Whoever could the oh-so mysterious Eastern Maiden be? If last week's episode didn't ruin any surprise that revelation could have brought our way within seconds of posing the question, then the beginning of this eighteenth instalment of Star Driver duly ensures that any dramatic tension along these lines are summarily ruined.
That aside, this episode begins with an end of summer barbecue party and Takuto and company's dorm - a party which ends up turning into an outright firework battle once Madoka and Kou get involved in matters. Next thing we know, Takuto's room is ablaze, leaving him having to stay with Sugata while his decimated living space is rebuilt.
From here, the rest of the episode is spent hammering the identity of the Eastern maiden into our brains over and over again, just in case we were so stupid we'd somehow missed it already. Okay, I'm being a bit harsh, as we also get a bit more insight into Keito's personality as her importance to the series grows all the way through to the intriguing final scene of the episode.
Still, rather than a Zero Time battle this week, we instead get "treated" to a little scrap using Madoka's First Phase, as she butts into the middle of some sword training between Sugata and Takuto before creating one of those confusing, all-enveloping darknesses where you can't tell whether you're about to strike friend or foe - you know, the kind you've seen a million times before in other anime and cartoons, only far less interesting in this case thanks to Sugata fixing the problem with a quick blast from his King's Pillar (which sounds like a euphemism for something, but really isn't). So, the day is saved, and so is BONES' giant robot animation budget for this week.
If you can't tell by my world-weary cynicism in this entry, I remain both bored and unimpressed with Star Driver again at present - every time is looks set to do something to come out of its coma of predictability, it somehow manages to ruin the whole thing. For what is supposedly an anime about Cybodies which could change the entire world as we know it if the Glittering Crux Brigade succeeds, there's still no tension or drama in anything we see - battles are finished with the equivalent of a flick of the wrist, and more time is spent on school life shenanigans than any form of character building or plot development. Perhaps someone should get the Madoka Magica team onto a mecha series when they're done with that show? By all accounts they could do a far better job than this effort which seems to borrow from numerous other similar series whilst completely missing the point of what makes those shows great.