With an overabundance of moe, slice-of-life anime produced every year, it’s a real challenge for each show to distinguish and differentiate themselves from each other. In a genre that is oversaturated in mediocrity, a series will be required to employ a significant amount of creativity, originality or innovation in order for it to stand above the rest. Even if it can’t shake the label of ‘cute girls doing whatever’, an anime can achieve excellence through a variety of ways. For some, it’s comedy (Love Lab) and for others, it’s chemistry (Yuyushiki). But for Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C3-bu, an anime about an all-girls airsoft/survival games club, it was a brilliant display of character development and introspection that allowed the anime to distance itself from the median and become one of the better, more enjoyable anime of 2013.
Yura Yamato, the protagonist of this anime, was integral to the success of C3-bu. It was not due to her role as the main character, but rather, how her character impacted the series with her growth, maturity and fluctuating personality. At first, Yura was an excitable, yet shy and timid lass who had grandiose dreams and a vivid imagination of a prosperous life in an all-girls high school. After being persuaded by the charming and charismatic Sonora, Yura began to shed her shy nature and enjoy her time with friends, valuing her friendship and connection to others. However, her nervous and introverted identity caused her some hardship, leading her to surrender during a match and losing Sonora’s respect. Realizng her mistake, Yura than began to blossom further as a character and her newfound desire to restore her friendship with Sonora saw Yura cut her hair and become more proactive. Oh, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
From here onward, we witnessed extraordinary moments in Yura’s life, from her wild imagination materializing in the real world with tremendous visuals and unforgettable lessons, to her becoming the unquestioned leader of the C3 club, to becoming obsessed with her power at the cost of her friendship and happiness, to joining the enemy side, to losing it all and wondering where she went wrong, only to find her place in the sun within the welcoming arms of the C3 club. Really, C3-bu’s main storyline isn’t so much an anime about a club of six girls obsessed with firearms and warfare; I’d say that those elements were secondary to the journey of Yura’s character. Everything that we saw in C3-bu was related to Yura and her growth as a person. Even all that unexplained and unexplored fantasy stuff, stemming from that dazzling and groundbreaking imagination of Yura’s, was really an off-shoot of Yura’s character development (and deserves recognition of its own for its innovation and imagination in the series). Really, the whole point of the anime was to watch this one girl go through a rollercoaster of events, experiences and emotions which forced her to mature into the cheerful, beaming girl we see at the end of the series. You hardly ever see a character with such an outstanding level of complexity and you’d hardly ever expect it in a moe, slife anime like C3-bu. But instead, C3-bu defied its label and took on a challenge rarely seen in anime and make a story about its character growing up rather than saving the world, finding true love or doing nothing.
Without Yura Yamato’s character development, C3-bu would have been just another ordinary slice-of-life anime. But with Yura, C3-but was something different as Yura was able to impact and influence every episode. And every episode of the series impacted and influences Yura, too, as she displayed growth and improvement in every episode. In fact, you can take almost any episode of the series and look at Yura at the start and at the end and see some significant change in her character. Whether it was mending a broken friendship, gaining confidence through her exceptional imagination, or finding herself alone and miserable due to her obsessive nature, Yura demonstrated a remarkable amount of character development that made her character one of the most exceptional and enjoyable of the entire year. And for that, C3-bu deserves some recognition and praise for how it was able to utilize its main character. It deserves so much that it even earned its own day in my 12 Days of Anime series.