éX-Driver (エクスドライバー, Ekusu Doraibaa?) is a manga series by Kōsuke Fujishima, which was adapted into an anime series, produced by Bandai Visual and XEBEC. The anime series spanned 6 episodes, as well as a feature movie, entitled éX-Driver: The Movie. The complete anime series, including the movie, were broadcast by the anime television network, Animax, across its respective networks around the world, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and other regions.
In the distant future people no longer drive cars themselves, instead relying on AI (artificial intelligence) computers to drive their cars for them. But when these AI systems start losing control and running wild somebody has to stop them. éX-Drivers are the people who are able to operate the older mechanical non-AI dependent cars who chase down the AI cars and stop them.
A good amount of future and near future technology was featured throughout the series, including automated highway systems and A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) technology. Automated highway systems have been proposed as a solution to the traffic congestion problems.
Anybody regardless of age can be an éX-Driver as long as they possess the required skills. This would explain why one of the main characters can be only 13 years old and drive. The premise of the show is that there are éX-Drivers all over the world but the focus is on the team operating in Japan.
Cars used by éX-Drivers are marked with an éX-D decal. Typically an éX-Driver car would be an older mechanical type car and almost always would be rear-wheel drive with the exception of an AWD (4WD) Subaru Impreza WRC since éX-Drivers usually employ techniques such as drifting when bringing down runaway cars, which is much more difficult with front wheel drive (FWD) cars and in an all wheel drive (AWD) car.
- Lorna Endou (遠藤 ローナ, Endō Rōna?, Seiyū: Yoko Asada)
- Lisa's ex-Driver partner. She is a good-hearted girl, who drives a Lotus Europa Special. She also try to keep the team together when Sōichi and Lisa have an initial tense relationship. She has a good relationship between them. In relationship to Sōichi, she acts like a sister to him.
- Lisa Sakakino (榊野 理沙, Sakakino Risa?, Seiyū: Miki Nagasawa)
- Lorna's ex-Driver partner. She used to drive a Subaru Impreza WRC in the first episode which was wrecked had to be replaced with a Group 4 specification Lancia Stratos HF from the second episode onwards. She shuns Sōichi when he is selected to lead the team and also when he beats her in race. However, Lisa accepts him as the series progresses.
- Sōichi Sugano (菅野 走一, Sugano Sōichi?, Seiyū: Yumiko Kobayashi)
- An extremely-talented 12 year old. He drives a Caterham Super Seven JPE, though he drove a modified Daihatsu Midget II on a racetrack. He soon becomes the team's leader. He initially has a tense relationship with Lisa, but they start to gain their trust as the series progresses.
The OVA series consists of 6 episodes which are - except the last two - independent from each other.
- AI vs RECIPRO
- On And On
- No Problem
- Regulations of Love (éX-Rider)
- The Last Mile
The éX-Driver anime series was also adapted into an anime movie sequel, entitled éX-Driver The Movie, which follows the adventures of Lisa, Lorna and Souichi as they participate in an international éX-Driver race held at Los Angeles. 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, centering on the adventures of two of the former éX-Drivers, Nina and Rei. 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:
- Onsen -- set in a hot spring
- Race Queen -- set in the éX-Driver Base
- Airport -- set in the Airport on their way to Los Angeles
- Planning, original creator, original character concept: Kōsuke Fujishima
- Series composition and script: Shinjo Fujita
- éX-Car design: Shunji Murata
- Mecha design: Takeshi Takakura, Hidefumi Kimura (ep.1)
- Music: JAM Project, Hikaru Nanase
- Director: Jun Kawagoe