Oban Star-Racers poster

Oban Star-Racers

Eva's birthday has just passed, and she hasn't heard from her father. Despising the Boarding School she attends, she escapes using her Rocket Bike that she just completed. Taking on the alias "Molly," Eva sneaks with the Earth team to Alwas for the Great Race because the winner of the race gets any one wish granted. Little does the Earth Team know what danger awaits them...

Ranking 2650

User Count3301
Favorites Count41
Start Date12th Apr 2006
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank2650
Rating Rank2497
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideChildren
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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I recently just got finished watching this anime with my younger brother. He's only 10, so it was definitely less of a mature anime to the other stuff I've been watching, but that doesn't necessarily have to make it any worse. It's a two season, 26 episode series, split into two "cycles". I'd say overall it was a fun watch, and he said he really enjoyed it. The story's fun, and it all links together nicely, and the characters are pretty diverse. After setting the scene for the first few episodes, it basically transitions into a race an episode show, and similarly to a lot of tournament animes, it gets a little boring and predictable as, surprise surprise, the main character wins all of them. They get past this eventually though, by having it turn into a league format, and hence the show becomes a little less predictable and consequently a bit more exciting. This continues, all be it with an overhaul of characters once they get to the second cycle, until about three episodes to go. At this point the overarching story arch really kicks in and the show moves away from racing somewhat. While this leads to some interesting stuff, and is a nice change which pulls the story to a close pretty nicely, it does kind of make a lot of the previous episodes which had races that were "so important", seem a little redundant. The animation is mixed in with a bit of CGI, and it has mixed results. The show in general looks pretty good, and some of the racing scenes look great, but whenever they use the CGI outside of the racing it never quite seems to work. In conclusion, this show probably wouldn't be something I'd be watching on my own, either before my experience of seeing it or retrospectively, but it was a nice thing to watch with somebody who's a fair bit younger. As I said, he really enjoyed it, and he's probably of the target age-group, so surely that makes it a success. It's not something I'd recommend to everybody, but if you want an anime to watch with a child of around the age of ten, then you could do a lot worse than choosing this one.

This anime moved really slowly for me - until maybe ep20 there was really not that much story progression at all - just cool races. But the last, er, 6 episodes were pretty damn sweet. What I want to know is why it took Eva's father TWENTY EPISODES to realise that Eva was his daughter when they have the EXACT SAME FACIAL TATTOOS. Jeez.

*\[Warning: Contains slight spoilers\]* Oban Star Racers is quite the interesting creation. It is one of many co-produced animes, with a French/Japanese team working on the production of the anime. I recall coming across Oban Star Racers when it was first released in the United Kingdom back in 2006, it was colourful, flashy and had a fantastic opening sequence titled "Chance to Shine" by AKINO which alone had me excited for the first episode I would watch. I watched Oban back when I didn't really know much about anime's origins and that it was of Japanese origin. But now? rewatching it again with the knowledge of the show's background in hand, how does Oban Star Racers hold up as an anime? Is it something that show anime should be co-produced more? or just left to Japan to create? <b>STORY </b> Oban is set in a futuristic Earth in which technology has bloomed and contact with alien creatures has become a normal occurrence for humans. The humans of Earth and these other creatures compete in races known as Star Racing, think NASCAR in the US or F1 in the UK but with highly powered ships that are much more dangerous to control. Speaking of dangerous, at a young age, our protagonist loses their mother in a horrible accident during one of her races, leaving her father depressed and shattered by the experience, thus sending her to a boarding school where she grew up lonely and became tomboyish and rebel-like in nature. That is our protagonist, Eva Wei. On the day of her birthday she manages to build a moped to escape the boarding school and finally re-united with her father, Don Wei whom she has longed to be back with ever since the incident happened. She finally meets him but he does not recognise her, when asked who she is, Eva decides to pretend she is Molly and apart of Don's Star Racing crew. Which does not work of course. Through some crazy events she ends up joining him when he travels with his team out from Earth to race in the Oban Star Racing tournament which requires all planets to compete for the 'Ultimate Prize'. But what could the 'Ultimate Prize' be? *\{The Whizzing Arrow, the main Star Racing Ship in the series, driven by Eva/Molly}* It is difficult to explain the setup for Oban without giving away too many spoilers be they small or large. One major gripe I have is that it does start off rather slowly and things take a while to make sense only because it gets repeated several times until you somehow understand. For instance, Eva/Molly's behaviour towards her father isn't fully expressed until a few episodes in making her seem rather rebellious for the sake of it, it also switches from the focus of the racing and then does an instant 180 degree turn and becomes a daughter/parent struggle or a 'coming of age' story. There needs to be a focus on story for it to be engaging from the start but the switch in focus can probably throw people off. However if you stick with it and pay attention the story can be exciting during the races, heartbreaking and sweet when learning about Eva and Don's past and overall one interesting adventure. **ANIMATION AND SOUND** Because of its futuristic setting, Oban Star Racers details the series with beautiful backdrops and locations of a future Earth and alien planets. They look wonderful but thats really all there is to say about the animation and art style. It tries a little too hard sometimes to remind you its a futuristic world by throwing neon lights and twisted looking landscapes of planets one too many times. Its still wonderful to see everything look nice. But you aren't amazed the fourth time like you were the first time. Some races also kept getting repetitive after a while in the first arc because its the same course being used which means some animations appear again. Once more, whilst it looks lovely. You've seen it once, seen it throughout the whole show onwards. But it certainly does get better in the final races which are always something new and this is where the 3D animation of the races truly shine. The art style also has a nice look to it, though some could say it looks a little lazy in quality, it’s ‘a take it or leave it’ ordeal really. Voice acting and sound wise, Oban Star Racers is beautiful. The soundtrack especially is what makes the series so lovely to watch since it has a nice range of excite pumping music to more sombre, peaceful tunes like the ending theme "Waratteta" also performed by AKINO. The voice cast is surprisingly well done for both Sub and Dub and whilst people would want for me to decide which one is better, in this case I will say pick which one you personally would want to listen to and feel you would enjoy more. I personally like the dub because it surprised me at a time when most dubbing of animes weren't great (i.e. 4kids with Yu-Gi-Oh, Sonic X and One Piece). **CHARACTER** The characters of Oban Star Racers come in many different shapes and sizes, very literally as well considering the alien planets shown in the series. Eva as a main character is a delight to watch develop. She starts out bratty and rebellious, doing her own thing but soon grows and becomes more willing to listen to Don and work hard to win the races. She makes a few friends, a few foes and manages to mature by the end. Beside a few other supporting characters like Eva’s father Don and her new friend Jordan most characters come and go and most of them are simply rival racers to face for one episode and then they are never seen again until later on in the final episodes of the series. The only other character that stands out is Prince Aikka who becomes a love interest for Eva/Molly, much to Jordan’s jealously. Besides being a noble, powerful racer that’s pretty much it. He is the stereotype prince character unfortunately. Villains unfortunately don’t offer much either, whilst they are intimidating and furious, its nothing that hasn’t been seen before. **ENJOYMENT AND OVERALL VERDICT** Compared to watching the show as a child, it hasn’t aged as well as I hoped. Somethings do appear to be quite lacking such as interesting support cast and a blend of storylines with one minute being the race for mankind plot and next the coming of age story of a young girl dealing with reuniting with her father. However, this is still a glorious show and is something very different, possibly because of the co-production bringing in elements of French and Japanese animation. The art style looks simple and nice for what it is, the soundtrack is beautiful and whilst I keep mentioning how I’d liked more interesting more supporting characters, the main characters we are provided with make it more that worth it, Eva/Molly especially is a great example of making a engaging female character, avoiding the usual pitfalls of making a female character either a sex object or bratty loudmouth who can’t do anything on their own (Like the original Sailor Moon). If you enjoy high speed racing, you will like this for that, if you’re in for the compelling story, then this is also for you. And if you’re just plain curious to what a French/Japanese anime would play out then give it a try and make your own verdict.

Critic's Log - Earthdate: November 18, 2012. Review #22: Oban Star-Racers Hey There, name's Giovanni. You can call me the Fullmetal Cowboy if you like since that is just a little nickname based off my username. Anyway, I do these intros to my reviews because I like to and it's my kind of thing. I also number my reviews so I can keep track on how many I've reviewed so far. The whole "Critic's Log" thing is a homage to Star Trek if you haven't noticed. Well i'm running out of material to continue this intro so let's thrust those engines into Oban Star-Racers! In the year 2082, Earth has been invited to compete in the Great Race of Oban, an intergalactic race whose winner can be granted any wish in the world, even bringing back a loved one. This invitation comes from the Avatar, a mysterious entity who ends hostilities between Earth and the sinister Crogs. In Earth, a girl named Eva has been hoping to hear from her father for years. She leaves school to find her father Don Wei, after she does find him the Earth team is off to compete in the Great Race of Oban, Eva then takes the name "Molly" and she must prove that she can win and make her father recognize her. To be technical, this is a Sav! The World and HAL Film Maker collaboration production. Sav! The World was a studio from France while HAL Film Maker was from Japan. Oban Star Racers is one of those animes that has a rare occasion having two studios collaborate while its country of origin happens to be Japan and France. So… Should Oban Star Racers be considered an anime to begin with? Well, let’s just say that Oban Star Racers is an anime hybrid. I should note that Savin-Yeatman Eiffel (the creator of the series and one of the directors of the show) was inspired by a few anime series back in the 70’s which obviously led  to the inspiration of the series and it’s no surprise that he wanted to collaborate with a Japanese studio regarding the animation. Speaking about the animation, it was hard for me to speak my opinion about the animation in Oban Star Racers. The show does deserve praise for its integration of 2D and 3D animation when used. What is a bit hit and miss is the character designs but that is sort of a minor nitpick for me because there’s actually a small defense I have regarding character designs. The animation style in France sometimes does not include noses on its characters or so I heard in the Making of Oban video that I saw. It may look weird but I think you might get used to it after a little while unless you really have a problem with it. The animation is mostly good throughout the show and it’s done well for a kid’s anime. The integration of the 2D and 3D animation is done good that it should put Gonzo to shame. Yeah, I just brought up Gonzo… Maybe I should call this an “Anti-Gonzo Anime”. Putting jokes aside, I appreciate the animation here and I also appreciate the unique art style that Oban Star Racers has. The music by Taku Iwasaki really sets the mood right for Oban Star Racers, there are times when the music sounds adventurous which the show has plenty of adventurous scenes and packs an emotional punch when used. I got nothing really bad to say about the music, it’s composed quite well. I should also mention that the staff somehow managed to get Yoko Kanno to compose the opening and closing songs, need I say more about Yoko Kanno? Well for this review… yes. Oban Star Racers has one of the catchiest openings from Yoko Kanno, it got me excited for an episode of Oban and I never really skipped or fast-forwarded the opening, I liked every second of it. The closing song is nice too and compliments the show well. The music department had the chance to shine and it worked. As far as voice acting goes, I cannot state my opinion of the Subtitled version this time because The American release of this show does not have a Japanese version, and it doesn’t have a French Version either. Only the English Dub is available in the U.S. and to be honest. This is a solid well performed dub. Chiari Zanni has a charming touch while voicing Eva (or “Molly” if you prefer) well. Sam Vincent is great as Jordan. Ron Halder is terrific as Don Wei. Kirby Morrow is charming for the ladies as Prince Aikka and Brian Drummond is surprisingly good at voicing a cheery old man. Here’s a couple good tidbits about the extra performances. Alessandro Juliani (the English voice of L from Death Note) is in the show and the Dobson Brothers (Paul, Brian, and Michael) are also in the show. The dub is great for a kid’s show and it’s a good anime dub in general. The cast of characters are quite the bunch. The human characters are relatable to some viewers and some characters are interesting as well. Eva (or Molly) is an ambitious 15 year old girl that wants her dad to recognize her. My brother once told me that when he saw the show, he told me that he thought that 15 was the right age for Molly. For a kid’s show, this does seem to be the right age for a main character for this kind of show. Jordan is fun to watch and he’s also a character that I think some male viewers can relate to. The most interesting character by far for me was Eva’s father Don Wei. His character seemed a bit dislikable at first but his character development made him a likable character for me. Rick was a cool guy and he pretty much lives up to the cool factor to his character. The character development for the human characters was done pretty well for the most part. As far as the alien racers. Prince Aikka is an interesting character that develops nicely for the most part. There are some favorites I do want to list just for kicks. I liked Para-dice because she uses a footpad to race which that footpad sort of reminds me of Dance Dance Revolution. Rush was pretty cool. Spirit was also cool but interesting (for someone who never speaks) and Ondai had a cool robot form for a Racer. That’s just personal preference, but I do like how there is a variety of design regarding these Star Racers and that’s another thing I like about Oban Star Racers. If there’s anything that will vary your mileage is what you would expect out of Oban Star Racers. The story is a bit generic at first and almost was slightly uninteresting to begin with. It does pick up quick as it progresses and chances are if you stick to the series long enough it may have been worth seeing after all. Again, this is depending on what you would expect out of the show. What Oban Star Racers does have that does not disappoint is the racing moments, they are exciting to see and is literally the driving force that makes Oban Star Racers a fun show to watch. If you like the characters long enough, chances are you’ll like how they develop. What really gets me liking Oban Star Racers is that this is a kid’s show and it does deal with some dark themes running through it. Not a whole lot, just a little and it was effective for the most part. It starts out fine and then it starts getting interesting once the group is in Oban and then it starts twisting things around which I was a bit surprised. Then there’s the ending, I have read sources that some people did not like the ending too much and some people thought it was okay. I will agree that Canaletto was not that interesting of a villain while he looks weird at the same time. I do think that part of the ending is a bit anti-climactic, but the majority of the ending wasn’t too anti-climactic. It had an appropriate ending for what the story was giving. In all honesty, this ending could have been a little more extensive and it could’ve ended just a little differently. The ending for the most part isn’t bad, it’s certainly not A+ material either. To make a long story short about the ending. It was pretty average.  If there’s something about this anime that I would like to say before I wrap things up, I’ll say it now. Oban Star-Racers has got to be one of the most underrated kid’s anime ever made. It aired in more than 90 countries and it never got the recognition and it truly deserved. This anime got seriously overlooked. Savin-Yeatman Eiffel and Thomas Romain (The creator of Code Lyoko) sure have impressed me to some degree with this series. Oban Star-Racers is available from Shout! Factory With that said, Oban-Star Racers is an exciting anime series that integrates 2D and 3D animation well when used. It also had good character development during the progression of the story. It has a soundtrack that compliments the show well and even though the story isn’t completely A to A+ material. The racing is what made the show watchable and the story is good enough to go alongside the exciting racing moments. This truly is an underrated and overlooked anime. I give Oban Star-Racers a 7.9 out of 10, it is GOOD! Feel free to comment below and get your chance to shi

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