Sorry for the lateness, but . . .
And so we have the second episode of Star Driver, which manages to raise questions even faster than it answers them. Nameless over at Borderline Hikikomori has a very thorough and interesting writeup on this episode, which you probably should read before this post. But before I respond to that, I’d like to start with some things I think warrant more attention than I’ve seen them getting.
Whenever people talk about Takuto’s VA, Mamoru Miyano, they usually bring up his most recent prominent role as Kida Masaomi from Durarara!! But in my opinion a much more relevant connection is to his role as Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club, who shares Takuto’s apparent love for theatrics and flamboyance (and possibly naivete). The astute reader might notice that Star Driver and Ouran share both a writer and a director. While I can’t say for certain how deliberate the choice for the lead was, given the writer’s and director’s comments on how they view the show, there’s certainly plenty of grounds for speculation.
Secondly, there’s the relatively copious fanservice present here. I don’t guess fanservice is usually much to write about except in a “There’s too much of it” or an “It needs more” sense, but here I think it serves a more central, thematic purpose (though fanservice as more than just that has been proposed before). This episode rather blatantly introduces sexuality as a major theme of the show, and the fanservice I think highlights that. That is to say, the show’s attempt at enticing the viewer is the logical extension of its obsession with the stage and performance combined with its sexual theme. Though I’ll leave speculations about characters’ sexualities to others.
And then there’s the kissing through glass bit. I understand that it must be some sort of metaphor — but for what? Nameless brings up the subject for a moment, but lets it pass without much inquiry. The best I can offer in terms of interpretation relies on the creators’ comments I linked above, which identify Takuto as a catalyst for the integration of the students’ school and “extracurricular” lives, which heretofore have remained independent. In which case the glass would refer to the invisible barrier between the two lives. And the kissing is. . . another manifestation of the show’s sexual theme? And why does Ms pink-haired RA agree with Takuto on the matter? I honestly cannot say, unless it foreshadows some future development on her part.
But rather than focus on frustrating questions I can’t answer, let’s shift to moderately more stable speculation.
Nameless brings up the idea of redemption after a loss, which is novel enough to interest me. Since losses in mecha series tend to end in death, and those in shounen series tend to end in friendship, I don’t really know how these two will move on. The closest thing I can think of (in my limited experience) is Ray and Charles Beams from Eureka Seven, and that one involved death. (Warning: spoiler, etc.) There Ray chose not to move on after losing her husband, and so died as well. How that would translate to a series where Word of God says no one will die is anyone’s guess, but the results should be interesting if executed well.
Most interesting, though, is Nameless’s theory that the post-defeat breaking of the mask signifies the point where the show will really start to explore that character. Though it already is a bit flawed (Ms pink-haired RA already has received considerable development), the idea still is solid, and easily could be patched up once we know more (which I guess should go without saying).
Anyway. To end on a bit of a lighter note, I present more fanservice.
PS Listening to the Eureka Seven OST while writing this made me realize how much better Star Driver would be if they could have gotten Naoki Sato to do the score. Oh well.