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It’s a pinch!

Star Driver follows the exploits of Takuto and his friends Sugata and Wako as they try to save the world from the Glittering Crux Brigade and their mechanical Cybodies. The trick is that Takuto (and to a certain extent, Sugata) is the only one able to fend them off; the Glittering Crux Brigade needs to destroy the remaining shrine maidens’ seals in order to have their Cybodies operate outside of Zero Time (a strange space-like plane that exists between time) and Takuto is the only one able to summon his own Cybody to fight against them.

Sound interesting? It certainly is, which is why it stings even more when the plot reaches its final stages. Before that, however, I want to address the series’s outstanding artistry. From the Southern Cross Isle’s sunny mountainside to the otherworldly spectacle that is Zero Time, the show is as dazzling as the Galactic Pretty Boy himself. The animation is top-notch and and its best when Cybodies are duking it out. Every scene is filled with a multitude of colors that make watching each a joy to the eyes. Star Driver really is one of the most visually-appealing shows released in the last few years.

Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t fare as well. The first few episodes waste little time in setting up the story, as all the audience-and Takuto- knows is that the Glittering Crux Brigade want to destroy the shrine maidens’ seals in order to take over the world…or something. It’s never made clear why most members of the Brigade do what they do, but it seems that most of Takuto’s enemies just want to defeat him in order to be promoted to leader of the operation. That would be acceptable in most anime, but, in a show that rations information at the rate of an eyedropper,  that just makes the experience more tedious. Speaking of tedious, the monster-of-the-week is overused beyond repair here; most of the episodes follow the same predictable formula of building up plot and character interactions before having Takuto fight in the last five minutes. The one good thing I can say about the plot is that, with the exception of the romantic element, it all ends up quite nicely.

Like any story, much of the show’s appeal stems from its characters. Fortunately, the cast ofStar Driver manages to deliver. Takuto Tsunashi is a man on a mission. From his Galactic Pretty Boy garments to his trademark quote to his blazing red hair, Takuto is definitely the most likable of the characters. Sugata Shindo can be considered the deuteragonist of the show and serves as a complete opposite to Takuto; he is calm and cool, rarely ever letting his thoughts or emotions surface. Wako Agemaki is the spunky blonde that is, sadly, one of the least interesting characters on the show. During the course of the show her persona was defined more by the love triangle she was the center of than anything else. Aside from them, the rest of the cast of characters features equally diverse hair colors and personalities. Some will undoubtedly like a few side characters more than others, but I personally thought that they all played their part well and were given adequate screen time.

Star Driver is a series that has the potential for being great, but is marred by too much repetition and a story that tries to do too much with too little.

Final Score: B-