Ladies and gentlemen, our protagonist.
While others go on about how fabulous and campy Star Driver is, I’d rather just note that the show takes itself much less seriously than the characters and leave it at that. But if you can get past the goofy costumes, the homoerotic posturing, and the gratuitous/mangled spouting of French, then there’s a good deal here to like.
I think this shot is, like, mandatory or something.
There are two things that really stand out to me about this show, which I tweeted about yesterday. For those too lazy to check the links, the first one says I like how the protagonist, Takuto, doesn’t just accidentally stumble across his powers, etc. And, in a more general sense, the show subverts viewer expectations on several occasions. Hanners notes how the show avoids the usual amnesiac washing up on shore scenario: He’s not lost, beat up, or running from anything; he just missed the ferry. In fact, he knows more than he at first lets on, or seems to.
Also the animation is fucking gorgeous.
Those sorts of things really tell me the writers are familiar with the genre, love it, and are having fun playing around with it. Of course, to be familiar with a genre, the writers must have seen previous series. Which takes me to my number two reason for loving this episode: the numerous homages and references to other works (many of them from Bones).
Shinmaru (linked above) “kept expecting Takuto to shout, ‘Listen to my song!’ and was actually somewhat disappointed that he didn’t,” and then goes on to note how the mechanics of Takuto’s mecha were reminiscent of G Gundam. And Ghostlightning sees influence from Sousei no Aquarion. Then there’s the very Gurren Lagann setting for the mecha battle.
But as a fan of Bones myself, what I picked up on most easily were the references to some of my favorite shows:
Clearly inspired by Ayato’s from RahXephon.
Not only does Mr Eyepatch remind me of Shirow Watari from RahXephon, but wasn’t there a “bird in a cage” there too?
Then there’s the fanfare playing as Takuto gives Raging Bull a beating, which sounds very, very much like something straight out of Eureka Seven. (And I would know, as I’ve listened to that OST God knows how many times.) There’s probably more to list, but we can save that for the comments, can’t we?
What else is there to say, really? The OP was fun and colorful, the school bits were kind of boring, the action was well choreographed and beautifully animated, and the jargon was just a tad overwhelming. But the only thing that really matters is how much fun I had watching it. Because that’s what Star Driver is–fun, campy, fabulous, whatever you wanna call it. Thinking about this show now gives me the same feeling I get whenever I think of Eureka Seven, one of my absolute favorites. And maybe some of that comes from my bias towards Bones in general. Still. This is definitely in the running for best first episode of the season.
Screencaps I couldn’t fit into the post:
Love the background here.
I’d like to know whose idea it was to add that ring to this mecha.