The phrase “jumping the shark” only has meaning when we walk the careful planks over a suspension bridge of belief. Do we want to use that term in regards to Star Driver? Does it really matter when Fonzie jumped it? Does it really matter when Takuto pulls out a new trick every battle?
The answer for both cases, of course, is that it does. In Star Driver’s case, however, sharks are a regular of the set. Maybe that’s just how it is on the planet of Fish.
In reality, the ebb and flow of the series tumbled up and down and we were on something like a roller coaster for the past 22 episodes, ever since Mr. Protagonist beached on a certain southern island. For each, uh, shark, that we hopped over along with Takuto et. al., we lost some people on the bandwagon. The overly theatrical nature of the series doesn’t help at all, either.
And Star Driver is, if anything, theater. Should it bother us when Mizuno, uh, jumped the bus? Or when Sakana-chan had weekly one-person plays? I don’t know; but a little, almost-undetectable hair-fracture-slice of my belief in the show evaporated for each Kiraboshi salute or for each time Professor Green’s underboob showed up on screen. It isn’t that I disliked any of it, it just became something that was, for its own sake, theatrical. I no longer understand why it is theatrical.
I mean, at least Glee gave me a song and dance every now and then.
Maybe Star Driver just needed more dancing; Utena had the right idea with that at least, although I too appreciate it when giant robots tangoed under a prismatic starry sky. Perhaps all that we need is a bed of roses and an ax. Star Driver, instead, gave us an Inception-esqe school play (a play within a play?) as both an allegory for viewers and an alternative way to communicate between characters, within an already exceedingly theatrical construct at the basic level. Was there anything unusual in this latest installment besides over-subbed dialog and artful display of constraint in prop use (to signify this is suppose to take place on a stage)? In other words, isn’t a dream in a dream still just a dream? Why do this to us? It’s too much.
In conclusion: there needs to be a stage play for Star Driver. Or better yet, Star Driver: The Musical. Someone makes this happen, please!