- Animated by studio XEBEC, which means it’s going to have bad production values and unexploited potencial.
- Directed by [/u] Hongu Mitsuru, [/u] who never managed to produce an above average show.
- Based on the manga by Itou Takehiko. Other works of his that were adapted include the forgettable Lord of Lords Ryu Knight and Angel Links. But guess what; he also wrote the most amazing Zegapain, so he is not a complete mediocrity of a creator.
Outlaw Star begins as the most awesome sci-fi action adventure ever conceived before it quickly turns to messy mediocrity of stereotypes and random plots. Which is a shame.
The series begins with a setting were the age of exploration repeats in the space of the future, and it accompanied with the usual traits, such as space ships, space pirates, space adventures and … alien catgirls??? Taoist priests??? Geisha swordswomen??? … Ok, this is all a garbled pile of ideas from left and right; no real consistency or uniformity. This is what in effect destroys the setting because it is completely random, without a steady theme, a clear form, or even some sort of balance. One episode can be space races, another can be samurai showdowns, and another a fan service episode in an open bath. I don’t like that. I like my settings to have some sort of constant genres and not random ideas.
So in this… um… setting, our lead hero is your average energetic and edgy teenager with fire in his eyes, ready to take on the entire galaxy and prove his worth. He is not like the stereotype of so many teen adventures, because he is actually a ladies man, scoring some every time he feels like it. He also has a kid partner, a boy genius with computers who analyzes and tells him the weaknesses of his opponents. He also pilots a spaceship with robot arms, which has a naked girl as its power source. Wow, all that sound so exciting! And indeed they are… for four episodes.
As soon as the fifth episode begins, the amazing premise crumbles and it’s replaced by random anime clichés and episodic adventures. Towards the end there is a sort of big finale for the salvation of the universe or something but by now the script is written by a monkey, so it doesn’t mean anything at all. Man, this was one of the worst disappointments I ever experienced in anime.
This crumbling of the plot works as a chain reaction that ruins the cast as well. In order to make myself clear, I will describe how each character begins and how he/she becomes after a few episodes.
Gene: The lead hero. Starts as a cool young man, scoring with each chick he feels like it and laughs at the face of danger. Ends up as an idiot running after girls, being ridiculed all the time, going emo with his father who sacrificed to save him.
Jim: The lead’s partner, a boy genius. He starts as the tactician, logistics supervisor and planner of the team. Ends up being a mascot for girls to go wild over him as he blushes and freezes.
Melfina: The mysterious bioroid. Starts as a artificial human being with an erased past, as well as the spaceship’s power source. Ends up as a platonic relationship for Gene, a typical damsel in distress and fan service as she is always naked while used as a battery.
Suzuka: Powerful swordswoman. Starts as a cold assassin. Ends as fan service for those who like geishas.
Aisha: Powerful alien. Starts as a shape shifting exiled princess. Ends up as fan service for those who like catgirls.
The villains: Numerous Chinese/Japanese themed cyborgs and taoists who aim to use Melfina’s secret powers to rule the galaxy. They start as threatening and imposing. They end up being cannon fodder with zero depth and characterization.
ART / SOUND
The chain reaction of the crumbling story affects the production values as well. Although the initial episodes have very good production values for their time, along the way you clearly see quality dropping more and more until in the final episodes becomes very flawed, with lazy drawings, jerky motions, and random battle choreography. The episodic nature of the show also made the world to look completely chaotic and random, taking you out of the mood entirely. The only thing I liked somewhat was the opening theme.
VALUE / ENJOYMENT
If the quality of the show had remained as good as in the first four episodes, this would have been one of the best anime of al times. But since it didn’t and since there is Cowboy Bebop to do right anything this show did wrong, I say there is very little replay value or enjoyment in this show. There are many who like it but I guess that is only for nostalgic reasons and not because it is an actually good series.
On the other hand, if you are looking for braindead entertainment, this will feel a lot better to you than it did for me. After all it is full of nude, violence, guns, nude, swords, spaceships with arms, nude, extreme mission objectives, and… nude.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (almost entirely episodic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (cool at first but they degrade later)
Personality 1/2 (typical)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (bad)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 1/3 (still remembered by some as an interesting retro title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (good ideas but badly handled)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 1/2 (I liked the songs)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but badly handled)
Characters 1/4 (cool at first but they degrade later)