I love rewatching old animes, especially those animes that I already watched when I was young and wasn’t able to finish. ex-Driver was one of those. I first saw this anime in Animax. I fell in love with this anime immediately after seeing them ride so fast and chase runaway cars. It looks so cool. I always dreamed to ride either a car or a motorcycle so this one was everything I always wanted.
To be honest, I didn’t know this anime has an OVA & a Movie. More ex-Driver animes!!! Rewatching this anime definitely was the best decision I did today. Yoohhooooooo!!!
PS: Don’t mind the fact that I watched this on a illegal site. It can’t be helped, bruh. I can’t find this one anywhere and I’m too broke to buy. So yeah. Atleast its worth watching. Hehehehhe.
Without further ado, here’s my thoughts:
Type: Series + OVA + Movie
Episodes: 6 + 1 + 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 25, 2000 to Sep 25, 2001, Apr 20, 2002
Studios: Actas, Production Reed
Genres: Action, Adventure, Cars, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Shounen
Duration: 25 min. per ep., 27 min. , & 1 hr. 2 min.
Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older
Synopsis: Ex-Driver is set in the future, when all transportation is easily controlled by AI. Though like all machines they tend to break down or lose control or re-programmed. This is where three high schoolers with non AI cars, Subaru WRX, Super 7, Lotus comes in to save the day and make sure the public is safe at all times.
After winning domestic preliminary round, Lisa, Lorna, and Soichi advance to ex-Driver world race competition held in Los Angeles as representative team from Japan. Like a bad omen, they encountered a reckless AI car the first night they arrived at Los Angeles. Although they successfully stopped the car, the local police department is not very happy about that and insists to examine their car overnight.
However, the problem did not stop just there. The daughter of the United States team`s sponsor, Angela, has gone missing. Lorna realized that Angela was on the reckless AI car before. Soichi who guessed that Angel could be in danger then start looking for her. But Soichi got captured by a mysterious man, and he shocked to find Angela is also there.
During the confinement inside a warehouse, Soichi finds out that apparently there is a connection between the series of incident and illegal gambling on the ex-Driver world race competition. Now Soichi must escape from the warehouse with Angela…
The series was the one I saw on Animax. I can still remember the characters bickering while chasing a car full of test papers. That episode definitely left me a huge impression.
The whole story all through out the series was the usual episodic format. It was paced well, and each episode definitely stands out on its own. What I really like about the series would be the rise of intensity and difficulties in chasing the runaway cars. Each episodes poses a problem to the ex-D team to make them grow as a person and as a really good driver.
The characters were really likeable. I specifically like Lorna for being the calm yet still badass. She seemed to be the leader of the team, after all she’s the only ‘mature’ member. Soichi & Lisa were really good as characters too, but I sometimes find them annoyin’. Lel. I did like them later on. The behind-the-scenes team wasn’t much featured compared to the drivers, which was ashame. It would be nice if they were given more exposure.
The art & animation is, of course, very outdated. This anime was released too long ago, still, its fun to watch. Each character design was unique and memorable. Infairness, the animation of the car chasing was isn’t bad. Its actually good despite the outdated art & animation. I admit, there are some scenes that are stiff, but with the help of the sound and background music, those scenes were really good to watch.
I just scratched the series part of the whole ‘franchise’. Next would be the OVA.
Bruh!! Why is this only an OVA?!?!?! I want more Nina & Rei.
In this OVA, it featured the younger Nina (she’s a techy in the series) & younger Rei (she was an ex-Rider in the series). The story is quite simple. The OVA features a dangerous episode during their young days, Nina seems to be the only driver of ex-D while Rei being her partner/mechanic. They sure clash alot.
What I really like about this series was the pacing and how satisfying the climax was. In some ways, I kinda predicted who was the antagonist of the OVA, but I don’t have any idea about his intentions and how he would go against the ex-D team. The revelation was satisfying. I do wish they added more info about what happened after his arrest though.
Another thing I like about the OVA was the comedic part of it. Both the main protagonists personalities compliments with each other. Because of this, both have really really good chemistry which results to alot of comedic scenes in the OVA. They are really funny too. Both of them don’t disappoint.
Overall, I wish this OVA was another mini series instead. I want to see more of Nina & Rei. Both deserves alot of love and exposure.
The movie stars the characters from the series (yes, more Lorna!!!). The setting happened in the U.S. where there was a racing open for all ex-Drivers all over the world. Soichi, Lisa & Lorna represents Japan while bae Lorna as the main driver. I’m loving this already.
As the movie starts, we get to some action immediately as the ex-D team chases onto a runaway car in the streets of California. We get to meet up with some important characters to the plot like Angela. Compared to the series, the story of the movie was abit complicated. To keep everything more interesting, they added some ‘mystery’ elements to the story. I’m fine with it as it blended well with the usual tropes of ex-D. They also added some romantic tension between Soichi and the new girl, Angela. The writers sure like to push Soichi on every girl in the franchise. LOL.
Infairness, the art & animation was definitely a huge improvement from the series. Its alot clearer now and the design of the characters looked more refine. To make the cars look good, yeah, the movie did the ‘Initial D’. They made they cars in 3D. Atleast it was done right, and it looked good.
With a kinda complicated plot, the car chasing scenes were definitely a worthwhile to watch. It didn’t disappoint. The writers definitely upped their game in making sure its more intense and hard for the ex-D. It was also nice to see other ex-Drivers from different countries try to help in chasing the cars. But of course, the main characters are form japan, they saved the day. Lel.
The twist in the plot was unsurprising but it was still interesting to watch. Like the OVA, I knew from the beginning who would be the antagonist. But I wanted to know his motives and how would everything turned out when he go against team Japan.
I really like how this movie ended. Its on a happy note, though I’m a bit weirded out that the police never arrested the rich sponsors who tried to gamble during the racing open. Never mind that. Like I said, I like the ending cuz all the ex-Drivers got to be part of the racing open. So Soichi, Lisa and Lorna was able to join alongside the other ex-Drivers in the race. It would have been nice if they had shown a bit more of the race. I don’t care if team Japan would win everything, as long as I see the cars do their thing.
Overall, I enjoyed watching this franchise. Its so fun to watch and it makes me remember my love for it. It also reminded me of my love for racing. I wish I could ride one someday.
I definitely recommend this series to everyone. Its very short and very easy to watch. It deserves alot of exposure.
Anyway, that’s it for now.
Thanks for reading!!