Jun 26, 2008
RandomOugi (All reviews)
*Review completely rewritten as of 11/06/08*

Real Drive is a sci-fi series that deals with the impacts of the dependence on the Internet(the Meta Real Network, in the setting) on society, other than focusing on the effects on single individuals.

Set in 2061, it seems to expect a slower evolution of human technology then we see on other similar works. The story mostly occurs on an artificial island that is itself built as the pinnacle of the present technology, but most of it's design and features are not something one would be surprised to find on an high-tech experimental facility today.

The plot starts very slowly, with single episodes depicting the life of the protagonists on the island and interesting events that occur to them mostly on their jobs, as all are somehow connected to a role of maintaining and developing the island. As the series progresses, comparisons between the Metal and the ocean become more numerous and relevant, and the story starts revolving around the environmental impacts of the island as it reaches it's final stage of completion, and on the development of the main characters, as well as a small focus on the philosophy of human-like AIs.

The art is simply astounding, the feeling of connection with nature, specially the sea, is a primary concern, which translates into simple designs for buildings and virtual interfaces (as opposed to heavy designs cluttered with pseudo-scientific artifacts as is common in sci-fi), and an amazingly consistent color palette. For example, it's quite rare to find a frame without a single blue hued pixel in it. Another notable part of the art is the "chubby" character design, specially for females, very uncommon in anime, it is most likely linked to the author's view on the future of the ideal female body, as a consequence of the current fattening tendency of the human populace.

The background music is rare, and in most scenes it's present it's hardly noticeable, which, however, fits the mood of the show. The intro and outro songs, on the other hand, are very aggressive and enticing, specially when coupled with their respective video clips. The voice acting is very good, with special merit to the gynoid character Holon and lookalikes, which contributes the most to the believability of the technological setting, along with the audio filter used for voice communications done within the Metal, that at the same time does not hinder the comprehension of the voices and is very easily identifiable by the spectator.

Finally, the characters are very well designed, each has it's own clearly defined goals which they are constantly developing towards, through either physical or mental training, self-prompted personality changes or even built up life experiences that give birth to epiphanies.

Overall, Real Drive is a refreshing take on the genre, approaching even present day situations with characters' struggles and themes such as environment protection. The slow start, however, hinders some of it's true potential and blows away some viewers, myself included, but the show shines at full force towards it's climaxing end, and, while not really present plot-wise, all previews episodes are part of the build up that leads to it.