Another week, another sparring session in the dojo between Sugata and Takuto - however, this time it seems that Sugata is trying to up the stakes as he brings the love triangle between the two of them and Wako even more into focus; an attempt that might as well have been a big neon sign above Sugata's head for the entire episode reading "PLOT TWIST AHEAD".
Matters are further complicated a little later that same day, as Sugata receives a portrait of himself painted by Takuto's father - a revelation that doesn't really bother Takuto in the slighest... you'd have thought he could at least pretend to be invested in proceedings while we're all sat here at home trying our best to care in the face of utter mediocrity. Anyhow, Sugata turns up the brightness on his plot twist sign by inviting Wako out on a date, where he goes on to ask her to kiss him, very much testing the waters of their relationship while Takuto mooches around, seemingly lost in his own thoughts of Wako before a brief interlude which involves punching his father in the face - this guy has clearly been taking too many relationship tips from Takuto.
That evening it's Takuto's turn for a date with Wako, which is of course interrupted by the appearance of Zero Time right on cue. This time however Takuto finds himself facing not one, not two, but three enemies, making fending them off a seemingly impossible task for Tauburn.... except of course this is Star Driver, so instead of worrying about such things we just had to watch the clock and wait for Takuto to pull a new move out of his ass. He duly does exactly that, albeit using Sugata both for the suggestion of how to win and the actual implementation thereof, emerging victorious once again. Back in safety of the cafe, Wako confides that she's never worried about Takuto and Sugata losing - it's nice to know we aren't the only ones bored to tears by the action scenes, I suppose. But what's this? A major plot twist involving Sugata? Wow, I never saw that one coming at all.
Okay, so Sugata's defection does make things a bit more interesting for the final couple of episodes, and it does also fit in better with the evolving relationship dynamic between the remaining maidens, Sugata and Takuto. However, that doesn't make this anything less than another clumsy implemented slice of utter mediocrity where Zero Time also means Zero Excitement and Zero Peril. Nothing has grabbed or surprised me even at this late stage of the game, meaning that the only real excitement I have left is the thought that in a couple of weeks I'll finally be done with this tepid series - fingers crossed it doesn't get licensed in the UK so that I have to watch it all over again though.