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Kosuke Fujishima really likes his cars and his girls.
Between the gearheaded club members of Nekomi Tech in the various versions of Ah My Goddess, to his wild-driving police officers in You're Under Arrest, he has gained a reputation for mixing fierce amounts of sheer mechanical detail with the sleek lines of attractive women.
Does it work a third time in eX-Driver?
Unfortunately, cute girls and fast cars are far from enough to salvage this work, which leads us to believe that able-bodied people of the future are so stupid and lazy as to ride completely AI automobiles with no emergency off-switch and no manual controls whatsoever.
That's right - manual (or even standard) driving is so rare that only a small cadre of people, the eX-Drivers, are available to stop and defuse potentially embarassing runaway AI in cars.
(Wait a second, if these people can drive, doesn't that make everyone else the "ex-drivers"?!?)
Also, it doesn't help that the main "cute girl", Lisa, is a total doofus. Lorna, for her part, is a doormat. The driver with the most personality is in fact the annoying schoolkid, which makes sense when you realize he's got the same voice (Yumiko Kobayashi) as Puni Puni Poemy.
That show's wackiness and perversion would in fact be more than welcome as a replacement for the artificial drama redolent in eX-Driver. Lisa is mad that Souichi is a better driver, and continually bombs her school tests (that's right, our driving heroes are students). As for Lorna and Souichi ... well, they actually take care of their cars as best as possible, so really, the drama queen is consistently Lisa. This wouldn't be so bad if she weren't the main character ... ugh.
Of course, no driving show would sell without driving sequences, and eX-Driver has a few good ones, even bordering on really cool. But the non-action scenes detract so much from the whole that we end up with one huge pileup of excellent animation wasted on truly crappy screenwriting, character, and concept work.
It's all rather frustrating, because Fujishima Kousuke has done so much better in the past. The big problem here is that there's no solid storywork to base this on. Rather than being based on an original manga, this was an original work -- the comic version came afterwards! It's more proof that good anime is about far more than just throwing money at pretty pictures.
Seriously. Does anyone really think we're going to give over my driving rights to incompetent AI? No thanks. I'll take a Mazda RX-8 over this any day.
If you can disregard the lousy storyline and character work, and focus on the cars, you could add a star. Best fit for a rental. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: There is fan service, but it's nothing too out there. All you get are somewhat harmless crazy antics involving driving.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (6/6)
eX-Driver © 2002 A-Line / ACTAS
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