̩X-Driver Рepisodes 4 to 6

May 29, 2004 on 10:12 am | In ̩X-Driver | Comments Off on ̩X-Driver Рepisodes 4 to 6

And so éX-Driver comes to a close and the seiyuu are upset.

Rei, an éX-Rider (see, she rides a motorcycle) drops by in the fourth episode. Apparently she used to work with this division, but she left to pursue the opportunity to ride freely. Oh, how she laments being perfect. Then she reveals that she’s one of those girls with no sense of modesty and does all of these perverted things with Soichi which end with bloody noses. This episode would have been better if the fan service was nicer. Rei’s cleavage wasn’t really cleavage at all! But Soichi’s awkwardness was funny and Lisa’s jealousy was just plain weird.
The organisation of this future is called into question when it is revealed that there was no course of action in case two cars went out of control simultaneously.

Then the final two episodes are, as expected, the “story”. A man who knew Chief Munakata has been monitoring the éX-Drivers and, together with his merry band of cosplayers (who look suspiciously like Alex from A Clockwork Orange and a redheaded version of Hellsing‘s Arucard), takes them on with their dirty driving tactics. The desperation! The sheer human drama!
It’s pretty good drama, even if it isn’t the most special. It’s nice to see the characters acting together and Soichi and Lisa coming to some sort of agreement. There’s a cool action sequence which is akin to a samurai sword fight (that is, the “run you through” face off) between cars. However, there’s a sequence which is about five minutes of driving action with no dialogue. For those who aren’t fiercely interested in cars, it’s too easy to tune out at this point.
Also there’s a character whose involvement is something like this.
“I have to fix the computer system!”
“Were you anywhere in the first three episodes?”
“… I can’t remember.”

Still, éX-Driver was a nice production which was impressively pulled off with no CG, which is surprising for something from 2000. It’s enjoyable, and it’s a stern warning against designing cars that are literally uncontrollable.
Car otaku, rejoice! That which can only be attained by product placement is ripe for the taking in éX-Driver!

̩X-Driver Рepisodes 1 to 3

May 24, 2004 on 12:54 pm | In ̩X-Driver | Comments Off on ̩X-Driver Рepisodes 1 to 3

Back to jolly OVA series!

Some time in the future, where man lives in cities boasting domed buildings, cars are controlled by Artificial Intelligence. Because no one saw fit to install a manual or remote override in their AI system, sometimes the cars simply don’t stop driving. A team of the only three people actually licenced to drive, all of them high school students, chase down these rampaging cars and … disable their sensors, effectively shutting their system down.
Now why would AI cars have no overrides? Why would their AI go off the rails? If Fujishima Kosuke throws his love of mechanics at us, do we care about the motivation of crazy cars? No, we don’t. Not when the cars are this nice or the girls this cute.

éX-Driver is a six episode OVA that’s far more character than story oriented. The characters aren’t even messed up, they’re just comically flawed. It’s just niceness. Lisa is the hot-headed, unstudious type and Lorna is the quiet, silent laughter type. The new recruit, Soichi, is one of those child prodigies. So the only three people actually licensed to drive in this new future are three who would be too young to be allowed to drive. It’s cool, though.

These three episodes show Lisa’s dreams, Lisa’s lack of booksmarts, and then a television program about the éX-Drivers. The host of that program is a refreshing change; he’s big and famous, but he’s not too arrogant in the way that it usually goes: character meets idol, finds out idol is sod, gives idol comeuppance. No, he gets inspired by the teamwork and even makes a moral message, touched as he is by their car driving abilities.

The cast is made up of reliable old salts, the designs are the eternally attractive work of Fujishima Kosuke, the music is … there … narrative scenes even occur during the ED sequence. éX-Driver is solidly enjoyable anime. It’s nice but not in the “inoffensive” sense of the word.

It’s hard to say, because there isn’t really a lot to éX-Driver. It’s an enjoyable something, but it’s hard to say just what that something is. It’s funny, but it’s not a comedy, and there’s no real drama. The point is that it’s not nothing, as some of the truly execrable anime is.
Looks like the second half might have some sort of terrorist plot involved, that should be interesting.

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