Mineo previously told LIP☆S they need to discover their own magic (“mine”), and Saya powered up in Stellar Witch LIP☆S volume 3. Seeing her new magic and witnessing Grim ramping up his attacks, the others try to discover their own “mine”.
While the previous volume felt like a bit of a stall tactic, volume 4 returns to moving the story forward — on an individual level. Team member power-ups are a common story arc in fantasy and fighting manga, and as typical of this type of situation, the manga is rotating through the characters. With the focus on two of the Witches, that means the others are barely in the picture. Even Miku, the main character, is surprisingly low-key in the story.
The bright side is that the development and awakening of Yume and Shizuku aren’t restricted to a single chapter; they each get two. This gives their stories a little more breathing room, which isn’t something a lot of magical girl manga do well: developing the teammates.
Of the two, Yume’s arc is the stronger one. Shizuku has a flashy, cheerful guy chasing after her, and his sparkling, somewhat rebellious attitude is very different from her own. Like Shizuku’s chapter, Yume’s also has a romance angle, but it’s undertones versus overtones for Shizuku. One of Grim’s mage followers has his magic restricted and is assigned to monitor one of the Witches. I probably should know his name by now, but Stellar Witch LIP☆S has never been good about reminding readers of the mages’ individual identities. Looking back at previous volumes, I think it’s Undine, so we’ll go with that.
Anyway, Undine decides Yume is the weakest Witch, especially now that she’s full of self-doubt about whether to continue flower-arranging and lacking the confidence her friends have. Undine pretends he’s a flower spirit to approach her, and their days together changes them. Shizuku’s story wasn’t bad, but Yume’s features a more emotional conclusion and a good lesson about treasuring one’s self.
Compared to volume 3, we are seeing a little more of the series’ uniqueness come through. Ryusei is training, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we won’t see him again until he’s more versed with magic. Before he goes, Ray messes with him a bit regarding Miku, and Marie throws a sleepover with Miku and Shizuku for a little fun (and love talk). I’m not big on the magical creatures of Grim’s like a horned giant ram (Baphomet?) being called his “Five Fingers” though. I mean, write your own joke here…
Otherwise, Stellar Witch LIP☆S continues to be a love letter to 90s shoujo fans, but volume 4 improves on some of its predecessors’ weaknesses by not making the team power-ups just a chapter-by-chapter rotation and letting the heroine step aside for a while.