Anime Meta-Review


Outlaw Star


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-26
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • source: Anime-village
  • form: sub
  • made: 1998
  • Review created: Mon Jul 16 11:44:20 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This anime never really seemed to get the fame it deserved. Sure, it has some flaws, but it also has a lot of positive features. If nothing else the trip it will take you on is awfully enjoyable. So if you want some nice action, good characters and a novel sci-fi backdrop check this one out.


On an isolated backwater of a planet two men strive to make a living. The older is clearly a man of action, unafraid of risk and with the physical abilities to survive. The younger tries to keep him under control, informed and profitable. And they need their wits about them. Because this version of the future is a rough and dangerous place. Where huge pirate clans and outlaw free-booters are as much a power as the forces of law and order. And these two aren't taking the easy route, serving as freelance trouble shooters to earn the money they need to get off planet.

And, before you know it, they've got trouble in large amounts. A simple body-guarding assignment pits them against senior elements in the pirate clans...which is not a good place to be. It seems their client, who's a rather cool customer herself, has stolen a secret and a ship from the pirate clans. A ship they've constructed to seek the greatest treasure in the entire galaxy. A treasure so great that nothing can be allowed to stand in their way. Then again, the secret needs some help herself.


Hey, fragmented synopsis isn't it? It's not just my lack of writing skills. The start of this series is really good, throws you in at the deep end and keeps hitting you with new details. Excellent characters, great action, a novel sense of design and some powerful hooks to keep you watching. You get the feeling there's a big, and impressive, story to be told in this series. And there's a couple of nice surprises I don't want to risk spoiling.

Effectively our two leads end up in the middle of a sizable plot, with access to one of the universes most powerful grappler ships (more on this later) and a central piece in an important puzzle. Through the course of the story more characters are drawn to their side. The ships AI develops quite a personality, a beautiful but deadly katana wielding assassin and a barbaric (but powerful) cat-girl as well as a mystery haunted girl. The characters are good in their own right, all having their own personality and motives, and some of the dialog is rather nice. Heck, the Ctarl Ctarl cat girl is almost good enough to demand a series of her own.

Another strong point of this series is that the design, while quite weird, is rather novel and works well. The cultures and places of this future, even the races, give the sense of there being a lot of depth. And this shows up in both the stories and the action. For example the pirates believe in magic, but they're not superstitious. In this version of the future magic exists, is powerful and dangerous, and has even been merged with technology to an extent. Another example is that starship combat is fought hand to hand. The best weapon is a grappler ship, basically a small maneuverable ship with mechanical arms and weapons. It sounds strange, looks weird at first, but it actually makes sense and incidentally means the action is rather more entertaining than you would expect.

There is a potential downside however. While the start is excellent, and the plot huge, the story progression is rather weird. You expect a full on action adventure story but instead it begins to wander. The main concern becomes getting enough money to keep the ship going. After all, they don't actually know how to use the `keys' they've been given, so they end up being used to earn money. The story becomes lighter and the episodes more self contained. There're some good stories, the characters get some good development, and the humor is not a bad thing at all...but it might not be what you'd expect from the opening. Then the actual `plot' concludes itself in the last handful of episodes.

Still, at worst it is good fun. The animation itself is pretty decent for a TV series. There's some of the simplifications that are required to meet time and budget constraints. However it balances this with a rich sense of character, some very novel design work and a nice feel for technology/magic. There's a rich sense of personality in this series that makes exploring it good fun. The physical action, including the duelling starships, is way more fun than it should be. It gives a real sense of movement, danger and impressive feats within the animation resources available. It's very easy, and entertaining to watch. The voices are good and fit the characters very well, the music is energetic and very catchy.

Other Reviews

  • THEM review A relatively short but quite positive review from THEM. While they admit it's full of anime standards the sense of action, mystery and humor makes the ride entertaining enough that they don't care (4/5).
  • Akemi's AnimeWorld review A longer review but relatively similar feelings. Akemi's class it as a fairly familiar light space opera. On the other hand they do credit it with character, humor, action and design sufficient to make it stand out from the pack making for a quite enjoyable watch (3/5).
  • Lord Carnage review Lord Carnage, and Herself the Elf, like it a lot. Energetic and more clever than it may appear the character, energy and humor are enough for them to give it the thumb's up. The phrase they use, "high adrenaline sci-fi with a comedic twist" may just be the best one line summary of the series (4/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009