STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto – 16
「タクトのシルシ」 (Takuto no Shirushi)
Just like it was foreshadowed, this episode marks the completion of Mizuno’s arc and the breaking of her seal, for which we’re treated to a dramatic depiction of exactly what that entails. This includes how she’s forcibly dragged into Zero Time and her maiden Cybody is destroyed, unlocking the highly sought-after third phase for Kiraboshi. The massive magical structure housing the four seals was quite the spectacle, as was its transformation when the second one was removed.
In comparison, the big revelation this episode was that Marino is an ephemeral existence created by Mizuno to cope with being abandoned as a child. It’s an idea I threw out a couple of episodes ago given all the signs from Marino’s flashbacks, so the real surprise for me was that it turned out to be the case. However, I don’t think there was any way I could’ve foreseen the creation of Marino as the reason why Mizuno has never been pulled into Zero Time thus far — something Keito pointed out that only a select few bearing a mark can resist (Wako not being one of them). Marino represented the part of Mizuno that understood all the implications of being a maiden and tried to prevent her seal from being broken, whereas Mizuno herself remained a normal girl who actually bears it.
Of course, that sort of separation seems to be just an inadvertent benefit, as Marino’s existence was to help Mizuno overcome her loneliness and hatred towards her mother. And by “overcome”, I mean facing her mother after all these years and giving her a piece of her mind about abandoning her as a child, which explains why Marino suddenly disappeared last episode when they were in disagreement over confronting her. As such, Mizuno’s tearful reunion with Marino with her newfound resolve ended the episode off on a really uplifting note, despite everything that happened with her seal getting broken. She gets to leave the island with Marino and find her mother in Kyoto, putting the Cybody mess behind her for Takuto to handle. We’ll just have to take a rain check on the kissing scene in the next play once all of this is sorted out.
As for the Cybody battle, it was actually nice seeing Takuto cornered and on the verge of defeat for a change when Head used his overwhelming libido to drain all his powers. While it was short-lived due to Takuto unleashing some hidden power from his mark, transforming Tauburn into what I assume is the next phase, it came with some backstory about him that I’ve been dying to see. There hasn’t been a whole lot about Takuto’s past since his crazy arrival by swimming from the mainland, so learning that he inherited his beaming personality from a friend named Komori Natsuo (Irino Miyu) who passed away from some illness was completely unexpected. It was also pretty odd seeing Takuto as the rational person alongside Okada Hana (Kawashima Umika from 9nine), before his attempt to fly a human-powered plane with reckless abandon like Natsuo prompted his grandfather Ikurou (Shibata Hidekatsu) to pass on the family mark to him. To me, the whole flashback spoke volumes about what made him the person he is today, plus revealed that he was abandoned as a child just like Mizuno, and how he’s come to the island to find his father and give him a good punch.
In addition to who Takuto’s father is, the question now is where the story goes from here. I’d imagine Kiraboshi’s objective to shift back to Wako since Keito’s identity as a maiden is still a secret, though I’m not sure how anything really changes on the Zero Time side of things when Tauburn received an upgrade and stayed a step ahead of their Cybodies. What’s more, the self-proclaimed undefeatable warrior Head has already lost. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to the next arc already, especially when the preview shows a couple of the new Vanishing Age members making their formal debut. Plus there’s beach volleyball. Anyone who’s read a lot of my posts will know I love volleyball-related episodes.