STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto – 05
「マンドラゴラの花言葉」 (Mandoragora no Hanakotoba)
“The Meaning of Mandrake”
And just when I thought we had broken the formula. Before I get to that complaint though, it’s probably appropriate to mention how crazy this episode was. Not only did one of the supposed heads of Kiraboshi, Professor Green, get one shotted and taken out this episode, but we got some crazy sequences of reverse harems and FABULOUS nude bishounens. For one of the heads of Kiraboshi, Okamoto Midori (Kuwashima Houko), certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, especially since she looked completely serious in the few cameos we saw of her in episodes 2 and 3, although after getting some first hand experience with Watanabe in the last two episodes I suppose I should have been prepared to be surprised. That said, I can’t say I was disappointed by this turn of events, as I was highly amused by her constant fantasies of bishounens, going as far as having several posters of them on the wall of the school clinic. It doesn’t help that her First Phase ability as a Star Driver apparently allows her to role back time and become the age of a teenager again, allowing her to seduce nearly all the male populace of the academy and even perform the now infamous “glass kiss”. Speaking of seducing, I love how Takuto actually smirked when he found the letter from Okamoto in his desk, as if he was actually going to do something; now that I think about it, the subject of whether Takuto is a virgin or not hasn’t been brought up yet, any bets?
Comedy aside, I wasn’t as impressed with this week’s fighting scene as I was with previous ones, probably because this one felt like the most rehashed so far. Takuto didn’t show any new abilities at all and we didn’t have an epic change art style like was the case with episode 3, the one-shot that resulted from Okamoto being distracted by her “Otanoshimi Mode” didn’t help either. The one interesting thing about this week’s battle was the new “Precognition System”, which we didn’t end up seeing a lot of and probably won’t play much of a role until later on, as it did seem to give Okamoto an advantage over Takuto that wouldn’t have been overcome if not for her ero tendencies. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Precognition system when it’s put into the hands of a more competent Star Driver, preferably Keito who has been playing a consistently bigger role in the past few episodes and appears to be the most cunning of the Star Driver heads shown thus far. At the very least, she’s shaping up to be my personal favorite Kiraboshi head thanks to her calm and calculating personality; it helps that she appears to be the only girl that’s not a slut as well.
Now onto my complaints about the return to the formula, which seems like it’s going to be a weekly rant. As I said in a previous write up, while the formula itself is not a bad one, it’s extremely irritating to see it over and over again for the past five weeks. It makes the plot extremely predictable and causes the initial excitement of seeing Takuto enter Zero Time and battle against the robots to corrode. Every time I see a repeat of the same thing from last episode I think “why aren’t they using this time to actually explain what’s going on”? The only reason I know what “First Phase”, Cybodies, Kiraboshi, and Zero Time are is because of an interview with the director that circulated the internet a couple weeks before the anime aired. It’s simply not good storytelling to assume that your viewers read extra information on the series before it aired and thus leaves you at liberty to skip over vital information concerning the plot of the series. Frankly, it’s lazy. That said, I’m still looking forward to the rest of the series, and after having one of the heads of Kiraboshi defeated in the first 5 episodes it’ll be interesting to see how the story develops from here. From what I can tell so far, it seems that the current Kiraboshi crop won’t be the antagonists for the entire series and may only be red herrings for the true villains. Also, it seems that we’ll finally get to see Sugata in action next episode, which has me pumped to see whether he’s indeed more powerful than Takuto.