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    Who Are the Ctarl-Ctarl?

    Your pinkie might even be touching one right now.

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    Okay, bad joke. You know how I am with jokes. They suck. In any case, this article is all about the Ctarl-Ctarl: their history, their physiology, and the society of their empire. Before I start though, SethClanclan is to thank for the research I used in this article. I'm just presenting it in a more organised manner with imagery. Thanks a lot, Seth. Gwen Khan would be proud!
    So without further ado, let's learn who the Ctarl-Ctarl are...



    Spoilers ahead

    History

    Though I'm ordering this alphabetically, it so happens that history is an area of the Ctarl-Ctarl we know least about. However, there are a few titbits of information throughout the series, such as after Aisha cooked her Gejidabo stew...

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    ...She mentioned the first year of the Ctarl-Ctarl calendar when the stew was originally cooked in a village. This must have been a very long time before they ventured into space.

    We're told that somewhere in the Ctarl-Ctarl homeworld, some ancient ruins exist called Orogoriya. We only get to see one picture of Orogoriya, which features a giant cat-like statue. I do wonder what that bell is made of.

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    In the sixteenth episode, The Strongest Woman in the Universe, we're led to believe that humans and the Ctarl-Ctarl had been in conflict for at least six years since a Ctarl-Ctarl was responsible for a catastrophe that nearly killed one thousand people, and seriously wounded well over five thousand, with countless others who had less serious wounds. Despite this, it would appear likely that this was one incident of many, and that the two races have been in conflict for a long period of time until trade treaties were established. Even though officially humans and Ctarl-Ctarl had been at each other's throats for much time, we can see that many individual Ctarl-Ctarl had adapted to a more typically human lifestyle...

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    It's a good job humans and Ctarl-Ctarl started getting along much better, since the humans would have been ripped to shreds, right? Well, let's see...



    Physiology

    This is also an area that's rather complicated, but we're given much more to work from as opposed to their history. Due to their metamorphic nature though, it isn't easy to grasp a clear understanding of their physiology. It would probably be easier to break this down into sections.


    Tough Skin

    Those who have watched Outlaw Star even just a couple of times should easily be able to recall the deep cuts that a Ctarl-Ctarl's skin can easily withstand. Even Gene Starwind's blade that was able to cut through the cyborg Death Rob's body was smashed to pieces by Aisha's skin in the fifth episode. During that episode, Aisha suggested that her toughness was amplified in stages before she progressed to a full beast form. (Though she did forget that Blue Heaven doesn't have a moon!) In episode fourteen, Final Countdown, Aisha was seen swiping away or 'deflecting' a bullet. Keep in mind that Suzuka had done the same thing with her bokken, and it's unknown whether a Ctarl-Ctarl's body would survive a point-blank shot.

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    As covered in the next section, it seems that a Ctarl-Ctarl's skin isn't impervious to lasers, so it would be plausible to assume such weaponry was used by humans in past conflicts. Ctarl-Ctarl skin can handle heat particularly well. So much so that Aisha Clanclan only found boiling hot water (perhaps an understatement) to be comfortable as a hot spring. (Much to Gene's misfortune, that is.)

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    Regenerative Healing Abilities

    In a previous article that was mostly focused on caster shells, I mentioned how Aisha survived a caster attack, though I did note that the shell was probably designed to be non-lethal. Regardless, she recovered from it pretty quickly. She also survived a direct exposure to explosives (attached to a whip of sorts) when she fought Shimi, though it's possible Shimi was only trying to incapacitate his foes anyway.

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    In one of the light novels called El Dorado Covered With Clouds (in which El Dorado is actually a planet, not the MacDougall's ship confusingly), at one point Aisha was shot several times through the stomach by a laser rifle. As mentioned above, this shows that Ctarl-Ctarl skin is weak against lasers, but Aisha also got up a few short minutes after this, seemingly unscathed. In that same novel, the Ctarl-Ctarls' remarkable regenerative ability was likened to a battle droid; "the only sure way to make sure they're dead is to remove or destroy the head". Jim Hawking also said something similar in the sixteenth episode when Aisha fought Lady Iraga. He commented that even a Ctarl-Ctarl is history if their head got smashed in. Why am I being reminded of zombies?


    Superhuman Strength

    At one point in the show it was said that a Ctarl-Ctarl's strength is ten times a human's, but it's very possible this was exaggerated. There is some truth to it though, which is one reason why Ctarl-Ctarls are banned from some tournaments. There are many examples throughout the series that demonstrate Ctarl-Ctarl strength. The first time Aisha directly met Gene she wielded a whip that must have been extremely heavy since it was able to smash through concrete with ease.

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    In addition to this, Aisha had no trouble at all getting through heavy doors, which she did in both episodes sixteen and nineteen. It is thought that like their skin's toughness, a Ctarl-Ctarl's superhuman strength also increases as they progress through their beast states.


    High Metabolic Rate

    It's no secret that Aisha is a big eater. Yet she does seem to have a good enough metabolism to burn off those extra calories, though I wouldn't want to see the deleted scenes of her time spent in public toilets. She might be banned from Strongman tournaments, but she should try to sign up for an eating contest. You can do it, Aisha! (It would be a dream come true for her, don't ya think?) While many of us would love to have Aisha's metabolism and not worry about how much we eat, it does come with a certain caveat: Ctarl-Ctarls need to eat, and they need to eat a lot! While she's a great asset to Gene, she really does eat at his budget. This action isn't all to satisfy a Ctarl-Ctarl's appetite however. If you recall, in the fifth episode Aisha ate a lot of food Gene was going to pay for as an apology, but in the end she had only deceived Gene and built her strength for her beast states. You see, the Ctarl-Ctarl also have the ability to conserve extra calories and use them later to power their beast states that require a helluva lot of energy.

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    Metamorphosis

    This is the ultimate transformation for a Ctarl-Ctarl—the final beast state that will require a huge calorific burn. Although a Ctarl-Ctarl can enter a half-beast state, this is the final form and at this point it becomes almost pointless to attempt communication, since Ctarl-Ctarl have little control of their body. You could say they're in a state of pure rage and can't listen to reason.

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    Though it isn't certain whether Ctarl-Ctarl in their full beast state can voluntarily change back, there's more that points to that not being the case. Suzuka also commented that it wouldn't be possible to communicate in the sixteenth episode. It seems more likely that a Ctarl-Ctarl will transform back once his or her energy has run out, as shown below. (Aisha returned to her original form afterwards.)

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    The crew made the mistake of associating Lady Iraga who took a werewolf form with the Ctarl-Ctarl. Aisha corrected them, saying that the Ctarl-Ctarl shouldn't be compared to such low-class werewolves. It's unknown whether Iraga transformed into a werewolf as a result of Tao magic or something else, though Tao magic-powered gorilla creatures did appear in the novel El Dorado Covered With Clouds.


    Enhanced Senses

    In a few instances during the Outlaw Star anime, Aisha was known to complain about loud noises (for instance, entering the Galactic Leyline Aisha was in agony, complaining that she felt her head was about to explode), and in the twelfth episode the Ctarl-Ctarls' sight was said to be the best of all alien races. Whether they possess the night vision that our own felines have is unknown.



    Society

    Though we do have more information on this than History, a lot of this is speculative. Take much of it with a pinch of salt.


    Region of Influence

    The Ctarl-Ctarl Empire spans an ovoid region of space that's roughly 230 light years at its widest and 100 light years at its shortest. This can be seen in various art books. On the other hand, humanity's region is spherical and is 240 light years in diameter. These are pretty big distances. It would take about three days at the fastest ether and sub-ether speeds to travel just twenty light years. Most ships are civilian, and it would take considering more time for those ships to travel that far. So, to put that in perspective, it would take over a month for the Outlaw Star to pass through humanity's sphere of influence from start to finish. So, how is this important?

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    There is a region between the human and Ctarl-Ctarl regions of influence. This is only speculation, but it would be fair to believe these regions started expanding, but as a result of this, conflict broke out between humanity and the Ctarl-Ctarl. Only when treaties were signed, the two races agreed to keep the regions in-between as a DMZ. As a side-note, the Ctarl-Ctarl's home planet is simply called Ctarl-Ctarl.


    Government

    The Ctarl-Ctarl have an imperial government that's headed by an emperor. However, it is often regulated by governors. Aisha tried to talk to a governor, but didn't realise she was just talking to a Comm Cube. It's possible that the Ctarl-Ctarl Emperor is visible in the background of the below picture as well as Aisha's family, but this is purely speculation.

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    Military

    Military life is likely a big part of the Ctarl-Ctarl's society. After all, they were able to hold their own against humanity in their conflict. Their ships are very well built and much honour is given to those who rise in military ranking.

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    Religion

    At one point, Aisha prayed to the God of Ctarl. How widespread this religion is remains unknown as of now.

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    Culinary

    Near the beginning of this article I discussed the famous Ctarl-Ctarl Gejidabo stew. It would make sense for their cuisine to be very different, as the habitat and wildlife of their worlds must be very different to our own. While it seems the Ctarl-Ctarl can digest most of our own food, our stomachs aren't quite as compatible with at least some of their food. For instance, in episode fifteen Suzuka had bad indigestion from eating Aisha's Gejidabo stew and as a result found herself unable to fight Shimi.


    Fashion

    Interestingly, Ctarl-Ctarl fashion seems to be very similar to our own. In episode five's opening which is about Aisha's past, we can see evidence of this. It shows that Aisha wore a very human-like dress, though we should keep in mind that it's possible that the Ctarl-Ctarls took an interest in humanity's fashion and it became a fad. With the way many Ctarl-Ctarls look down on humans though, it's hard to see why this would have been the case.

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    In conclusion, Outlaw Star has such an expansive universe, there's probably a lot that could still be written here. It's a shame we don't know more about the Ctarl-Ctarl, but I hope this will help some of you. Remember, this is only from the anime (and a light novel), and perhaps there's more to learn from the many manga chapters. Thanks for reading.
    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!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



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  3. #2
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    Fantastically done. Again your GIF work is amazing and sets the article apart from being just an article. I still think the overhead galactic map would better illustrate the point than the side-view as it gives more emphasis on the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire's size and distance. Still, great work Mantis!
    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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    If I can get a scan of that I'll replace the current image. Once I debind one of my Dragon Magazines I'll be sure to scan it myself. (Not sure when that will be.) I've decided to change the "lava" description since there's no evidence that it is lava, but obviously it's very hot.
    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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  6. #4
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    Fascinating read! Looking at it nowadays, I appreciate the Ctarl-Ctarl element of OS even more than I did when I first watched it. Everything about them (aesthetic qualities, abilities, demeanor, culture) is just cool. And Aisha's English VA I personally found immensely entertaining: she nailed every performance, every scene, and I wouldn't prefer any other human being's rendition of this character. Speaking of Aisha, I wonder if she's considered boisterous by Ctarl-Ctarl standards, or if that's just how a lot of (presumably young) Ctarl-Ctarl behave (I'm sure, as with humans, it varies, but in general they seem like...well, not to detract at all from their uniqueness, but just as an analogue, akin to Star Trek's Klingons, a hunter instinct and a warrior persona seems to be endemic to their culture). All of a sudden, I'm find myself wishing for a nineties-era OS spin-off featuring a motley crew of Ctarl-Ctarl outlaws or bounty hunters. How cool would that be?

    I wonder how long they've been a space-faring people. They seem to have a unified identity as "Ctarl-Ctarl" taking after their homeworld, as opposed to any particular nation or tribe (at least as far as we know...the Ctarl-Ctarl could have originally been a tribe that, over millennia, came to dominate all other factions on the planet before the species eventually took to space). As a seemingly war-hungry people (or, at least, conflict...they do, after all, have treaties in place with other races, and can appreciate the benefits of amicable trade with their neighbors), I also wonder how much they fought amongst themselves before they became technologically advanced enough to explore neighboring planets; call it presumptuous, but they were probably at least as prone to conflict and war as much as we primitive Earthlings have been and currently are). I also subjectively appreciate that OS didn't attempt to address this as, say, Star Trek might (as OS focuses on the story being told, and the mysticism surrounding magic and such), but in my current speculating mood I also wonder (again, presuming such mechanisms of nature would operate similar to our own...of course, they might not) how the Ctarl-Ctarl's beast form evolved in the first place. Again, fitting the aesthetic of OS it's purposefully cast (pun intended) as something mystical, indiscernible, etc., but still I'm curious: it's easy to see how it would be beneficial (given the trade-off if you have enough food/energy to maintain), but how the heck would such a mechanism begin to emerge in the first place? Adrenal glands/processes becoming honed to inconceivable new heights? Was it artificially introduced? Is it "magic" of some form? So many wondrous questions (I better stop for now, I'm starting to sound like Gwen Khan I suspect).

    tl;dr great article, Mantis!
    No one's gonna' give you a map. You've gotta' walk your own path.
    - Hilda

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    Actually, in my original write up, I touched on the genetic evolution part but it was left out in the article. In El Dorado covered in clouds page 129-130, it says that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to believe aliens had a hand in Ctarl-Ctarl evolution, especially in regards to the beast form ability. It was deemed too complicated to evolve naturally, hence the suspicion of alien intervention.
    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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    Who Are the Ctarl-Ctarl?

    Yes, I left out a few sections for space reasons. Most of which only had 1-2 sentences which I found difficult to expand. I have to consider that most readers would probably prefer an article to be a lot shorter vertically and miss just a few sentences as the headers take up room too.

    I'll admit that I must have missed this particular section and I'm glad you've added that information here.
    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!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



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    Ah yes. The superior race.
    - An unbiased bystander

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