Star Driver

StarAs I’ve said before on this blog, there was a time when the idea of Studio BONES producing a mecha series was a guarantee formula for success. A long forgotten age when fan waited on bated breath for the announcement of BONES doing a show featuring giant robots. Today’s anime is one which came during the time when the studio could do no wrong and despite its eccentric nature was still a series worthy of the attention of mecha fans everywhere.

A boy named Takuto has transferred to Southern Cross Island in hopes of finding his lost father. While there he becomes entangled in the plot of the Glittering Crux Brigade, who wish to use the mysterious giants known as Cybodies to take over the world. Luckily, the seal of the four maidens prevents the Cybodies from being used anywhere except another dimension known as Zero Time. To prevent the Brigade from breaking the seals and using the Cybodies as they see fit, Takuto pilots his own Cybody named Tauburn to fight and protect his new friends from the dangers surrounding the island.

star-driver-02This show is over the top in a great way. From the main character having the nickname of “The Galactic Pretty Boy” to the villains of the “Glittering Crux Brigade” this show pushes the envelope of what is acceptable but you find yourself enjoying every minute of it. The show manages to reach levels of ridiculousness but at the same time retain a level of drama where you find yourself worried for the characters and their circumstances. Each character has a properly flushed out backstory and realistic motivations. Also, almost every one of them has a special power because of being connected to their Cybodies which resulted in a lot of hi-jinks.

The robotic designs take a bit to get used to. After all Tauburn looks like a musketeer and he’s suppose to be the robot we root for. Still, the designs eventually grow on you and some of the different “robot of the week” forms which are pulled out are definitely interesting to look at.

stardriver06-05The show does suffer from a “Monster of the week” format but this is kind of to its advantage. The monster of the week format allows each of the different members of the Glittering Crux Brigade to get a bit of screen time to so they can have their own time the spotlight before Takuto kicks the crap out of their own distinct Cybody.

The show does have a few other problems with it. The main being that the series ends far too quickly and doesn’t really have a good epilogue. Frankly, I would have hoped the movie for it would add some new content but I’ve since hear this is not the case. Instead, the show just ends after the final battle without any type of conclusion to how the characters are going to react to what has happened. There wasn’t enough of a need for a second season but a few additional scenes even on the DVD release would have been all the show needed. Is a simple Omake too much to ask?

Star Driver was another example of the winning combination of having Studio BONES do a giant robot series. One of these days I’ll have to get around to watching the shows which seemed to break this winning combination. Of course I kind of did one of them already with Captain Earth but I’m beginning to think I gave that one far too much praise then it deserved.


Captain Earth


No it in no way is associated with Captain Planet. This is the latest series from studio bones who gave me two of my favorite mecha series, Rahxephon and Eureka Seven. Is this new title another must see new classic or does it fall plummeting through the atmosphere? Lets find out.

Daichi Manastu had weird memories of his childhood friend and a girl he met in a bubble. As a mysterious group of invaders known as he Kiltgang threaten to absorb all of earth, Daichi is given a strange gun known as a livilaster that allows him to channel immense power. Using this intense power he energizes the giant robot the Earth Engine to become Captain earth to save his childhood friend Teppei and the girl from the bubble known as Hana.

The art and look to the show are Bones’ usual high quality. The mecha designs for the series are also very interesting but seem to lack a specific quality that makes them unforgettable. They don’t have the distinct look that say Gundam or Evangelion possesses. I also question why the Earth Engine robot has arm blades in the toy version but never seems to use them once in the show. Also, compared to later suits the Earth Engine falls short in terms weapons and over all performance.

The characters are interesting enough but are not exactly ground breaking. I mean the series is fun and has some pretty good character moments but it doesn’t take deep into your soul, make you rethink your philosophy on life, or make you want to idolize these characters. The relationship between Hana and Daichi is heartwarming and you are routing for them to make it as a couple but they only develop just enough to say that they had something of a character arc, not that they each had an overwhelming moment that touches you deep inside.  Basically a few good moments here and a few moments there with some repetitive robot combing scenes in between.

The ending seemed a bit rushed once I reflected back on it. They took the time to gather all of the Kiltgang in an effort to take down the Earth (an objective that could have been accomplished by only one of their Mecha reaching the planet by the way) and when they finally are all together in a group, a new enemy appears so the gang doesn’t have the opportunity to overwhelm the heroes and finally absorb all of earth. I mean the enemy was there the entire time but the actual power he seemed to control rose greatly so the Kiltgang had not choice but to stop the larger opponent instead of focusing on absorbing all life on Earth. After all the episodes that were spend individually gathering the Kiltgang I really thought it would be a more intense battle between them and the Midsummers’ Knights in the end. Kind of a cop out but I won’t fault them too much for it.

In the end the series the only major crime against this show is that it is so forgettable. It is doomed to be another series pushed to the back of our queues because it doesn’t do anything as sadistic as kill a character every other episode or Master degree philosophy on what to has the characters talk about. To studio Bones I commend you on a good effort but sadly this one doesn’t make me wish I had a livlaster.

Rating: B-