Oban Star Racer

Title:Oban Star Racer
Oban: Star - Racer
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Music - KANNO Yoko
R1 License - Disney
The series follows the face-off between the greatest pilots in the universe for "The Ultimate Prize" - a chance to have their deepest wish granted by the powerful Avatar, the mysterious organizer of the race. The Avatar can grant the winner any thing: serving the galaxy on a plate or bringing a loved one back to life. For the Human Coalition, whose very existence is being threatened by their aggressive neighbors, the Crogs, victory is vital. Nothing short of a miracle can save it from total annihilation.

Too bad the Earth's Team #1 pilot was victim of a terrible sabotage minutes before the start of the race. With no other champion available within a 25 light-year radius, MOLLY, an unpredictable young girl pilot, and her gung-ho co-pilot JORDAN, are Earth's unexpected hope of victory... (taken from the official site)

R1 Licensed by Disney for broadcast in their Jetix lineup.
26 TV Episodes (~25min each).

1:28min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 9 6 8 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1960#1552]
Guess the Great Race of Oban will be providing my 600th review here on Mikomi. For those not in the know, Oban Star Racers was a collaboration between animation studios in France and Japan which combines two-dimensional and CG animation. In terms of animation, the series looks great for the most part featuring a diverse number of vast settings to look at with a decent amount of detail from alien towns to temples to arctic tundras. Racer ship designs are diverse in design with nothing looking alike and are well-rendered in CG animation, mostly being bright in color and having a good amount of detail. Racing scenes are great on the eyes featuring fluid movement with the occasional intense moment as racers clash with one another and damage is inflicted onto the ships. Even with such movement onscreen from Star Racers, I couldn't find any noticeable drop in the quality of the CG rendering used for the ships. The only low point I found with visuals was that character designs looked rather simple as details on characters were minimal and the absence of noses being noticeable on many characters throughout the series.

For music, Yoko Kanno composed the OP and ED Japanese musical tracks used for the series and they fit in rather well with the carefree and free-spirited mood Oban Star Racers gives off in many of its episodes. The insert tracks retain this same feel during said scenes while having the occasional tense and dramatic selections during the occasional intense moments in this series.

In terms of plotting, Oban Star Racers is solid for the most part as the series introduces a diverse number of alien characters whom Eva and the Earth Team either befriend, race or get into hostilities with. Many of the characters are fleshed out as you get to know their reasons for why they are competing in the Great Race of Oban, though some can be quite shallow such as those representing the Crogs.

The prominent elements of the series focused on however are unveiling more about the true nature of the Great Race and the tensions concerning the rift between Eva and her estranged father, Don Wei. The latter proved to be one of the high points of Oban Star Racers for me as it explored some rather touchy subjects for a series geared for younger audiences in the form of parental loss and abandonment. Throughout the series, Eva has to put up with trying to get her father to acknowledge her despite the latter being oblivious to his daughter being in front of him due to having been apart for years and having much of his focus on trying to win the Great Race for Earth. The rift between the two makes for some solid tension as Eva often gets frustrated with her father's strict and uptight demeanor while Don Wei's character slowly softens throughout the series as he comes to trust Eva and comes to realize that the girl is his long lost daughter.

The exploration of the Great Race's true nature is a bit of a mixed bag in its exploration. There are hints dropped throughout the series over the purpose of the race and a powerful evil attempting to manipulate events behind the scenes with the former serving as motivation for Eva to pilot in the race as she believed it would help mend her family's rift and adding to the development of her character. Yet in regards to the great evil, the reasons concerning his actions when revealed are quite contrived and poorly laid out compared to how events were going with the race itself.

Oban Star Racers made for a surprisingly solid series for me to check out with its slick visuals, decent soundtrack, mostly fleshed-out characters and a good story involving the rift between father and daughter. While some of the title's elements are a bit contrived, this is a hidden gem of a series that is worth checking out for all audiences.

Last updated Thursday, November 03 2011. Created Thursday, November 03 2011.

Other Sites
Official Fansite (multilanguage, Flash required) http://www.obanstarracers.com/

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org