「遠い世界」 (Tōi Sekai)
“A Faraway World”
So, who didn’t see this plot twist coming? Even so, it was developed well this episode and at the very least kept me angsting throughout. I was always thinking in the back of my mind that the writers were planning something like this for Sugata, since it’s such a common plot twist nowadays to have the “best friend and rival” of the main character to become an antagonist, and while it’s not a very original idea anymore it certainly opens doors to many interesting routes the story could take. The problem with that is, it could also lead to a generic “try and force save/defeat person x” series, which would be a big disappointment unless the producers can somehow break the trend and actually pull the story off, which I just can’t see happening.
To be honest, the way things are right now, Star Driver is looking too much like Naruto: three main characters, love triangle between said three main characters with Girl A liking Boy A but Boy B likes Girl A, and Boy A turning into an antagonist that the main character wishes to “save”. Like I said, there are many places you can go from there but they’re usually dragged out and end up making the story feel long in the tooth, as is the case with Naruto in my opinion. I problem I already have with this is that the bond between Takuto and Sugata wasn’t really developed that well in the episodes prior to this one, focusing on Takuto and Wako instead, so the drama which stemmed from Takuto’s concern for Sugata came off feeling a bit dry for me as a viewer. I simply couldn’t find myself caring all too much that Sugata turned to the “dark side” because we never really got to see much of Sugata before last episode, so unfortunately this develpment comes without any real emotional backbone for me, even if the episode itself conveyed Takuto’s feelings well. Still, I’ll maintain faith that the writers can pull it off, and judging by next episode’s preview we’re speeding along to Takuto and Sugata’s break up battle, so at least the pacing will be up-to-par.
That aside, Divine must have some mad predicting skills or inside sources with Bones, because he told me a few weeks back he was waiting for the episode when Kiraboshi ended up activating Zero Time while Wako was bathing. Looks like he got his wish this week, with only a cloth separating us and pure fanservice. We were also shown Wako’s grandmother in full for the first time that I can recall, and right off the bat she began drilling Takuto on his Tau mark. I have a sneaking suspicion that Wako’s grandmother is connected to Takuto’s grandfather somehow, and it’ll be interesting to see how deep that connection goes, if there is one. Mami also returned for her second attempt to take down Takuto, which of course resulted in her defeated at Tauburn’s hands. This was definitely one of the less exciting fights thus far, but it was only meant to be a plot device to get Sugata to wake up somehow, and it also shortened the time we were in Zero Time this week, which is a plus in my opinion, as the most interesting parts of the story are always outside of Zero Time. Speaking of recurring characters, it seems that Midori retained her position as a Kiraboshi head even after her defeat in her battle with Takuto, so I suppose that you don’t necessarily have to be a Star Driver to be in the leadership of Kiraboshi. As for whether she’ll actually play any type of major role from now on, I doubt it. So far, it seems to me that Watanabe and Keito are the main Kiraboshi heads as far as characterization goes, as they get the most screentime out of the five heads and are the only ones in Takuto’s class. Of course, that’s not to say the other three will just be fodder.
By the way, someone should really analyze fish girl’s story to figure out how it connects to the plot at hand. It’s quite obvious what the story is referring sometimes, and seems to be foreshadowing what will happen in the future of the series a bit, but at other times it’s just plain confusing. If anyone has found an in-depth analysis, let me know.