「封印の巫女」 (Fuin no Miko)
“The Maiden of the Seal”

The sound of a maiden song returns after two episodes, and surprisingly without a trip into Zero Time for only the second time this series. Focusing on the characters instead in the real world, this most recent episode quickly became my favorite thus far, as the story finally shifted towards the conclusion of Mizuno’s arc and the inevitable breaking of her seal.

Incidentally, it was also the most “trippy” showing to date, and one where the second season of Suzumiya Haruhi could have learned from for their dreadful Endless Eight arc. To create an unsettling feeling over Mizuno’s inability to leave the island, Star Driver achieved the same effect with four iterations in a two-minute span, whereas Haruhi dragged out to eight full episodes and negatively impacted the viewer experience. The combination of eerie music and Mizuno’s tears drove that point home really quickly, and the cause of the looping effect was quickly addressed with an explanation from Wako, which I was actually really grateful for because I was dying to know if there’s some invisible force preventing maidens with their seal intact from leaving. From a story standpoint, her attempted departure also answered the question about what happens if a maiden tried to leave, addressing any potential plot holes surrounding why they haven’t done so to escape the Kiraboshi brigade.

In terms of character development, Mizuno’s arc has been a drastic step up from the start of the series when Sakana-chan’s seal already broken and everyone after Wako, especially after last week put Marino’s existence into question. The sudden return of her mother Fujino to Southern Cross Island and how she only came looking for Mizuno made it seem even more likely that Marino is someone created from her powers to cope with being abandoned as a child. When I take into consideration how Marino said Mizuno’s powers only take effect if people believe in her incantations, and how she was the only person before Takuto who did, hearing her recite “Katami Wakachita Yagadanse” over and over again made it feel like she was trying to prevent herself from disappearing now that Mizuno’s mother is back. I had pictured a possible scenario where if Mizuno actually opened the door, Marino wouldn’t be standing beside her once the camera was back on her, which created a lot of tension in that scene when Mizuno broke down in tears. The idea actually came to me from the earlier one in their bedroom when a quick glance over at Marino’s bed showed that she was gone and was suddenly hugging Mizuno the very next second. Whether intentional or not, the sight of her instantaneous movement seemed to suggest that Marino is some sort of transient existence, providing a possible explanation as to why she was no where to be found when Mizuno suddenly decided to leave the island and didn’t hesitate to do so.

On the Kiraboshi side of things, Head’s return to Vanishing Age and his invitation to Sugata to become the leader of the first division reserved for him put a nice twist on things, as did mention of how he perceives both him and Takuto as allies. It’s been sort of hinted that he wants Sugata on their side, so the real surprise came from the fact that he didn’t merely see Takuto as a hindrance. In addition, Head’s confidence as a Star Driver in combination with the preview quickly cleared up any doubt on who the Tauburn-lookalike Cybody in the new opening sequence belongs to, whereas the brief introduction of some new Vanishing Age members seen in the new ending sequence — including one voiced by Yukana — suggests both story and Cybodies are finally going to move onto the next phase. To balance out Head’s tactful approach, I really like the evil side of Keito shown at the very end when she addressed Mizuno as the west maiden, just as she’s about to prey on a heartbroken girl who believes Takuto’s in love with Wako. All that reiterated to me is how much this series has picked up in the past couple of episodes, and how it’s become the series I look forward to the most on a weekly basis.

 

Preview

85 Comments

  1. “All that reiterated to me is how much this series has picked up in the past couple of episodes, and how it’s become the series I look forward to the most on a weekly basis.”

    This series is better when the focus is on Mizuno rather than the galatically gay magical boy.

    Roy Mustang
  2. This is a really good ep and I agree with Divine on many, not if all of the aspects mentioned in the post. It looks like things are going to be picking up and I’m glad that Sugata confronted the head due to his speculation of him disappearing during Zero Time last ep.

    Shadiic
      1. The marks from the Cybercaskets are “Artificial marks” where as Sugata and Takuto have real marks. Takashi hasn’t been using his real mark, so he’s more powerful than he let on.

        Aeon
  3. I’m assuming that each of Vanishing Age’s Drivers each have a mark. Ages ago, back in episode 3, Takashi was asked by Head what it was like to pilot a Cybody in a Cybercasket despite having a mark and it appears that Takashi was in the room when all of Vanishing Age gathered. Also Head’s confidence that he won’t lose to any Warrior-class Cybody probably stems from him having a mark.

    Takuto’s in love with Wako? Wtf is this s***? Wako sucks compared to Mizuno, Marino, and the rest of the female cast. =/

    inb4 the next Starsword based on diamonds.

    Click
  4. Yes, I’m so proud of you Star Driver producers! You pulled it off! You actually pulled it off! You made an episode full of yummy plotstuffs and didn’t throw in a battle sequence! Yes!

    I was actually curious as to what would happen if Mizuno actually tried to leave after her alarm clock broke instead of meeting Wako. How would the barrier have pulled her back?

    And I thought Marino disappeared like three times this episode. Grrr camera movement. Or strange magical being born from Mizuno’s emotions instantaneous movement. Grrrr.

    Poiira
  5. The only thing that kinda pissed me off in this episode is how Mizuno thought that Takuto loves Wako. I mean she already saw them together multiple times and yet she didn’t react like that. It just feels too strange to me, like if it turned into a shoujo full of misunderstandings all of a sudden. I just don’t understand why she thought that.

    Rockmanshii
    1. it’s from the conversation takuto and sugata were having. sugata said if takuto beats him he will end his engagement with wako. then takuto says: okay i accept your challenge. yeah she’s probably misunderstanding, but the inference is that he accepted the challenge because he wants to end sugata and wako’s engagement so he can go after wako.

      RickyMack
      1. Hmmm Well yeah now I get it.
        To tell the truth, this misunderstanding makes me cringe because it didn’t play a role in this episode, what made Mizuno act in this episode is the fact that her mother got back, it will only play out next episode when Takuto and the others will try to save her. I’ll be so mad if they fail to save her just because of this, which is bound to happen.

        Rockmanshii
  6. You know, when Mizuno was singing her song, I was thinking “Hm… the obligatory song to start Zero Time, yet its too late in the episode for that to happen… not to mention no Kiraboshi members are introduced”

    Lolz, today I found an image on Gelbooru where Tauburn is a motorcycle…

    So… did everything go back in time every time Mizuno tried to leave the island, or did time stay the same and Mizuno just woke up later?

    Suppa Tenko
  7. crazy divine, that’s exactly what i was also expecting in marino mizuno doorway scene with the mom. this was definitely one of the most creepiest (in a good way) episodes.

    i like how the auntie lady was commenting on how wako likes takuto and then she thinks: well who’s gonna be with sugata? then it immediately cuts to him and head talking!

    man seriously takuto to me is definitely becoming less of a likeable hero(especially after he was trying to dodge mizuno’s “practice”). in terms of his handling of the female cast he doesn’t seem to have any direction on who he’s actually into. also in regards to his fighting ability he seems to be have difficulty on certain cybodies even when he’s a phase above them. i understand that it wouldn’t be very engaging of a show if he easily wipes them out, but the fact that he does have difficulty when he has such an upper hand already (he can g-gundam pilot rather than cockpit style) makes him seem increasingly underwhelming.

    RickyMack
  8. Did anyone notice Head’s painting, right after is talk with Sugata. His painting had a signiture, a “R”. In the first episode Takuto talks to Sugata about a painting in the wall, thais it was his dads painting(also signed with an “R”. I wonder if theres any connection between them…?

    Kp
      1. Willing to bet Head is Takuto’s father (obvious signature on his painting matches those of Takuto’s father). Age: got something to do with his Phase and Zero Time. He’s really interested in Sugata (in episode 14, he says he loves the things he paints and really wants to paint Sugata). Also willing to bet Head is Sugata’s father as well and that Sugata and Takuto are actually twins.

        ApertureScientist
      2. thats interesting theory but in order to be sugata father that would have meant that he had to head of the family which means he access to king pillar and should have tried to use at least one which means he should be asleep and he should have had the same mark on his body like sugata at least i think

        pops
      3. totally didn’t see the signs in Sugata’s house before…
        I have another theory… Head said he has the seal of warrior, so does Takuto according to Wako (Tauburn is the cybody of the warrior according to her), so maybe Takuto and Head might be brothers and not in a father-son relationship (since Head is way too young to be Takuto’s father). or maybe even one step further, they are genetically related in other ways (like one is created from the other’s gene)?

        jrj
      4. Funny that all the painting in Mizuno houese is Aqua Timez lol. I sorry to say but I feel that I am still unable to understand the story because it of the lack of background. I like the series but I still feel disconnected.

        Dragonite88
  9. honestly this show started to bore me after the the first few episodes with the shallow characters and the predictably one-sided and super short battles, leaving only 10 minutes for some small character development. i started liking the series a little more last ep, but this week was the one that i couldn’t take my eyes off of. i definitely got the endless eight vibe like everybody else, with the only difference being that the staff pulled it off and pulled it off well. i find myself caring for Mizuno a lot more now and if its in the script that Takuto gets his act together, i wouldn’t mind them going beyond “practice,” or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I hope they continue with good episodes, because this one has made this show one of my top picks this season.

    Ruddor
  10. the attempts to leave the island is interesting…
    seems like Takuto will have some trouble with the new evil tauburn cybody, and I thought Takuto’s sign is also that of a warrior?
    also it is interesting that Head is signing his painting the same way that Takuto refers as his father’s work… more messed up relationships?
    can’t wait to see the new vanishing age members kick butt 🙂

    jrj
  11. Man I feel sorry for mizuno and marino’s characters. The show has done an excellent job letting them hit rock bottom.

    At this point is anyone else rooting for mizuno and takuto being together by the end? Wako so far is dull and bland and outside of the show pushing the love triangle on us its not a very convincing pairing (wako x takuto).

    synkronized
  12. On top of a bus = most interesting place ever to eavesdrop on your love interest

    Also, anyone think that Kendo boy from Adult Bank is also part of Vanishing Age? I think it’s more of an exclusive club for members with birthmarks of their own and don’t need the casket thingy/

    xcswmboy
  13. One piece that supports the idea that Head’s older than he looks is the 8th episode at about 7 minutes in. He references fish girl and the girl in his painting as being those he always letting go of things precious to him. At least by the translation the two are referenced as plural.

    Sure I could be over reading the details but it gives the impression that there is another layer to Head’s story.

    synkronized
  14. So much foreshadowing, everywhere!

    -Notice how in the new OP, where Takuto, Wako and Sugata are facing off against a circle of kiraboshi members, that Sugatas hand at his side has the ‘kiraboshi~ glitter crux symbol’.

    -Takuto is coming off as kind of a jerk, way too dense than he should be.

    Side note: wondering if all this ‘libido’ and ‘seal broken’ stuff is innuendo, especially with maiden’s purifying themselves and what not.

    Dawn
    1. but in this episode one vanishing age member saluted with his left hand, this maybe foreshadowing something about what will Sugata’s connection will be in the Glittering Crux.

      Zwei
  15. What I’m really interested in is the two people that is shown in the previews. Takuto had a picture of them together back in ep 3, and in the picture from his pocketwatch, that girl might be the one from that picture. This… opens up a lot of speculations for his past. I’ll have to dwell on them later since I have an exam today 😀

    Maximilian
  16. I saw that one of the Vanishing Age members was Takashi the only guy to fight Takuto twice even if it was with some one else’s cyboddy (after the Mizuno arc ends I bet during the 3rd episode of the new arc Takashi will face Takuto again (he faced him the 3rd episode then during the 3rd episode of the Mizuno arc he faced him again

    Clinton
  17. HEY GUYS! aren’t the two newly shown VANISHING AGE MEMBERS, the one w/ the yellow and blue hair gals as shown in the new ED, the ones shown back in episode 3 as shown talking w/ Kanako in the monitor about stocks or something. i’m very sure of this i think.

    Zwei
  18. I actually was unhappy with the turnout of this episode. I feel I shouldn’t since it is because of Mizuno’s heartbreak, AND her mother returning. Kind of too much at once. That, and I am all for MizunoXTakuto. That BL loving Jezebelle Wako! But, I guess for BL girl’s, bishounen are like candies in a candy store. Still . . . Mizuno is such a sw33ty pie, makes me want to wring Takuto’s neck for breaking her sw33t, innocent heart . . . What the heck does Takuto see in Wako anyway! Fuku-Buchou clearly approves of Mizuno moreso.

    Patrick Steward
  19. Who hear gets chills when Mizuno or the fish girl starts to sing there songs because in this ep even tho there wasn’t a fight scene I got a huge rush lol only good animes make me do that

    Terror of Death
  20. Mizuno is so far my favorite of the 4 maidens. Seeing her so heartbroken this episode got home actually for an amazing episode.

    Since last episode I’ve felt that Marino isn’t real and its part of her Maiden’s powers… this episode seems to prove the theory.

    RyougaZell
  21. If I recall correctly, this is is the first (or second?) episode that doesn’t have any robot battle. Yet, it is full of internal struggles (for Mizuno in particular). This type of fight-without-a-fight story is really difficult to craft. And I think the production did a great job.

    Matroid
      1. Then this production team really pays attention to the tempo of the story. Most conventional giant robot stories seemed to feel obligated to provide a robot battle in every episode. Star Driver, being in the genre, cannot escape from this formula. (Or a lot of people would have been fired for failing to please the main stream viewers.) But at least they try in the most appropriate places to slow things down.

        Matroid
  22. Ok, why can’t there be multiple people with marks of the warrior, meaning they are there(or supposed to be) to protect the maidens. So Head could be one of those with the seal, who decided to go down the path of ultimate power instead of that of being a good person. Who knows what will happen to Mizuno but I bet they will save her, and she will fall back in love with Takuto. And I hope the next episode shows us alot of twists and turns as well!

    sqwid
  23. Talk about an anime Groundhog Day.

    I’m starting to see a possible effect on Mizuno’s West Maiden seal being broken.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    It will be tragedy no matter what Mizuno does, now that she is found out…

    jhpace1
  24. That beutiful sombre melody that was playing when mizuno was crying was just so epic. Amazing atmosphere that created. Also the go back in time thing was perfectly executed unlike a certain other god’s iterations.

    exia
  25. When Mizuno suddenly blushed, I thought theyre going for a yuri scene here

    Maybe Head is really Takuto’s father, hence their section “Vanishing Age” have something to do with Head retaining his age or form(funny speculation, yes).

    The iteration of her leaving the island was WIN. Reminds me of endless eight lol

    Nhelraios
  26. All right, I’m really really hoping that Head’s First Phase wasn’t “permanently turn young” and then le gasp! He really is Takuto’s dad/grandad (I forget which one he was looking for). Cause honestly, I hate messed family relationships. They’re just no fun at all.

    Poiira
  27. This series finally starts to get interesting, I have to give credit to the Mizuno arc for this, because to me it finally came down to the point that I’m no longer looking forward to watching this per weekly basis and the only bright spot was that amusing “Kiraboshi” greeting and now we get this…Now my interest for Star driver has pickup again.

    I have to agree with all the people who commented on how the “endless eight” of Haruhi Suzumiya should have been just like this.

    “Kiraboshi”

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