Sunday, 9 January 2011

Star Driver - Episode 14

A new opening title sequence means that we're now officially into the second half of Star Driver's narrative.  Who knows, maybe we'll even see some stuff happen in the remaining twelve episodes?

That said, everything is pretty much "as you were" for the first half of this episode - Mizuno is still running around and riding on buses like a little kid, to the point where she ends up leaving her shoes on the top of said bus on one occasion, meaning that she ends up needing a piggyback ride from Takuto to make it home.  Still, things between Mizuno and Takuto seem to be going pretty swimmingly from her point of view, as she's granted the lead female role in the drama club's latest production which involves a kiss scene... of course, Takuto is the male lead in this production, which leaves Wako feeling just a little big jealous.

Away from these high school hijinks there are more important concerns at hand however, with the Glittering Crux Brigade preparing to repair and launch Ayingott, which should give them the ability to search for the remaining and as yet undiscovered maidens on the island.  Of course, with Marino the designated pilot of said Cybody, she's determined that she isn't going to give away the secret about Mizuno, but as we enter the inevitable Zero Time aspect of the series it's clear that this is going to be a rather different Cybody sortie.  Instead of the usual brief fight between Tauburn and whoever Takuto's opponent happens to be, instead we see Ayingott's search for the missing maiden turn into something else entirely, as this Cybody corrupts and takes over its pilot, leading Ayingott to attack Takuto.  Of course, this attack is beaten down swiftly enough and with a minimum of fuss but hey, at least it made a bit of a change right?  Come the end of it all, Marino swears that her Cybody was unable to find their all-important missing maiden but let's face it; she isn't exactly the most convincing of liars, setting things up for some major drama in the next week or two.

While a week away from Star Driver over the new year didn't exactly leave me refreshed and ready to face this series again, I do have to hand it to episode fourteen for at least posting some definite improvements over the constant repetition we've seen in recent weeks.  Yes, the overall episode layout is tiresomely similar to what we've seen for the previous thirteen instalments, but the early slice of life comedy was a little sharper (to make me smile a couple of times if nothing else), and the actual Cybody battle and Zero Time segment of the episode was easily the best we've had so far with a little more at stake for all parties involved.  That said, I do have to point out that pretty much everything that was good about the second half of this episode was blatantly stolen from Evangelion (and more specifically its recent movies), but if pinching cool visual concepts and ideas from that series makes Star Driver better than I say go for it.

Overall, this episode hasn't left me with renewed confidence that this series has a clue what it's doing or what its end-game is, but it's at least managed to find a little more potential and promise to keep me watching for the time being.  If only it hadn't taken so long to do so...

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