Outlaw Star is a fantastic manga written by Takehiko Ito. First of all, it is worth noting that I have not finished it yet. I'm leading a scanlation project and we're partway into the third volume. So as far as the main published manga goes we've nearly completed it. However, there are several chapters that weren't published and only exist in Ultra Jump magazines. I have found all of them and once volume three is complete will scan them and finish the manga.
Unfortunately, the Outlaw Star manga is massively overlooked. That is because very few people or fans of Outlaw Star have read much or any of it. For a long time, only the first volume had been translated and any other projects were abandoned, until now.
Returning to the review, most people interested in this have already seen the anime, but they're actually very different. In fact, saying they exist in different universes doesn't even describe the change. Many of the characters appear at different times with different backstories. The manga is considerably darker than the mostly upbeat Outlaw Star anime. It does feature plenty of comedy though, but most of it is dark comedy.
Many of us will know Gene Starwind as a womaniser with a heart. In the manga he's a lot more gruff, but he is a likeable character. Gene is a man who has desired space travel for a long time, although he did earn an astronavigator license at fourteen. He lives with his business (Starwind & Hawking Enterprises) partner, Jim Hawking. In the anime Jim is an innocent and friendly child genius. In this story he is more mature and could often be considered more of an adult than Gene. He's way cheekier.
Struggling to make ends meet, Gene simply couldn't refuse an offer from a young woman looking to buy nanotech parts. Unfortunately for Gene who is burdened with a one-track mind, he's completely unaware that he's dealing with a notorious pirate called Hilda who is feared across the galaxy. So who exactly is this woman, and can he trust her? Trouble always finds Gene and perhaps he should have turned her down, but what is Gene's fate in this manga? How does Hilda's future differ? Quite significantly to say the least. Prepare to find out how the manga got its name and the iconic red spaceship.
This is one journey that should not be missed, and fortunately soon you'll be able to read the entirety of it and discover the origins of Outlaw Star.