The Other Shelf: Real Drive (RD Sennou Chousashitsu)

I finally finished the second half of this series after putting it on hold from the summer.  Real Drive has a lot of stand-alone episodes and techno-babble that glazes your eyes over if you watch a lot of it in a short period of time.  However, the final half is very well done and I’m glad that I came back around to watch it.  For those unfamiliar with the plot: Real Drive is a sci-fi drama by Production I.G that’s set in the mildly distant future in which humans have created a technological network called the Metal.  In this network, people can enter a world that satisfies their deepest desires and wants.  At the same time, scientists are pushing the Metal to extents that rival the power of nature.  I made a short little promo that showcases some of the anime’s characters and animation (see above video, go to Ytube page for higher quality).

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There really isn’t just one protagonist in Real Drive: it’s more about the interactions and growth that the characters achieve through one another.  Haru Masamichi and Kushima Eiichirou start off the plot as they do research in the ocean waters near the under-construction Artificial Island.  Haru is an expert diver who can reach depths that most normal humans can’t and Kushima is a brilliant researcher who’s trying to find out what exactly the “Earth’s Biorhythm” is.  Unfortunately, something sets off the Biorhythm and an injured Haru falls into a deep coma for several decades.  When he finally awakens, he’s 82 years old and unable to walk, let alone dive.  Kushima is still around due to acquiring a prosthetic body, and he believes that Haru could still be able to dive through the virtual world of the Metal.  However, Haru has lost his confidence and wants nothing to do with the experiments.  It’s not until a young teenage girl named Minamo appears that Haru realizes that there’s still more that he’s capable of achieving.  Several others join the three in their work, including Holon the android and Minamo’s brother and expert fighter, Sota.

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Real Drive’s animation certainly is eye candy most of the time, but there are moments where you can tell the budget gets strained.  Though I can’t really complain, because most of the scenes in the Metal are done through CG.  Some people will be quick to complain about the character design of many of the female characters.  Anime fans have been trained to idolize stick thin girls, so it can be somewhat of a shock to see curvy, shapely women.  I think it’s cool that they’re more realistic, but Minamo and Yukino can get a little old when they complain that they might get fat.  Especially Yukino since she’s constantly shoving parfaits in her mouth.  Anyhow, the music also adds a nice effect to the show, and I love how they use Paganini’s Theme for a couple of the songs.

The End – Spoilers Ahead – BEWARE~

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RD’s final arc is pretty satsifying and everyone pretty much came out with a “Good End” situation.  That’s not to say that some escape a bittersweet ending.  Kushima still ends up passing away (although it’s his choice) and I feel like Sota made the wrong decision.  After the jungle episodes, I was actually starting to pull for the Sota/Holon pairing because she really was becoming more like a human.  Then she lost her memory and the Secretary General actually became a likeable person.  It just seems more like a matter of when, not if, Holon will lose her memory again and Sota’s only going to have his heart broken again.  The SG was obviously still deeply in love with him and she would have changed her attitude for him.  It’s just a bigger punch to the face for her since Holon’s appearance was modeled after her.

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On the other side of things, Haru was just full of lolridiculous moments.  I can deal with the fact that he was able to walk again like a feebly old man, but running around doing laps like a 20 year old is unbelievable.  It’d be one thing if he had prosthetics, but he didn’t.  It also surprised me that the writers seriously went down the path of Haru and Minamo falling in love.  I figured it’d be one of those situations where they tease at the possibility, but never actually act on the idea.  Of course they dodge the “ewww, old man sex” comments by finding a way to magically reverse Haru’s age back to 20 something so he and Minamo can have babies and grow old together.  As funny as the concept is, I’m not one to complain since it means one last shot of Young Haru and his fine ass.

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