Star Driver takes place on the fictional Southern Cross Isle. One night, a boy named Takuto washes up on shore swimming from the mainland. He later enrolls in Southern Cross High School as a freshmen and makes new friends. However, beneath the school is a group of mysterious giants called Cybodies, which can be controlled by humans in an alternate dimension known as Zero Time. Takuto, The "Galactic Pretty Boy" , finds himself dragged into opposition with the "Glittering Crux Brigade". Glittering Star Cruciform Group), a mysterious group that intends to take possession of the island's Cybodies for their own purposes as well as break the seals of the island's four Shrine Maidens, whose powers prevent the Cybodies from functioning outside of Zero Time.
So I actually finished this series about two weeks ago now, but I find I need to wait to give properly objective reviews, otherwise all I'll come up with is keysmash and fangirling. So, now that I've let it sit a bit, let's get started, shall we? Story: The story itself isn't anything new, honestly, as it has bad guys who want to destroy/take over the world, and a group of people who want to stop them. In that sense, Star Driver's basic plot is actually quite predictable, good guys always win, etc. However, the way in which Star Driver handles these problems and such is somewhat unique, introducing mechanics and limitations on both heroes and villains which can only be overcome by accomplishing certain things. So, while the plot may not be the most original, Star Driver is still a fun, fresh take on it, which keeps it interesting. Also, the pacing was pretty good - it falls into the same trap of leaving a bit too much to the very end of the series, but it certainly isn't as bad as some other series, and it isn't anything most people couldn't handle. It certainly has it's moments of pure crackishness, as it spends the first few episodes not really taking itself too seriously, but once it settles down, it's definitely got a lot of darker moments, too. Unfortunately the fight scenes tend to be kind of copy/paste, which loses points for me. But at the same time, magical boys. And girls calling themselves magical boys. This series made me laugh, but also made me emotional. Animation: Absolutely beautiful! Lots of colours, lots of details, visually stunning. The fight scenes are absolute works of art, even if they're repetitive. The colours make sense with the atmospheres, so dark scenes have dark colours and light-hearted scenes have bright. Of course it has a somewhat distinctive style, so if that's not your thing, I guess you wouldn't like it that much, but if you do/can work around that, it's definitely worth sticking around. The opening and ending themes are cute, too! The animation is smooth, and when I said lots of attention to details, I meant it. Even the backgrounds aren't just static, at least most of the time. Except when they're supposed to be (during Zero Time, but I won't get into that). Sound: Both sets of intros/endings are quite fitting for a somewhat light hearted mecha anime. The voice acting is great - every character sounds distinctive, and their personalities really shine through. Really top quality. Then there are the insert songs, which I absolutely adore. Haruka Tomatsu ("Sakana-chan")'s song, Monochrome, is probably my favorite of the four, but all of them are quite good! (Of course, that's a matter of personal preference, as music always is.) Characters: Okay, here we go, here's where I get absolutely rambly. Like, multiple paragraphs rambly. Star Driver does characters so amazingly, it's... Kind of incredible for an anime of this length, actually. The easiest way to put this would be "You get a backstory! And YOU get a backstory! EVERYBODY GETS A BACKSTORY!" because it's true. Damn near every character gets at least half an episode dedicated to them: why they're on the side they're on, what their beliefs are, who they like/dislike, etc. It's absolutely amazing. This comes at the price of some plot pacing, unfortunately, but personally I didn't find the plot so rushed that this is a bad thing. But since nearly every character gets a backstory (which is what I was saying was rare for an anime this length - usually character development gets shoved aside, I find), they all seem much more relatable, which for me makes it so that there are actually very few characters I dislike. Even characters you start off disliking may grow on you once you get to learn why they are the way they are - of course, that's not a guarantee, and could just as easily go the other way (as happened to me with one character), but still, at least you can have solid reasons for liking/disliking almost any character. Again, not that that's mandatory, just that we can genuinely get to know each character and decide on your own terms whether you like them or not, it isn't just based on a five minute snippit of them. I find it quite refreshing, honestly. It's one of the things that makes this anime so amazing for me, hence the perfect 10/10. Relationships gets it's own paragraph. So, if you don't want rambly shippy talk, skip this paragraph! Also this paragraph is... Slightly spoilery? Not really plot-wise though, just character-wise. I'll start off by saying Star Driver does something a lot of other series won't/don't do: threesomes. (I mean, there's no sex scenes or anything! Just keep reading.) Wako, the main girl, is in love with both Takuto and Sugata... And never has to choose between them. Never. Even in the last episode, she still has both of them: and they're both okay with that. Well, I mean, mostly, anyway. Both Sugata and Takuto wonder what will happen to them if Wako chooses the other, but for example, Sugata (who is actually engaged to Wako, and has been since before Takuto arrived on the island) asks Wako on a date, and then says that since Wako went on a date with him in the morning, she should spend the afternoon with Takuto. On Wako's birthday, Takuto gives her something precious of his, and when Sugata isn't sure how he's supposed to even match that, Takuto gives Wako something precious of Sugata's. Even as they're supposed to be competing for Wako's affections, they both basically refuse to. Of course, some people (myself included!) see Takuto and Sugata as actually interested in each other as well, but if that's not your cup of tea, that's fine too! (Except that Wako wants to see them make out, too. And more. And basically tells them as much. ["How long are you two gonna make out in there?!"]) And that's just the main trio! There's another important threesome, too, but basically everything about it is spoilers, so I won't talk about that one. Actually, there are really a number of possible threesomes/moresomes(!!), and practally everyone in the cast is arguably bisexual, or at least bi-curious. There's also a somewhat-canon set of lesbians whose stories don't revolve around the fact that they're lesbians; in fact it's never explicitly mentioned, but it's preeeeeeeetty heavily implied, hence me saying somewhat-canon. Also a lot of the cast wants Sugata or Takuto or both. Basically, if you want to ship something, go ahead. This series gives you a lot of room, and a lot of characterization and interaction to back it up with! In conclusion, is this one of my top five favourite animes? It... Might very well be, actually. Of course I'm not guaranteeing that you'll love it as much as I do, but I think if what I've said so far seems at least marginally interesting, give it a shot! And if you're worried about/turned off by the mecha aspect, keep in mind that I personally don't typically like mecha anime either. The visuals are amazing, the story is told in a way that allows you to get to know almost all the characters individually, and in their "teams" when applicable. Tons of shipping options if you're into that. Just... So many things packed in without coming off as overwhelming. If you're debating, or even just slightly interested, definitely give it a watch!
I don't know about this anime. It had the potential to be something great in every sense of the word, yet it put up with excelling only in being, as everyone says, ''fabulous''.For me the biggest highlight in Star Driver were the dynamics between the protagonist trio: Takuto, Wako and Sugata. I really enjoyed these three characters as the show went on and ever since the beginning they left a good impression (for example, seeing Sugata's appearance I would have thought he'd be the usual emo stoic dick whereas he was none of the sort) and they grew on me more than anyone else. The rest of the people doesn't stand out nearly as much, but still, before I knew it a solid enough cast had assembled: you get to know fragments of their pasts, their motivations and personalities. By no means is it managed as well as I'd want, but it's satisfying.Anyways, the trio was very cool and I really enjoyed their interactions, both the serious and goofy ones.Another strong point of the show is, most obviously, the animation. Crisp graphics, vibrant shiny colors, fluent movement and a gar vibe à la Gurren Lagann. My only gripe is that they reused animation way TOO much for things such as Takuto's entrances to the battles. Well, actually repetition is one of the biggest flaws in Star Driver, which I'll mention very soon.As for the OST, I could say the same, but while what I heard was nice, it was also scarce. The soundtrack outside the fights presented more variety, but we all know that the themes that stick in our heads the most in a show like this are the battle ones. And sadly, they were way too meager and overused. Take for example Monochrome, which was used the same way for like 7 or 8 episodes straight (same with the other ''beginning of the fight'' themes), or the one for when Takuto finally slashes his weekly enemy, which was pretty much the same galaxy-ish theme the whole time. OPs and EDs were all good, but the only one I actually sat through every time was the first opening. Gotta love Aqua Timez.Well then, I've mentioned the show's good points, so now we're in for the shortcomings. There's a reason why SD can't become a top watch in my list and it's a pretty basical one: it is repetitive as hell. Some people might find it to be entertaining, or to add to the experience, but in my humble opinion it's about time anime shows would stop relying on formulaic episodes and stick to a more linear, less monster-of-the-week-ish plot development, which will always, ALWAYS work better when it comes to an anime such as this that's trying to be epic.Go no further than Gurren Lagann. Would it have got such a huge fandom if instead of progressively developing the story, the whole 27 episodes had consisted of Simon and Kamina destroying random anti-spirals with their manly mecha? Hell no. Probably not (well, who knows, people are very simple after all). TTGL had more than awesome fight scenes and generally compelling characters going for it. It had a good enough storyline that advanced quickly but surely to an aimed finale, instead of using a bucle fight structure while slowly building up the characters like Star Driver does. It's in my opinion a much more engaging take of the same kind of action flick.All in all, Star Driver is quite the mixed bag. It has the ingredients to create something amazing but partly fails at doing so because the producers chose the easy way to produce an anime over the span of 25 episodes.The ending was pretty epic. In retrospective I wish many more aspects had been more fleshed out, but as a thematical conclusion it works... fabulously.
The title translates to Star Driver: Takuto of the Radiance, so right off the bat you know you're in for something camp and silly. If you can bypass that, then you can't avoid the first episode's name, Galactic Pretty Boy. You can't make this stuff up. And then Takuto goes on about he's going to lead a fabulous school life and we're not even at the five minute mark. It gets worse (Or better, but more camp) but that lies in the "charm" of this farce. For this, I'm going to break down the story aspect into separate parts: Comedy, the story-within-the-story, mecha battles and serious moments with the plot thrown in. This just feels like one of those that can be divided and studied. The comedy aspect I enjoyed greatly, be it intentional or unintentional. It also breaks up serious moments from time to time but all in good jest. Ridiculous, yes, but only sometimes. All in good, campy fun. Unintentional comedic moments may occur when the Glittering Crux appears (Again, not making this up). From everything about them to everything else, it's hard to take it seriously. The story-within-the-story is the story the Fish Girl says. She has a "Name" but it might be a bit of a spoiler. But what's important is that she's a captured maiden in a cage to a purple haired guy named Head. Not a spoiler and will be explained later. The story is told through a few episodes in installments and it was pretty interesting, up to the point where I was eagerly waiting for the next part. Might be a bit tough to explain it without giving too much away. Mecha battles are nearly episodic but a small handful regretfully(?) don't have them. They don't happen on Earth but in Zero-Time, an area separate from Earth. And Zero-Time can be an absolute trip. You don't only get mecha, but a transformation sequence of camp. Really. Posing and saying "Apprivoise!" and then your large-hipped, stiletto wearing, feather-ish thing-on-the-head mecha appears with Takuto doing a series of poses while saying "Dazzling the stage! Galactic Bishounen!"... this is only something Star Driver could pull off. After that it's great fun, even if he conveniently learns a new move that save his sparkly behind a couple of times and a few... unorthodox ways of ending the battle. One in particular that's memorable but talking about it more than that would ruin the surprise. It has it's share of drama and romance but sometimes stumbles into absurdity from time to time. It may not make complete sense but depending on your taste, it's a good/bad thing. The plot is mainly about how the Glittering Crux wants to take out the shrine maidens who act as seals for cybodies in Zero-Time, as they can only be used there. One of them enters the machine to enable Zero-Time and the (Near) episodic mecha fight, with Takuto at the helm. That breaks the surface of the story but it doesn't shine upon the darkness, just a brief partial explanation but in the end, it works for the most part. Kinda cheesy at times but the mix of comedy and serious moments does it justice. And if you don't mind your anime taking some points in absurdity, then all the better. The animation is beautiful. The Earth is amazing but Zero-Time is jaw-dropping. The flowing background clouds/smoke/whatever, a mix of colours and movement flowing smoothly; it's... well, beautiful. But it's canned. From Takuto's "Apprivoise" to his mecha's entrance is canned but it looks good. I kept noticing how the stilettos fall quickly to the ground, like real quickly. I don't know if I expected it to fall gracefully or gently but it's not a good/bad thing, just something that stood out. Quite a bit from the beginning/ending of the mecha battles is canned but it looks great nonetheless. From the mecha pulling out their laser swords to beam spams (What's mecha without beams or spams?) and the environment itself, it's all shiny and high production. And the mecha design is... questionable. Certainly not your usual Gundam mecha. But I can't neglect everything else, as the Earth's sunsets look beautiful, even if sunsets are beautiful on the outset. The scenery and environment look gorgeous overall and the characters look great. Which brings me to the outfits. The Glittering Crux represents camp and questionable outfits with some of the worst disguises (Masks) I've seen. You know whose behind mask #1 through everybody the moment you see them outside their hideout. It's hilarious that the main character trio didn't put two and two together in Zero-Time. The music is definitely a highlight of the series. Prior to the mecha battles and even when a Glittering Crux member goes through the preparation stage, a girl (Maiden) sings and it's beautiful. It actually feels like it makes a difference, in how at times it can feel sad or haunting and it adds to the atmosphere and because it's one of the characters that usually sings, it gives it something more than just having someone sing. The OP/EP are both great and are on par with the music that is inbetween them. We get a whole slew of detail on the characters. They aren't just names and faces but people, fleshed out with a past and the whole package. We get episodes that delve deep into them and that explain some of their motives; we get to know who they are and details that we wouldn't normally get if it progressed like a normal mecha/comedy series. We see them succeed, we see them fail, suffer, triumph; the whole shebang. It could have done well enough with a lesser cast but the characters and the detail put into them really make it go far. But bringing up the point again, the masks for the Glittering Crux only cover the upper part of their face, not their hair colour. I mean, just look at the character sheet. You've got every colour in the rainbow and then some. But at least the GC members can tell whose who from time to time. If you see a character outside the Glittering Crux HQ that looks like a member, then it's a member. If there's one thing I'll remember about this when I look back on it, it's the campy fun. Seriously, you squeeze Star Driver, it gushes out and that helps make it better; Feels less generic with it and it makes it stand out instead of being either completely serious or all about comedy. It's absurd, at times clever and at it's highest gets you thinking (But not too much) and even with it's flaws, there's still some good fun to be had.
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