Anime / éX-Driver

In the future, Automated Automobiles are used by people to get around. Unfortunately, the cars end up going haywire at times...

And that's when the eponymous force comes in.

éX-Driver (often abbreviated simply to éX-D) is a six-episode OVA series created by Kosuke Fujishima (You're Under Arrest!, Ah! My Goddess, Piano) and animated by Actas, A-Line and Xebec, released early in the Turn of the Millennium (whether it was 2000 or 2001, however, is a matter of debate between the OVAs and the internet). The series focused around three teens (Lisa Sakakino, Lorna Endou, and Souichi Sugano) and their attempt to corral the out-of-control vehicles using manually-driven ones.

It was adapted a movie in 2002, filled with Conspicuous CG. The story revolves around the three drivers participating in a race held in Santa Monica, California. However, they uncover a conspiracy involving the éX-Driver organizations after rescuing Angela Gambino, the daughter of a Corrupt Corporate Executive.

éX-Driver provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Pretty much the whole point of the series.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Lisa has a slightly darker complexion than her teammates.
  • Art Evolution: Inverted somewhat; the first episode is more detailed than the others. Played straight in the movie.
  • Author Appeal: This is Kosuke Fujishima we're talking about here...
  • Automated Automobiles: They technically serve as villains for the first four episodes, despite only malfunctioning (they do endanger the lives of bystanders and the people inside, even if unintentionally).
  • Badass Driver
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lisa
  • Beach Episode: Episode 5, subverted in that it never happens for different reasons.
  • Berserk Button: Do not dare tell Lisa that Souichi's a better driver.
  • Big Bad: Wang Somin and Joe are the main antagonists of The Movie.
  • Biker Babe: Rei
  • Butt Monkey: Nothing ever goes right for Lisa.
  • Conspicuous CG: The Movie and Danger Zone. Episodes 3 and 5 also contain some CG (albeit through computer displays).
  • Cool Car: An obvious trope.
  • Cool Bike: Rei's Ducati 900 SS
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the film, Angela's father Rico is a financial backer with sinister motives. Or so it originally seems...
  • Darker and Edgier: Episodes 5 and 6, in which a former éX-Driver and his crew try to kill the three heroes (they only manage to injure two of them, though). The Movie also.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Largely intentional for the job. Lisa does play this straight on numerous occasions, though. As do the AI cars when malfunctioning. Ditto the rivals in episodes 5 and 6.
  • Eagleland: Appears in the movie as a mix between a Type 2 and a Mixed Flavor (mostly the former).
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Averted, when cars crash, they don't explode. The AI cars that do were rigged.
  • Everything's Better with Plushies/Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Nina's workspace (and later revealed in Danger Zone, her apartment) has dozens of plushies.
  • Expy: To an extent, Lisa and Lorna resemble the designs of Chihiro and Urd.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Standard equipment for an éX-Driver.
  • Free-Range Children: Their parents are never seen, but more than likely know about this.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Episode 4 has innuendos galore.
    • It's also implied that motorcycle repair equals sex.
  • JAM Project: Provided most of the music, it was one of their earlier projects.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Played with. The main team has several outfits while all supporting cast members are only seen in one outfit.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Not to the extent of a more popular anime like Dragon Ball per se (nor was anything ever advertised within). But the series did have its fair share, including coffee mugs, art books, model kits and CDs.
  • Model Planning: A quick glimpse of this can be seen as part of a montage in episode 3.
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road: Episode 4 ends with this.
  • The Movie
  • Nose Bleed: Episode 4, after Souichi looks at a naked Rei (in the bathroom, of all places). He also went unconscious.
  • Off Model: The designs take a slight decline between the first episode and the second episode on.
  • Oh Crap!: At the end of The Movie, Joe gets this when Souichi crashes his car.
  • Reality Ensues: In The Movie, after Souichi, Lisa and Lorna destroy a runaway car, they end up being arrested for violating California driving laws.
  • Shout-Out: The AI Cars have a singular red eye, akin to that of Hal 9000.
    • Duel gets this treatment twice - Once in episode six, and again in the movie.
  • Shower Scene: Episode 4, Played for Laughs.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Occurs in episode 5, The Movie and the Mini-Movie (with AI-controlled vehicles).
  • Thanks for the Mammary: In The Movie, Angela rigs an AI cleaning truck to explode and set the circuit race track on fire. As she is about to escape, Souichi grabs her only for him to grab her breast and realize who she really is.
  • Tsundere: Lisa in the series and Angela in The Movie.
  • Turn of the Millennium: Released sometime after Y2K-2001 (which may explain the AI is a Crapshoot trope above).
  • Universal Driver's License: This might be one of the reasons that allow anyone (even as a child/early teen) to become an éX-Driver (the other being the ability to actually operate a manually controlled vehicle).
  • Women Drivers: Averted, as two-thirds of the main cast are female. Also, there are other female éX-Drivers, as the movie confirms.