The future of cars... according to anime - éX-Driver

The world we live is is constantly evolving, with new andd more advanced technoogies being developed and made available to the public.
Cars are part of this evolution, and in the last few years have spent enormous amounts of time and money in researching and developing more efficient, usually electric vehicles, as well as highly advanced computerized systems capable of driving a car without the aid of a human being.

The key words here are: Electrification and Autonomous driving.

Sooner or later, we might find ourselves in a world where cars have evolved to a point where, other than being more efficient and environmentally-friendly than ever, they’ll be equipped with self-driving systems so advanced that they won’t need any human help to drive to wherever their passengers want to go, thus effectively eliminating all drivers and turning them into mere passengers.

But what if i told you that a Japanese anime kind of predicted all of this… way back in 2000?


éX-Driver is an anime series created by Kosuke Fujishima (of Oh! My Goddess! and You’re Under Arrest! fame) which first aired in 2000.

The series is set in a perhaps not-so-distant future where people don’t drive cars anymore, instead relying on highly advanced AI systems to drive their cars for them. Traffic is also completely taken care of by computers, effectively reducing congestions and accidents to a minimum, if not completely eliminating them.

However, these AI-cars are still far from prefect, and sometimes their computers go completely out of control and start driving around like crazy, putting the lives of their passengers and other people at serious risk. When this happens, all nearby traffic is stopped and the éX-Drivers are dispatched with the mission of chasing any AI-car that has gone wild and bringing them to a halt before they can harm someone.

The éX-Drivers are a group of highly trained drivers, and the only people in the world who are capable of driving older, mechanical, gasoline-powered cars. The series follows the adventures of three young éX-Drivers and sees them dealing with various kinds of issues.

The Main Characters

The main characters are:

Lisa Sakakino: a young, hot-headed girl who wants to go as fast as possible and isn’t really satisfied with simply stopping runaway AI-cars. She hates Soichi at first, but gradually comes to accept him as the series progresses.
She drives a blue ‘98 Subaru Impreza WRC in Ep.1 and a blue ‘77 Lancia Stratos HF Group 4 from Ep.2 onwards.

Lorna Endou: Lorna is the polar opposite of Lisa, as well as her partner and best friend. Unlike Lisa, she is kind-hearted and has a good relationship with Soichi, to whom she acts like an older sister. Oh, and shes also the grand-daughter of the team’s chief.
She driver a white ‘73 Lotus Europa Special.

Soichi Sugano: Soichi is the newest member of the team and, being only 12 years old, also the youngest. However, he is also the most skilled driver in the team, of which he also is the leader, which is the main reason of his rivalry with Lisa. He also loves taking care of his car.
His car is a yellow Caterham Super Seven JPE.

My Personal Review

The series was produced by Bandai Visual and Actas, and spans a total of 6 episodes, which aired on Animax from July 25, 2000 to September 25, 2001.

Personally, i really like this anime. The animation is entirely hand drawn, including the cars, and it looks really good even after nearly 20 years. It was one of the last few shows to be animated in the traditional ink-and-paint cel animation technique, which i personally prefer over today’s digital animation, and i also think it successfully gives the show a futuristic vibe which suits the overall atmosphere. Also, i particularly dig some of the AI-cars’s designs, which are really unique and creative.

The soundtrack is also pretty good in my opinion. While most anime from the late ‘90s/early ‘00s had predominantly jazz-oriented OSTs, éX-Driver’s OST is more techno-oriented, featuring lots of electronic sounds that i think further contribute to the show’s overall futuristic, post-cyberpunk atmosphere.

On a side note, the éX-Drivers’ cars’ engine sounds are very realistic. In fact, i’m pretty sure they were recorded using real cars. Talk about attention to detail. Then again, from a series created by the gearhead that is Kosuke Fujishima, it should be expected.

Final Verdict

Would i reccomend this series?

Well, that’s a difficult question.

If you’re not a car enthusiast, then i wouldn’t reccomend it. Afterall, the anime doesn’t offer much of a story, plus it doesn’t really explain why everyone stopped driving and why the AI-cars have become the norm, not to mention that the main characters are, let’s be honest, nothing new or particularly interesting. Sure, it is fun watching Lisa and Soichi having an argument, but it’s nothing new.

However, if you’re a petrolhead, then i’d totally reccomend it! There are some pretty nice cars and the driving scenes are on point, not to mention that the cars are drawn very accurately and their sounds are, like i previously said, very realistic. Plus, it’s kind of frightening how many things it got right about today’s car industry, considering that car makers are now focusing on mainly two things, which are both present in the anime: Electric cars and Autonomous driving. If you don’t care about the lack of an intriguing plot and/or interesting characters and only want to see some nice cars driving around at high speed, then éX-Driver might be just for you!

Movie Time!

In 2002, following the success of the TV series, éX-Driver: The Movie was released.

In this movie, Soichi, Lorna and Lisa are in Los Angeles, California, to participate in the annual éX-Driver race, which determines who is the best éX-Driver in the world, but they soon realise there’s something fishy going on…

The movie also consisted of a special prequel to the series, entitled, éX-Driver - Nina & Rei Danger Zone, which served as the prologue for the movie. Danger Zone is set a few years before the anime and stars Nina Thunder and Rei Kazama as the main characters. Both had previusly appeared in the main series as side characters.

Three short bonus shorts were also featured with the movie, featuring Lisa, Lorna and Souichi in events set just before where the movie takes off. These bonus shorts are done in comedic style, mainly with camera pans and zooms on still images.

Unlike the anime, the movie was animated digitally, and the cars were mostly CGI.

Personally, i liked the movie, though i think it’s not as good as the anime. Danger Zone was, in my opinion, much better than the movie, but still not as good as the main series.

I hope i managed to spread some knowledge about this otherwise rather obscure car anime.
If you don’t know what to do during these difficult times i’d reccomend you to look it up.

Trust me, you won’t regret it!



Matthew Henderson

The concept alone seems pretty intersting, I might check it out whrn I have the time :D

05/01/2020 - 18:55 |
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This is now on my must watch list!

05/01/2020 - 19:11 |
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I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this!! Sounds awesome, and I love the selection of cars. Gonna have to give this a watch soon.

05/01/2020 - 21:04 |
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Mr. Kei (A Random Corolla) (ZoomZoomer32) (Käfer für i

Pretend this is a funny and interesting comment

05/01/2020 - 21:09 |
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Niente spoiler, grazie

05/01/2020 - 22:15 |
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Honestly it’s a shame CT doesn’t get the traffic on these posts as it used to, this is a wonderful article!

05/04/2020 - 17:34 |
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Danny S

I watched the first episode of this, as cool as it was it was also somewhat weird… but, I do want to watch the rest of them - if I can find them.

05/13/2020 - 11:48 |
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Myrmeko (#CTSquad)

This sounda pretty nice.

05/22/2020 - 14:42 |
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