Outlaw Star and its Perfect Opening

Outlaw Star in Space

As I previously lamented on this blog, Outlaw Star ranks highly in my favorite anime list. It is an action filled series, that takes you through a wide range of adventures and humor in its’ 26 episodes. And it starts brilliantly in the first story arc.

If you’re going to go big, throw in the kitchen sink

When developing an environment, you might as well make it as huge as you can. In a space based anime, there’s no reason to limit yourself. Outlaw star has a huge environment to build on. Faster than light travel allows for unlimited destinations. Alien species of varying types and sizes make for unique species traits, and dynamic interactions between them. Then lets get creative by having a space army, ‘outlaws’, and pirates. And not just any pirates. Chinese, magic wielding, space pirates. No little high school girls on a cruise in this show.
outlaw_star_pirates

A show needs a purpose
My biggest frustration with slice of life anime is the lack of a clearly defined object. Where is it going? What goal are the main characters shooting for? Outlaw Star defines the goal straight away: the purpose is to reach a hidden treasure. A treasure that every force in the universe is searching for. And whether the main character wanted to or not, it is now his objective after being drawn into the search.
outlaw_star_in_astroid

A sidekick never hurts, as well a beautiful woman
Every sidekick needs a hero. And much like Watson to Sherlock, Jim Hawking is the counter balance to Gene’s reckless nature. A longtime friend and business partner, Jim is his perfect sidekick, even referring to himself as the brains of the operation. Their banter and interaction is great, the work of a well written friendship.  And when a sidekick isn’t even, every team needs a beautiful, but helpless damsel. We find that in Melfina. While her past is unknown, her purpose is not as the organic component to the ships navigation. Her soft voice and easy going innocent demeanor make her the belle of the show.

outlaw_star_jim_hawkingoutlaw_star_melfina_navigator

The main character needs a tragic event to drive him, and a second one doesn’t hurt.
What builds character more than a tragic event. In a flashback, we learn that Gene Starwind, the main character, loses his dad in an attack on his first outing in space. This leaves him emotionally scarred and unsure of himself. It even becomes the butt of a joke due to his “inability to perform”.  To make sure that he is driven to space and new goals, the shows throws in its second tragic event. His blossoming partnership with an Outlaw named Hilda, who brings him back into space, is destroyed when she dies in a pirate attack. But when the first tragedy broke him, the second will drive him forward.

outlaw_star_dad_death


This first arc provides much of what the watcher needs to be instantly immersed into the story. Not much dialog, lots of action, and some crazy magic pirates make this show a great watch that anyone can enjoy. Here’s a remix featuring dialog from Outlaw Star with some other anime.

About JoeAnimated

-Growing Older, but never growing up. Father, engineer, and all around nerd. Grew up watching the great american cartoons of the 80's, now a casual watcher of Japanese Anime.
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23 Responses to Outlaw Star and its Perfect Opening

  1. ZabiLegacy says:

    I always never really got Outlaw Star as much as other people. The fact that it hipped to the U.S. alongside the excellent Cowboy Bebop, and my personal second favorite anime of all time, Trigun. My brother, however, is absolutely rabid about the show. Whenever I talk about anime, he always goes back to Outlaw Star. Now, I will admit, I really liked the feel of longing and freedom in space that the series provides, to a level that reminds me of some American Sci-Fi. But, beyond that, I just can’t really find the ability to remember love for this show to any real intensity. WHy would you say that it posses the ability to match up to it’s more acclaimed older brothers, Trigun and Bebop?

    • JoeAnimated says:

      Outlaw Star, Trigun, and Cowboy Bebop were some of 1998’s finest anime. But each is distinctly different. Now I found Trigun good, but nothing that will entice to watch it again. Each one appeals differently depending on what you’re looking for.

      Cowboy Bebob is a well written, flowing story. From music, to directing, there are brilliant moments throughout the show. The backdrops for each arc are well drawn and well detailed. In my opinion, a very complete series, and worth watching regardless of what anime you like.

      Trigun brings more of a goofy, comical main character to counter the violence present throughout the show. It has a casual pace that some find nice, much like CB. But the drab, planet bound environment, at least for me, leaves me wanting more.

      Outlaw Star is at times a cliche of every thing the 90’s could throw into an anime. Action, spaceships, aliens, women, combat, magic. Its’ not there to be philosophical, it’s purpose is to purely entertain. And it does that well. For me, much better than Trigun. This entertainment value is what makes it popular across ages and genders. Now while it didn’t have a super amount of popularity in Japan, it did in America, especially on Cartoon Network. While not acclaimed, I can safely say it is beloved by man fans. Sometime, pure entertainment is all a show needs. Heck, isn’t that what moe-blob, SOL, is all about?

      • ZabiLegacy says:

        I might have to disagree with your assesment of Trigun, but I get what you are saying. On reflection, Outlaw Star seems to take to 110% all the stupid little tropes that somehow snuck their way into 90’s sci-fi anime. From the standpoint of affectionate parody I can see how it can get some acclaim, even if I find the tropes they are pulling to be grating. And, the writing and action is good, so that goes a long way. Also, the music. <.<

  2. Karry says:

    I dont remember anymore, what was the deal with the magic gun ? Was it really, literally, magic ?

    • JoeAnimated says:

      Quick answer: Yes. Longer answer: The shell are magical, “casters”, in that a non magic users can ‘cast’ a spell by shooting the gun. It’s effective against pretty much anything.

    • mithril says:

      yes it was. if you watch the hotsprings planet episode (which was not aired on TV in the US due to suggestive outfits and scenes), you learn some of the history of caster guns. basically, in the distant past one school of magic had been very powerful, but the energy it needed to cast its spells became less common. so they invented shells which stored specific spells and the energy needed to cast them, allowing them to be used anywhere. the hotspring world was one of the few remaining places which the type of energy needed for that magic, and the three remaining practicioners living there were the only source of the most powerful shells gene needed to take on hazanko and the space pirates at the leyline. the episode mostly was fanservice though..

      • JoeAnimated says:

        What he said.

        As this occurs in about 20 episodes, I figured I get into more detail on that later.

        As a side note, the hot spring planet episode was the only one not aired on CN due to too much nudity. Today we just call that “fanservice”

  3. Rednights says:

    Definitely have to rewatch this … Toonami that brings back the memories .. my childhood!

  4. foshizzel says:

    Must watch…this series again! I have to start waking up on Sunday mornings to watch, but I do love the story of Outlaw Star! Did you watch the Dub? I thought it was alright even thou most would find it terrible. Also I can’t help but make fun of Gene’s last name! Starwind my brother always called him Gene Breakwind lolol yeah… xD

  5. Fadeway says:

    Are you sure you haven’t infiltrated SCCSAV?

    • JoeAnimated says:

      Considering I’ve been a member since the beginning, and helped start the classics watch, “infiltrated” might be a strong word. And since I’m re-watching this show with friends, I figured I’d write a little something on it. Would you like to join us in watching this?

  6. MarigoldRan says:

    Dude. Did you watch Samurai Jack? It came out about the same time as Outlaw Star. If so, could you write about it, and the PowerPuff Girls?

  7. JoeAnimated says:

    Samurai Jack came out in early 2001 on Cartoon Network, a little over 2 years after Outlaw Star ended. Now PowerPuff Girls did air at the same time as OS. I’d love to Re-watch SJ, and maybe even watch PPG with my daughters if I could get them to sit still long enough to enjoy it. Maybe a series of posts on the great shows of Toonami would be a good post series….

  8. Pingback: You Want a Piece of Me? – Eureka seveN AO Episode 4 | We Remember Love

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