Nov 14, 2008
MotokoAramaki (All reviews)
Real Drive is tough to write a review for. As promising as this series is, it has a major downfall: it can't find its balance. The 1st and 2nd episodes are a great start, giving you all of this information and an interesting and slightly mysterious lead in Haru. I found myself immediately wanting to know more about the Artificial Island these characters inhabit, and, most of all, about what exactly happened 50 years ago to Haru. While the main character may be Haru, this series really switches the focus up after the 4th ep. After that, it becomes Minamo's show until a little past the half way mark, becoming a really drab slice of life with the story left on the back burner. Once it hits that later part of the series, though, it ramps up and you start to get a story again. It's a real shame that the entire series isn't like that, because those last few episodes were really fantastic.

The first thing you notice about this series is how crisp the colors are. The animations for the ocean are particularly beautiful, as they should be when the sea is the focus of this series. The near future setting allows this series to retain a sort of familiarity while being entirely alien at the same time. Many people complain that most of the characters look fat, but by the time you finish this, not only will you not notice it, you probably won't care. The characters themselves are animated well, but its nothing really special. The underwater facility is absolutely gorgeous to look at, like the majority of the background, and you'll probably be paying more attention to them than the characters. The Metal, while an interesting concept, often looks light years behind the rest of the animation standard, with a lot of its CGI looking clunky in comparison.

The music is give or take. Some of the more orchestral stuff sounds like it could have come from a Hollywood movie, while other things sound about as boring as elevator music. The OP is decent, but the ED is annoying, and I ended up skipping it every time just to get it over with. The sound effects are spot on, and the V/Os are solid.

The other supporting characters often had good foils, even if you learn little to nothing about anyone's past except for Minamo and Haru. Since the show focuses more on Minamo than anyone else, when you do get an episode or two that stars someone else, it's a real relief. All of the characters do their jobs perfectly, but none of them are very memorable.

I went into this mainly because I love Shirow, and came out with mixed feelings. Its an interesting series, and some of the things it brings up deserve discussion, but there was just too much filler to make this great.