“I _really_ wanted a taste of you.”
So if I had some gimmick post where I ranked all the anime from a season based on which one I looked forward to the most, I probably would have given the #1 spot to Star Driver. It’s fabulously good. Sure, Ore no Imouto started off strong, but that premise will only get you so far (unless a really uncomfortable relationship develops between Kyuosuke and Kirino). Sure, TWGOK has potential, but it didn’t start to sniff it until the previous episode. Sure, Sora no Otoshimono is probably the strongest show this season, but it doesn’t have the same dual sexual appeal that Star Driver has.
Apprivoise, bitches, apprivoise.
Plus, it helps that I know nothing about the plot, which makes me look forward to it more each week. It’s like the girl who plays hard-to-get vs. the girl who flashes you her babymaker on the first date. The other shows… I know what’s going to happen, even if Sora no Otoshimono is tossing a slight curve ball right now (Sohara knows a lot more about Synapse than in the manga, for example).
As I predicted, Star Driver is nothing more than a more direct Utena, mixed with Gurren Lagann mecha, and featuring a prince with an actual Johnny this time around (instead of having to overcompensate with a phallic race car).
The Utena DNA? You’ll see it everywhere if you pay attention. The way they do overhead shots? The way they do the gossip scenes? The flower and tree imagery? The way Wako daydreams of Takuto in yaoi moments? The way Galactic Pretty Boy pulls swords from his chest? The way Takuto has to protect Wako while dealing with her feelings for him? The way it’s duel of the week but always with an interesting twist? The girl in the cage? This show is the evolutionary, mecha-based Utena. Sure, for better or worse, the subtleness is gone, replaced with today’s high definition action sequences and glam. Maybe this is the natural evolution of any good director– selling out. But will Star Driver be as timeless as Utena? I doubt it. Is it good enough to be a destination show this season? You betcha.
Maybe it’s a different era, but Utena‘s sexuality was subtle. For Star Driver? Not so much. Just dripping in tease-mentality sexuality… and pretty much every plot point thus far has revolved around unrequited romance being taken advantage of. Not subtle as Anthy and Utena, but it’s here.
I gotta admit. There’s a lot more heterosexual relationships than I expected. And more girl x girl action than boy x boy action. Just a nice bonus.
(Have I mentioned the unrequited romance thing? Most of the cybody pilots get manipulated to duel Takuto because of said unrequited romance. I’m telling you… Utena with fancy pants giant mecha that make you wonder when heavens will be pierced.)
Who likes short shorts? But we all know where this series is headed. The Wako / Takuto / Sugata love triangle (and, thankfully, Takuto and Sugata aren’t that attracted to each other) comes to a head where Sugata reveals some hideous secret. You can see it every episode as Wako finds herself more and more drawn in by Takuto. Just loved the scene where right before she gets sent to Zero Time, she starts complaining to her friend about how uncool Takuto is… then watching Takuto duel wield (duel wielding much be really awesome since only awesome people do it in anime and Sword Art Online)… she texts her friend back saying he’s actually kinda, sorta, maybe cool. A tsundere she’s not as she’s recognizing the nascent feelings she has for him.
(Star Driver is kinda using cell phones correctly as characters do call and text each other but still phones from like 2006. Do any of these people have app phones? Don’t these people FaceBook or Twitter at all? That’s my new complaint… phones and social networks are terribly represented in anime. The Durararara chat room feels like it’s from 2002.)
The whole kissing through the glass thing… enjoyable just because it leads almost every girl trying to seduce Takuto to give him a variation of “Let’s kiss through the glass but without the glass” line… I enjoyed the “… and a lot sloppier” and “… until I say’ stop'” modifiers. That was great. I also like the fallen maiden in a cage who drinks nothing but drugged wine and tells a story that mimics what’s going on with Takuto at the time. Fantastic. I definitely need a fallen maiden in a cage for my living room. I can put her next to Borat’s brother’s cage.
And thank you Takuto for running away from the nakkid girl in the bath. You did as you’re supposed to do.
Definitely helps that all the female villains dress like slutty Macross admirals. I personally hate the old geezer as captain motif of Macross. Much prefer the hawt, young chix0r choices of Nadesico. Or the hawt, drunk chix0r of recent Gundam.
(Halloween costume I have yet to see but want to see? Sexy Macross captain. And not in a Sheryl Nome-kinda way. I would give you all my candy. And, yeah, why can’t everyday be Halloween? I’d say any day that encourages women to dress up as sexy nurses and cat girls can’t be all that bad.)
All the villainesses? We’ve had the one young wife who most likely is bonking the help behind her husband’s back, the dorm manager jealous Takuto ruined her friend, the meido who wants to set Takuto and Wako up, and this girl, who just so happens to be a 28 year old nurse who enjoys her men young. Very young. Disturbingly young.
By my count, 5 of the 6 main bad guys are all girls who look like they’re from Eyes Wide Shut‘s orgy scene. In other words, this is definitely the spiritual successor to Utena with some mecha toss in. Andohbytheway, Utena is definitely in that “we remember maybe too fondly” category with old cars, NES videogames, and ex-girlfriends. Thing is five episodes in Utena was a mess… then again, fifty episodes in… still kinda a narrative mess. Star Driver? Not so messy. Not so much intrigue. Not so dancing around the sexual allegory. Not as much to discuss as a result. Unless you’re into fabulous fashion.
And, of course, she kicks Takuto’s ass until she starts getting aroused by said ass. Let’s just say… Takuto didn’t win the match; she lost the match.
Things this show could use some work on still: Wako needs to be more useful somehow. We need to do something about the heels on Tauburn; no manly man would have heels on his mecha. The yellow Pikachu rip-off needs to go “pi-ka-chu!” just to complete the rip-off. Stop with the transformation sequences– this is 2010 not 1990. Anti-spiral needs to show up at some point and toss galaxies around. Not sure how they can top the crazy girls thus far in this show… they are crazy, I’ll say that… can we work some Amagami haremettes into the fold somehow?
“I’m going to destroy each and every one of their Cybodies.”
Nothing unridiculous about Star Driver. I really regret making fun of the fabulous aspects of this show, and, really, the whole Galactic Pretty Boy thing is beyond fabulous, but there’s more than enough catiness, melonpan, and haremettes behaving badly to make up for it. And, yeah, it helps that Takuto is actually manning up. He might be the love child of Utena and Kittan now that I think of it. Must be the spikey, starfish-like hair.
Typical anime scene: the guy is totally terrified about being trapped in a small room with a wet girl. Totally realistic depiction of an adolescent boy. Totally more realistic than anime depiction of app phone usage.
Apprivoise, bitches, apprivoise.