Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Real Drive - Episode 24

It's taken Real Drive a long, long time to exhibit any more than passing similarities to its more well-regarded sibling, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, but if ever an episode of this series were to borrow from its stable-mate, and to good effect, it's this one.

With all political avenues quickly blocked by Jennie Yen (what a girly name for a hard-man with a military-grade cybernetic body), there's only one option left for Sota, Haru and company to stop the deployment of weather nanomachines, and that's to turn to what basically amounts to terrorism - In short, physically breaking into the island from where the nanomachines will be launched, to connect it to the Metal so that the launch can be stopped from there.

This sounds like a job for Major Kusanagi, but in her absence we see Sota make his way to the island to generate a link to the Metal, while Haru dives in to do his part. This entire episode and plot oozes Ghost in the Shell, from the visuals (which have always borrowed a little from Stand Alone Complex to be fair, and why not? It looks great) through to that old match-up of cybernetic body against flesh and blood, and it even pulls no punches in giving us what seems to be a despairing end to the episode. Indeed, in this episode Real Drive even seems to borrow the idea of a nuclear holocaust in the past, the fallout from which had been cleaned up by micromachines.

Of course, the series isn't over yet, so with a couple of episodes to go there's still certainly going to be some further twists in the tale before the end of the world. If only some of the chaff had been thrown out of this series to make a compact, thirteen-episode offering, then I'd probably be singing its praises from the rafters right now - As it is, this is simply an excellent episode of a series that has otherwise dragged on pointlessly for far too many of its twenty-six instalments.

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