NYAF2010: Star Driver is Fabulooousss!
Star Driver is nothing short of FABULOUS. The plot is a bit odd, the mechs are quirky and the main character, Takuto, is ridiculous. Typically you’d think this combination wouldn’t result in such a great first impression, but it works for Star Driver. I had the pleasure of watching the first episode today with English subtitles via a presentation from Aniplex. In addition to screening the episode, they also brought along BONES’ president, Masahiko Minami, to introduce the show and follow it with a small Q&A.
Star Driver tells the story of a boy named Takuto Tsunashi attending Southern Cross High School. The school is located on the Southern Cross Isle, which just so happens to have mysterious mechas underneath of it, as well as an organization called the Kirahoshi Juujidan with secret motives regarding the island. While the plot is somewhat confusing, as the series progresses more and more mysteries will (supposedly) be answered. For now, the glitz and glamour of the first episode is enough to feed my curiosity. Hell, Takuto calls himself the Galactic Pretty Boy and then proceeds to kick ass.
There are high expectations for Star Driver and that is due to the all-star team that has been assembled to work on this project. Takuya Igarashi (director of Ouran High School Host Club and Soul Eater) is the Director for Star Driver. Yoshiyuki ITO (Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club) is the Chief Animation Director as well as Character Designer. Shigeto Koyama (Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven) is in charge of Mecha designs and Yoji Enokido (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ouran High School Host Club) is working on the script as well as series composition. Combined with the other talented staff members, this team clearly knows what they are doing and how to churn out a fun high-quality show. Just from seeing the first episode I am already pretty confident that this series is heading in the right direction.
According to Minami, BONES got the inspiration for Star Driver mainly due to their work on Ouran High School Host Club which took place three years ago. They thought that if they took that team and put a robot show together the result would be extremely weird/crazy/awesome. In the subtitled version presented by Aniplex, Takota’s title has been left as “Ginga Bishounen.” While there wasn’t an indication as to why it was left like that, fans can be assured that the literal translation of Ginga Bishounen is Galactic Pretty Boy. As for the Mecha designs, Minami explains that the base of the Cybodies (the name for the mechs) are the same and that the silhouette of each Cybody changes depending on the user. Some of the jokes within the show feature Takota being very punny verbally and physically, and the influence of these jokes is due to the fact that the Japanese audience loves puns. BONES wants to illustrate a story that demonstrates a regular high school life…just with robots, a secret organization and mysterious island influencing their lives. Lastly, during the screening there was unfortunately no opening sequence, and that is because they didn’t have it ready in time. Normally I’d be slightly disappointed, but then I learned the opening is from the Director of Cowboy Bebop, meaning it will be fabulous like the rest of the show.
Over the top and crazy fits Star Driver perfectly. At the same time, deeper down there is a pretty fascinating story at hand and an interesting world waiting to be explored. Hopefully Star Driver will be simulcast or brought over to America as soon as possible, because the first episode leaves a guy wanting more.