Unfortunately, Star Driver is an anime series that is not worth a full essay. No, the best summary is, “Modestly entertaining, but ultimately disappointing.” I expected more from the writer of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Instead I got a slight retread in terms of high school students dueling in some sacred space with the future of humanity at stake but lacking in the surrealism that made Utena a true standout among other shows of its time.
Around the internet, and especially on TVTropes, the series is celebrated for paying homage to, parodying, and subverting aspects of other shows. This sets up expectations of a postmodern wonder. What I got were bright colors, minor references, an overall lack of tension, and an advertisement to Japanese youth that three ways are to be considered. (I’m extremely comfortable with the open-mindedness of that last one.) If I wanted bright colors, references, pointlessness, and deviant sexuality, then I’d just watch more Family Guy.
There were only two parts in the series that impressed me. They’re spoilers, of course:
- When Takuto finally met his father, he lived up to his promise of punching the guy in the face. Instead of being hypnotized by the guy’s rambling like everyone else, he popped him one while he was mid-sentence.
- Marino’s horrific discovery that Maidens cannot leave the island and the subsequent realization that she completely made up her twin sister and brought her to life in order to deal with the pain of having been abandoned by both of her parents. Not only was it interesting, but it was extremely well done.
The rest of the show was just not impressive. It’s clear I was not the intended audience. I’m not a young teenage boy-on-boy crazy Japanese girl who has never watched another science fiction series. At least I don’t think so, anyway.