Outlaw Star is a sci-fi/ space adventure series set in the far future and focused on Gene Starwind, a young man living on the planet Sentinel III who runs a jack-of-all-trades business with 11-year old computer engineer Jim Hawking. The two find themselves caught up in a conflict between the space outlaw, “Hot Ice” Hilda, and a magic-wielding pirate guild called the Kei Pirates who are trying to gain possession of the bio-android, Melfina, programmed to serve as the navigation unit of an advanced spaceship called the XGP15A-II.
Outlaw Star is a well-known gateway drug for many Western anime fans in that it was perhaps one of the first anime titles that fans may have seen during the early 2000s via Cartoon Network’s Toonami block in a heavily edited version. I’ll be the first to admit that I was within that generation of first-time anime fans to get exposure to the series and be entertained by the action and comedy offered up with the series mixed with its sci-fi and magic elements. But taking off the nostalgia goggles and being able to see the series nearly 20 years later, I sadly have to admit that the show does have its issues that I took notice of seeing this as an adult.
But before I get into what I think weighs Outlaw Star down, I’ll at least get into what I enjoyed with the series. As far as what it dabbles into for style, the series isn’t afraid to mash things up with elements of its setting with the presence of magic coming from the Kei Pirates and samurai with Suzuka clashing with the otherwise sci-fi setting offered up with Outlaw Star. At its best, the series has effective comedic timing in its lighter moments, particularly with spats between Gene and Jim and the antics of Aisha. The series also has a solid foundation of world building for the variety of aliens, planets, and technologies shown within its futuristic world, notable of which being the Ctarl Ctarl with Aisha’s presence and the use of grappler spaceships. It does also feature Gene undergoing gradual character development throughout the series as he realizes how serious the threat from the Kei Pirates is and getting over his fear of venturing in space. It also doesn’t hurt that the series has one of the more memorable soundtracks for anime in the 90s I’ve listened to having its equal share of energetic and gritty rock tracks, mixed with some tense and dramatic tracks that are appropriately placed in key scenes of the series they accompany.
But in terms of the main storytelling of Outlaw Star with Gene’s conflict with the Kei Pirates, the series has its fair deal of stumbling blocks with this. The development of this plot does usually grind to a halt with the series focusing on episodic plots involving Gene and his group taking on jobs unrelated to the main conflict of the series. While said episodes do have their amusing and suspenseful moments, they contribute little to the main story of the series as a whole. The series tries making a big deal out of Melfina’s attempts to learn more about her origins, but this becomes well-known to the audience rather quickly and this attempt at fleshing out Melfina’s character largely goes nowhere throughout the series. Plus, the final conflict between Gene’s group and the Kei Pirates does wind up feeling a wee bit rushed, seeming like it was slapped together with the attempts at being completely serious in its climax while lacking the necessary story depth to be worth such a change in tone.
In short, Outlaw Star’s more worth checking out if you are going into the series for its mix of aesthetic elements and mixture of comedy and action offered with Gene and his group, which make up for the more memorable elements of the series. It doesn’t have the depth to its story and characters that you’d find with other titles of the era like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. But if you’re just looking for a stylish sci-fi action-comedy to get into without thinking too much about the plot’s developments, I’d still recommend looking into the series.
Rating: 6 of 10
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
But taking off the nostalgia goggles and being able to see the series nearly 20 years later, I sadly have to admit that the show does have its issues that I took notice of seeing this as an adult.
Your experience hit me hard close to home. While I was in middle school and didn't understand or pick up adult stuff from the anime, rewatching this series later on. I did enjoy it. It didn't age if that's the right phrasing to use.
I remember thinking Gene was cool as a young lad. In rewatching this, I actually hated Gene for random bouts of yelling at Melfina. The rushed ending and Melfina's relationship and her evolution didn't add much. I didn't care much about Gene and Melfina's relationship. His fear of going into space made him relatable as we all have fears.
Even the random episodic like racing or going to the hot spa planet didn't contribute, they manage to squeeze in something in the end to make them seem plot relevant. The racing episode had added Aisha into the crew while transitioning Gene to exact revenge. The spa episode was about caster bullets. I find them wasting the potential of Chinese magic and the mechanic of Qi. I realize this is pretty rare. I only think of Jackie Chan Adventures having this stuff. We had Chinese pirates with magic and Qi/Ki in an anime.
I still need to try Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Though, because of how famous these anime series are, I already know the plot developments and reveals. It's like Death Note again. That's why I never want to watch Death Note.
On topic: A great review on Outlaw Star.
For anyone who was curious about the ecchi content and TV edits, Dream had some trivia in the chat box.
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT