina surprises everyone that she has received a love letter before. However she didn’t know what to do with it and thought it was a prank and gave it to the teacher. Too harsh, too negative. Yumine and Tamaki walk home. Yumine reveals her parents aren’t open minded to such genres and they had a fight. But Yumine proved it by improving her grades so they tolerate it. Tamaki might look like she has overworked herself with hectic last minute spurts. But now she has a glowing wonderful smile.

Episode 7
Tamaki is shocked when Kayo starts saying stuffs like “I love you” before her. Turns out she is trying to compose a poem for her senior (Teru). Tamaki misinterprets this for a guy and panics. Learning she is composing another poem, she wonders who it is for. Ayame. More panic. Even more so when Kayo wants her help to talk more about her dad’s love! Yeah, that’s complicated. When Yumine notices Tamaki spacing out and asks why, imagine the fury she has when she misinterprets about Tamaki trying to help Kayo out with her complicated love! Nobody steals her best friend! Kayo ushers Tamaki into a room alone as part of the plan to help out with her ‘love’. More misinterpretations when she starts saying things like making babies (her composition). When Kayo tries to find her scenario sheet, she accidentally fall on top of Tamaki. Right at that moment Yumine walks in. Luckily she didn’t turn into a yandere and quickly takes Tamaki away. Later Tamaki realizes all the misunderstanding. As she explains it to Yumine, she starts thinking BL stuffs about them. This excites her and will support Tamaki! Tamaki tells us her flashback how she became friends with Yumine. She was always absent due to illness and one day she has to take notes to her house. In her bid to be friends with her, Tamaki often tried to talk and share her games. However Yumine did not welcome this and scolds her to go home. She thought Tamaki is the same like the rest who thinks she is getting preferential treatment just because she is sick. In class, Tamaki gets deep in philosophy asking why are friends, you know, friends. Something about studying together, eat together, blah, blah, blah. Wow. Does Tamaki understand all that? She gets this idea to make a board game to play with Yumine. It is so badly created and Tamaki getting all the bad turns, it made Yumine laugh. Ever since, Yumine opened up, came to school more often and made friends. The duo became best of friends and gradually Yumine became a BL fanatic. Tamaki is thankful to games that they became friends. She also got to meet nice people at SNS and hopes to meet all kinds of people through games. Suddenly Tamaki is grabbed by this mad girl who wants to challenge her after making a fool out of her that time. Who the f*ck is she?!

Episode 8
Remember that newbie who wanted to join but was shooed away because they were chaotic in finishing the game? Yup. Minaha. She is from the illustration club and challenges Tamaki to create character designs from a story that sounds so much written by Ayame (it is). If Tamaki loses, she must give her a game from SNS. Well, I think she wants more people to play SNS’ game. In the end, Minaha realizes she has lost to Tamaki’s ‘superior’ drawing. She’s really being sore about it. Tamaki gives her Stella No Mahou to play anyway. She accepts but will challenge again her next time. Next day, Minaha barges into the clubroom crying. She played the entire game and when she finally reached the true ending, some bug froze her screen! That’s the problem? Well, despair for Shiina. Minaha adds that she tried to find a patch on the homepage but it looked so pathetic. Well, more despair for Shiina. They give her an updated version with the bugs fixed. She wants to play right now so Kayo lends her notebook. Minaha likes the quick fix, the sound and the story. As she isn’t swayed by the lousy art, a reason to be obnoxious to Tamaki? Furthermore she doesn’t like Ayame, not knowing that she is the story writer who goes under the pseudo name of Iris. Even when she signs her autograph, Minaha blows her top thinking she is an imposter! They want to let her join but it seems Minaha has changed her mind. Initially she wanted to join SNS during the recruitment day but the members were sleeping. So she joined the illustration club but as it got more boring, she became curious of what SNS is about. Minaha suggests creating detailed member profiles for their webpage. Is this some sort of challenge to make Tamaki draw? So while Tamaki hangs out with Yumine, she gets inspired when Yumine got clickbait. You know, an article with a seemingly attracting headline but clicking on its link leads you to an entirely different article. So when Tamaki introduces this to SNS, they’re lost. Even when she demonstrates, it got even more lost. What was this about again? Minaha has drawn her own profile. But since she is not an official member, they can’t let her submit. Care to join? Not a chance. Minaha chastises Tamaki for not drawing her own. Well, it’s because Minaha is way better, right? But Tamaki is motivated when Minaha gives an example of a cherished gift because it was made just for you. Minaha leaves in hopes of drawing more illustrations to be worthy of Iris. I think somebody should really tell her that…

Episode 9
Shiina is already wondering if she can helm the job as the club president when Tamaki suddenly runs to her crying! She is worried she might kick her out of the club if she can’t draw anymore! Better talk this in private before the public thinks this is some sort of love triangle. Apparently Tamaki is in a slump. Worse, she had that dream Minaha was better than her and Shiina dumped Tamaki for her. Tamaki then sees Minaha in her class trying to spread the word about this story by Iris. Yumine stops her thinking she is picking on Tamaki and then argues some BL position. Huh? Ayame helps Tamaki alleviate some of her slump worries. This has Shiina believe she would make a better club president. She must have taken it quite literally so she takes off her glasses to look all sparkly. Because of her different respectable look, Minaha thinks she is Iris. Plus, Ayame’s bad eyesight means she cannot identify Minaha. After getting her autograph, Minaha is certain she wants to join SNS. Tamaki is worried. Does a club need 2 illustrators? Shiina doesn’t see a problem if their art style matches. At first Ayame disagrees but after a few discussions and how they’re going to do debut a new game at Summer Comiket, looks like everything worked out. Their entry at Summer Comiket will be called Stardust Intenzione. Next day, looks like Marika is a newly convert after reading Stardust Intenzione. Tamaki still isn’t confident about her drawing so she has Natsu give some advice. Just keep practising. Her classmates take turns to sketch each other. In the clubroom, Tamaki seeks Minaha’s help to improve and surprisingly she helps out without objection. When the rest come in, they tell them their work at Summer Comiket will be displayed by Temawari in exchange they help out in sales. Tamaki doesn’t understand why club activities are ending so early. Because tomorrow is the test. But back home instead of studying, she continues drawing to improve herself. Just one more drawing before picking up a book… I believe at this rate she is never going to make it. You can tell she screwed up when she accidentally sends her selfies to Natsu. And now the regret of she should have studied more after the tests ends. It wasn’t only Tamaki who had problems in her test, Ayame too. Perhaps it was the email she got yesterday praising her story that made her too happy to study.

Episode 10
Tamaki meets up with Teru and the latter is pleased with the game they made. Teru plans on sneaking around the school and has already dressed up in her old uniform. Because Teru steals her hair ribbon, Tamaki is walking around with a new mature look that has other girls wondering who this babe is. It’s both embarrassing and exciting for Tamaki. Minaha continues to lecture Tamaki about her drawings and Teru also butts in to have her say. If you’re wondering why Minaha needs to call beforehand to enter SNS, it’s because so Ayame can have time to turn into Iris! It’s time to be awesome. Minaha is still dense and cannot put the picture together about Iris and Ayame. Though she notices that glass girl isn’t around but it is more of some silly reasons about her being punished. Then the inevitable. Minaha and Tamaki argue over who is the better illustrator and wants Iris to choose! This is going to take a while… Later Shiina tells Tamaki it doesn’t matter who is better as each has their own individual quality. However Tamaki snaps back that she wants to draw good pictures before realizing her rudeness. When she runs out, she accidentally drops Shiina’s laptop she borrowed. Oh no. Doesn’t turn on. It’s broken! Panicking, since Teru is nearby, she pleads to accompany her to go apologize. But Teru just leaves back her ribbon and a note to try her best. So Tamaki stalks Shiina on her way home and eventually Shiina lets her in. Shiina’s mom seems to be the kind of mother who wants her daughter to bring back a boyfriend. She doesn’t mind if it’s the same gender too… Oddly, Tamaki tries to strip to apologize?! They are shortly interrupted when Ayame is here. Apparently her makeup is still on and since this scares her brothers, she is here to borrow some makeup remover before returning home. Tamaki apologizes for breaking her laptop. However it works fine when Shiina plugs in power. It just ran out of battery. Phew. As they reconcile, the good mood is ruined when Minaha barges in since she is here to learn game scripting from Shiina. I see Ayame didn’t remove her makeup as she continues to play Iris. Worse, Shiina’s mom welcomes them to stay for the night, allows them to take energy drinks and snacks and has prepared the bath and sleeping bags for them. Shiina didn’t like this but the promise to liven up SNS to Teru is more important as she goes back working with her friends.

Episode 11
The girls are burning the midnight oil to finish their game. Suddenly Natsu knock on their door looking for her little sister. Who? WHO?! MINAHA?! She is mad at Minaha for breaking her curfew and because of that, grandma is mad. She takes her home in her limo. Wow… When Minaha doesn’t come for club activities anymore, Tamaki finds out from Natsu that strict grandma has barred her from everything including Summer Comiket. Shiina would like Minaha back so they can keep up with the schedule so Tamaki is going to her house and talk. She’s bringing Ayame in hopes as Iris would change her mind. Well, she’s making Ayame go as her bespectacled self in hopes Minaha can connect the dots. Let’s hope she won’t be disillusioned. Natsu’s family house is much bigger than Tamaki’s! Damn rich kids. As the duo talk with Natsu and Minaha, Natsu explains ever since Minaha hangs out with SNS, her grades have dropped as she stayed out more often. Previously Natsu was able to cover for her when grandma blows her top but this one has grown too big for anything. Natsu lectures about drawing being a hobby and she is just conceited if she thinks she can draw the things she can only draw. Ayame disagrees and argues about the passion they put in. Then Natsu makes her read collections from some graduating class. I guess they are Ayame’s works so she couldn’t read it eventually. Minaha’s heart feels conflicted as Ayame is giving out a sense like as though she is Iris. It’s right under your nose… Natsu agrees to convince grandma provided Tamaki and Minaha score 70% in all of their term exams. All of them. Don’t worry. They have energy drinks to help keep them awake for tonight’s study session! Déjà vu hell? After the term exams, Tamaki and Minaha continue drawing. As Tamaki is still bugged by Natsu and Ayame’s argument, she goes out for a walk and bumps into Teru. Tamaki is so down that Teru can tell as she hugs her and gives some advice. This gives Tamaki motivation to draw more about her dad. As she rushes home, Minaha is here because it will be faster to get things done if they do things together. Unfortunately because Tamaki’s house is so far away, it will be far past her curfew when she gets back. What to do? Hope Natsu will come up with an excuse for grandma? Because Teru drops by and says she won’t be going home tonight (she’s staying?), this gives Minaha the reason to stay for the night and finish the job.

Episode 12
The day of Summer Comiket is here. Because Tamaki forgot to set her alarm, Minaha and Natsu have to drive all the way in their limo to pick her up. The rest are already heading there via ferry. When they arrive, Yumine is also there. Since Minaha still doesn’t get along with her, b*tch mode all the way. The hall is crowded with people and after going through the BL section, they finally see their booth. They have to immediately get to work because of the long queue. The crowd eases in the afternoon. Marika comes by to buy a game. There is also a customer whom Tamaki remembers visiting from the previous exhibition. She is amazed with their artwork and Tamaki credits Minaha for it. She also credits her as the leader although embarrassed Minaha denies. However the rest of the girls support that Minaha deserves most of the credit as many of the ideas were from her. Meanwhile Natsu and Teru are spying on them faraway via telescope? The day ends well for our girls. Next day, they visit the beach as wrap up party. Initially Tamaki called Minaha to come over but the latter was acting cocky that they aren’t friends but rivals, blah, blah, blah. Now she is complaining while only watching them play in the sand inside her car. Even more vexing is that Yumine is joining them and she isn’t part of SNS! Just go join them already. When the girls relax, they notice something is bugging Tamaki. She realizes the most important thing about joining this club is not to draw but to make a game that makes people smile. She wants to create a game with her own ideas. The rest agree with her idea and feels it is their turn to support her. But Winter Comiket applications are due tomorrow! And they should have seen it coming that Tamaki wants a game with old men! I’m wondering why everybody is smiling when they are giving ‘warning’s about the tight schedules, meetings and hard work everybody needs to put in. Because what the heck, they’re going to try their best anyway, right?

Special 1
Taking place during the spring break where Teru has graduated and Tamaki hasn’t joined yet, Kayo seems pretty distanced. Next morning, Kayo receives a call from Ayame to wish her happy birthday! She would appreciate if she’d just text her and allow her to sleep. Oh, Ayame and Shiina are already outside her house now! Apparently they know her birthday since last year Teru asked them about it. Plus, it was actually Shiina who remembered her birthday. They then borrow her kitchen to make her a birthday breakfast. Tastes good. Like her mom’s. Seconds please, mom! They might have pressed the wrong button when they ask why she looks dejected lately. Kayo has been feeling burnt out and has lots of free time lately. Thus she is reorganizing her thoughts and wondering what she should do with her musical activities from now on. The duo are worried that she might leave the club since her dream is to become a music professional. They change the subject by asking her what she wants for her birthday. Kayo shows an expensive keyboard with an analogue synthesizer. 70,000 Yen! Just kidding. She has been working and saving up for this. Instead, Kayo wants to go out on a date with Shiina since she is cute. Say what?! Just kidding too. Except for the cute part. Ayame wonders if she is worrying to much about making the right decision or just being insecure.

Special 2
Continuing from the last special, the trio walk around town to find Kayo a present. Kayo wonders why Shiina is being silent and should be enjoying herself more. This is after all their date. Ayame and Shiina ponder about buying a tea she likes. But since it is consumable, Ayame would prefer something she can still remember. What about clothes? Kayo doesn’t need them since she gets hand me downs from her sister. In the music shop, when Ayame asks if she would like to perform on stage, Kayo says she prefers making music. Though, she did think it would be fun if they started a band. She shows them the analogue synthesizer she wants. It might look ancient but it can only produce an analogue sound it can. At the crane game machine, it brings back lots of memories. They used to hang out with Teru here. Teru was obsessed in getting a cat doll. She spent too much and didn’t have enough to get home. Shiina covered for her. Eventually she never did get the prize. It is then Kayo realizes she likes Teru. Ever since she left, she felt a hole in her heart. Shiina then surprises them by giving a present to Kayo. It is that cat doll. Kayo pats her head but tells her she cannot be Teru’s replacement anyhow. But since this makes her happy so thank you. Kayo doesn’t want to be the laughing stock of her family by putting the doll in her room. So they decide to put it in the clubroom. The trio hope they get along well from now on.

Less Than Stellar Magic
Yawn… Oh, is it over already? Thank goodness. Unfortunately for me, with all the glitzy cuteness and everything, this is just boring in my books. It isn’t really about making a game but a group of girls making a game and their bond and interaction between them. I know I should have seen this coming and shouldn’t expect to learn something about making games (after all, this is high school setting). So compared with New Game, I’d say that this series fares worse in my books. I believe making a simple game isn’t as simple as we see here. Otherwise, why so many Kickstarter fails and disappointing games from big companies in recent years?

There are jokes and comedies here and there to make you laugh. Some spontaneous. However despite I have a few chuckles, overall they don’t really make me look forward to see what kind of shenanigans they will pull. I laugh at the silliness of the situation, I forget about it and move on till the next one comes. I guess it feels like the comedies here are short term because at this point I can’t really remember what the funniest memorable moments are in this series except for the characters’ running jokes.

Personally, the characters feel boring despite each of them has their own unique personality to make them stand out. Maybe I have been watching too many of such anime that I don’t really find characters in this genre appealing anymore (but will still continue to watch them because I’m always a sucker for this category). Sure, everyone has their own problems and dilemmas once in a while but they are not that serious to make us feel for them. Because we know they’ll eventually overcome it or be positive in facing it. So we have Tamaki the high pitched squeaky newbie who has her own passion and insecurities. She strives to continue to do better not only as a game artist but as well as an artist in general. The only thing that I have memorable about her is the running joke they keep spamming when they have the chance. The part where she goes on ranting about the love of her dad. Yeah, daddy’s girl. She is the kind of daughter whom all fathers in the world would love to have because you don’t have to worry about sneaky and shady boys wanting to date your little girl and always worrying if they’re going to get in her pants after each date. She is one of those characters who has a fetish for older men and this is a rare type because the only other character I know has this fetish is that weirdo in Kuragehime.

Then there is Ayame who always seem to get embarrassed by her past works. It’s like she’s writing it all down when the passion is flowing. Never mind what it is. After when it is all done and published, she only starts to regret and be ashamed of what kind of stories she wrote. This is what I’ll remember her for mostly. The same case for Yumine who isn’t only just a very close friend of Tamaki but some sort of fujoshi crazy girl who ironically loves to fantasize BL stuffs to the point where she turns her female friends into males just to get her fix. Don’t forget Minaha as the rascal and brat of the series, Tamaki’s rival and the non-believer that Ayame and Iris are the same person. At this rate she’ll never figure why they are never at the same place at the same time. I wonder why she hasn’t officially join SNS seeing that she spends most of her club time here. It’s like if there is real sh*t happening, she can quickly opt out because she’s not a real member anyway. Shiina feels like she has locked her emotions away deep inside or she lost them while growing up. Sometimes I want to think it is stress because from time to time you can see her getting depressed from certain things thinking it was her fault and such. Being a club president isn’t easy. At least all these characters have something that I could ‘remember’ them by because I don’t even for Kayo. I can’t think of the most prominent thing about this music producer.

Teru seems like she is trying to be portrayed as the mysterious girl because she keeps popping up from time to time before Tamaki like as though she is some sort of goddess or saviour. It’s understandable that now she is in college, she would want to see how her juniors and the club are doing. Ultimately, she is just keeping an eye on her juniors, that’s all. Nothing special to her. Natsu is surprisingly a responsible and mature character. So never write off a person despite her poker face because she can hold more influence and mandate when you least expected it. Oh, and shows like these always need some sort of halfie (usually Caucasian) because Japan is too homogenous a culture and country. Seriously.

Art and drawing wise, the character designs are mostly going for the kawaii and moe type. Therefore instead of having nerdy looking high school girls, you have super kawaii joshikousei instead. Hence if I were to compare of all game programming anime series based on this category, it would be my least favourite. Not to say that kawaii girls are bad but when you look at D-Frag and even New Game, those have better looking characters, am I right? Animated by Silverlink who gave us titles like Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya series, Kokoro Connect, Cube x Cursed, Curious, Chaos Dragon and Non Non Biyori.

It was a big surprise for me to find out that Aoi Yuuki was the one behind Kayo. Throughout the years of stereotyping her voice and despite she did take several roles that does away with that genki trademark voice of hers (like that frog girl in Boku No Hero Academia), she is virtually unrecognizable here. Sure, it’s part of her character role but it feels like as though she’s grown up so much. Worse, sometimes straining my ears to confirm it is her doesn’t help and somehow I ended thinking she is Ami Koshimizu. Woah… That’s a big difference. The only seiyuu I recognize is Satomi Arai as Shiina’s mom. The rest of the casts include Maria Naganawa as Tamaki (Theia in Rokujouma No Shinryakusha), Ari Ozawa as Ayame (Kirin Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Rie Murakawa as Shiina (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Ayaka Imamura as Minaho (Munemune in Shakunetsu No Takkyuu Musume), Ryouko Maekawa as Yumine (Sayaka Sasayama in Yugioh Arc V), Chinatsu Akasaki as Teru (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), You Taichi as Natsu (Anzu in Prison School) and Shino Shimoji as Marika (Akari Oozoa in Aikatsu series).

The opening theme is God Save The Girls by Shino Shimoji. God, I wanted to make a pun about this song title about saving the anime… Anyway, a typical anime pop piece but the opening credits animation is interesting since some of it is in old fashion retro style 2D pixels and old gamers might feel the nostalgia. Also featured here are the experience levels of the girls. I believe it must be the computer programming skill levels or the motivation level of the girls. Not that I can understand since they’re all in hiragana. Too lazy to find out… The weird one is the ending theme. Yonaka and Jikaru by the duet of Maria Naganawa and Ryouko Maekawa doesn’t feel so much like a song sung by them. They just sing a few lines and the rest of them are like instrumental. Because the other parts they were like just going, “Hooooooooooo~”. The song sounds a bit space-y which really compliments the pleasingly colourful basic shapes.

Maybe I am too ‘advanced’ in my animes to appreciate this kind of simple anime anymore. I don’t think I can classify this series as calming and cleansing the toxic soul like how Tamayura does it. Close, but not similar. It makes me wonder if such shows like Tamayura pop up, I’ll be able to appreciate it anymore seeing I realize how contaminated my mind, heart and soul are to even value this kind of series. To be fair, this series isn’t very bad but if you are looking for something extraordinary, this series doesn’t break any new grounds either. It’s a good thing these girls don’t meet me if I ever come to their booth to buy their games. Because even with the special rate, discounts or other freebies they throw in, I’ll still find something to criticise. I wonder if they can take it all. Yeah, they’ll ban me from ever buying their games again.

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