After two episodes of trying to figure out what the Hell is going on, Real Drive is finally starting to make some more sense as of episode three, becoming more than just a pretty face with fantastic animation and CG and actually putting some decent plot-related meat onto those bones.
Unsurprisingly, said plot is turning out to be rather typical Shirow fare, involving humanity's ever-continuing quest for progress, a quest which now appears to be at odds with the depths of the ocean and the Earth's biorhythms, the likes of which caused Haru's diving accident fifty years ago as well as the power station explosion we saw in the show's earlier episodes.
Of course, this still leaves one rather large question - Namely, how all of this fits into 'the Metal', the virtual world in which people are able to dive. It seems clear that this is ripe to be explained in the near future, as Minamo (who is clearly acting somewhat as our guide for this whole journey) currently doesn't have a clue as to what it's all about either. At this point in time it's largely immaterial however, as this episode focuses on Haru trying to prove his worth so that he can dive in the Metal for the Physics and Chemistry Laboratory (which just sounds like a bad day on the school timetable to me, but I digress) and his old boss.
After being left a little cold by the very start of the series, I have to confess that I'm warming to Real Drive quite nicely. Production I.G's work on the animation is absolutely top-notch, and they do a fantastic job of creating both the virtual and real world's of the show as well as intertwining the two. While the storyline is still a little vague, it looks as though it could well visit some interesting places regarding the relationship between humankind and nature, as well as some deeper questions about the nature of consciousness, which is always the kind of thing you can expect a show of this ilk to do in a well-researched and thoughtful way. It's still too early to make Real Drive a series to recommend watching, but it now officially gets a 'this has promise' sticker to wear around. Virtually speaking, of course, so they can only wear it in the Metal.