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Outlaw Star DVD Collection Vol 3

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2004-04-17 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2004-04-18 22:28:00

The final piece in the Outlaw Star trilogy is a two-disc set with eight action-packed episodes that bring our story to an end. As I look back on the episodes (I just finished the last four tonight), one of the strongest features of the series is that the writers -- like their protagonist, Gene Starwind -- aren't afraid to take risks. Although at times Outlaw Star falls into very familiar patterns, it also breaks free of convention and dares to try something completely different. I applaud this attitude (*clap clap*) and wish more anime creators were willing to follow its lead.

What am I talking about? Well, as you can probably guess, our intrepid adventurers do finally reach the Galactic Leyline, where they enter into a final combat with the evil Kei space pirate Hazanko and his minions. I do hope I won't be giving too much away to reveal that .... please look out, spoilers will follow .... no, really, I'm going to give away the big, big secret of the entire series --- here it comes -- the good guys win, and Gene and Mel confess their feelings for each other. Yes, yes, I'm sure that you couldn't possibly have guessed :-/ So, if you want to summarize Outlaw Star in its most basic They-Might-be-Giants terms, "Pirate Man, Pirate Man, Pirate Man hates Outlaw Man/They have a fight, Outlaw wins." However, as is so often the case, who really cares about the goal? The real fun is in the journey. Although most of the series revolves around guys (and girls) flying rockets and whacking each other, there are interludes every now and then which break the mould.

Episode 20, for example, "Cats and Girls and Spaceships," brings to the center one of the seven Anten assassins introduced in the second set of discs. Hanmyo appears to be a 12-year-old girl with two cute little cats. The first half of the episode shows us how she and Jim meet in the park one day, and spend some time shyly playing together. Jim certainly doesn't know her profession (assassin); he just thinks she's cute. Does Hanmyo know that Jim is a crew member of the Outlaw Star and a companion of Gene Starwind, her current target? Apparently not -- but we don't know for sure. Their innocent fun together gives the episode a feel of "Hamtaro" or "Sugar, a Tiny Snow Fairy" .... which makes the inevitable showdown in space shocking. No, really. We've been watching Gene and the gang blow up other ships and cut down generic bad guys for, what, 7 hours now, but this combat suddenly reaches us: someone is going to DIE here. I especially appreciated the lonesome wail of a harmonica as Hanmyo's little family (a pale mirror of Gene's "family" aboard the Outlaw Star) is destroyed. It reminded me of several moments from Cowboy Bebop -- and that's high praise.

The show takes another left-hand turn -- but in a very different direction -- in "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei", episode number 23. Our heroes land on a tourist planet, where everyone is forced to wear a bathing suit and spend time at hot springs. As one of the remaining Anten assassins repeatedly tried (and failed) to kill Gene, it gradually dawned on me that this was a comedy episode. It's all a bunch of running gags and parody, which seems completely out of place .... but kept me smiling. The cut to a gang of ping-pong was brilliant, just brilliant. It did annoy me to see anime characters sitting IN THE WATER of a spring and holding a towel around themselves -- why, oh why do writers show people in hot springs if they don't have the guts to show them naked? -- but I was mollified when Aisha actually walked past the camera completely naked. For once, a person left her towel at the edge of the pool! A triumph of logic! Hooray!

Oh, that reminds me: the only decent extra in this package (which includes extras only on the second disc in the pair) is a set of cover paintings. Most are familiar, from the covers of the DVD boxes, but there are some pictures we haven't seen before. A portrait of Hilda shows her to be hot and scary at the same time -- very nice. A postcard of Hanmyo and her kittens is cute, but sad. One of the pictures shows Aisha, Melfina and Suzuka standing in the middle of a pool of hot water. Melfina is clutching a towel around her torso; okay, that makes sense, one of her defining qualities is shyness. Fine. Suzuka and Aisha, on the other hand, are uncovered; this, too, is true to their characters, so that's fine, too. But while we can see their faces and arms clearly, their torsos are gradually hidden by very strategically placed clouds of steam. To my eye, it appears that the steam may have been added long after all the rest. Is it possible that Bandai covered up the naughty bits of Aisha and Suzuka in order to avoid controversy in the American market? If so, why didn't they simply remove this item from the gallery? Sigh.

Am I going to complain about the physics again? Episode 22, "Gravity Jailbreak", does feature a most unrealistic depiction of human life at 10.4 gees (as in, it doesn't immediately come to a wet, squishy halt). On the other hand, I must give props to the writers to noting that a very rapidly rotating planet has a flattened shape and a strong magnetic field, which produces strong aurorae near the poles. They even managed to write magnetic monopoles into the story! Who cares if the monopoles didn't behave quite right? Not I. Two thumbs up on the scientific front.

As I've written before, Outlaw Star is solid entertainment. The three-box, six-disc set is a good value, too. Mike-Bob says check it out.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 6 Sound: 7 Packaging: 6 Menu: 6

Buy this disc from AnimeNation
Other reviews of this disc:
Outlaw Star DVD Collection Vol 3 by CmdrTaco (Rating: 8.40)
It's always a mixed bag when you get the last disc of a series. Doubly so when the series is as good as Outlaw Star has proven to be, and the final disc is a collection style box with 8 more episodes. This final box completes...(continues)
Content: 9 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 9 Menu: 8

Outlaw Star DVD Collection Vol 3 by steevo (Rating: 8.00)
Wow. As with the first 2 discs, the third in this collection did not dissapoint. I got everything I wanted out of it, all the action adventure, comedy, and mystery. Plus a stronger dose of drama than in the previous 2 discs. In my...(continues)
Content: 9 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 7 Menu: 8

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