Outlaw Star (星方武侠アウトロースター Seihō Bukyō Autorō Sutā?, translated as "Starward Warrior Knight Outlaw Star") is a manga series written and illustrated by Takehiko Ito. Gene Starwind and his partner Jim Hawking run a small business on the backwater planet of Sentinel 3. But all that changes the day that Hilda hires them for a bodyguard job. Now, thrust into a mystery they do not fully understand, they are on the run from the police, the pirates, an angry alien, and a mysterious assassin. But they have got one thing going in their favor - they have the galaxy's most advanced ship, the Outlaw Star. Gene Starwind dreams of life as an Outlaw, and fate smiles on him as he seems to suddenly wind up with a great job. But as things go awry, and he finds himself the new owner of the fastest, most technologically advanced space ship in the galaxy. Unfortunately, it's stolen and the owners want it back... Along with his partner Jim and the lovely Melfina, Gene must fight his way across the galaxy battling pirates, aliens, and assassins as he attempts to discover the secrets of the Outlaw Star.
The series takes place in the distant future, 150 years after the development of spacecraft capable of traveling faster than the speed of light, and follows the motley crew of the titular ship: the Outlaw Star.
An animated television series adaptation produced by Sunrise Studios aired on TV Tokyo from 8 January 1998 to 25 June 1998, totaling 26 episodes. The English language version of the series was produced by Bandai Entertainment and ZRO Limit Productions. An edited version aired on Toonami from January 15, 2001 to February 16, 2001 which skipped episode 23 due to nudity and suggestive themes. The complete collection of episodes was released on DVD in September 2002 in North America.
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Outlaw Star follows the outlaw Gene Starwind and his eleven year-old business associate, Jim Hawking. Together they run a small jack-of-all-trades business on the backwater planet Sentinel III. After the two take a job as bodyguards for a mysterious outlaw, they find themselves the owners of the XGP15A-II, a highly advanced prototype spacecraft, and the caretakers of a bio-android named Melfina. Through the course of the series, the crew grows to include the assassin "Twilight" Suzuka and Aisha Clanclan, a Ctarl-Ctarl and former Ambassador of the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire.
Gene Starwind (ジーン･スターウインド Jīn Sutāuindo?) is a player, a slacker and the captain of the Outlaw Star. He is well armed with a variety of weapons including a Caster gun, a magic pistol effective against Tao priests and other things of supernatural origin.
Melfina (メルフィナ Merufina?) is a bio-android created by Professor Gwen Khan to work with the ship's navigator. Sometime after she was created, both Melfina and the Outlaw Star were stolen from the Kei pirates by the outlaw Hilda who intended to use them to find the Galactic Leyline.
James "Jim" Hawking (ジム･ホーキング Jimu Hōkingu?) is the son of a world renowned hacker, and Gene's eleven year-old business partner and sidekick. He is the Outlaw Star’s resident computer expert and accountant, responsible for team's finances and plans. It is unknown how he came to be Gene's partner. He is often irritated by Gene's reckless habits.
Aisha Clanclan (エイシャ･クランクラン Eisha Kurankuran?) is a hot-tempered catgirl who graduated 2nd in her class at the Ctarl Royal Space Academy. As a Ctarl-Ctarl Ambassador, she was in charge of locating the Galactic Leyline for the Empire, but after she unknowingly allowed Hot Ice Hilda to escape, the Empire ordered her to stay behind on Blue Heaven to look for clues as punishment. As such, she joins the Outlaw crew.
"Twilight" Suzuka (黄昏の鈴鹿 Tasogare no Suzuka?) is a female assassin who only kills when the sun is setting. Her weapon of choice is a bokken that can slice through metal like a cleaver (in her premiere episode, she sliced through a bus that nearly ran her over) and smash concrete. After a failed attempt to kill Gene's friend Fred Luo, she decides to help the crew against the Kei Pirates mainly to go after her family's killer, Hitoriga of the Anten Seven.
The XGP15A-II, christened the Outlaw Star by Gene and his crew, is "the fastest, most advanced ship in the galaxy". It was constructed by the Kei space pirate guild using connections with the Space Forces military. Powered by four plasma fusion Unsen engines and a powerful Münchhausen reactor for use with its "sub-ether" faster-than-light drive. In addition, it is a "grappler ship", a spaceship with manipulator arms modified for combat purposes. It is designed so that the Bio-Android Melfina, who was created by the scientist Gwen Khan, can link up with and control the navigational systems. This was intended for the sole purpose of navigating the Galactic Leyline.
- Terrans. Referred to as "Commons" in the Japanese version, this is what many space creatures call humans.
- Ctarl-Ctarl. A cat-like alien race. The Ctarl-Ctarl have superior senses of hearing, smell and sight and vast strength as well as an ability to turn into large, feral beasts completely at the mercy of their instincts (usually resembling huge felines and perhaps Lupines or Vulpines). The Ctarl-Ctarl are a vast empire that, after many battles with Terrans, have established trade treaties and are now on neutral terms. The Frontier - the area of space where most of the story takes place - lies in between the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire and the Terran Federation, and was established as a buffer zone after numerous battles between the two species. Its position is said to be 50 light years away from earth.
- Silgrians. A peaceful race in the Outlaw Star universe which resemble anthropomorphic birds. Physically they are usually at least 180 cm (6 ft) tall, and have necks that can make a 180 degree rotation or can turn their head completely upward. Their eyes also have two lids. It is often noted that the Silgrians are 'too friendly' with human races.
- Corbanites. An industrious race of frog-like amphibians. Their natural habitat is in the water, so in air Corbanites wear environment suits that maintain an aquatic environment to their liking. With their technological advancement, most Corbanites fit their enviro-suits with translators that turn their native Corbonese into the local language.
- Sith. An insectoid race that are so alien to the other humanoid races that any manner of relationship with them is impossible.
- Lorgans. A secretive and distrusting people, the Lorgans are not mentioned much in the series. They apparently have such a strained relationship with the Terrans that the two races just avoid one another.
- Saurians. A bio-engineered race of reptiles created by Terrans by combining different strains of dinosaur DNA. Saurians are tall, powerful, imposing creatures with the intelligence and cunning of a Terran combined with the strength and viciousness of their great lizard ancestors.
- Tenrei Aliens. Small, furry, rabbit like creatures that are only seen in the video introducing Tenrei. When the three wizards arrived on their planet, the pleasant little creatures welcomed them with open arms. They introduced them to the hot springs that held rejuvenating powers. This was their downfall. A seductive female wizard named Urt began opening more hot springs and also bringing in heavy construction equipment to start building hotels and the like. In the rapid expansion of humans across Tenrei, the small aliens were lost and are now presumed extinct.
- Un-named Cactus like race. Only seen in episode 13, "Advance Guard from Another World". These immobile beings use psychic control over other organisms. With this they are able to be moved about by being carried, and perform experiments. The only one seen refers to other races as primitive and tries to make them kill each other when its presence is discovered, except that a bio-android like Melfina is immune to its control and able to kill it instead.
Planets and space stations
- Sentinel III. A level 4 terraformed world. Population 1.3 million. Gene describes Sentinel III as, "in the middle of nowhere." Gene crash landed on Sentinel III in an escape pod after his father's ship was attacked by the McDougal brothers. Primarily an agricultural exporter, the urban areas seen in the show are Locust, where Gene and Jim reside and run their business, and Hugo. The only known spaceport is the West Virginia Spaceport outside Locust.
- Earth. Gene's home planet. Earth is occasionally referred to in passing throughout the series. According to Fred Luo, "the trade merchants are pretty powerful there."
- Blue Heaven. An asteroid colony, and a free town unaffiliated with any interplanetary state or any of the dominant pirate guilds. Its neutral status make it a popular stopover and resupply center for outlaws.
- Heifong III. Where the majority of the planet-parts of the series takes place. It is one of the planets in the Heifong system, such as the water planet Heifong 7. It is a very expensive place to live (and port a ship).
- Symka 5. A satellite station where Jim first met Hanmyo. These stations seem to have artificial gravity though the means by which it is simulated is unclear.
- Tenrei. A pleasure planet covered in hot springs. A long time ago, three wizards came to this paradise in an attempt to resurrect mana, the energy of nature. Instead, one of them happened upon the hot springs and turned the entire planet into her own interstellar vacation spot. The wizards are some of the creators of some of the rarest Caster bullets.
- Toward Stars Inn. A spaceport where Gene tries to collect the bounty of legendary criminal Zomba.
- Hecatonchires. The planet where Gene, under the name Curse Hawkwind, is forced to travel to in order to free Saiyo Wong. It is a planet with wildly fluctuating gravity due to its rapid rotation rate and non-spherical shape. The gravity at its equator is stated to be approximately 1g. The Gehenna prison is in a location of 3g, while its punishment facility at the north pole is at 10.4g. Until Gene shows up there has never been a successful breakout. However, since one of the prisoners had information about the Galactic Leyline, Gene risked an escape, using a magnetic monopole to break free from the prison.
The Galactic Leyline is a location shrouded in myth fueled by rumors and superstition. Popular claims say that it is a holder of immense treasure of valuable metals or minerals, possibly the very rare material dragonite.
However to those who possess deeper information about the Galactic Leyline, it is actually known to be a 'universal library' created by an advanced but now-extinct race that possessed an unsurpassed knowledge of science, technology, and reality. Drawing upon Feng Shui, the word leyline means "a place where Chi collects." By manipulating the Chi lines (the timelines, referring to the idea that time is linear and branching, instead of looping and singular) of the universe, the Galactic Leyline has the ability to manipulate time, reality and causality, or fate, as if it were a physical law. Using the knowledge and power of the Leyline, one's wishes and desires can be granted. In simpler terms, the Galactic Leyline can be thought of as a "God Machine"(Deus ex Machina) because of its advanced knowledge and understanding of the universe.
The Leyline Project, a joint effort between the Space Forces and Pirate Guild to locate the Galactic Leyline and access its power, was founded long before the story begins using secret information found in the ruins of the Grave of the Dragon. The Space Forces, for reasons described deeper into the series, later backed out from the project leaving the Pirates to continue with the research. The result of their efforts was the creation of the fastest and most advanced ship in the galaxy, the XGP15A-II and its navigator the bio-android named Melfina. Melfina was designed to function as a highly sophisticated navigational system and act as a medium to tap into the Leyline's power. The Galactic Leyline recognizes Melfina as "the Maiden of the Leyline" and grants 'wishes' only through her.
The Galactic Leyline itself takes the form of a large gaseous planet consisting of thick clouds and strong vortices that serve as protective barriers for the Leyline within. Only a ship guided by the Maiden in the XGP (or a craft with similarly advanced speed and capabilities) can pass through this barrier via small wormholes created by the vortices of the planet. Entrance through any other means results in death or insanity from a brain-splitting screeching that only seems to affect organic creatures. Hazanko, the main villain, also gains entrance to the inner Leyline by means of powerful Taoist rituals that force the clouds to part.
Once through the outer atmosphere of the Leyline, ships enter a planet-sized cylindrical structure and are transported to an entirely different location with breathable air and normal gravity. This bizarre setting consists of landscapes of large crystal formations and strange foliage. The landscapes surround a mountain, on top of which is the door to the Leyline, which can only be accessed by Melfina. Once inside, Melfina and those with her are transported to the core of the Galactic Leyline (a large color-shifting sphere echoes in a booming feminine voice "Why dost thou return?," "What is thy desire?," and "There is but one path.") where the physical embodiment of the Leyline lurks. The Leyline's physical form resembles a serpentine cactus made out of wood, with Melfina's face. After granting the wishes of those with Melfina, the Leyline relocates itself to a random point in the universe to be found again.
See also: Akashic records
Powers of Space
In Outlaw Star it is stated that there are three supreme powers in space, which are the Space Forces, the Pirates and the Outlaws. Their differences lie in their motivations. For Pirates, this is self-enrichment and solidarity towards each other, the Space Forces have duty and discipline, and for the Outlaws this differs from person to person. The only power that's not obviously featured in the series are the Space Forces. The only organisation shown that might be equivalent is the Private Security Forces.
- "Through the Night" by Masahiko Arimachi
- "Hiru no Tsuki" (Daytime Moon) by Arai Akino (eps 1-13)
- "Tsuki no Ie" (House of the Moon) by Arai Akino (eps 14-26)
The score is composed by Kō Ōtani.
In 1999, Sunrise Studios created Angel Links, a spin-off television series based on characters introduced in episode 19 of Outlaw Star.
- "25 (of 26) Episodes of Outlaw Star to Air on Toonami". AnimeNewsNetwork.com. January 8, 2001. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- "Outlaw Star - The Collection DVD Set". AnimeNewsNetwork.com. June 29, 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- Archives of Ultra Jump page about Outlaw Star
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- Outlaw Star at the Internet Movie Database
- Outlaw Star (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Outlaw Star (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia