Star Driver 9 begins work on a new story arc, meaning I’m confused as all getout again. But more importantly, it introduces two new characters.
Mizuno makes a grand entrance. She hops from her bedroom window onto her bus, charges into the men’s room at school, talks to crows, and leaps into trees. Everyone else in school is familiar with her. She’s the school freak, or school witch, or both. It’s only Takuto (and us) who have never seen her before. More fun for Takuto: she has an instant crush on him. Later we learn that she’s the West Maiden. Surely Sugata (shown bathing with Takuto, later fighting with him … They made up) and Wako would have known that.
The other character is her sister Marino, a member of Glittering Crux named “Manticore,” and temporary leader when Head decides to take a vacation (never heard of evil organization members taking vacations before). She announces that she is going to find the West Maiden so they can use her to get to Third Phase, bypassing Second Phase, I guess. I dunno. What gets me is that they hadn’t thought of this before. Since they don’t have the power to gain the North Maiden because Takuto keeps beating them up, why NOT try for one of the other two remaining Maidens? Seems a lot easier.
Anyway, I suppose because Star Driver is no fun without a fight, they come up with an excuse for one. A Vanishing Age guy named Stick Star says they should show Manticore the extent of Takuto’s power, so it’s off to Zero Time. Takuto wins without much trouble—maybe he was warmed up from the sword training he was doing with Sugata at the time. Then it’s back for another tub scene, where we learn that Mizuno is the West Maiden and that Marino is devoted to keeping that a secret. So she’s with a group that is pursuing the West Maiden, but she won’t let them find her. Good thing she’s in charge.
Ore no Imouto 9 takes a break from story arcs, totally forgetting about last episode’s anime adaptation fracas, and does nothing but show us the main characters killing time on their own.
Kirino gets a new little sister eroge game and sets out to play it. Since this whole show is sort of a sendup of such things it’s fun to watch Kirino’s reaction to the little sisters, particularly Rinko. The fact that Rinko comes off as a Kirino figure is a little amusing, but it’s Kirino’s reactions to her that makes it genuinely funny. She reacts the same way that Kyousuke does when she insults him. Later she practically uses the same lines Rinko does after Kyousuke spots the panties she accidently dropped on the floor. But in fact most of the Kirino scenes work, talking back to the computer, face turning from bliss to frustration in a few seconds. The only trouble is there are too many such scenes and they begin to repeat.
To break it up, we visit other characters. The Kuroneko scenes are both sad and a little sweet. She’s left at home with her little sister. You get the impression that this happens a lot. You can also tell that she is lonely. However, she and her sister have a close relationship. Kuroneko keeps her distant, calm demeanor around her, but has no trouble with her sister sleeping with her head in her lap. It’s a gentle side of Kuroneko that we haven’t seen before. We also visit the fancy home of a elegant, presumably beautiful (we never see her face) woman, and it took me too long to realize that this is Saori. While she’s comfortable enough talking to her assistants about cosplay outfits, it’s clear that she keeps a strong wall between her presentable side and her otaku side. She ought to team up with Kuranosuke to work on the Kuragehime girls.
We also briefly see Ayase. We don’t, surprisingly, see Manami. And then there’s Kyousuke. He can hear Kirino through his bedroom wall. Needless to say it makes it hard for him to study. Bored, he tries calling people, even Kuroneko. He yells at Kirino to shut up. He gets insulted some more. Yet, he endures. Good episode.