So this was a show I heard some really good things about from one of Professor Otaku’s videos and I thought it would be interesting to watch. I was not disappointed. The show actually had the same feeling as Firefly, a live action series based around a group of mismatched characters all together on a spaceship. It was so awesome to see something that wasn’t a big moe fest with cutesy characters that just want to get into the main characters pants. I’m not saying there aren’t characters that are doing that, but it’s so much more to the story. I know I did this review once before, but I am redoing it. The reason why, I re-watched the show and there was so much I didn’t remember. That and I think some of my old reviews need a tune up.
The story revolves mostly around the character Gene Starwind; a sort of butch, scruffy guy who isn’t really known for his high class attitude. What I mean by that is he doesn’t have a high class bone in his body. He acts so much like a womanizer around ladies that I am not really sure why I like the character but in a strange way, I do. The character reminds me a lot of Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly in the laid back attitude to everything but when something is about to affect his ship or crew, he takes charge. It’s hard to explain him except maybe that he will also talk with his guns before thinking with his head. He also has a rather strange phobia that I actually have never really seen when talking about space travel. He was scared as a kid about being out in space and yet he always wanted to get a space ship and go into space.
Malfina is much like River Tam. In fact, she even shows up in exactly the same way, in a cold storage suitcase. When talking about her personality, it’s a bit hard as there seems to be dual sides of her in a way. She can be very happy one minute, like a normal girl and then suddenly be wondering exactly why she was born. We never get a lot of info about her and I am guessing the artwork we see at the end of each episode is supposed to be her but they don’t explain it. She is always left in mystery, and I would say even at the end of the show, we never find out exactly what is going on with her. She is normally sweet and the most innocent of the group but one thing sets her different then any of the other characters, she is needed to pilot the ship. She is like a controller, you plug her into the vat of ‘water’ and she makes the ship move.
Jim Hawking (I really believe that his name is a play off of a character from Treasure Island) is a rather crazy computer wizard. I consider him a bit like Edward from Cowboy Bebop but with a much saner mind. I do like this about him as he isn’t always doing some strange wacky thing out of the blue. He keeps Gene’s and his business afloat surprisingly and is very grown up in some ways. In other ways, he still is very innocent when it comes to relationships. When that happens, he actually gets rather shy.
This may be a large space opera and drama show, but it has some fun comedy to it, especially between Gene and Hawkings. The chemistry is actually really cool although we don’t get much of a back story about how they met. I would have loved to learn more about that since we only get a little back story about Gene and what his father did. Other then that, their background is just thrown to the side like everyone else’s background. On one hand I can see how this gives us more room for awesome space battles and cool action fights but on the other hand, I really want to know the background of the characters. They give us history lessons in the beginning of the show that makes no sense half the time, so why not give us character backgrounds or something?
Even though this is a lot like Firefly (Yes, I know it came first), to me, this is actually something different that they put together. Firefly has only human people but in this, they have aliens that can look like frogs to tiger cat girls. Sadly, you don’t seem to see much of these aliens and I would like to learn a bit more about them and their culture. You only see one character most of the time, the cat girl character whose name always escapes me. (I blame the very little background that makes it hard to remember her and all the other minor characters of this show.)The story is pretty slow and they only get underway at about the 9th episode. Even then though, there wasn’t really any filler and were actually building up the plot line. When they do get up and running, it’s more about getting money for the ship. There is a story line that ties the whole thing together though and it makes you want to watch even more.
I do have to ask how there are people that seem to be able to use magic when they are in a really high technology heavy show? They never seem to explain about that in the little historical information given in the beginning of each show (good call to the creators by the way). The historical information does actually help since they don’t really explain it in the actual show much.
The artwork is very good, and has a design that is much different then the style we see now. Sure its cel drawn and was made in the 1990s, but I think it has a bit of character all its own. The show is mostly very dark and almost as though they have a dark filter cast over everything. This gives the show a very apocalyptic or underground feeling which I believe is perfect when talking about Outlaws. Characters have very sharp looking features to where even the eyes look as though they have seen things that really didn’t want to be seen. This is even in the most innocent eyes like Jim and Malfina, they just always have this bit of sadness to them. There really isn’t any time that I see gravity defying hair like what we see in Dragonball Z, but it still has this sort of unkempt look about them which only adds to the characters rough appearance. Backgrounds don’t really show off much, being somewhat generic at times. They do give a good sense of space though when things are a bit claustrophobic.
The English voice acting is actually rather interesting, especially when they have the narrator sometime saying something philosophical. It is hard to understand sometimes, but watching this show a second time has helped me understand what the philosophy is actually supposed to be about. On the other hand, when he is giving the background to the show, you can’t figure out why he is saying it because sometimes it seems irrelevant. Even with a second time watching, I don’t understand that part. When we are talking about the script, we sometimes get a little bit clunky. It’s like they directly translated the script but yet it actually works at times. The voices they picked work pretty well and you could tell they got into the characters. Bob Buchholz is really good as the voice of Gene and has enough of a boyish charm that keeps him young. Something tells me that this was the first voice dub that Ian Hawk did, he was perfect for Jim Hawking, and Emilie Brown is wonderful for Melfina. She has a way of speaking that sounds partly like an android and yet she has a lot of feeling behind her words. The music is really well done, and I love the opening song. The opening artwork is alright, though it just seems a bit odd in how it has been cut. The ending is somewhat alright, though it is a little slow and the thing of stills just seems a little off since it isn’t in an anime style. They are also much more detailed then the actual show.
After re-watching this show, I still love it. Sure it has some flaws, but the story line makes up for it. Overall, it was a pretty solid show and I would of loved for a second season or something to add more info on the characters and help clear up more of the mystery.