Sunday, May 27, 2007

Outlaw Star Review

Outlaw Star Wallpaper, originally uploaded by Squall the Lion.

Put one cat girl, one samurai, one bio-android, one genius whiz kid, and his partner, a cocky, wannabe outlaw, all in space with the best ship there is in the galaxy, or so says the ship's computer, and you have Outlaw Star.

One might compare the premise behind the early episodes to that of the early episodes of Cowboy Bebop, since Gene Starwind, the cocky outlaw pictured above, and Spike from Bebop do have a fair number of traits in common, along with the fact that both crews are really just trying to make a living, whether they're outlaws or cowboys, doing basically the same sort of jobs.

I mention early episodes though, because both Bebop and Outlaw Star branch off on their own paths; specifically when the search for information regarding Melfina, the bio-android/navigator of the ship titled Outlaw Star, and the simultaneous search for the Galactic Leyline, a mystery that is supposed to lead to riches beyond belief, begins in earnest, which only starts near the middle or even the ending of the series.

So yeah, ultimately the two plots are really the day-to-day survival stories, paired with the Melfina/Galactic Leyline stories, thus I can't go on much more there. But, what's particularly cool about the anime as a whole, is the characters, and especially interesting, is how they even come together in the first place, which is the point of the first few episodes. Most otaku will probably recognize some classic themes in the meetings, such as the idea of enemies becoming friends early on, as in the case of both Aisha and Suzuka, two characters that for differing reasons, have a deathwish for Gene. This makes sense since the characters are a bit cliche themselves, because really each character-type can be found in a slew of other titles, but no need to list all those here. Just to say, that while the characters seem cliche, they all offer a certain life to this anime which helps drive the story on, even more so than some of the plot devices themselves. Let's face it, if you can't care about the characters, how can you care about whether they win or lose, or really the whole story? Well, most often you can't.

Now, as far as animation goes, this show isn't all too old I don't suppose, being first-run in Japan in early 1998; however, even so the animation looks a bit dated. Once again, the character stereotypes don't help here, and really Outlaw Star just looks like Cowboy Bebop in terms of graphics as well, probably due to the fact that the same studio, Sunrise, worked on both albeit not exclusively. So yeah, the animation's no feat, but it fits, and in no way does it distract from the story, which is fine by me.

My final comment then is that this is a 26 episode show, thus you can get through it fairly quickly, but the investment's worth it and I definitely recommend this show. Especially I suggest Outlaw Star to all you otaku out there with a hankering for some action, and maybe a soft side for space themed anime. So yeah, check this out, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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