What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fun, engaging series occasionally deals with serious themes, such as the death of a parent, a teen's dysfunctional relationship with a parent, and taking dangerous risks for the sake of winning a competition. But the show also presents the main characters as three-dimensional and human (which makes them very approachable and sympathetic), and it focuses on the characters, their emotions, and their relationships almost as much as it does on the entertaining sci-fi action.
What's the story?
OBAN STAR-RACERS, an exciting anime series, follows a team of star-racers from Earth as they compete in the interplanetary Race of Oban, a momentous event that occurs once every 10,000 years. Rebellious teen Molly (voiced by Chiara Zanni) is a pilot prodigy who joins the Earth Team as its mechanic. But when the team reaches the planet Oban and the race begins, an injury to the team's pilot opens up an opportunity for Molly to take the pilot's seat and lead the team to victory. With young gunner Jordan (Sam Vincent) as her race partner, Molly faces many powerful opponents, but none as intense as the Crogs, an aggressive alien race that threatens the Earth. The survival of humankind now depends on the Earth Team's victory in the competition. As a subplot, enchanting alien warrior Prince Aika (Kirby Morrow), a contender in the race, develops an immediate bond with Molly.
Is it any good?
Oban Star-Racers combines engaging plotlines and thrilling sci-fi action -- and the pace is moderate enough to make the story easy to follow. The interesting combination of Japanese anime and Western sci-fi helps draw in the viewer.
According to Disney, the target audience is ages 6 to 11, but the show is better suited for ages 8 and up (one episode deals with a parent's death, and some of the violence -- a space vehicle crash resulting in injuries and deaths, for example -- may be slightly disturbing to younger viewers. That aside, as anime series go, this one is decidedly palatable (even for viewers who aren't huge anime fans), with a nice balance of thrilling action and characters you grow to care about. Kids will surely be rooting for the young heroine as she fights to win the big race -- and save the human race.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the heroine's motives and how she deals with the challenges and obstacles she faces. How does Molly react when she first encounters her dad? Why does she conceal her real identity from him and the team?
What makes Molly so rebellious, and what motivates her to flirt with danger? Is she just concerned about helping save the Earth, or is there something more she's trying to prove? How does her rebellious attitude affect her relationships?
How does Molly deal with danger and obstacles during the races? Do you think she handles them well? Why or why not?