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Monday, December 22, 2008

Real Drive

This anime follows the Production I.G. pioneered plot device of cyber-brains and mental internet. However, unlike its predecessor, Ghost in the shell, this anime is not about military machines nor cyber warfare. If I would describe this series, I would say that Real Drive is an attempt to glimpse the future 50-60 years from now.

As mentioned above, Real Drive is unique because it portrays advanced technology in a peaceful light. Our hero is not a soldier, but a plump high schooler and her "buddy" is an 80 year old man (hardly combat-ready characters). Haru, the 80 year old man works as a metal diver whose job is to salvage data lost inside the "metal". However, he is no ordinary diver. Haru has the ability to sense the earth's bio-rhythm, something which eventually plays a substantial role in the story.

Real Drive focuses not on the capabilities of future weaponry, but on human interaction amid technological advances. The series examines the idea of friendship not only between persons, but between separate consciousness'. Several episodes tackle man's relationship with machines and animals. Furthermore, it explores the concept of intelligent AI. Like GITS, androids are portrayed as beings capable of emotion. However, I think that this show is more about the man than machine. Yes, the emotion-feeling android is a given, but the relationship between them and humankind is because of man's initiative. Basically, this asks not "Can robots love?", but "After love, then what?" Anyway, so much for that..

On the technical side of things, I would say that the show's creators made plump girls the order of the day. This is the only anime I know which features female characters with more than normal amounts of flesh. I'm not saying they're fat though, just plump. Fluid animation is noticeable throughout the series, and CGI is heavily used (which is normal for this genre). The colors used contributed to the "light mood" they wanted to portray and gave meat to the sci-fi elements of the art.

Overall, Real Drive was a nice watch. It wasn't as philosophical or angsty as GITS but more down to earth and sentimental, focusing more on the more human side of things. Even though both feature very similar technologies, they are very different from each other. GITS was a story of bleakness and cynicism, while Real Drive is a story beaming with optimism and faith in humankind.

Recommended for serious viewing.

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