「恋する紅い剣」 (Koi Suru Akai Ken)
“The Loving Red Sword”
Either hairstyles and colors don’t stand out as much as they seem or some characters just don’t bother to take notice, as the secret “Kiraboshi” greeting often leaves me both amused and dumbfounded by the surprised reactions. Take Benio for example: “Oh, so you’re Ivrogne.” Me: “… (lol)” Granted, Keito is in a lower grade than Filament‘s leader and talks much politer when she doesn’t take on her other persona, but I figured Benio would have at least known who the other brigade leaders are. I wonder if there’s some unwritten code about not snooping around unless you plan to formally introduce yourself, much like Takumi did when he realized Marino is Manticore. Anyway, that served as a bit of amusement before things got more interesting with the use of resurrection of destroyed Cybodies for the very first time. After all the talk last time about the use of a Star Driver’s libido and the potentials risk involved, it was nice to see that explanation garner some attention through Benio’s backstory, when Manticore put the pressure on Filament for not having any more Star Drivers. There was also talk about her interest in strong guys like Sugata, plus how she, George, and Tetsuya came from families that had all lost their marks somehow. Altogether, those revelations provided some tangible reason for Benio to become the first guinea pig for the resurrection process and recovery her family mark to repair her Cybody. While not specifically stated, I assume that she would’ve wound up in a coma after plunging into the depths of her mind if she didn’t show the resolve that she did. That was the only thing I perceived as the risk in an otherwise quick recovery.
The subsequent battle between kendo champion Benio and duel-wielding Takuto was surprisingly brief, and came without “Innocent Blue” in the background to kick it off since Mizuno was noticeably absent all episode. Having grown accustomed to hearing a maiden song upon entering Zero Time, I have to say that the lack of one felt like there was something missing in that scene. What I didn’t mind was how their clash was decided with a single blow, since it gave off a kendo vibe and mirrored Benio’s earlier fight with Takuto like it was intended to. Driving that point home was the rematch at the very end, which came with the added bonus of Benio getting all bent out of shape from Takashi pairing her up with Takuto. As the Ginga Bishounen continues to strike the hearts of all the girls on the island, the one thing was somewhat concerning is how fast Benio’s Cybody was resurrected with the Orichalcum Formula and thrown back into the fray. Upon seeing that, I couldn’t help but feel that the writers had just provided a really easy means to keep the weekly battles going indefinitely, rather than changing things up a bit to keep the development fresh. The preview showing Manticore’s Ayingott resurrected seemed to suggest that reaching the third phase isn’t too far off now, which in combination with the quick recovery process, left me wondering if we’re going to be in store for rematches of a lot of the battles we’ve already seen at the new phase.
I’m not completely opposed to that happening to a certain degree, but I was hoping the series would change the format a little as we approach the latter half of it. I don’t know if there’s much that can be done given the closed off space where the battles take place (other than simply not including a battle in an episode), so all the mention of the Day of Departure when they can take the Cybodies out of Zero Time and off of Southern Cross Island is what’s piquing my interest the most recently. At the center of it all is Sugata, whom Head‘s been doing a pretty dandy job sending him subliminal messages about using his powers. The way he spoke about confirming if he can paint again felt like he was trying to entice Sugata into using Samekh’s powers. Since deeming fights at the second phase fruitless and sitting on that bench staring off into the sunset every episode, Head’s been looking more and more like he intends to make use of Sugata’s powers to deal with Takuto and take the rest of the Cybodies to the fifth phase too. Whether it’ll work is another matter, but Sugata didn’t seem to mind that the brigade can repair their Cybodies now. In fact, it was almost as if he was happy about having many opportunities in the future to test his powers.
Note: The STAR DRIVER broadcast is on break next week. Episode 14 airs on January 9th.