Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto (translated as Radiant Takuto or Takuto of the Radiance) is a Humongous Mecha Anime series created and animated by BONES and produced by Aniplex, which ran as part of the Fall 2010 lineup and has been licensed for the USA by Bandai Entertainment. Episodes are being added to Hulu and can be found here.
On Southern Cross Island, Wako Agemaki and her fiance Sugata Shindo find a boy passed out on the beach. This boy is Takuto Tsunashi, a transfer student at Southern Cross High, who was so excited to begin his new life that when he missed his ferry, he swam across the sea himself.
So begins Star Driver, a show about high school and the joy of youth.
Beneath the school, a sinister organization called the Glittering Crux Brigade is trying to awaken the giant robot Cybodies. To this end, they are kidnapping the four Maidens of the island to undo the four seals on Zero Time, a hidden dimension that captures active Cybodies so they can't exist in the real world. They've broken one, and Wako is next up. Takuto is too late to save her, and the Glittering Crux escapes into Zero Time... but then Takuto follows them, calling his own Cybody Tauburn and transforming into the Galactic Pretty Boy.
So begins Star Driver, a show about mecha and lots and lots of Camp.
Star Driver is an eclectic combination of Humongous Mecha, high school, Shonen, and Magical Girl tropes that brings together Soul Eater director Takuya Igarashi and Revolutionary Girl Utena writer Yoji Enokido for their first joint project since Ouran High School Host Club. It's notable for its beautiful animation, bizarre Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, FAAAABULOUSness, eclectic cast of characters, love of Genre Busting, and numerous Shout Outs to popular anime shows.
A movie has just been announced as being planned out.
- Absolute Cleavage: Sugata's Crux outfit manages to be a male version.
- Actor Allusion:
- Katashiro smokes, has an eyepatch and brown hair... sounds like a fusion of two roles Shinichiro Miki played a while ago. In fact, when we see his younger self in episode 20, even accounting for art style differences, he looked exactly like Lockon.
- Takuto and his childhood friend Natsuo are voiced by Mamoru Miyano and Miyu Irino respectively. This is not the first time they have been together.
- All Women Are Lustful
- All Your Colors Combined: The Glittering Crux attempted this on Samekh after their collective Heel Face Turns. It didn't work.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Zero Time, the place where Cybodies duke it out.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Glittering Cross' plan to break the island Maidens' seals to allow Cybodies to move outside of Zero Time.
- Anime Hair: And HOW!
- Anti-Villain: Pretty much all of Glittering Crux are either not really all that evil or have many redeeming qualities, with the exceptions being the members of Vanishing Age... and even a couple of those are less 'clearly evil' and more 'short on obvious positive features'.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Takuto delivers one to Sugata in an attempt to wake him up. In response, he's not so pleased.
- Arranged Marriage: Between Wako and Sugata. Not that either of them seem to give much of a damn about it. Ryousuke and Takuto's mother were engaged in Backstory, but it did not turn out well
- Art Shift:
- A bit during the battle in episode 13. The mechs look a lot more sketchy while fighting, almost like a storyboard. Done again in the final episode, when Tauburn has to face all the previous mechs he fought.
- In episode 25, the art becomes black and white when Takuto Falcon Punches Head for the second time, One Piece style.
- Attack Drone: After Takuto uses the "It'll Be Alright" spell given to him by Mizuno in battle, the pieces of Tauburn's skirt suddenly fly off and start shooting down the balls of energy the enemy was using against him.
- Bad Guy Bar: Vanishing Age holds their meetings in one.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy:
- Takuto during his Transformation Sequence.
- Maidens when Seals are broken.
- Sequences where someone is healing their Cybody.
- Bare Your Midriff: A fair-sized chunk of the cast. More specifically, the male cast.
- Baseball Episode: The start of episode 10.
- Batman Gambit: Episode 25 reveals that Head was only using Glittering Crux as a means to revive Samekh and steal its power for himself. He never told the other GC members of Samekh's true nature.
- Beach Episode: The first half of Episode 17.
- Beam Spam: Used by a few Cybodies. Samekh combines this with Wave Motion Gun, due to its sheer size - what would be a Wave Motion Gun for any other Cybody is used as part of Beam Spam for Samekh. In the final episode he brings out a real barrage of beams.
- Betty and Veronica: Sugata and Takuto for Wako. She ends up choosing both of them, according to Word of God, having realized she's painfully in love with them both.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Sugata's maids, Tiger and Jaguar, are well-versed in taijutsu, according to their bios and the fight in episode 6, not to mention their real jobs: killing Sugata should he try to leave the island. Takuto himself could also count as this. Also, Sugata himself.
- Wako proves that even she has lines you don't cross with her in Episode 19.
- Big Bad Quintumvirate:
- The leaders of Glittering Crux Brigade all form one, though they've made a deal that whoever defeats Takuto will become the leader.
- Subverted after Episode 17, as Head becomes the leader of the Crux following his faction's coup.
- Big Damn Hero: Takuto pulls this in episode 1. Sugata later becomes one in Episode 6. And Wako in Episode 21. Then every Glittering Crux member other than Head in the last episode.
- Big Sister Instinct: Marino to Mizuno.
- Bishounen: Takuto's title is the Ginga Bishounen, which literally means "Galactic Pretty Boy". No, that's not a joke. This series doesn't take itself seriously at all.
- Bittersweet Ending: King Samekh has been destroyed, but Takuto and Sugata get stuck in Earth's orbit inside of the wrecked Tauburn.
- Bland-Name Product: Sougen-Dazs.
- Boisterous Bruiser: George.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Wako steals Takuto's "Chesto!" during a beach volleyball game.
- Boy Meets Girl/Meet Cute
- Break the Cutie: Episode 15 is devoted to breaking Mizuno in just about every way possible.
- Breather Episode: Episode 17. Going from the rather down Mizuno arc to a Beach Episode.
- By the Power of Greyskull:
- "Apprivoise" seems to be the general phrase used to active the Cybody Transformation Sequence.
- There's also Takuto's trademark version. Although later, it's used by all Third Phase Cybody pilots, including women.
Takuto: Apprivoise! Dazzling the stage! Galactic Pretty Boy Tauburn!
- Calling Your Attacks: Takuto calls nearly all of his finishers.
- Camp: By the bucketload. For an obvious example, see Takuto's line under By the Power of Greyskull, above.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Every character is distinguishable from another, even without the wacky hairstyles.
- Catch Phrase: "It's a _____!" is basically one for Takuto, usually "pinch" being the chosen word. He also has "Chesto!" when he launches a powerful attack, as well as "Flair!" and "Tau radiance fills the Galaxy!", when he does a Finishing Move.
- Caught in the Rain: Takuto and Wako had this happen to them in Episode 4.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: Takuto caught Keito playing idol in a karaoke bar, right after the latter commenting that Wako's dream of being a singer is childish. Then, with Keito again, literally with her "robe" down, when she was found out by Sugata that she has been feeding him libido every evening.
- Character Development: Particularly noticeable with Mrs. Watanabe by episode 12, to the point that one of her personal 'staff' deigns the comment, "She's having more fun these days, isn't she?" And although a few of the cast's development (including her own) begins early on, it progresses at a much quicker pace for the rest of the Glittering Crux (and even the main trio) from this episode on.
- Character Filibuster: A Show Within the Show example. Sarina's character in the play by Midnight Flight breaks into a speech about how great power can be used/misused. Considering that Sarina pens the play, it can also be taken as Author Filibuster.
- Chekhov's Gag: Fan Service can be a double-edged sword, as proven in Episode 5.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Takuto bringing out Sugata's knife in episode 19 as Sugata's birthday present to Wako began as a symbolic gift representing Sugata's care for Wako, but then shows up again later in the episode helping Wako.
- Kanako's Cool Ship. Good for evacuations.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Mizuno is first seen riding a bus with the North Maiden, Wako, and the class president. We don't find out her name an importance until later. Canny viewers realized that these were all four Maidens.
- The Chosen Ones: Takuto and all other pilots with "true marks" can be called "Galactic Pretty Boys". Even women. (Note that shounen in Japanese usually refers to boys, but can also refer to women, usually in the collective sense.)
- Clark Kenting: The real identities of Glittering Crux members appear to fall under this.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: The main Power Trio correspond to the primary colors.
- Combat Pragmatist: Takuto, actually. Normally it doesn't come up since he has everybody overmatched, but in the cases where he doesn't, he's quick to take advantage of his opponent letting their guard down.
- Combat Stilettos: The Tauburn. Yes, Takuto pirouettes in a giant robot with high heels.
- Confusion Fu: This is pretty much the reason for Takuto's spotless winning streak: he makes a point of never showing a skill or ability unless it's absolutely necessary in surviving the fight so that the Glittering Crux have no idea what their opponent is capable of (and thus have no way to counter it) even a dozen battles into the series.
- Conspicuous CG: During the Cybody transformation sequence.
- Conspiracy Redemption
- Cool Bike: How about a bike-shaped Humongous Mecha?
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Wako to Takuto, of all things. Though the main problems of the trope are averted; Wako performs CPR correctly and the scene fades out before the usual "magical revival" occurs.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The Maiden songs, especially Monochrome and Innocent Blue.
- Cryptic Background Reference: The series has a good deal of mysteries that are never explained:
- The ruins hidden on the island and what sort of civilization might've inhabited them are never really expounded upon.
- The drama club's play (and by extension its sequel, the North Maiden's Sam the Squid-Piercer story) seems to parallel whatever conflict occurred between Samekh and Ayingott that resulted in Ayingott being crushed in Samekh's hand, but this is never told to the audience with full disclosure either.
- Whatever the Entropeople are and who that second, boyish voice Sarina speaks with are not explained.
- Custom Uniform of Sexy: Most of the important characters/cybody pilots among the Glittering Crux Brigade get a custom uniform. The number of them that aren't Stripperiffic can be counted on one hand.
- Cybody Pilot of the Week: Played with in that some members of the Glittering Star get a rematch with Takuto.
- Dance Battler: Takuto in the Tauburn.
- Deadpan Snarker: Benio has her moments, especially when watching show-off fights in Zero Time. And Sugata, who nonchalantly invokes topics like Sacred First Kiss or what Takuto might do when meeting with a mysterious girl.
- Death Glare: Courtesy of Wako in episode 19. If the glare wasn't scary enough, the knife probably was.
- Deconstructor Fleet: The show is shaping up to be this for anime as a whole.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Okamoto learned that there's a time and place for looking at hot guys the hard way.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Boy, there sure are a lot of guys queuing up to break Wako's 'seal', aren't there?
- The maidens having to be nude to be the power source of the mech.
- The end of episode 8, what with all that prolonged, synchronized panting from Takuto and Sugata...
- Then there's Head in episode 16, where he talks about people with weak marks "wither" in sight of his "sword"... A more disturbing instance would be Mizuno's panicking when Head was about to break the West seal
- Don't Try This At Home:
- Double Entendre: In episode 24, before Shingo gives Head his mark, they have this little exchange:
Shingo: Tokio, are you ok?
- Downer Ending:
- Not to the show itself, but the fish girl's story ends with Sam killing his girlfriend in order to achieve his dream of flying out into the galaxy, and once he gets there he finds it not as amazing as he'd hoped.
- Dramatic Pause: After Takuto's and Sugata's fight in Zero Time, a good half-minute is used for a scene of the two of them just panting heavily. May also qualify as Ho Yay.
- Dramatic Wind: This happens when Takuto confronts Sugata in Episode 8.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: Sugata appears to kiss Wako in her sleep in Episode 20, but it's very ambiguous.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Madoka and Kou appeared first in episode 3 before their proper introduction in episode 17.
- Eating the Eye Candy:
- Tiger and Jaguar take entirely to much enjoyment out of Takuto showing the Drama Club his "mark" (which, of course, is on his chest...).
- Okamoto loves to look at pretty boys. Probably not a good idea to send that kind of person to fight someone with "Pretty Boy" in their title.
"...did you seriously lose because you were watching him flex?"
- Elaborate University High: Southern Cross High School.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Ever her fellow members of Glittering Crux thought Kou's ridiculous entrance in episode nineteen was over the top.
- Everyone Can See It: The UST between Takuto and Wako. Everyone practically treats them like a couple even though Wako is engaged.
- Evolving Credits: The bus in the end credits features graffiti of the Shrine Maiden who sings in that episode.
- Eyepatch of Power: Ryousuke has one. It's from when he ripped out his eye after he saw Sora and Head passionately kissing.
- Face Heel Turn: Sugata. He did have good reason though.
- Fan Nickname: Lady Sugaga for Sugata, due to the Absolute Cleavage and peacock feathers of his Crux outfit.
- Fan Service:
- In-universe, this is literally the reason why the Drama Club practices outside: so they can be checked out by the adoring school.
- The special vision mode of Okamoto-sensei's Cybody.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The Glittering Cross are big, big fans.
- The Fighting Narcissist: Subverted with Takuto. Has all the makings of one (including an arrogant title!), but appears to be a stand-up guy.
- Flat What: What Takuto does when he wins a Cybody battle because Okamoto was too busy checking him out.
Takuto: ...what. Seriously, what.
- Foe Yay: Takuto and every female Glittering Crux member introduced so far with the exceptions of Keito and Undine, as well as Sugata and Head.
- Forbidden Fruit:
- Lampshaded by Takuto in regards to the "abandoned" gold mine.
- Eating squid in Sakana's story.
- Freudian Trio: Takuto, Wako, and Sugata, if the ending is any indicator.
- Id: Takuto. Completely and entirely driven by his impulses and desires.
- Superego: Sugata. Calm, coolheaded, and rational.
- Ego: Wako. An exact balance between the two.
- It's even lampshaded by Takuto and Sarina in Episode 6, though Takuto initially worries that they were never really a Freudian Trio and instead "a couple and their third wheel."
- Functional Magic: The cybodies and associated powers are called magic during the Show Within a Show drama club play. Of course, that entire episode was absolutely dripping with metaphor and symbolism, so take it with a grain of salt.
- Gang of Hats: Crux's departments, all shout outs to their counterparts in The Little Prince. Filament is institutionally passionate, Science Guild is institutionally inquisitive, Adult Bank is institutionally calculating, Bougainvilleae is institutionally troubled, Vanishing Age is institutionally arrogant, and Emperor is institutionally (to the extent that it is one) fatalistic.
- Generation Xerox: The Takuto/Wako/Sugata love triangle mirrors the Tokio/Sora/Ryousuke love triangle revealed in Episode 20.
- Genki Girl: Mizuno.
- Genre Busting: It's a mecha show! No, it's a romantic slice of life comedy! Wait wait, it's a Magical Girl series except starring a Bishounen! No, I was wrong, it's a Mind Screw! Whatever it is, it's all very FABULOUS.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Star Driver has taken elements of just about every genre it's drawn influence from (Humongous Mecha, Slice of Life, Magical Girl, Romantic Comedy), taken tropes inside those genres, and put them out on full display, playing with them, playing them straight, lampshading them and making them work (thus far) into something nearly predictably entertaining.
- Genre Savvy: Wako and Takuto have some rather impressive moments of this. Wako in episode 19, when she figures out that Kou has taken over Takuto's body, and promptly puts a knife to her throat in about 10 seconds, and Takuto in episode 23, when he subverts his fathers fakes stranger act, and belts him right in the face.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Done by Takuto on Sugata, because Sugata was in a trance after waking from a coma.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The entire conversation between Takuto and Benio in the bath can refer to kissing and something a little further down that line.
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Takuto uses Tauburn to catch a falling character in episode 7.
- Goggles Do Nothing: The fluff Tauburn has.
- Gratuitous English: "It's a pinch!" and any other variations of that phrase minus the "pinch".
- Gratuitous French: "Apprivoise", the activation phrase for any Cybody, is French for "tame". The Star Swords are named after gems reworked in French. "Sapphire" becomes "Saphir", "Diamond" becomes Diamant, and so on.
- Gray Rain of Depression: In Episode 15, after Mizuno overhears Takuto willing to duel him to get Sugata to break his engagement with Wako (as reward for a bet). Cue Mizuno riding atop the bus as per usual, but amidst heavy rain and dark clouds.
- Groundhog Day Loop: How the Maidens are kept on the island. Attempting to leave triggers one, as Mizuno finds to her horror.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Mamoru Miyano and Akira Ishida in Episode 25.
- Helping Would Be Killstealing: One of the Cybody duels is basically a boxing match. Sugata decides against buffing Tauburn with his King's Pillar because he thinks it would be in bad taste.
- Henshin Hero: Takuto.
- Heroic Second Wind: Big time for Takuto during his fight with Head in Episode 16. Complete with Taubarn v.2.
- Hot Dad: Head for Takuto.
- Hot-Blooded: Takuto's so hot blooded and ready to make his mark that he swam across the ocean because he missed the last ferry and didn't want to miss opening ceremonies.
- Humongous Mecha
- Hypocritical Humor: While under the effects of her first phase, Midori goes around offering kisses through the glass. Kanako (note that such a kiss was used as an Establishing Character Moment for her) considers this slutty, apparently because Midori is offering kisses as opposed to accepting propositions from boys.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Used twice in episode 3. First, Takuto reveals that he's actually a Dual-Wielding swordsman. Then, after the battle is over, it's revealed that Takashi is also "marked", meaning he can use a third phase Cybody too.
- I Will Find You: Takuto mentions that he wants to find his father when he first shows up on the island.
- I Will Protect Her: Takuto towards Wako.
- Imagine Spot: Wako has a few.
- Imagine Spotting: Wako's Imagine Spots can be seen by everyone else, or at least the girls.
- Impossibly Graceful Giant: Tauburn's corkscrew flips would earn him a gold medal in any Olympics.
- Indirect Kiss: It seems to be a trend in the school to kiss random strangers through glass windows.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
- Karma Houdini: Head. Admittedly, we don't see what happens after the credits roll, but our last image of him is being somewhat moody, with his friend only commenting on the situation in a bemused manner. Given the whole, you know, kill the world and travel through time to fulfill an insane fantasy ploy he just tried to pull, you'd think maybe there'd be some kind of rejection or punishment...
- Kill Sat:
- The King's Pillar ( Sugata's First Phase) has effects similar to this. However, it appears to only function on Cybodies below Third Phase. Then, when apprivoised into Samekh, He pulls off the king of Kill Sats.
- Wako showed she has her own variation on one in Episode 21 (Appropriately enough by RPG standards, Wako as a Maiden offers a debuff as opposed to damage output).
- La Résistance: The school drama club.
- Laser Blade: The Star Swords. Since they're wielded by Humongous Mecha, they also count as BFSes. All There in the Manual reveals that they were Samekh's wings.
- Likes Older Women: Tsubasa is the only guy who isn't infatuated with Hina, but he has a crush on Okamoto-sensei.
- Living with the Villain:
- With the exception of the drama club members, every fellow student that Takuto is seen talking to is a member of Glittering Cross. The dorm RA is one of the leaders, and two of the other leaders are Takuto's classmates and actually sit next to him in class.
- Another leader is the school's nurse.
- Lonely at the Top: Head mentions that he's sacrificed so much in order to pursue his ambition, including two relationships that resulted in his ex-girlfriends (Takuto's mother and the North Maiden) dumping him and leaving the island forever. And his entire reason for going after Samekh's Time Travel power is so he can back what he lost.
- Love At First Sight
- Love Dodecahedron: In addition to the main Love Triangle below, there's Mizuno, Marino, a flirtatious Kanako, and an increasing Unwanted Harem for Takuto, as well as Benio and Keito for Sugata.
- Love Dodecahedron: Most girls in school want either Takuto, Sugata, or both. They both want Wako. Most of the other boys want one of those girls. See also Love Triangle below.
- Love Is in the Air: The result of Okamoto abusing her Cybody's power to stay young and constantly using the Mandrake potion.
- Love Martyr: Head has left a lot of these in his wake.
- Love Potion: Okamoto kept stealing the Mandrake potion to live out her fantasy of being surrounded by pretty boys.
- Love Triangle: Takuto, Wako, and Sugata... although the latter of the triangle doesn't seem to be fighting his corner too strenuously On the other hand, Wako doesn't seem to mind if Takuto and Sugata end up together.
- In episode 20, we find out that Head, then known as Tokio Tsunashi, was in a similar position to his son, with Ryousuke Katashiro being Sugata, and Sora being Wako. It... doesn't turn out well.
- According to the official pamphlet, George and Tetsuya are both in love with Benio.
- Wako and Keito for Sugata.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Head is Takuto's father and is implied to know that fact. Unfortunately for him, Takuto also knows it.
- MacGuffin Girl: The Shrine Maidens, though the emphasis is usually on Wako.
- May September Romance: Okamoto and Tsubasa are in a relationship.
- May–December Romance: Mr. Watanabe is 65. Mrs. Watanabe is 15.
- Meaningful Name:
- Eva uses Christianity, RahXephon uses Mayan...Star Driver uses Phoenician. Pretty much every Star Driver's name has a connection to the Phoenician letter their Cybody is named after. Tsunashi can be written as 十 (he wears a Tau 𐤕, hence Tauburn, which means "mark"), Sugata can be written as 丰 (Samek 𐤎, which is suspiciously close to 王 king), and Agemaki can be written as 丫 (waw 𐤅, which would make her name waw-girl). Sakana-chan (Fish-girl in the translation) is so named because her mark, 𐤍 "Nun", means "fish." Yet another clue before the reveal of Keito as the East Maiden was that Nichi is written as 日, which looks just like the letter 𐤇 heth (meaning "wall" in Phoenician). There are a lot of Fridge Logic spoilers like that, like how the Driver wearing 𐤓 signs paintings with an R.
- In the play in episode 22, the main trio are playing characters named after the English translation of their letters. Takuto is Mark, Sugata is Columner (Column/Pillar), and Wako is Kleis (feminine form of Klaus, which sounds like 'Claws' which are hook shaped.)
- Meganekko: Okamoto-sensei and Sugata's maids.
- Meido: Tiger and Jaguar first appear as them.
- Mood Dissonance: There is a Leitmotif where the maiden of the week sings a song while the pilots activate their mecha, each according to her character type. The first by Sakana is a haunting melody of loss and longing, while Wako's song focuses on rebirth. Mizuno's song is about blue skies and sunshine, while Keito sings about things starting to pass on.
- Put another way, Sakana sings about winter, Wako sings about spring, Mizuno sings about summer and Keito sings about autumn.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The end of Episode 6.
- Episode 24.
- Motion Capture Mecha: The Tauburn and other Third Phase Cybodies.
- Motorcycle on the Coast Road: Done by Tetsuya in the opening and second episode, but he would get away with it often, living on an island and all.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Takuto is a major offender with this trope, though with him being a Showy Invincible Hero and based on the previously unexplored level of camp in the series, it's all but expected. What's not expected is Wako invoking this in Episode 19.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In her attempts to protect Mizuno from the Crux, Marino ended up inadvertently revealing that her sister was the West Maiden to, at the very least, Head and Ivrogne.
- Ninja Maid: Tiger and Jaguar was revealed to be this on episode 6.
- No Ontological Inertia: Beautifully averted.
- Nobody Can Die: At least the director and writer said so. Confirmed, as of the final episode. Not one character has died as a result of Cybody combat, nor have any characters been implied to have died during the run of the story.
- Noodle People: Not to the extent as, say CLAMP's recent works, but the character designs are quite spindly nonetheless.
- Not a Date: Completely averted in episode 6. Wako literally exclaims to Takuto that they're going on a date when she decides to take him to the city part of the island.
- Not So Different: Keito reveals to Takuto that she also felt like a she was "in the way" when she used to be childhood friends with Sugata and Wako, mirroring Takuto's uncertainties of being a "third wheel" in the same relationship.
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: As befitting an organisation mostly run by libidinous teenagers and the occasional adult Bunny Ears Lawyer, the Crux has atrocious management issues.
- Oh Crap: The ending of episode 15. When Keito approaches Mizuno and reveals she knows she's a Maiden.
- Episode 23. Sugata joins the glittering crux Not good.
- Episode 24. The one to top them all. Keito's seal is broken, and Samekh is released.
- Twice in the final episode, where Sugata apprivoises, and Head does a Gundamjack
- Older Than They Look: Head does not look like he has a highschool age son.
- "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: "Your galaxy will shine!" At the series end, "Your galaxy is already Shining!" also a throw back to Sakana-chan's story.
- Once an Episode: One of the Maidens will sing her song, which means it's fightin' time. Everyone will enter Zero Time, where Takuto meets his opponent and will apprivoise, causing Tauburn to break through the fabric of Zero Time to answer the summons; once inside Tauburn, Takuto will transform into his Galactic Pretty Boy outfit. After this, we're shown a Humongous Mecha duel; upon Takuto's victory, the opponent's Cybody will explode at least once on the ground and then, for some reason, in the air.
- Subversions abound; on a few occasions there is no fight, once or twice there's a fight but no song (such as when the Maiden is occupied), and very rarely the song starts, but the fight does not. This is demonstrated best with the East Maiden, whose song only appears twice, and only one of those occasions accompanies a battle.
- Onion Tears: Sugata. According to Wako, that is the first time he ever cries.
- Ordinary High School Student: Everyone.
- Orichalcum: The island sits upon a huge bed of it. It's also used in the Cybodies' construction.
- Out-of-Clothes Experience: Whenever a Maiden pilots her Cybody.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The Glittering Crux members may wear very extravagant outfits and wear very large masks, but they do absolutely nothing to change their very unique and noticeable hairstyles between their secret and normal identities besides maybe wearing a hat. Even if their masks cover half their faces and they do a decent job of changing their voices, the audience can immediately figure out who is a Glittering Crux member. Nearly the entire cast, on the other hand, are routinely shocked when a Glittering Crux member reveals their true identities.
- Parental Abandonment: It seems that Takuto was raised by his grandfather, since it's implied that his mother has died and he's searching for his absent father Tokio Tsunashi, better now known as Head. During the events of the final episode it becomes an attempt at Offing the Offspring on Head's part, if his tone is any indication
- Mizuno and Marino were also abandoned by their father, and their mother left to search for him. Well, Mizuno was abandoned. Marino just came into being because Mizuno's mother left.
- Poor Communication Kills: Sora was in love with her fiancé Ryousuke, but Ryousuke never openly revealed that he felt the same way, leading Sora to think that her feelings were unrequited, and so she started to fall for Tokio instead. Ryousuke only reveals that he did love Sora by giving her the pocketwatch that he always kept that had her picture after it is revealed she is pregnant with Tokio's child, Takuto.
- Power Incontinence: Ryousuke's first phase allowed him to see things, regardless of whether he wants to or not. After seeing his beloved loving his friend, he scratches out his left eye.
- Power Perversion Potential:
- Benio's first phase can certainly be played this way - it's activated with a kiss.
- While not specific to any one individual, those who don't get frozen during Zero Time could certainly use that fact in this way.
- Ginta uses his first phase to spy on Wako while she's purifying herself.
- When Kou and Madoka were possessing Takuto and Sugata's bodies, they were only a few seconds from making out with each other before Wako showed up.
- Prequel: In universe example. The play put on by Midnight Flight seems to be a prequel to Sakana-chan's story, detailing the King's Start of Darkness.
- Product Placement: Marino has some very conspicuous Aqua Timez and 9nine posters in her room. (Aqua Timez and 9nine being the band responsible for the opening and ending themes respectively.) Likewise, Takuto has posters labelled "Mono-chrome" (Sakana-chan's Maiden song) and "Drive Star" in his room.
- In Episode 14, Mizuno's hairdresser suggests "going Gangan for love". Later, when she volunteers to participate in the Drama Club's play, Wako calls her "a Young Gangan". Young Gangan is the name of the magazine in which the Star Driver manga is serialized.
- Recycled in Space!: Revolutionary Girl Utena with Humongous Mecha.
- Or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann with the GAR replaced by FABULOUS.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Takuto and Sugata together provide an archetypal example of this trope. They're even Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
- Replacement Goldfish: The North Maiden could have possibly been one to Head/Tokio, given his relationship to Sora.
- Rescue Romance: Between Takuto and Wako. Wako saves Takuto's life when she finds him washed ashore and performs CPR on him. Takuto returns the favor by saving Wako when she is captured by the Glittering Crux Brigade.
- The Reveal: Episode 17 finally confirmed what most viewers had already figured out. That Keito is the east maiden.
- Episode 20 reveals that yes, Head is Takuto's father.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Vice President of the drama club...who is a tiny fox. Which, in episode 22, is revealed to also be an alien.
- Rocket Punch/This Is a Drill: Pile Crusher: Fighting the powah since Episode 12.
- Romance Ensues: Takuto and Wako are intentionally placed in this situation in Episode 4 so Tiger can have Sugata without any obstacles.
- Sacred First Kiss: Sugata points out that Wako's CPR could probably count as both her and Takuto's First Kiss, which leads Wako to nearly choke on her orange juice.
- Scenery Porn: Zero Time, the dimension where Cybodies do battle.
- Also, the nighttime skies.
- The series is made by Studio BONES; what else could you expect?
- School Play: Since the protagonists are members of the Drama Club. A kissing scene in their play is Serious Business.
- Episode 22 is basically this trope and the play reveals a lot of backstory about the Cybodies..
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Samekh, the King Cybody. At the end of the series, it gets unsealed, and Sugata sacrifices himself to seal it again. Subverted when Takuto realizes that eventually it could get unsealed, so he finishes unsealing it and destroys it.
- Serious Business: Blowing kisses.
- She Is the King: Type II applies for certain members of the Vanishing Age crew in terms of the title they are bestowed after the Glittering Crux manages to unlock the third level.
- Shirtless Scene: Lots of them. For instance, Takuto is shown while having a bath on-screen several times.
- Takuto's first foe is a Crux Star Driver and boxer codenamed Raging Bull.
- In episode 3, Kanako says that her husband is "the head of Grand Tonnerre Foundation" which also shares the same name of the company that Eclair Tonnerre's family owns in Ouran High School Host Club.
- The "STAR DRIVAAAAAAAAAAAA" Eyecatch is likely a reference to the eyecatch from Gunbuster.
- Wako's fantasy in episode 4 is very reminiscent of Ouran, with roses all around the screen and a "caption" done in the style as the ones used constantly in that series.
- The book Tiger referenced in episode 4 was very clearly Little Black Sambo.
- There's a poster of the cover of the opening theme single, "Gravity 0", in Mizuno and Marino's room.
- "I think playing the piano suits you more than carrying a kendo stick."
- Also, the line about Mizuno being a weirdo outcast and a "witch."
- Katashiro's past shares some similarities with Mikage/Nemuro's, with Head/Tokio/Reiji playing Akio to Sora's Tokiko.
- The boxing ring that forms during Takuto and Kanako's fight looks conspicuously similar to the one from G Gundam's second OP.
- Madoka and Kou. Let's see, two girls, one is blonde, the other turquoise-haired, they're a couple ... Hmmm...
- The main branches of the Glittering Star and Takuto's Galactic Pretty Boy costume take inspiration from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. The author's earlier novel Night Flight likely provided the source for the drama club's name.
- Sugata's King's Pillar looks a lot like the Seven Swell, only the former is blue while the latter is the entire rainbow.
- During Head's Evil Gloating in Episode 25, he says "The young think they can overcome anything with spirit." Becomes something of a Brick Joke later on when Takuto delivers a knock-out blow to him, a la Kamina/Simon.
- Wako's Cybody, Waw, bears a striking resemblance to Heartcatch Pretty Cure's Cure Sunshine.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Head meets Takuto and tries his manipulation on him. Takuto doesn't even let him finish the sentence. Yeouch.
- Sibling Triangle: Both Marino and Mizuno have developed feelings for Takuto. Mizuno also lampshades it at the end of Episode 10.
- Smells Sexy: Lampshaded by everyone in Episode 5 with Okamoto.
- Soft Water: Flashback to Takuto's past involves this.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Vanishing/Banishing Age. To make matters worse, the official site uses both.
- The links provided all show Vanishing. Perhaps they've finally made up their mind. Makes sense, Vanishing does fit better than Banishing.
- Would also make sense because it ties into Head's first phase, which makes his age vanish...
- The links provided all show Vanishing. Perhaps they've finally made up their mind. Makes sense, Vanishing does fit better than Banishing.
- Spit Take: Wako does this when Sugata asks Takuto if he's had his first kiss.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Sam and the girl he loves in the North Maiden's story, as the galactic ship Sam receives from the king will only work if her blood is spilled, but episode 8 reveals that Sam really loved sailing through the galaxy more and the girl was a more or less vessel in achieving his goal.
- Also, seemingly Head and the North Maiden.
- And in episode 20 it reveals that Head and Sora were this as well. Takuto was the result.
- Also, seemingly Head and the North Maiden.
- Stealth Insult: Keito discreetly disparages Wako for her indecisiveness (i.e: Called Wako a whore) in Episode 24.
- I'm not like you or my Aunt.
- Stock Footage: Pretty standard fare for a mecha/action show. The Glittering Star getting into the cybercasket, Tauburn's entrance into Zero Time, Takuto pulling out his Star Swords, etc.
- Stripperiffic: Benio's, Simone's, and Kanako's outfits bare copious amounts of skin, and Kanako herself practically looks like a dominatrix in hers. Of the female Order members, only Nichi dresses 'sensibly', and even then her shoulders are exposed, and cleavage, to boot.
- Suck Out the Poison: Done by Keito on Takuto when a mind-controlled snake bites his leg. Oh, and she also wraps a tourniquet around his leg as if that would stop the poison from flowing any further.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Professor Silver knows what he's doing. Take, for example, his development of the Overphase System, which he likens to a "phase 3.5"; the 3.5 is inaccurate because according to Word of God, the fourth phase entails nothing but the unsealing of the ultimate Cybody, King Samekh. The guy made up a further measure of synchronization.
- Sweetheart Sipping: Takuto, Wako, and Sugata do this together in episode 19.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Tauburn's Piles which can be combined into a drill to block enemy attacks, and a Rocket Punch, used on their own as attack drones, or even made larger to become wings to allow Tauburn to fly.
- Teacher-Student Romance: Okamoto-sensei is attracted to many of the male students, and Tsubasa turns out to be attracted to her.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Actually sung in-show when a Zero Time battle begins.
- Theme Naming:
- This Cannot Be!: Most of Takuto's opponents have this reaction when he comes up with a new way to win in every battle. Head's in episode 16 is probably the most notable, since he is usually so smug and confident.
- Three Amigos: Takuto, Sugata, and Wako. Sugata, Wako, and Keito in their childhood. Takuto had this relationship with his two childhood friends Natsuo and Hana in Episode 16. Tokio, Sora, and Ryousuke are revealed to have been one as well in Episode 20.
- Really? You can't forget about Camel Star, Stick Star, and Sword Star with this trope.
- Threesome Subtext: Sugata and Wako are engaged, but he just wants her to be happy. Takuto is clearly in love with Wako. Wako flat-out says she's in love with both of them, and for bonus points is a Yaoi Fangirl. Oh, and Sugata is Ambiguously Gay. Although Word of God implied they hooked up after the series ended, keep in mind who we're dealing with.
- Time Stands Still: A side effect of Star Drivers entering Zero Time. Also acts as a form of Spider Sense.
- Time Travel: Samekh's true power. It allows Samekh's pilot to go back in time by draining the libido (lifeforce) of the entire planet.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Southern Cross Isle. Half the school at least seems to be in on the whole Ancient Conspiracy business, and they're not terribly accommodating to outsiders who butt in. Especially not one who is closer to their goal than they are.
- Tragic Keepsake: The watch that Takuto received from his mother. It reminds Ryousuke of the tragic Love Triangle between him, Sora and Head. Takuto is blissfully of that story so far
- Transformation Name Announcement: "Dazzling the stage! Galactic Pretty Boy, Taubarn!"
- Transformation Sequence: Includes a very Magical Girl-esque one, as part of its seeming attempt to fit as many shoujo tropes as possible into a shounen series.
- Troperiffic: Practically everything in this series has been done before. However, instead of being a Cliché Storm, this series seems to enjoy playing with and parodying various tropes found in other anime such as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, and the writer's previous works (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Ouran High School Host Club, and FLCL). There's even a bit of Sailor Moon since the same scriptwriter worked on both. It lampshades these tropes (or at least makes them very obvious) rather frequently, so much so that it could develop into a blatant Deconstruction. For some bizarre reason, this all works to make the series almost scarily entertaining.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Played with, but averted as of the end of episode 8.
- Tokio's relationship with Sora and Ryousuke ends up as this... with unpleasant results.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Seemingly more than a few girls for Sugata. His level of interest on any particular girl hasn't been delved into yet, though he is protective of anyone he cares about, seen more clearly in later episodes when it comes to Wako or Takuto.
- Takuto reveals to be one after an interview states that he had a crush on Hana, but backed off since Hana had feelings for Natsuo.
- George and Tetsuya for Benio, who's in love with Sugata.
- The Un-Reveal: We never do get told Takuto's First Phase, though rather large hints are thrown around in the last episode that it is somethng to do with his sight. Exactly what he can "still see" is left a mystery though.
Takuto: I can still see it!
- The World Is Not Ready: During the finale, the leaders of the Glittering Crux wonder if the Cybodies were something humans were never meant to have, but the cybody Daletos "tells" Simone that the Cybodies were something that humans were supposed to aspire for.
- Unusual Euphemism: So, do you mind glass?
- Unwanted Harem: Takuto. While there's hints about Wako, she's not the only girl interested in him. Mizuno, Marino, Kanako, and possibly as of now Benio.
- Villainous Rescue: Believe it or not, Kou saves Wako's seal from being broken by Camel Star in Episode 20
- Virgin Power: See You Need to Get Laid. Virginity sure is energizing, isn't it?
- Also hilariously averting another trope.
- Voices Are Mental: Averted in episode 19.
- Wager Slave: The President wants to watch Takuto sword fight, but Takuto hates fighting (partly because it reveals his strengths). So she ups the ante with this:
- Waif Fu: Kanako demonstrates that she doesn't need a giant robot to kick ass in Episode 12, when she knocks out George, head of the boxing club in two punches. To hear her tell it, most folks go down in one.
- Wave Motion Gun: The Tau Galaxy Beam.
- Wham! Episode: Episode 6, where things got a bit Darker and Edgier with Sugata's apparent death.
- Episodes 14, 15, and 16 are basically a Wham Arc.
- And the Whams just keep on coming: Episode 17 has Head and his division Vanishing Age usurp the entire Glittering Crux and BLOW UP the cybercaskets, effectively removing all pilots without "true marks" from the battles with Takuto.
- Episode 23. Sugata joins the Glittering Crux. Holy shit.
- Episode 24: Keito kisses Sugata, Keito reveals herself to Wako and Takuto, Sugata reveals himself to Wako and Takuto, Head breaks the East Maiden's seal, and King Samekh is revived.
- Episode 25. Head Gundam Jacks Samekh. Sugata sacrifices himself to seal up Samekh.
- Wham! Line: Also, episode 6.
Takuto: That day turned into an anniversary none of us could forget...
- The end of episode 7. Delivered by Sugata to Takuto:
Sugata: Be careful. Do you want to die?
- Episode 15.
Mizuno: -in tears- Don't treat me like your little sister!
- Episode 20.
Ryousuke: [about Head] Your heart is in Zero Time.
- Episode 25 Preview.
Wako: Takuto... It would have been better if I'd never met you.
—Of course, in the actual episode, she actually meant that It would've been better because she has fallen in love with him and had to endure the pain of loving two people.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Not the world's deepest symbolism, but every Cybody is named after a letter of the Phoenician alphabet, and each letter of the Phoenician alphabet has a name whose meaning informs the abilities of the Cybody and its controller. Alf is "ox" (piloted by Raging Bull), tet is "wheel" (Speed Kid), pe is "mouth" (Scarlet Kiss), nun is "fish" (as in "Little Fish"), samekh is "pillar," ayin is "eye," etc. etc. You could figure out who will control what based on their codename (rosh means "Head," gee, I wonder who will pilot that?), as well as how many Cybodies there will likely be (22), which was confirmed in series.
- Matthew 19:24 "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God". Now who was it who stopped Camel Star from advancing to the fourth phase?
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Tau Missile has become this ever since the third phase.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: The North Maiden ("Fish Girl").
- Window Love: It's a big trend for a boy to go outside to a different class and ask a girl to kiss against the window to show affection without being too serious. Kanako in particular loves doing this, since it gives her a way to flirt without cheating on her husband.
- World of Camp: Possibly one of the standouts in the history of Mecha anime.
- Then again it works to the Crux's advantage if it causes someone's libido levels to rise...
- X Meets Y: Ouran High School Host Clubs fabulousness meets Gurren Laganns over-the-topness.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Sugata has blue hair, and numerous other characters have odd hair coloring.
- In fact, it seems that the more important a character, the more they follow this trope. Even if they don't have oddly colored hair, they'll at least, like Keito, have hair that is more vibrantly colored than all the background characters.
- You Have Failed Me...: A relatively benign example. Glittering Cross members lose their Star Driver (pilot) status if they let a valuable Cybody be destroyed. They don't seem to suffer any other consequences.
- Which is perfectly fair, as well. It would get a little uncomfortable for the Crux if they had to explain away the "disappearance" of every person who loses to Tauburn. Plus, you don't have to worry about your scientists betraying you as easily.
- That, and it seems that they were working on a plan to regenerate the Cybodies anyway, and probably realized that saving up on pilots (some of which vow onscreen to get stronger) for the more intensified third level was a good idea.
- Which is perfectly fair, as well. It would get a little uncomfortable for the Crux if they had to explain away the "disappearance" of every person who loses to Tauburn. Plus, you don't have to worry about your scientists betraying you as easily.
- You Need to Get Laid: The captions speculate that Tetsuya's excitement on the motorcycle is a sign that he's in desperate need of a good lay (VIRGIN?).