05-04-2012 12:19 AM
EPISODE 23: HOT SPRINGS PLANET TENREI
SUMMARY: Gene takes the crew to Tenrei, one of the galaxy's most well known vacation planets, to stock up on rare Caster shells before they head to the Galactic Leyline.
THOUGHTS: At last we come to what is likely the most well known and infamous episode in the series. Due to extreme fanservice Hot Springs Planet Tenrei never aired on Toonami leaving many confused. Ah, the hot spring episode, it has become a cliche at this point. It seems most anime need at least one. Outlaw Star's just so happens to be the funniest episode in the series. The narrator sets up the plot by mentioning the three wizards who found the planet long ago. I never noticed the native pink bunny inhabitants or their protests before. They are a cute, light hearted way of showing us what we might expect from this adventure.
I'll get the nudity out of the way first. The only one we see entirely unobscured....well the top half anyway this isn't hentai material...is Aisha, and what an impression she leaves. To be fair I suppose we've seen Melfina in almost every episode though and Suzuka is a beauty as well. Little Jim gets plenty of action but wonders what could be so very important that Gene isn't around to try and sneak a peek. Well that's actually part of what makes this one so great: It is a crucial plot related episode. Toonami felt otherwise but the rare Caster shells Gene acquires here will prove pivotal in the finale. What's even more important though is how we learn Gene will have to give up his own life force to use them as these are very rare, very powerful shells. Of course we also get a bit regarding the history of Caster shells and how there are 20 types. I love that such a hilarious episode manages to be so important to the plot.
And that's the third reason this episode is great: the humor. The episode is just so #### funny! It has a certain goofy slapstick feel to it and most of the time an anten seven member is the butt of the joke. Tobigera appears in the series' last episode too, but his main appearance is here and basically just as comic relief. From being washed away to falling down a mountain he is this show's Wile E. Coyote. Gene and crew never even realize he's after them! Gene is not left unscathed either though as the snowball scene displays. I remember introducing a friend to this series years ago with this episode and how hard he laughed throughout Gene's climb up the mountain. Good times
In the end Gene gets what he came for and the goofiness is at an end. Nevertheless we leave Tenrei as probably my favorite episode of the series, and certainly the funniest. Next time, the beginning of the end.
05-06-2012 03:21 AM
EPISODE 24: CUTTING THE GALACTIC LEYLINE
SUMMARY: The crew finally reaches the Galactic Leyline, shaped like a gold and black cylinder. Hazanko and his remaining forces also arrive as well as the MacDougall brothers, who have allied themselves with Gwen Khan. When all parties finally meet Melfina is teleported away by an unknown voice...
THOUGHTS: First I'll admit I forgot that they do give a brief explanation on the significance of the Caster shells from the previous episode at the beginning of this one. So I can see why the previous episode was skipped though I still wish it weren't. Anyway the narrator introduces our remaining cast and basically pumps us up for the big reveal...which only partially happens in this episode. We learn Melfina has always had a deep connection to the Leyline, but not much more. I find it ironic that Gene only now meets Hazanko, our primary antagonist.
The partnership between Khan and the MacDougalls is interesting. He seems to want revenge on Gene and crew, but his true desire is much more academic. After Harry's "accident" at the ruins Khan gives him a body similar to Melfina's. He looks quite menacing while in that yellow prism. We are told again about Khan's hand in creating both the XGP and Melfina. We learn Suzuka is well aware of Hazanko and his ship, the Geomancer. Aside from that its a pretty action oriented episode. The Ctarlctarl warship is a nice little plot device to show why one couldn't force oneself through the Leyline I suppose.
Ultimately though this episode almost feels like a tease. The buildup is at a highpoint as next week the story will finish!
05-11-2012 05:09 AM - edited 05-11-2012 05:14 AM
EPISODE 25: MAZE OF DESPAIR
SUMMARY: Everyone is transported, separately, into a maze. The paths all eventually meet up and end in the center, where Melfina is being held. Several battles take place, in the end Gene races to the center to save Melfina from Hazanko.
THOUGHTS: So we're finally at the end. This episode was the one shown, edited, only recently as part of the Toonami April Fools. I was surprised to see that, after Melfina's song(which replaces the narrator and is this episode's prologue) there wasn't our usual opening, "Through the Night" on the AS airing. I was told it wasn't played with this episode, but the DVD I own says otherwise as it was here. I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! Ahem...anyway the first thing you'll probably take notice of is the yellow gloss the majority of this episode plays out through, an effect of the Leyline. It certainly is cool to look at, very stylish.
Quite a bit happens in this episode, likely the largest amount of things to this point in the series. We have several clashes with Hazanko's remaining Anten Members(most of them), and all three are killed. I guess I'll start with Hitoriga, who we learn killed Suzuka's family and took her face as his own. Her main reason behind joining Gene was to find and kill this man from her past. She succeeds, making for some interesting character development along the way, declaring her individuality to mean everything to her. As a villain Hitoriga, despite his appearance and backstory, isn't able to leave an impression due to his severe lack of screentime. I feel the same for Jukai, whom Aisha battles after a cute little scene with Jim. I like his crazy design and old voice, but he falls to Aisha's might in the end. Lastly we have Hamushi, who likely would have killed Gene without his visit to Tenrei. Most Caster Shells have no effect on her, but a Number 4 crushes her away. I remember first seeing this rather cool death scene at a friend's house. I was playing pool in a basement while two of my friends watched the series; I was at that time not yet a fan. I thought then and still do think that her death was rather creepy and cool, that glimpse of the screaming face in the black orb just before it fades away sticks out in my mind...what a way to go.
It is actually Harry MacDougall who makes it to Melfina first, but Hazanko is not far behind. They have a brief battle but Harry is crushed in a brutal fashion which was partially edited on AS. Hazanko confirms Melfina's purpose as being the key that unlocks the Leyline and uses the same command Khan used only episodes ago to open the path. Khan arrives shortly after, but Ron is already there and confronts Gene. Once again they clash, but Gene's newly acquired Caster blows Ron away, quite literally. The shell drains Gene's life energy though, like the one before, and Gene's life literally flashes before his eyes. He is visited by Hilda and his father, who encurage him to go on living in a rather interesting scene. When he awakes he finds Jim, his friend from the beginning, by his side. The two share a powerful little scene which perfectly displays their relationship. Jim will always be there for Gene as his support.
Gene finally makes it to the center of the Leyline. He finds Gwen Khan of all people, as well as one final locked door. It turns out the still barely alive Harry MacDougall is able to open it as his last act. I find Khan's description of Harry as a phantom rather apt. His appearance in this inner chamber of the Leyline is one of ultimate despair. He manages to see Melfina one last time, and the fact that I feel anything for the guy at this latest of stages is a testament to how good this show is. Now all that remains is the final battle...
05-11-2012 09:45 PM
05-17-2012 12:11 PM
05-17-2012 12:45 PM
06-05-2012 11:30 PM
EPISODE 26: RETURN TO SPACE
SUMMARY: Gene meets Hazanko, Melfina, and Gwen Khan at the center of the Galactic Leyline for the final battle!
THOUGHTS: Well it certainly took me long enough but I finally finished the re-watch! The final episode only slightly disappoints at the end, but we'll get there. Melfina finally learns her purpose though Gene knows it isn't the past that matters. Gene learns what the Galactic Leyline is, a robotic library of knowledge: a god. He calmly and humorously tells Jim later, "I met God." Before that though he kills Hazanko but also dies only for them to be revived. Gene finally confesses his dependence on Melfina and she reciprocates his feelings. The scenes are done rather well and summon the proper emotions from the viewer.
Gwen Khan has a very mysterious exit befitting his eccentric personality. All he really wanted was all knowledge available and with it, he goes away. Hazanko wants something more devious though as poor Tobigera finds out. The "Hazanko ship" is appropriately ghastly in appearance, but it is nothing compared to the combined strength of the crew of the Outlaw Star. The final battle is glorious to behold as it ranges from hand to hand combat to a ship through the head! In the end the crew is naturally victorious and Melfina gains the confidence needed to change her outlook from blue to red, the color of Gene's hair.
Speaking of Gene's hair it is cut short in the aftermath! Perhaps a symbol of growing up or perhaps not it is a strange look to get used to, but still fits him somehow. In the end the crew of the Outlaw Star decide to explore the further reaches of space. As the narrator says Gene will make his own name, but for now their status remains unknown. And it is that unknown status that upsets me. Between that and the blatant fact that the MacDougall brothers live and vow revenge it is pretty obvious this series was hoping for a sequel that never came. I find that sad as I would've loved to have witnessed the further exploits of the crew of the Outlaw Star, but oh well.
As it is the 26 episodes that make up Outlaw Star are solidly entertaining and make for a memorable anime experience with a great story, characters, music, animation, action, and high replay value. A 10/10 if ever there was one! I enjoyed this re-watch of this anime classic...even if the finale did take me an extra month.
06-07-2012 02:02 PM
06-08-2012 12:02 AM
Just finished this off last night. Those last few episodes really bring you in don't they? I had almost forgotten how good the ending was. It really is befitting a spectacular series such as this. It can truly be said that "they don't make 'em like this anymore". And that is a shame when you think about it. Anime has become more about money than telling an engaging story. But enough about that, how awesome was the final fight? Such fluid animation and fighting. Great action and all the pieces coming together to defeat a powerful evil. This series really is a masterpiece and doesn't get near enough respect.
Yep, completely agreed.
11-05-2012 09:30 PM
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