Saturday, November 23, 2002


Genre: Car Action
Parental Guidance Recommended
Original Japanese © Kosuke Fujishima . exd . Bandai Visual / D.G.A
English Language release on Media Blasters' Anime Works label

eX-Driver DVDs
ex-Driver Music

Cover Description:
In the ambiguously near future gasoline powered automobiles have been replaced by AI-controlled ones. Unfortunately these cars have a nasty habit of malfunctioning, and that is where Lorne Endou and Lisa Sakakino come in. They are eX-Drivers, an elite group of drivers who drive vintage and exotic gasoline fueled cars responsible for stopping any AI car gone awry.

(6 part OAV)

Mileage will vary. >>> by Kyubi Kitsune

eX-Driver is an anime that could have been whole lot more but still delivers a reasonably enjoyable show.

Storywise eX-Driver is anemic and episodic at best. The first three episodes serve nothing more than to introduce characters, develop them, and have extended car chases. The second half introduces a continuous storyline that relies on the second most popular plot convention in anime, the past catching up with the present, as an ex-eX-Driver and his cronies come to town to challenge the status quo. There are some gaps in logic especially with how the eX-Drivers operate, but they are not really fatal to the series.

Characters aren't much better. The two main characters, Lorne and Lisa, fit into the classic Ying Yang dynamic for partners. Lorne is a reserved, calm & collected, and polite person while Lisa is rash, mildly pugnacious, and very outgoing. They are saved from being trite and uninteresting because the writer actually took the time to flesh out their personalities and therefore giving the viewer an opportunity to like them. The supporting characters aren't particularly bad and thankfully are not just part of the background.

The major problem with the characters lies in Soichi, Lorne and Lisa's other partner. He's kind of superfluous and annoying. All he really seems to do is aggravate Lisa as the two have an ongoing rivalry, serve as comic relief, and strangely becomes the main character and a strong focal point of the show at times even though writers do their best to portray Lorne and Lisa as the main characters.

The show's strongpoint is its animation, which is very good. The character designs are well above average, and the mechanical designs are simply amazing. The cars are incredibly detailed, and are perhaps one of the main reasons why someone may want to pick up this series. The car chases as well are superbly done, but at sometimes feel repetitive.

Music is a mixed bag. The opening and ending songs are catchy but the background music is not that great at times. Like the car animation the engine and other car sounds are well done, and if you own a decent stereo or home theater system, just turn up the volume.
The English voice acting ranges from slightly above mediocre to pretty good.

Like a series such as Yamamoto Yohko, eX-Driver is nice series to spend an afternoon with. It is neither ground breaking nor memorable, but is certainly enjoyable once you put asides its shortcomings. If you like cars or are a fan of Kosuke Fujishima's ( Oh My Goddess ) animation style, this is certainly something worth picking up.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 6; Characters 7; Sounds 9

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