Gene Starwind has always dreamed of piloting his own ship out into the vast sea of stars. Unfortunately, not all dreams come true, as he spends his days working odd jobs alongside his partner, James Hawking, on the small planet Sentinel III instead. However, this all takes a turn when the duo takes on a job from Rachel Sweet who, unbeknownst to them, is actually a treasure-hunting outlaw. Tasked with protecting a mysterious girl known as Melfina, the meeting irrevocably changes the pair's lives as they are sent out into the great unknown aboard the highly advanced ship, Outlaw Star.
Seihou Bukyou Outlaw Star follows Gene and his ragtag crew as they brave the final frontier, navigating the stars in search of answers to the mysteries surrounding Melfina. Encountering dangerous bounty hunters, space pirates, Taoist mages, and even catgirls, there is sure to be an exhilarating adventure around every corner.
This anime is a rare piece of genius, across 26 episodes it ranges from light-hearted humour to dark philosophical questioning, with neither ever seeming out of place. The premise is a young man, Gene Starwind, and his friend and business partner Jim Hawking, who run a business best described as a jack-of-all-trades operation, including bounty hunting, bodyguard work, anything that will pay. At the arrival on their planet of Hilda, a mysterious outlaw who frees Melfina, an amnesiac girl, from the clutches of pirates, they get caught up in events far beyond their understanding, and Gene chooses to follow his dream of freedom as an
outlaw, and to solve the mystery of Melfina and the Galactic Leyline that Hilda and the pirates were searching for.
Each of the major charachters were written and portrayed perfectly. Gene, seemingly a selfish and arrogant ass, surprises you again and again with displays of his softer side, especially when it comes to Melfina. Jim, while only 11 often seems more mature than Gene, and tends to be the voice of reason trying to keep Gene's impulsive nature under control, yet despite that still has a lot of growing up to do, and was my favourite charachter in the show. The charachter of Melfina mostly remains undeveloped until the final few episodes, as her lack of knowledge of who she is is essential to the plot, yet it is not a bad thing that for most of the series she remains the nervous and innocent girl who only wants to find out who or what she is, as this brings out a lot of the hidden qualities of Gene and Jim. Finally, Gilliam, the Outlaw Star's computer, who one would expect to just be a functional machine, stands out as a charachter in his own right, showing bonds with Gene, Jim and Melfina that one wouldn't expect from a machine, and sometimes a hint of sarcasm in his voice as he complies with Gene's "brilliant" orders.
The story itself moves at a decent pace, never too fast to keep up, yet in places does have the occaisional filler episode, which either serves to entertain in breaks in the serious plot, or to highlight a certain plot point. While the series would be no worse without them, they were entertaining and enjoyable, and the two that spring to mind both provide background information to the universe that wasn't necessary, but still interesting to know. The universe is a wildly varied setting perfect for such an adventure, with a combination of science fiction technology and ancient eastern mysticism. The technology never gets in the way of the plot, and the mystic powers driving some events keep the show from becoming hardcore science fiction. Combined with Gene's very down to earth way of dealing with the unknown, this mix keeps the plot moving rather than letting it get bogged down in pointless explanation. That's not to say that nothing is explained, everything relevant to the plot is, but in an interesting way that doesn't just becoming a drone of dull facts, technobabble and nonsense that can often be the downfall of science fiction.
Overall, this show is incredibly enjoyable and has something for everyone. It's an adventure of the kind you used to dream of as a kid, yet it also asks what makes us human. It has it's funny moments, and also it's touching moments. It combines human (/alien/bio-mechanoid/machine/etc) drama with awesome space battles and gunfights, and even leaves this fan of explosions and lasers unsure which he enjoyed more. Watch it, you will not be disappointed.
I remember awhile back, I use to come home from school and watch this on Toonami. This and DBZ were the highlights of the few hours I spent watching TV before getting to homework.
I just recently found Outlaw again and decided to rewatch the series again, since it had been years since I watched it last.
It was not as good as I had remembered... it was 10x better! I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I wasn't bored... once. And if your able to keep my attention for 26 episodes straight, then your doing something right.
I'll start with the story. It was very
enjoyable, and something that pretty much anyone could jump into, anime fan or not. It has a straight forward story but still manages to be deep and meaningful. If I were trying to get someone into anime, this would be the anime I would hand them.
The art was also very good. The animation (particularly the action scenes) flow very nicely and isn't choppy or glitchy at any point. There were a few times that I noticed that Gene was missing some details, but this is easily forgivable and not very noticeable.
The sound was good. The soundtrack wasn't anything memorable, but wasn't bad by any means. Not much to say other than that.
The characters were extremely fun and diverse, which I like in a cast. You got the main protagonist; Gene Starwind, an outlaw and womanizer. You then have Jim Hawking (kid sidekick), Melfina (a bio-android with an unkown propose), Aisha Clanclan (catgirl and comic relief), Suzuka (badass assassin chick), and the best fictional computer ever, Gilliam II. You can't help but fall in love with all these characters as the show goes on.
The villains were all pretty cool, but I wish we could've seen some more development with them. Like Lord Hazanko and his unit The Anten Seven. You really don't see much of them until the last few episodes. The MacDougall brothers were pretty cool (Ron especially since we share somewhat of a resemblance >_>)
Overall, this is one of the best anime's I've ever seen. There's ton's of fun to be had here, and the rewatch value is very high with this one (which is a major plus on my end). If you enjoy Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blade Runner, and just Sci Fi in general- no, if you just enjoy fun movies in general, I HIGHLY recommend this series. You won't regret it....
What a let down this anime was, don't get me wrong i was really amazed for the first 4 episodes and i had my favorite character already, yeah Hilda, just 4 episodes and she had better development than Gene in all the other 22 eps. and not just that, the episodes were packed with action, interesting plot and a story that could be really great for the next eps. but that wasn't the case and i love 90's anime but the art style on this was bad, getting worse every episode.
The story is interesting for what it could be not for what it is, after
the 4th episode, the story is put aside and it turns to be an episodic anime, where it leads to nowhere and they live to pay their debts by making jobs that aren't interesting not even for Gene, but he does anyways if the sum is high or if he needs money fast, then the story sort of continues 2 eps. in the middle then again episodic, and in the last 3 eps. the story finally gets somewhere and is really good and i thought if every episode was like this, the story could be amazing but it was mediocre.
The art style looked good at the beginning but in every episode the drawing was inconsistent and got worse and the characters face looked different, the animation in the fight scenes were bad, almost always, even for that time there were better animations, and because of this i couldn't like or relate to the characters, a mediocre art style.
The sound was the best of the anime, very good voice acting, great OP song, i wasn't bored because the VA, or the sound overall, there are 2 ED songs which are melodic, they are good, but i didn't felt it was fitting for the anime, the sound effects were good, overall was very good.
Well the characters were normal, nothing special, just Hilda, 4 eps. and she was the best, is a shame what happens to her, she easily could be the MC, I didn't felt Gene was well developed, not even his backround, Jim was kind of interesting, i felt sorry for him in ep. 20 because he never knew what he did, it was sad, Aisha was likeable but annoying too and Suzuka wasn't interesting, she was there because... i don't know, they never got a backround, mediocre character development.
For some reason i enjoyed the anime, i wasn't bored, i think i couldn't handle the animation, the filler episodes weren't bad but didn't add anything to the story, maybe i enjoyed it because the setting was in the space but anyways i got a good enjoyment.
On the technical side of things, Outlaw Star has aged incredibly well. While not a fossil by any means, this show is at least old enough to have hand-painted cels instead of being digitally painted like what new fans are used to, giving it a classic texture. Don’t let the aged appearance fool you, though, because the action sequences in Outlaw Star are caster-tastic. There are zero corners cut in the space battles or hand to hand combat and there are often numerous fights per episode to pop your peepers at.
The music is pretty low-key unless there’s a grappler duel a brewin’, but it’s
a fun mix of techno, rock, and a lot of brass to lay down some smack to, though I quickly forgot it in the heated wake of the opening song and a soothing closer written for Melfina to sing throughout the show.
The voicework is nothing real special in either language, I’m afraid, but for a show devoid of serious drama, that’s to be expected. It’s standard typecasting all across the board. Gene is crass, Jim is impetuous, Aisha is manic, Suzuka is femme fatale-ish, the MacDougalls are crazy and evil, and Fred is very very very gay. So you shouldn’t expect the actors to do anything but fill their single notes, and they all do this quite well. The only character that breaks the Toonami-trope barrier into something more complex is actually Hilda, voiced by the cold and commanding Mary McGlynn, and while the outlaw’s role in the story is minimal, her performance is by far one of the most memorable. Okay, her and Fred. But that’s because he’s always preceded by his own theme music. (No, really. He is.)
You know what, I usually deliver the bad news last in these reviews, but forget that, I’m going to start thumbing my nose a few minutes early this time. This is one of the most immature shows you can sit through. I defy you to find an episode that goes five minutes without making a dirty joke or blowing some mutha’s house down.
When I said the characters are all stereotypes, I darn well meant that too. There is a very small attempt made at developing Gene in an episode where he questions the value of his own empty life over that of his passionate assassin’s, and it’s a good one. That is it. Period. Other than that, nobody changes or develops, not counting Melfina because not having a free will and then gaining it isn’t all that exciting. Add to that the story dances about like that game where everyone makes a story by speaking one sentence each and culminates in a deus ex machina so literal that they actually meet god in a machine a la Star Trek V.
So all this clearly detrimental flack ultimately detracts from the show's value a total of ...ZERO. Yeah. None of it matters. Forget all of it.
I once mentioned in a past review that a series can be episodic or stick to a storyline, but it’s a very bad idea for a show to pretend it has a plot and then never get around to it in favor of fun rabbit trails. Okay, I am now nuking those words, addin’ a little ketchup and scarfing them down because this is exactly what Outlaw Star does and it is unbelievably addictive. I wouldn’t recommend this approach most of the time, but this show gets a free pass for being the most wish-fulfilling sci fi title ever. Everything you can love about sci fi is here: space races, space combat, diverse planets, alternate dimensions, weird aliens, hot aliens, aliens of questionable gender, giant robots, bio-androids, human cyborgs, cold sleep beauties, shapeshifting beastmen, lazer gunfights, swordfights, fistfights, paintball, mad scientists, tao magicians, robotic panthers, kung-fu housecats, and a hot springs episode that is actually funny, amongst other episodes featuring a universe’s strongest woman competition, a sunken alien galleon, or a prison where intense gravity is your greatest enemy.
I assure you I have barely scratched the surface.
Here’s the added bonus: it all fits together! Sure, the story is embarrasingly directionless, but the universe of Outlaw Star is immersive with a creative Trek-esque history that is easy to understand through the hokey narration at the top of each episode. Despite being 2-dimensional, every character is lovable and sparks great chemistry with their fellow scoobies. Even Gilliam is a riot throughout. Yes, the computer is fun. Since when was the ship’s computer ever fun?
The villains are silly enough to put Captain Planet’s nemeses to shame, but there are so many of them and they are so deliciously evil that it only ADDS to the already fever-pitched cool factor. Harry MacDougall is by far the most fun for his bipolar attempts at courtship... Simply put, there isn’t one boring millisecond in the entire show, which is tremendously rare and absolutely worth seeing. I can safely say that the most unexciting episode revolves around an evil telepathic cactus who mind controls people into buying bad ice cream. For reasons that should now be obvious, it’s still awesome, and that makes Outlaw Star just plain awesome above all else.
All in all, it does not get much more fun than Outlaw Star. The universe is engrossing, the characters are extreme, and the combo makes for exceptional sci fi that never gets lost in technobabble. That being said, it drops any attempt at plot or development squarely on its rear, but the thrills are so constant that you shouldn’t care much. I highly recommend this to sci fi lovers in particular, but also anyone looking for escapism done right.
*THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MY VIDEO REVIEW WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE:
We all enjoy looking up at the night sky, and watching the stars. And quite often we wonder what exactly is going on...out there in deep space. Fortunately, there's a ton of excellent space anime which will clue us in and make our imaginations run wild!