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Kiraboshii~!

August 26, 2012

“Dazzling the stage!”

Tsunashi Takuto, Star Driver

Been a while since I’ve watched anything mecha related (I’m going to refrain from doing Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse because I want to avoid holding it up against the novels for scrunity and just enjoy it for what is it), so I picked Star Driver. I mean, flashes, dazzles and fabulous mecha, what could come of it? I was expecting mindless plowing through; honestly I thought the characters wouldn’t bother me that much.

Star Driver’s story is about one young man named Tsunashi Takuto, travelling to the southern island to “sing out his youth”, or some other vague reason. Missing the boat to the island, he decides that he’s too awesome to wait for the next and be late, and tries swimming over the sea. The story picks up from there when Sugata Shindo and Wako Agemaki find him from the beach and shelter him at their house. Early on the show follows a rather random pathing regarding Takuto’s goals; we don’t really see him focusing on anything with a possible resolution other than fighting against the various enemies that come after him and Wako until his mid-series relevations.

Unlike my expectations of Star Driver (young man finds robot power and becomes great), Takuto starts out just a wee bit different from that (already has power, stylo as F**K) and the story revoles more around the day-to-day events that would end up leading into the finale. There’s very little angst around, and what of it that exists is pretty mild/executed well. It’s not draggy, it’s not overly stiff or laden with heavy morals that can’t be lived up to, and overall the entire series executes its own concept pretty well; a bunch of teenagers on an island, each of them with a power and a uniting goal to unseal the full extent of said power. It can be said that I found the plot okay; it’s not really anything world-breaking, but it’s nowhere near being actually bad. My words are more reserved for the world settings, however.

In Star Driver, the battles are fought coleussum-style in a seperate dimension called Zero Time; only choosen people can enter this dimension while the rest of the real world enters a state of suspended animation. The mechs, known otherwise as Cybodies, can only materialize in Zero Time, and their pilots, initially, can only access them via a physical cockpit in the real world. This absolves them of any need to deal with squicky deaths since the pilots aren’t actually there. Takuto is the only special snowflake at the start since instead of accessing his Cybody from the outside, he actually summons his own machine in Zero Time. So the one with the risk of dying a squicky death is him… which he has no problems dealing with. Man, dat butt shake of his…

The fights themselves, well truth be told I was expecting something more out of Star Driver. Takuto starts out with talent and he knows how to use it; the fights begin as awe-and-shock stomping matches that quickly become expected. There are one or two times that Takuto is caught in a pinch, but with the way that Takuto keeps pulling new powers out of his Cybody in the first few episodes, mecha fans looking for more serious combat might be put off.  You’ll get more enjoyment out of Star Driver’s character interactions than with the fights, even if they’re well-animated (then again, the entire series is well-animated). Some of the mecha designs, however, are just begging to be drawn in in ridiculously awesome poses with Obari-ism dripping everywhere.

And then there’s the backstory. Color me anal and an over-obsessive idiot, but information on where the Cybodies came from, Zero Time’s origins and Wako’s backstory were all disappointingly lacking. I’m not saying they need to do a seminar on this, but even at the end there’s no exploration on how humanity came by the Cybodies. The only part they did good was the final villan’s reasons; it might sound stupid, but going apeshit crazy for personal ambition is okay once in a while.

Star Driver isn’t a bad show at all. If you disregard the backstory and take the series at face value, Star Driver is a pretty good watching of how people get inspired by others to overcome their own shortcomings. It’s not preachy, it’s not overly hamfisted because it’s meant to be a show where optimism takes center-stage. The only reason why I’m not raving on it is because the show is pretty standard; some of the twists in the plot could be seen miles away, and there really isn’t enough backstory within the show itself to really attach yourselve to any one of the characters.

 

 

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