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Watch & Learn: STAR DRIVER #1

I wanted romantic beach side dialogs, not giant robot action!

I'd be remiss not to say these designs were superb, too.
I'd be remiss not to say these designs were superb, too.

What a beautiful mess.

I rarely go into these shows with any preconceptions - - I prefer it that way - - but I nevertheless had expectations for this based on the promo image Hulu’s using for it. It sure looked like it was going to be some charged-up, broad-strokes space opera with a romantic curve, but I’m not sure how I’d even describe the actual product because it was truly all over the place. It seemed liked a stylized mecha at times, a high school comedy at others, and then some bizarre secret society thriller in a fashion that felt disjointed instead of surprising. It was as if I was tuning in to a new show every five minutes. Hell, I’d forgotten that there wasn’t an intro at the beginning by the time the actual intro rolled in around the halfway point (and, to the show’s credit, that intro’s quite gorgeous, and quite creative.)

Actually, the disjointedness is more disappointing than it’d usually be, because the first couple minutes offered real promise of an emotionally-honest through-line to guide this mecha madness. For as much as I’ve bemoaned how a lot of these shows take too long getting to “the good stuff,” it was a startling (in a welcome way) to see an anime striking off right in the thick of an intense, possibly heartbreaking, lovers' quarrel. I was actually disappointed when the dude with the star shirt washed up on the shore, because he was interrupting some gripping drama before it was able to really get going. Sure enough, that conversation that so grabbed me was never referred to again for the rest of the episode.

I don’t want to rag too hard on this show because Bones has done such an exceptional job with the animation. It’d be a shame if I’d gotten so jaded to such artistry that I wouldn’t be wow by such striking, dreamy images. Still, story is the brick on which a show’s tower must stand, and I still don’t know what the hell this story was about.

It sure was beautiful, though.

Watch this episode, “The Ginga Bishoen,” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

SoldierG654342on Oct. 27, 2011 at 8:06 a.m.

Your first paragraph is pretty much exactly how I felt about Code Geass.

AURON570on Oct. 27, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.

Yep, Episode 1 of Star Driver is really pretty, and it feels like it goes by pretty quickly too. Ultimately it didn't really hold up too well toward the end, but it's a good series overall. This series really excited me going into it, loved the opening theme, characters seemed well realized, and even though I didn't really understand the details of the plot, it was still nice to watch, and I started understanding it more toward the end. But it doesn't really come together in the best way.

Also, "GINGA BISHONEN! TAUUUUUBURRRNNN" >.>

Kuma_From_Argentina is online on Oct. 27, 2011 at 10:14 a.m.

Dazzling the Stage! GINGA BISHOUUUNEN!!!

This series is dropping Code Geass and Tengen Top into a Blender, you replace the GAR for FABOUUUULOUSSS!!!!

metalsnakezeroon Oct. 27, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.

The show does some weird blending with the different genres and it can be pretty jarring at times but it does a good job with it. In a way it kinda like Code Geass with very weird concepts but a nice payoff at the end.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 27, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
Oh it gets weirder. But i liked the 1st episode.Style wise ,animation wise an well to me it was almost twin peeks with mecha.Theirs alot of charm their as it goes on. Tho some animation for the mecha is so recycled its i think the only flaw if you could call it that. in animation.
 
So it would be summed up as high school drama/comedy ,meets harem ,meets mecha, meets magic an secret organization bent on world something or other ,meets romantic /drama club .kinda show?Should we throw in tasteful fan service to?
ComicMan24on Oct. 27, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.

I really liked that show. Great animation as you mentioned especially that fight in the first episode is amazing, nice characters and plot. I think you are being a bit too hard on it but as they say to each his own.

ZombiePieon Oct. 27, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.

@SoldierG654342 said:

Your first paragraph is pretty much exactly how I felt about Code Geass.

Same and as a result I hated Code Geass. Also welcome to the contrarian reviewers club.

All hail the almighty Pauline Kael!

Lurkeroon Oct. 27, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.

I find it hard to get into many shows that involve high school drama. Unless they make it as ridiculous as Code Geass and minimize high school influence then I typically lose interest.

thekokapellion Oct. 27, 2011 at 6:59 p.m.

It tried to be, and should/could have been, to super robot shows what Utena was to shoujo and fairy tales. It began with this brilliant but honest subversion, but it shot itself in the foot rather quickly. I was disappointed. At least it was never boring, and of course Bones outdid themselves with the animation.

PenguinDuston Oct. 28, 2011 at 6:05 a.m.

As I've said elsewhere, this one plodded around for me until around episode 8, at which point things got interesting. I doubt you'll make it that far, so no point in saying anything further.

EganTheVile1on Oct. 29, 2011 at 2:54 a.m.

to be honest I had never heard of this prior to this article, based on the review and comments I hold no hopes on liking this, I will however watch it just for the sake of forging my own opinion

SpecDotSignon Nov. 1, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.

I finished watching this series a while ago... animation is top notch and the story, well, dips into some real heavy drama but never way too serious. I'd recommend it.

Dig Deeper into Star Driver

Takuto washed up on a beautiful island named Southern Cross Isle. This island holds many things to him from forming new relationships, the possible battle against the mysterious organization "Kirahoshi Juujidan", and the discovery of the Cybuddies that are connected to Takuto in some way.

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