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  1. #1
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    Magic in Outlaw Star

    Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead.

    Magic. It's something that sets Outlaw Star apart from other anime series of the same genre, like that one that unjustifiably overshadows Outlaw Star and shall not be named! Seriously though, you don't get many space shows with magic, which is a theme generally left to more traditional fantasy anime. Without magic, we wouldn't have the caster gun, which is arguably one of the coolest weapons in anime history. (No bias, I promise.) But have you thought about magic's use in the Toward Stars universe? Where does it come from? What is its history?

    We're not told a lot, but I can say that there are two major groups we know of, the first of which is rare throughout the Toward Stars universe: old magic; mana. Today we will just discuss mana, but in a future article we'll look at Tao magic. Mana dates back to far before Outlaw Star. Takehiko Ito's (creator of Outlaw Star) earlier work Future-Retro Hero Story is a manga which Outlaw Star is a sequel to. But it's set considerably before Outlaw Star in the Toward Stars calendar. In this manga there are three wizards: Ark, Hadul and Urt. They appear in the Outlaw Star anime's Hot Springs Planet Tenrei episode. These wizards can live to a much older age than regular humans. It's to be assumed that they had a good supply of mana (now known as old magic) in the past, but (relatively) closer to the events of Outlaw Star these wizards started running out of mana. They needed a new source.

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    Hadul, Urt and Ark (respectively), upon discovering a new source of mana.

    The three wizards found Tenrei. It was perfect for their needs and they were able to continue producing mana... for a while. Unfortunately for Ark and Hadul, the female wizard Urt turned Tenrei into a tourism paradise. These three wizards were some of the last who could produce what is now known as old magic. Ark and Hadul were banished from Mount Nantai where Urt chose to reside. Still, it wasn't over for Ark and Hadul. They salvaged what mana they still could. Mana has an expiration date, but the two male wizards invented a technique that allowed them to compress the mana into a cartridge and preserve its life. Such was the birth of the caster shell, and subsequently the caster gun that fires these shells' magic. Even this was long before Outlaw Star's events though, since in the show they are known as antiques. As Gene said when he met Hadul, "Time has taken its toll on the manufacturer", as the production of caster shells was a distant memory to the senile old man. Still, both Ark and Hadul were able to produce two of the most powerful caster shells that greatly aided Gene towards the end of the show. Urt also possessed two shells that she gave to Gene at the end of the episode.

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    Gene is given two extremely powerful caster shells by Ark and Hadul.

    While I'm not certain of what is written underneath the base of a shell (though I'll assume the shell number) in many cases, some have Roman numerals engraved onto them. Let's take a look at what they are and what they do. Keep in mind that there are at least nineteen caster shells, but at this time we can only confirm nine by shell number.




    Shell #3, Red


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    What does it do?

    This is a pretty powerful shell. It absolutely obliterated the sword-wielding pirate Guugok, who was impervious to rockets thanks to his Tao magic. Against the giant red laser-like beam produced by a #3 shell though, he had no chance. This beam is at least a few feet in diameter, so you'd better steer clear of it. With a direct hit it would destroy some advanced Kei Pirates. Finally, if the beam itself doesn't kill, the red explosion that follows probably will. The magic also seems to produce a small explosion in the caster gun itself.

    When does it appear?

    This was the first shell used in the anime series, during the car chase near the end of the first episode. Gene, Jim and Hilda were escaping the Kei Pirates when he used it to defeat the lanky pirate Guugok.


    Shell #4, Yellow



    What does it do?

    Arguably this was the most powerful caster shell in the series, and certainly the most gruesome one. It becomes difficult to actually hold the caster gun upon firing due to its immense power and emits a purple disc. A black sphere is fired which after a few seconds seems to suck in the target, from the inside out, reducing him/her to a bloody mess. However, Hazanko was able to resist this effect. It is unknown where a victim of this onslaught is transported to. There is a catch though. The user of this shell is drained of some of his/her life force, which after continued use may prove fatal.

    When does it appear?

    Gene was given two of these shells by Urt, which he used against Hamushi and Hazanko in the two final episodes.


    Shell #5, Yellow

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    What does it do?

    This caster shell emits a blue disc and fires a thin beam, useful as a more long-ranged attack with wide contrails. Think of it like a concentrated sniper shell. Harder to hit the target, but Gene's a good shot and this saved his life as he was able to eradicate the highly dangerous Tao dragon that the Kei Pirate leader Roifan conjured.

    When does it appear?

    It was used in the second episode, when Gene had to hold off the pirates while Hilda and Jim located Horus' dropship.


    Shell #9, Yellow

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Views: 986
Size:  1.43 MB

    What does it do?

    Made by Hadul, you already know from the get-go that this shell is going to kick ass. Even Ronald MacDougall realised this in a panic before he was blasted away by a huge gale. He was lucky his bones weren't crushed. The shell emits a light red disc and fires... well, seemingly nothing. That's until a few seconds later when all hell breaks loose, as Ron unfortunately learnt. Being one of the wizards' shells this also saps one's life force, which almost killed Gene.

    When does it appear?

    Gene was handed this shell in the Tenrei episode (twenty-three) and used it in the penultimate episode, when Gene was searching for Melfina and Ron blocked his path.


    Shell #10, Red

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    What does it do?

    It emits a medium to dark red light and fires a beam that's probably about twenty centimetres in diameter. It's a pretty average shell.

    When does it appear?

    It was one of the shells Gene used against Hamushi in the penultimate episode. That was where it was identified as the #10 shell. However, it appears highly likely that this shell was also used against Ronald MacDougall outside of a restaurant in the seventeenth episode, as shown above. Amusingly, in both instances Gene used the shell to buy time and its power was not shown. It's easy to see why Gene wasted these.


    Shell #11, Red

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    What does it do?

    This shell is highly similar to #10, or rather, we're to assume this since its beam reacted with Hamushi's Tao magic projectile and exploded, which is similar to what happened with the #10 shell and Ron MacDougall. With that said, we did get to see it used against one of Ronald's Space Forces panthers in the seventeenth episode. These are very expensive and powerful machines, so the fact this shell was able to destroy one of them shows the #11 isn't a complete throwaway. Although Jim was also able to destroy one of these cats with a regular rocket, so maybe Ron was bullshitting about that.

    When does it appear?

    The same episodes as #10; the seventeenth and twenty-fifth episodes.


    Shell #12, Stone Grey

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    What does it do?

    Possibly the only non-lethal shell in the series, the #12 was designed to only incapacitate foes, sort of like a stun gun. It emits a pink disc and fires a blue spherical projectile, which stuns an opponent on contact. I'd personally question what else it does, since Aisha looked rather baked afterwards if you catch my drift.

    When does it appear?

    In episode five after Aisha started whining to get extra helpings of food at a restaurant which Gene treated her to, and then she went on to explain how inferior humans are to Ctarl-Ctarls. I wouldn't have blamed Gene for using a different shell.


    Shell #13, Yellow

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    What does it do?

    Another wizard shell, the #13 also saps one's life force. It emits two yellow electric discs and continually fires what can only be described as a huge electric blast of energy. While it doesn't appear truly special at first glance, it matched the power of a Tao magic spell that was cast by Hazanko, one of the most powerful Tao masters in the galaxy, if this gives you a basic idea of its strength.

    When does it appear?

    The final episode, and it's also the final caster shell used in the series.


    Shell #19, Red

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Size:  1.60 MB

    What does it do?

    Who knows? It looked the part by emitting two blue discs, but after that poor Gene found that his #19 was a dud. One must assume it's a powerful shell though since he planned to use it against a crowd of Kei Pirates, including two Tao magic experts, Roifan and Soiren.

    When does it appear?

    The second episode. Gene was in trouble after this shell failed, but was fortunately saved when Hilda and Jim arrived in Horus' dropship.


    Unidentified Number Shell #1, Unknown Colour

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    What does it do?

    Quite a powerful shell, this was used against Anten Seven member Shimi. It emits a pink disc, and fires a large blue beam several feet in diameter which was strong enough to greatly weaken Shimi's top-of-the-line light shield. Gene was then able to finish it off with a rocket.

    When does it appear?

    Episode fifteen, also known as The Seven Emerge.


    Unidentified Number Shell #2, Red

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    What does it do?

    It's questionable whether this is actually a caster shell or a bad design choice on Sunrise's part. Gene fired it at Harry's power armour which caused an explosion. It is unknown whether the explosion was from the shell itself or the power armour.

    When does it appear?

    Remember the episode where Harry kept firing a chaingun at the love of his life? Yeah, that one. Twenty-one if you're stumped.

    Unidentified Number Shell #3, Unknown Colour


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    What does it do?

    Though this one also fires a small projectile akin to a pistol bullet, I think this is much more likely to be an actual shell. Firstly, it emits a blue ball. Secondly, it completely destroyed Urt's swimming baths. Try doing that with a regular gun.

    When does it appear?

    Gene got a little too excited upon witnessing a large display of bosoms. So, unable to control his arousal and with no concern for the safety of others, Gene fired this shell into a temple in the twenty-third episode.



    As I explained near the top, I'll write a new article on magic in the future with more of a focus on Tao magic. However, there's a good chance this list hasn't covered everything. I'm pretty sure these are all the identified shells in the series, but I'm not sure the last few above are all of the unidentified shells. I couldn't have made this article alone. In fact, for a lot of it I relied on research written by SethClanclan. I really owe him my thanks, as using his information I was able to locate all of these shells. On the next Gwen's Day, Seth will produce something great about the Ctarl-Ctarl. Stay tuned. Also, remember that Ron had his own shells, but they weren't numbered. The one below has no label, but seemed pretty generic so I haven't written about this. I hope you enjoyed.

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    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  3. #2
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    Wow, that's quite a bit of work you put into this as well. Those gifs really take the cake here. I look forward to seeing more of this fantastic level of dedication in your articles!
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

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  5. #3
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    This was a great read, the Caster Gun has always been one of my favorite fictional weapons, so it's fantastic to have a comprehensive guide on most of the shells as well as their effects. (Great work on the gifs, too!) This should prove useful to anyone hoping to build a Caster replica of their own.

    Very interesting piece of lore on magic in the series in general-- I was aware of Angel Links, but I had no idea Future-Retro Hero Story was a prequel to Outlaw Star, let alone that those wizards made their debut in it! I've learnt something today. Well done Mantis and Seth!

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    VERY impressive work, fellas! I gotta' agree with what's been said on the gifs too lol, freakin' awesome. I particularly enjoy the last one, showcasing Ron's caster. It certainly would have detracted from Gene's caster if they were all over the place in OS, so I love that it's implied how rare they are, which makes it that much cooler when Ron shows up with his own, and it has its own unique design...and you just know there's as fascinating of a backstory there as how a brat like Gene ended up with one, too!
    No one's gonna' give you a map. You've gotta' walk your own path.
    - Hilda

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  9. #5
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    I kept on wondering what that 'Pagua Sonfa' chant in Outlaw Star was all about but it turns out to be just gibberish to make Tao chant sound cool.

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    I still need to write about Tao magic which is a different subject to old magic, but I remember reading this on another forum...

    ...it could be translated as something like "The way of power," which is pretty cool and makes sense.
    I have no idea if there's any truth to that, but the next time I have a chance I'll try asking a Chinese friend if it makes any sense to her. (Odds are, it won't and it's indeed gibberish.)
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  11. #7
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    Gosh, I've been super interested in Tao Magic since I watched the show.
    Admittedly, when I fantasize about being in the Toward Star Universe (let's face it, we all do) I like to imagine being a Tao Mage that abandoned the Kei Pirate Guild.

    In any case I'd be interested in a thread about Tao Magic if it's ever written.

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    I originally intended to make a follow-up thread focusing on Tao magic but I eventually decided to just focus on the upcoming (a while off though as there's a lot to do) sister site, so instead there will be a page about Tao magic on the website. While I'm not giving any launch dates for the new site (mostly because I have no idea when I'll have completed enough to do this) as soon as it's up I'll post about it, so keep your eyes peeled.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  13. #9
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    consider them peeled

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