What a mess.
Originally, I had absolutely no intention of watching this at all. Quite frankly, I didn’t understand what people were getting all jazzed-up about – the entire premise sounded so uninspired as to almost render me catatonic upon reading. That BONES was going to be responsible did nothing to allay this feeling, as they demonstrated with HEROMAN that they are just as capable of being unable to lift a show past its lame premise as any other studio is. Yes, there were a few interesting names in the mix, but I still could find nothing to compel me to have any interest in this at all.
However, when I saw a blogger describe it as Revolutionary Girl Utena-ish, I was intrigued enough to check it out, even if I was skeptical still – and not only because I don’t think RGU is really possible to do effectively with a male lead.
I said it once, and I’ll say it again: what a mess! We start off with this slosh of cliches and over-used tropes, before nosediving into nonsensical crap involving robots and masks snatched straight out of Black Plague-era Europe. Oh, yeah, and maidens who apparently power robots, so original. Quite frankly, the only thing of any note at all was Takuto’s turn as the Galactic Pretty Boy, his mecha apparently hailing from the MAZE~The Megaburst of Space~ school of mecha (compare the prancing of MAZE’s mecha with the one Takuto pilots here). The only other show with a magical boy transformation that I can think of is the recently ended Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu.
Alright, I’ll grant STAR DRIVER one other credit – the animation is quite fluid, particularly toward the beginning of the episode. And Takuto is ridiculous enough to at least avoid being indistinguishable from all the other would-be shounen-type heroes clogging screens everywhere. But there really is nothing else here worth paying attention to. Its an alphabet soup in another language, with everything and anything tossed at the screen in hopes of sticking, complete with a puddle-deep final quarter that makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe the second episode will rescue it from this poorly-directed morass, but as it stands now I can’t recommend bothering with it at all.