It’s been a short while since we’ve seen Takuya Igarashi and Yoji Enokido together. The last time they teamed up as director and series composer/screenwriter respectively was 2014 Spring’s Captain Earth. Prior to that, the two worked together on Star Driver. Captain Earth started off strong — especially when it came to visuals and cinematography — but lacked Star Driver‘s self-awareness and over-the-top silliness while telling a similar story of adolescence and robots.
In fact, as a director and writer team, Igarashi and Enokido often seem more at home with comedic moments, or combining over-the-top comedy with a few poignant emotional narratives, than he does when attempting something wholly serious.
Compilation movies are a tricky business. More often than not, they are an attempt to squeeze a bit more cash out of an existing property that was given a larger amount of time to tell the same story. What to keep and what to cut from the original story becomes a delicate balancing act of service to the built-in audience and forming a coherent narrative in a smaller timeframe. Star Driver the Movie was made for fans of Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto; however, it manages to expand on the stories of a few key supporting cast members.
No two characters receive a better treatment from Star Driver the Movie than twin sisters Marino and Mizuno Yoh. Where their original story had Marino taking up arms against Takuto Tsunashi as a member of the Glittering Crux in order to protect her sister – the West Maiden, Mizuno – the movie cuts this entire plotline out and focuses solely on the return of Marino and Mizuno’s absent mother. The way for Marino and Mizuno’s story is paved thanks to the assumption that the viewer is already familiar with Takuto, Wako, and Sugata. Star Driver the Movie condenses the first eight episodes of Star Driver into three specific narratives.
Captain Earth reunites two Sailor Moon veterans, Takuya Igarashi and Yoji Enokido, with the former overseeing the series’ direction and the latter the series’ composer. Both are well-known names hailing from the “Kunihiko Ikuhara tree,” Ikuhara having had a hand in Sailor Moon‘s direction since the first season before leaving following Sailor Moon SuperS in 1996 to direct Revolutionary Girl Utena in 1997. Igarashi stayed on with Toei Animation to direct the final, and my personal favorite, season of Sailor Moon: SailorStars, while Enokido wrote Revolutionary Girl Utena, which was directed by Ikuhara. Igarashi and Enokido were reunited in 2006 by Ouran High School Host Club, and most recently, the two worked on Star Driver, again as director and series composer respectively.
As their latest offering, Captain Earth has trappings of series past, in addition to leaning heavily on repetition to provide a narrative framework for protagonist Daichi Manatsu. It reeks of Igarashi, Enokido, and Ikuhara in style. Additionally, the series is dripping with sexuality.