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Manga / Magic of Stella

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Left to right, top to bottom: Kayo, Shiina, Ayame, Tamaki, and Yumine

Tamaki Honda is a Country Mouse who starts going to Hoshi-no-Tsujinote  Middle and High School in the town this year, and eventually joins the SNS club—whose actual purpose is to develop doujin games. Along with clubmates Shiina Murakami, Ayame Seki, and Kayo Fujikawa, and supported by Tamaki's friend Yumine Fuda, Tamaki sets out to help develop a new game for an upcoming summer event.

Magic of Stella (Stella no Mahou) is a manga authored by Cloba. U, himself a doujin game developer (which goes a long way to explain the tons of good game design advice strewn throughout the manga), and published in Manga Time Kirara Max. It received an anime adaptation in the Fall 2016 season by SILVER LINK..


Magic of Stella contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The train in Episode 3 is very obviously CG.
  • Aborted Arc: In-Universe. Stardust Intenzione only has a "volume 1," and some conversations between Shiina and Ayame indicate that it wasn't finished.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Shiina's mother is very willing to accommodate any friends her daughter brings home. She'll even sometimes bring up embarrassing childhood stories.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Tamaki. She mistakes Kayo's requests for help with her music as a desire for sex, and when Shiina's mom mentions being fine with same-sex relationships, Tamaki undresses right at the doorstep and says she'll do anything to get back in Shiina's good graces. On the other hand, it's nearing a Running Gag that Tamaki probably likes her dad too much.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The anime ends with Tamaki stating that she wants to make her own game, and the SNS club supporting her decision. Some scenes interspersed with the credits show everyone working on the game.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: Teru seems to like these.
    • When Teru leaves the SNS Club for college, she left a rabbit one and all subsequent presidents are supposed to wear it.
    • In episode 10, Tamaki thinks Teru is wearing one, but it turns out to be an actual cat on her head.
  • Art Shift: In Episode 3 Tamaki's grandmother's face becomes much more detailed as she's racing to defend her Shishi-odoshi.
  • Beach Episode: The last part of the last episode of the anime sees the SNS club going to the beach to celebrate.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kayo is the nicest of the senpais, but she gets very agitated if someone causes a scene at her workplace.
    • Tamaki's grandma is kind and inviting, but if it even sounds like someone is messing with the house's Shishi-odoshi she'll have their head for it.
  • Big Fancy House: The viewer may think Tamaki's as this when that started the series, but turns the one that takes the cake is Iino's—a full Japanese mansion that Tamaki estimates to be five times as large as hers, starting with a wooden gate.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Shiina seems to have a knack strangely-flavored non-alcoholic drinks, often just to entertain herself. As an example, in episode 9 she has been seen drinking two different drinks of this type: strawberry-cherry-habanero and cocoa-tomato.
  • Blackmail: Shiina reins in Ayame's Schedule Slip issues mainly through this trope; pretty much any of her command to Ayame is on the pain of publicizing one of Ayame's many Old Shames.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The staff Shiina wields in the opening has a topper which looks a lot like a Red Bull can, but just says "Energy Drink" on it.
    • Tamaki says the club game reminds her a lot of a puzzle game she had called Hoyofuyo.
    • Shiina's laptop is a TangerineBook.
    • Kayo works at a restaurant called Gutos, which is clearly a clone of the family restaurant chain Gusto.
    • In Episode 7 Yumine and Tamaki are playing on slightly altered versions of a Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy, respectively.
  • Blank White Eyes: Tamaki has this when she is at the SNS Club's stall during the Club PR event in the first episode, being flummoxed at the term "doujin game".
  • Blood from the Mouth: Used twice in Episode 9, both Played for Laughs.
    • Subverted when Shiina does this as a response to Tamaki's nighmare. It was actually a Spit Take, but then her drink of the day is red in colour.
    • Played Straight later on by Ayame, after she inadvertently made up the "Iris" persona.
  • Bokukko: Ayame was one, but sees this as Old Shame.
  • Book Dumb: Both Tamaki and Minaha have problem with grades. Episode 11 involves them having to be tutored such that their grades are good enough to explain away Minaha's hobbies.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Ayame has a short haircut. Her boyish side is something she wants to drop, though.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In-universe, the game script Ayame drafts for Magic of Stella leans on fourth-wall-breaking moments. The plot kicks off because the player hasn't interacted with the characters for a year, and eventually even the dialogue boxes gain sentience.
  • Breather Episode: After a few hectic episodes of the SNS club rushing to finish their game, Episode 7 slows the pace a bit with some slice of life antics and a flashback.
  • Brutal Honesty: Shiina does not mince words. After Tamaki joins, Shiina says that the club will eventually expect her to put out a lot of art for them.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Teru is exceptionally good at anything she does, from club activities to people management, so people tend to overlook her eccentricities like wearing a live cat on her head in public. To her credit, she does not wear actual bunny ears (she prefers the feline theme), but bequeaths them to the future SNS club presidents to wear as a sign of office.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Tamaki's half-Caucasian classmate Marika, who is kind and energetic, like Kiniro Mosaic's Karen.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Minaha asks for Iris to autograph her game, Ayame walks up and signs it. Minaha then tells Ayame off and says not to pretend to be Iris.
  • Cat Girl: Teru first appeared in front of Tamaki while wearing a cat cosplay in front of an Artificial Riverbank.
  • Childhood Friends: Tama and Yumi, and Shii and Aya.
  • Chuunibyou: Haruma likes to call out his sister Ayame as this.
  • Clickbait Gag: In episode 8, Yumine fell into one—the title was about the retirement of one of her favourite seiyuus, but turns out to be a restaurant advertisement.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Teru. Her former kouheis mentioned she likes to cosplay, up to and inclduing cosplaying as a potato, and the first time she appears on the screen she practically dresses as a Cat Girl and walks across the town.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After Yumine saves Tamaki from what they believe to be a sex-crazed Kayo, Tamaki realizes that when Kayo refers to her babies, she probably means her compositions, and that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
  • Country Mouse: Tamaki hails from the country. She even has a dialect to go with her background.
  • Credits Running Sequence: Tamaki runs around the world for a portion of the opening.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Marika sports one.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Tamaki isn't sure what she wants to do in the future. Throughout her school years, she got into various different hobbies, but never stuck with one for long.
  • The Ditz: Tamaki.
  • Doujinshi: This series involves doujinshi in its most literal sense—self-published works. Self-published games, to be exact. Among the cast, Ayame also has previous experience on more traditional doujin literature.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the anime, Minaha can be seen walking to school in Episode 2, three episodes before she becomes plot-relevant.
  • The Eeyore: Shiina, as most of SNS Club's member can attest in Episode 3. The club's name comes from her pessimistic opinions of what that club does in the first place.
  • Electra Complex: Tamaki. While she doesn't seem to want to dispose of her mother, in episode 9 she did say something to the effect of wanting to get her father's favour like her mother does:
    Tamaki: My mother used to wear [her hair] long, so I think if I have long, pretty hair my dad will like it too.
  • Emotionless Girl: Shiina almost always has a very flat demeanour.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Fantasy-Forbidding Sister, rather. Natsu doesn't approve of Minaha's interest in art and would rather that she put her effort into something more useful.
  • Fictional Video Game: Being a series about doujin game development, this trope is expected. Up to this point in manga they have developed six games, of which the anime adopts the first two:
    • Magic of Stella is actually the title of the game they make after Tamaki joins.
    • A Visual Novel adaptation of Stardust Intenzione, Ayame's novel.
  • First-Name Basis: It isn't too long before Kayo asks Tamaki to just refer to her by her first name because saying her last name feels too formal.
  • Fish out of Water: Tamaki's first experience of a doujin game convention is basically being far out of her element, having no idea about some convention conventions means. When an member of the public hands her the former's sketch pad, for example, she didn't know that other person wants her to scribble for her.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Tamaki can't decide what interests her the most, thus resorting to this.
  • Freudian Excuse: Tamaki has a unusual fascination with older men and hard-boiled Shōnen. This seems to be contributed to the fact that she only sees her dad once a month.
  • Friendless Background: Yumine when she was a child, mainly due to her status of an Ill Girl. This has gone so much that she became pretty cynical to the idea of friendship, but Tamaki helped her with overcoming that.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In Japanese jargon, SNS is the acronym for Social Networking Service. For the SNS club, however, it means something completely different — Dead-fish eyes (for not enough sleep), Not enough sunlight (for being an essentially indoor activity), and sprinting to-and-from the clubroom.
  • Funny Background Event: Several times while Yumine visits the SNS clubroom for the first time. Kayo provides a constant source of events by letting out an exasperated cry and composing music without headphones on, and Shiina briefly sits by the bookshelf to sulk.
  • The Gadfly: Shiina usually goads or manipulates Ayame, though it's to keep her in line.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In-universe, the first-run copies of the SNS Club's Magic of Stella have a bug that freezes the game near the end of the true ending route.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Minaha's criticism to Tamaki's illustrations in episode 8 made a few of these to Tamaki. These include "(Iris' writing) completely overshadows your drawings," "doesn't even know the basics," and "you think you just have to draw pictures (and hand them in)."
  • Head Pet: Teru has a cat on her head in episode 10 and 11.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Aya, the protagonist of Ayame's novel Stardust Intenzione, is a Magical Girl Warrior with a private life that "sparkle like a star," up to and including having two boyfriends.
  • High-Pressure Emotion:
    • Tamaki is bright red and steaming after she reads one of Ayame's old stories.
    • In episode 5, both Tamaki and Shiina gets this, but at different points.
    • Minaha turns red when the SNS club is praising her for her effort on their Stardust Intenzione visual novel.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Yumine is a big Yaoi Fangirl, but she'll be damned if she lets anyone make Tamaki draw boy's love pictures.
  • Idiot Hair: Tamaki always has three or more strands of hair sticking out.
  • Ill Girl: Yumine was frequently bedridden when she was younger.
  • Imagine Spot: Yumine has one in episode 7, when several misunderstandings combine to become a case of Mistaken for Gay. As the local Yaoi Fangirl, she imagined Gender Flipped version of Yumine and Tamaki on a stereotypical gay sex scene, with Tamaki being the seme.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Yumine calls Tamaki "Tama-chan".
    • Ayame and Shiina call each other Shii and Aya.
    • Minaha is called "Ha-chan" first by Yumine and later by Tamaki.
  • Indirect Kiss: Yumine is excited when she talks about a senior nearly drinking out of another freshman's cup.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Characters often comment on how cute Tamaki is, but Generic Cuteness applies to this series like any Manga Time Kirara work.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Kayo and Tamaki meet in the DTM club room, Kayo says that they're going to make her child. Kayo is talking about putting together her song, but Tamaki thinks Kayo is talking about actually conceiving a baby.
  • Introductory Opening Credits: The opening follows the manga, showing the characters' names and their personalities, the latter in the form of video game stats.
  • Japanese School Club: Hoshi-no-Tsuji is even more lax than the average Japanese school when it comes to club formation, because teacher consent is not even needed. Therefore, the SNS club, whose mission is doujin game development, can actually exist.
  • Left the Background Music On: Dramatic music builds up as Yumine asks if Tamaki is fitting in with the club. Yumine then asks what the deal with the sounds is, and Ayame scolds Kayo for composing music without headphones on.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Frantic music plays as Ayame apologizes for not mentioning that the SNS club didn't get space at the summer Comiket. She then mentions she got the club into a different event, but Shiina asks when it will happen. The music quickly drops off as Ayame replies that it's in six days.
  • Likes Older Men: Tamaki has a strange fascination towards older men. It seems to have a Freudian Excuse owing to the fact that she only sees her father once a month.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Minaha is a huge fan of Iri§, Ayame's Pen Name, but can't stand the actual Ayame. So, in episode 9, Minaha practically squees over an Ayame with a slightly modified hairstyle and without glasses, taken by Minaha to be Iri§.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The first half of episode 7 involves misunderstanding after misunderstanding such that both Tamaki and Yumine thought Kayo is lesbian for Tamaki.
  • Must Have Caffeine:
    • The relationship between this trope and programming is indicated in the opening.
    • Shiina's mother, a work-at-home web programmer, has a large stock of energy drink in the family fridge.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform:
    • Tamaki wears her oversized jacket open.
    • Shiina wears a blue tie instead of the usual red ribbon.
    • Ayame doesn't wear a jacket and has an orange bow instead of a ribbon.
    • Kayo wears a vest in place of the jacket.
    • Marika wears a blue sweater instead of the jacket.
  • No Social Skills: Shiina doesn't seem to have an idea on how to communicate properly. Ayame occasionally chides her for being too blunt in her way of speaking.
  • Not What It Looks Like: While Tamaki and Kayo are alone in a room, Tamaki falls down, and Kayo falls on top soon after. Yumine happens to walk in on the aftermath.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Tamaki. In episode 5, 12-year-old Haruma has an obvious crush on her, partly because he thinks she's the same age as his. Tamaki is actually at least 3 years older than Haruma.
    • Minaha. Tamaki thinks Minaha is a middle-schooler at first, but later learns she's actually a first-year in high school.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Shiina's mom is completely fine if her daughter gets into a same-sex relationship. She even told Ayame to marry her daughter when they were little.
  • Old Money: The Iino household, which has several very conservative practices, including a prohibition of joining Japanese School Clubs.
  • Old Shame: Ayame has several In-Universe examples.
    • The old stories she wrote. They're of a very adult nature and she would rather that no one ever know of them.
    • The fact she liked to wear black clothing and used masculine pronouns.
  • Origins Episode: The second half of Episode 7 is about how Tamaki and Yumine became Childhood Friends, and how Tamaki got an interest in games (in the general sense) in the first place.
  • Otaku: This universe doesn't seem to prejudice against otaku.
    • Ayame declares herself as much. She's into collecting anime and manga goods, and her hair ornament happens to be anime merch as well.
    • Yumine is a big gamer and anime and manga fan.
  • Overly Long Name: The SNS Club's full name is Shin da Sakana no Me-Nisshyo Busoku-Shuttle Run Club (Stare of a Dead Fish, Not Enough Sunlight, Shuttle Run Club).
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: It only takes Ayame removing her glasses and hair ornament to make Minaha think she's a different person.
  • Pen Name: Ayame writes novels under the name Iri§, while Kayo calls herself "Signa" in the game's credits.
  • Pointless Band-Aid: Haruma always have a band-aid over his nose.
  • Pose of Supplication:
    • Shiina drops to her hands and knees after Tamaki mentions the puzzle game the club made is very similar to another one she played.
    • Ayame assumes the stance after Shiina offers to take over the project or reveal Ayame's darkest secrets for missing the next deadline.
    • Minaha falls over in this position when she concedes the art contest to Tamaki.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: The cast goes to a bathhouse to clean up after Ayame unintentionally makes a mess.
  • The Quiet One: Shiina doesn't like talking to people, and when she does it's usually in a hushed tone.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In-universe, Ayame says the dual-sided plot for the Magic of Stella game was partially inspired by seeing Tamaki's normally kind grandmother fly off the handle.
  • The Rival: Tamaki sees Minaha as a competitor for the SNS club's affections, as they're both artists for the club. However, Tamaki isn't above asking Minaha for help, and neither is Minaha above giving Tamaki some pointers.
  • Scare Chord: Played for laughs in episode 8 of the anime. After Minaha says a bug froze the game the club made, a jarring organ chord plays as Shiina screams in anguish.
  • Schedule Slip: In-universe, it seems to be a common problem for Ayame, to be point that Shiina has to constantly Blackmail her into getting things done on time.
  • School Club Stories: Most of the story focuses on the SNS Club.
  • Schoolgirl Series: The recurring cast is a group of schoolgirls.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: In-Universe. Yumine and Minaha have been arguing over ships during Illustration Club activities, so when Minaha comes to Tamaki's classroom to promote Stardust Intenzione, Yumine thought Minaha is coming to promote her shipping position.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yumine ships Tamaki with anyone the latter is close to. Usually as a male and as the dominant one in her imagination.
  • Sick Episode: Episode 5A is about when Tamaki falls sick, and Shiina and Ayame converting her house as the impromptu clubroom.
  • Sixth Ranger: Minaha joins the cast a good way into the series.
  • Slumber Party: The SNS club spends a night at Tamaki's house during their Golden Week break in order to further hash out their game.
  • Start My Own: Hoshi-no-Tsuji institutionalizes this trope, as it doesn't require a faculty advisor to start a Japanese School Club.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Teru is prone to suddenly showing up and disappearing, especially around Tamaki.
  • The Thing That Goes "Doink": Tamaki's house has one of these. Ayame and Kayo learn the hard way that they should never give the impression that they're messing with it.
  • Title Drop: Magic of Stella is the title of the game Tamaki helps make with the SNS club. The title was selected for another purpose as well — it also represents sharing roles in game creation, through art, plot, music, programming, and management. Stella also means "star" in Latin, so the five roles line up nicely with a star's five points.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The dynamic between Shiina and Ayame when they were middle schoolers. Ayame was a Tomboy (which she sees as Old Shame in Present Day) while Shiina was a Shrinking Violet.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Tamaki likes kinpira burdock, to the point that she sees having that for lunch, together with talking with her dad on the phone and other things signs of being a happy day.
  • Unexpectedly Wealthy: This is Played for Drama in episode 11, as the SNS club realized Minaha is from an Old Money household, and the family forbids her for any school club activity.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: While Tamaki's father appears doting, he's working away from their hometown which means Tamaki sees her dad one weekend a month.
  • Wingding Eyes:
    • Ayame gets starry eyes when she really gets into her script recitals or is posing as Iris.
    • Yumine has interlocked male symbols in her eyes after fantasizing about a gender-swapped Tamaki and Kayo in a steamy situation.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Yumi, directly declared at the opening video as such. In the first episode she becomes enchanted when she talks about a near Indirect Kiss between two male students in the Illustration Club.
  • Yonkoma: Being from Manga Time Kirara Max, it goes without saying.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Marika's hair has green tints, and Minaha's hair is a pinkish shade.

Alternative Title(s): Stella No Mahou


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