Star Driver 9

New character time: Head goes ‘on vacation’, leaving Marino You, or “Manticore” in charge of the Vanishing Star faction of Glittering Crux (I know, it’s a lot to follow). She has just been made into a Star Driver, but her cybody needs restoring. The other members of Vanishing Star aren’t impressed and will only go along with her as long as it serves their interests. Hers is the only cybody that can scan for the Western Maiden, whom Crux will need to increase their power.

Here’s the twist: Marino’s spunky, eccentric younger twin (by minutes?) sister Mizuno is the Western Maiden! Has Marino joined Crux to protect her sister? I’m not sure how Crux doesn’t suspect Mizuno already; she’s known as the “school freak” and a witch who can talk to animals. She rides on the roof of a bus to school and runs into the boy’s bathroom to save a baby crow she somehow knew was about to fall. It’s here where she meets…Takuto, of course! She promptly falls for him, and is already at the “filling-sketchbooks-full-of-surprisingly-accurate-drawings-of-him” stage when her sister finds out.

Manticore clears one of her subordinates to attack Tauburn before her, in order to gauge his stength. Her man doesn’t last any longer than previous cybodys, because they’re all a stage behind Tauburn, but with each battle Crux learns more. There’s a lot to contemplate now: is Manticore truly looking out Mizuno, or will she expose her out to Crux when the time is right? When will Takuto learn that Mizuno is a maiden, and her sister is a member of Crux (either or both will be interesting)? And will Crux ever gain the third stage that will allow them to face Tauburn on equal ground? Time, as always, will tell. Rating: 3.5

An aside: This seems to be the headquarters of the great Vanishing Star. It’s…just some bar with a dartboard and jukebox. I expected something grander and more sinister, but it’s actually quite hilarious that it’s this normal (and that these high-school age members drink ginger ale). They also have a painting from the same artist as all the paintings in Sugata’s house. In-ter-est-ing…