Dazzling the stage, Galactic Pretty Boy! With such a catchphrase, going into the world of Star Driver means you’re expecting sparkling mechas, blindingly gorgeous splash of colors throughout the anime, impossibly good-looking characters, and above all, a godly amount of fanservice. The best thing is that Star Driver’s fanservice does not only appeal to male audience, with its scantily-clad beautiful girls, but also to female audience by offering bare-chested, stunning young men who, oftentimes, drape themselves over one another in a beautiful show of bromantic affection.
Aired in Fall 2010, Star Driver was produced by Aniplex and was worked on by Studio Bones, which is already a pretty good guarantee on the quality of animation itself. Aside from its breathtaking colors and animation—hand-drawn mecha battles! Sparkling magical boys!—Star Driver also has a satisfying, solid plot as well as character development, including its main romantic arc: a canon polyamory trio of Takuto, Sugata, and Wako! Well, as canon as it could be, anyway. It also means we get to see countless scenes rife with BL hints, which is definitely a plus. And now, here are ten selections of the BL-hinted scenes in Star Driver—keep an eye out for your favorite one!
10st Moment Differing Love and Obsession
What better way to start than by highlighting the hint of actual canon gay relationship in Star Driver? Not that it was explicitly stated of course, but considering the plot point where this was brought up, it was obviously hinted that Tsunashi Tokio was in a relationship with Makiba Shingo. Look at the way they’re draped over one another.
Tsunashi Tokio, an outsider who was born into a family with a Mark, but was rejected from being granted the Mark by his father, who sees what others can’t, but he is unable to differentiate between love and obsession. Makiba Shingo is one of his obsessions—as stated by Sora, who was Tokio’s previous love-slash-obsession—the one who promised he’d give Tokio his Mark, as well as his Cybody. In the flashback in this episode, it was shown how Tokio slowly withdrew from Sora and Ryousuke, deeper into his obsession with Marks, Cybodies and, later on, Shingo. Shingo’s first appearance was before Ryousuke, agreeing that he’d give Tokio his mark, to which Tokio responded by pulling Shingo into his arms and affectionately led a happily blushing Shingo away.
True to its nature of “trio relationship”, this episode also gives us a conversation between Ryousuke and Sora later on, about how Tokio had a new obsession now. Ryousuke admitted that he loves Tokio’s paintings—or rather, he loved the Tokio who paints. Sora left the island, and later gave birth to Takuto, while Ryousuke stayed back by Tokio’s side, until the very end.
9nd Moment Master & Student (but not really)
Sugata and Takuto are more than just best friends—they’re also classmates, partners, house-owner and freeloader, and, somehow, kendo master and student. Not that Takuto is lacking in his dual-swordsmanship skills, but Sugata is also the only heir of the Shindou-style and is a master swordsman capable of defeating both Benio and Takuto multiple times.
This particular relationship dated back to episode 13—where Sugata unrepentantly named Takuto his ‘apprentice’ and told Benio to fight Takuto first before he’d accept her challenge. What started as faux master-student relationship turns into actual master-student relationship—in future episodes, we were given scenes of Sugata and Takuto training their swordsmanship skills, with Sugata giving instructions and Takuto obeying his orders.
Of note would be episode 18, though, where they were having a match at the beach, and Kei Madoka interfered with her first phase, surrounding them both in darkness and making them see one another as Window Star. Sugata recognized that it was Takuto from his stance, but that’s not the only thing—he even put his own life on the line to protect Takuto there by performing the King’s Pillar, which later put him into a deep slumber, again, without Takuto knowing it. Madoka herself commented on how impressive she found his courage on doing that.
8rd Moment Going on A Date
It’s Wako’s birthday! Being the trio that they are, what better way to spend Wako’s birthday than going on a date—all three of them? Not only we get to see cute trio shenanigans, there are also tiny moments of Sugata and Takuto scattered all over the episode, making it triple the cute.
Wako’s birthday begins with the boys sitting her down in the kitchen while they both donned aprons to cook curry rice for her. Domestic Sugata and Takuto in the kitchen abound—from light talks about whether or not Takuto had ever been in a romantic relationship before, Sugata crying over cutting onions, and Takuto sneaking pictures of Sugata crying with a camera he borrowed, then proceeding to coo over pictures of Sugata he managed to snap while he’s freeloading in the Shindou residence with Wako. The one happy wasn’t just Wako who’s living the dream of being pampered by two gorgeous boys, but also the boys themselves; look at how they steal glances at each other and smile!
As Wako ate her fourth plate of curry rice, Takuto gave her his prized pocket watch and Sugata’s knife, giving words to what Sugata hasn’t been able to express since he was a child: his determination to protect Wako. To this, Sugata could only smile fondly at Takuto, acknowledging the affection shown. The three then went on a date around the town: taking purikura, going to the movies, sharing a drink together, walk on the beach, and finally, to the karaoke place!
Which also brings us to our next selection:
7th Moment Body-snatched
This scene is brief, obviously intended as pure fanservice for the Sugata/Takuto fans, but it’s pretty satisfying in itself! Having spent the whole day together, the trio went into the karaoke place and let Wako let loose her inner-idol dream. The karaoke place just happened to be owned by the Nichi family—where Nichi Keito works part-time (and Takuto, also, but that doesn’t matter for now), and with the odds, of course it’s Keito who brought them the drinks they ordered. Wako slipped out to talk to Keito once her once-best friend left, leaving Sugata and Takuto alone in the room.
And no, nothing happened. But meanwhile, Atari Kou and Kei Madoka decided to mess with Kou’s first phase, which enabled the two girls to snatch Takuto and Sugata’s bodies. Both Sugata and Takuto, completely at ease with one another and therefore didn’t have their guards up, were easy targets to play with. Kou took Sugata’s body while Madoka took Takuto’s, and the two girls marveled in amusement over being in male bodies for the first time, leaning close towards each other over the table in the same flirty manner they have always been.
Sadly, it doesn’t last long. Kou, in Sugata’s body, proceeded to try flirting with Keito, while Madoka, in Takuto’s body, tried to mess with Wako. They both failed, and in the end, both Kou and Madoka decided to leave Sugata and Takuto’s bodies on the roof, leaning back-to-back, unconscious until Wako found them.
6th Moment Wake up!
From the early episodes, it was pointed very clearly what fate Sugata holds for himself: as the Driver of Samekh, the King of Cybodies, he has a power stronger than anything else in his hands. Except once he apprivoised and activate his first phase, Sugata would fall into a deep slumber and never wake up.
Sugata did apprivoise—much to Wako and Takuto’s dismay. But then Zero Time happened and a sleeping Sugata was also summoned into Zero Time, completely defenseless. For the first time, Takuto desperately fought not only to protect Wako, but also Sugata who can’t defend himself even when the enemy rushed towards him. Takuto dived and managed to envelop Sugata into the palms of Tauburn, at the second which, much to everyone’s surprise, Sugata blinked awake.
Zero Time ended, and both Takuto and Wako rushed back to the Shindou residence to find Sugata missing. Another flash of King’s Pillar helped them locate Sugata—Takuto arrived first, seeing Sugata half-conscious, surrounded by the Filament group from Glittering Crux. As Scarlett Kiss moved to kiss Sugata, Takuto desperately struggled against both Raging Bull and Speed Kid, managing to throw them both away in the end even though Scarlett Kiss already stole the kiss. Panicking, Takuto reached out and grabbed Sugata’s shoulders, screaming Sugata’s name to try and wake him up.
As a last resort, Takuto slapped him hard—which miraculously worked, bringing Sugata back into complete awareness. With the threat of another King’s Pillar, the Filaments retreated, and Wako arrived at the scene to find a relieved Takuto and Sugata—who now looked simply dangerous as he threatened to kill Takuto if Takuto ever hit him again.
5th Moment Forty Seconds
The previous episode might have ended with a strained tension in the three main characters’ relationship, but it isn’t quite a stretch if we dubbed this episode a Sugata-and-Takuto episode, considering it highlighted their relationship and how Sugata and Takuto see each other, as well as what Wako means for them.
Long story short, this episode saw Sugata giving both Wako and Takuto a cold shoulder, an obvious attempt to distance himself from the both of them. Takuto being Takuto, of course, confronted him on this, and when they were both ready to fight it out, Zero Time froze their worlds and pulled them into the sealed Cybody dimension. Scarlett Kiss attempted to use Sugata as some sort of libido battery, except Sugata’s power proved too much for her to control, and Sugata ended up controlling her Cybody to dish it out with Takuto.
The fight was brutal, but also intimate—as Wako remarked in confusion, they were both laughing as they fought, bare-handed. Scarlett Kiss’ Cybody was destroyed in the fight, as it was unable to contain Sugata’s power, and once the fight ended—dramatically, with an extreme version of fistbump—Zero Time disappeared, returning all of them to their world and time, where Sugata and Takuto faced each other, framed by the gorgeous sunset, panting from the exertion of the fight… for a full forty seconds.
No one thinks the forty seconds panting scene is necessary, but hey, it’s Star Driver. Just make sure you have your earphones plugged in for this episode—passersby might misunderstand about what exactly is it that you’re watching, thanks to Miyano Mamoru and Fukuyama Jun’s forty seconds of heavy breathing.
4th Moment Obligatory “Going in the Bath Together” Scene
Nothing beats the conclusion of best friends’ (or is it boyfriends?) fights like going in the bath together. Which was exactly what Takuto and Sugata did—the next episode opened with the both of them relaxing in the spacious bath of the Shindou residence, soaking side by side as Takuto marveled on having hot bath.
What are you talking about, Takuto was totally not sneaking glances and checking Sugata out as he bared his neck.
This isn’t the only time the two of them get in the bath together, by the way—and every time, whenever either Tiger and Jaguar called out from outside offering to wash their backs, Sugata would refuse and wave them away. A spacious bath with just the two of them—well, we might as well follow Wako’s example and imagine the rest!
3th Moment Wako’s Fantasy #1
There’s a reason why Wako is the best girl in Star Driver: she’s Sugata’s fiancée, she’s a maiden, she could be fierce when she wanted to be, she loved her boys the same, and most importantly, she’s one of us.
One of us? Yes, definitely one of us. As the leader of the Night Flight drama club, Endou Sarina, announced that she was going to put a kissing scene in their newest play, Wako’s first reaction was to look at Sugata, then Takuto, and then let her imagination run wild: a kissing scene between Sugata and Takuto?!
Yes, Wako’s imagination was pretty great—pretty detailed, complete with the dialogues she thought up, leaving her flushing beet red to the roots of her hair, even more so when Jaguar sent her a thumbs up for her imagination. Can’t really blame her now, can we? Interestingly enough, when a Star Driver collaboration café opened up in Japan several years ago, one of the dessert menu you could get was named Wako’s Fantasy, and if you ordered that, it came with a free card of this almost-kissing scene!
2th Moment Wako’s Fantasy #2
The almost-kissing fantasy was not Wako’s first fantasy over Sugata and Takuto, though. As early as episode four, we were treated to Wako’s first fantasy—a bit wilder than the previous one, honestly, considering all Sarina said was that the drama club would be pushing all the magnetism they can get out of two pretty boys as Sugata and Takuto. And what Wako imagined, in a scene framed with roses and all-tinted pink, was Sugata pushing Takuto on a bed, both naked, only covered by the strategically-placed roses.
“But Sugata, we’re just friends,” Takuto said, to which Sugata replied, “Just until today.” No wonder Jaguar gave Wako a thumbs up. Not to mention that in Star Driver: The Movie, Wako’s Fantasy evolved into a more detailed version of the morning after scene. The joke that Wako’s Y-shaped maiden Mark stands for ‘Yaoi’ has never been more apt. Thanks, Wako.
1th Moment Risking the Whole World for You
If we have to explain the relationship between Sugata, Takuto and Wako, the easiest way would be this: Sugata is the King, Wako the Princess, and Takuto is their Knight. In the surface, their relationship might seem like your ordinary triangle love cliché, but the last episode would banish that notion completely. As a Knight, Takuto did not only put his life on the line for the Princess and the King, but also the entire world.
Finding out that Sugata had betrayed them and joined the Glittering Crux Brigade, Takuto and Wako faced off against the whole brigade as the third seal of Zero Time was broken and Samekh rose from its slumber. Just as Sugata, its rightful Driver, apprivoised and got into Samekh, Tokio used Sinpathy to take complete control of both Sugata and Samekh, revealing his grand plan to release Samekh from Zero Time, letting it consume all the libido in the world and wipe out humanity in order to use Samekh’s fifth phase ability to manipulate time at will. Takuto attacked Tokio, demanding him to give Sugata back, and the rest of the Glittering Crux members align themselves with Takuto after hearing Tokio’s scheme revealed, and the fight against Sinpathy-controlled Samekh began.
It took everything they had to defeat Tokio, but it wasn’t a happy ending Takuto was heading to. Instead, he and Wako had to watch as it was revealed that Sugata had intended to sacrifice himself to send Samekh back to sleep, sealing himself with Samekh. Realizing this, Takuto recalled Sugata’s words—about how good Sugata was in playing the roles he was given, and how he wanted Takuto to protect Wako.
To Takuto, of course, this was unacceptable. Having lost a best friend before, he was not about to let himself lose another important person. So right then and there, he turned to Wako and made the decision: to break the last seal that Wako held and cancelled Samekh’s seal, consequently breaking Zero Time and risking the entire world by letting Samekh out, in order to try and save Sugata.
The Knight risked the whole world to get his King back. Tauburn chased Samekh up to the space, managing to destroy Samekh and saved Sugata, who woke up to Takuto smiling at him and a gorgeous starry sky all around him.
It’s just like Star Driver to end it with a bang. Like that’s not romantic enough, Takuto told Sugata that they’d see a more amazing sky from now on, and the anime closed with the two staring at the horizon where the sun began to rise.
Star Driver definitely doesn’t only dazzle its audience with its gorgeous animation and more-than-welcomed fanservice, but also a well-written, if slow burn, plot and well-executed character and relationship development. The audience were given a lot of triangles in the whole show, but none of them felt like the cliché love-triangle that usually came with such a setting. That it ended with a technically canon polyamory relationship between Sugata, Takuto and Wako is even more refreshing to watch.
If you ended up shipping Sugata and Takuto, not to worry—there are tons of subtly woven, tiny moments of Sugata and Takuto all over the series, aside from the very obvious ones like what these ten selections have showed you. Wako is, after all, one of us. Enjoy the moments and be dazzled by the Galactic Pretty Boys, and let us know what you think!