Star Driver Episode #01 Anime Review

Star Driver Episode #01 Anime Review Bones goes big with the first episode of Star Driver in order to make sure you keep coming back for more.

What They Say:
Off the southern edge of Japan lies the Southern Cross Island. In the evening, Wako Agemaki, a resident of the island, finds a boy washed up on the shore. His name is Takuto Tsunashi.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While every studio has their hits and misses, I do tend to enjoy the misses more when they’re original stories since they avoid the manga adapted structure that’s dominant out there. With Bones, they do tend to do a lot of original works and it’s been a mixed bag to be sure, though they’re often at least winners in terms of style and presentation, even if the substance is weak. With Star Driver, they’ve delved into familiar territory against with a science fiction story directed by Takuya Igarashi, who has been involved in a number of favorites of mine, based on a story by Yoji Enokido who has worked on several Gainax series and RahXephon and the Melody of Oblivion.

The story, taking place on the Southern Cross Island, involves a young woman named Wako who has the seemingly uncanny ability to sniff out boys that have just washed up on show, as we see her do when she comes across a red haired young man named Takuto while out walking with her fiancé Sugata. Like any good young woman, she takes him in, feeds him and sets him up at her school. And Takuto is definitely a plus for the school since the women swoon after him and the other young men seem a bit threatened by him in a way, since he’s so close to Wako who has a reputation of her own there. It’s standard setup material in a way with a mystery to be had, easy friendship and camaraderie and an appealing setting for it all to start off with. Takuto himself seems to be a mystery as he doesn’t say all that much in general, but definitely has a familiarity with the area and even surmises that his father must be on the island somewhere.

While we get some silly material about the school, clubs and the like, there’s a serious and yet silly edge to it as well as a group of costumed warriors types have arrived on the island, completel with masks and more, in an attempt to capture Wako as she is the Shrine Maiden there that’s seemingly revered. Like a lot of first episodes when it comes to Bones, it’s kind of chaotic in how much it introduces and how quickly it does it, as those that have come for Wako have a pretty interesting organization to them, there’s a giant robot involved and a huge galactic scale that’s thrust out there before us. That it goes so big, so quickly, definitely gives it a lot of allure even as you know little of it will really be explained.

In Summary:
In a way, Bones feels like they’re aping the Gainax approach a lot with how things move while combining it with their own elements as well. So much so that the opening episode comes across as if it’s encapsulating the first half of the series itself with the run through brief introductions, school fun, the abduction and then the galactic scale of it all. You really don’t get to know anyone here and the story, while you can ferret out some of the basics of it all, isn’t meant to be understood. Instead, we’re supposed to be dazzled by the designs, the animation and the scale of it all in order to draw you back for more. And it does do that. It offers up so much here, goes so big, that you want to see how it’s all supposed to really come together. It has plenty of potential, but right now it really is just the bones of the series. It needs to be fleshed out in order to really get you engaged, but this is definitely one way to try and draw you in.

Grade: B

Simulcast By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.