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  1. #1
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    Outlaw Star Anime: Twenty Years Later

    For those who might have missed it, seeing as how the animated version of Outlaw Star began airing in 1998, it is officially twenty years old this year! I thought this might be a good spot for reflections, personal or otherwise, on an aged classic.

    Now, here I doubt I'd find disagreement about my description of OS: in a year that also saw Cowboy Bebop and Trigun on television, and a decade that saw a lot of great anime in general, OS had some intense competition. Yet still, despite its non-Japanese makeup (Chinese etymology/aesthetics, and a decidedly Western flair of pioneering the final frontier), it remains beloved by many around the world.

    Which is to say nothing of how impactful it was outside Japan: fans in the UK and the US (and perhaps elsewhere) recall its prominent position on Toonami, becoming not just a popular contemporary series, but one that became emblematic of Toonami itself (through flagship promos like Broken Promise and a very welcomed returning favorite on the recently relaunched "Adult Swim" Toonami.

    Yet, there are those who might disagree: though I suspect this was more just for attention in the form of rage clicks (and he probably feels this way too, I imagine), "grumpy gatekeeper" Daryl Surat decided that rather than spotlight OS, give it a passing remark, or ignore it altogether, he'd go ahead and take a dump on it in an article wherein he also saves room for Initial D, a long-running popular franchise that he also happens to hate.

    (I wonder what his definition of "best" is...does he mean "most popular"? Most influential? Most beloved? Highest budget? Best animation? Or just vaguely, subjectively best, in his opinion?)

    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/fea...f-1998/.130652

    "…and with that, it seems that I've hit my quota for 1998 sci-fi space Western anime, so we'll be passing on Outlaw Star. That's fine, since it was only good for about 3 or 4 episodes anyway!"



    Somewhat unrelated, but while I have this article in mind (I'll tie this altogether, I promise lol), Daryl also goes out of his way (for some reason, in an article about 90s anime) that Space Dandy "wasn't the next Cowboy Bebop." Well, Daryl, as you probably darn well know, there will never be a quote-unquote "the next Cowboy Bebop" even though it's going to get thrown around for marketing purposes.

    But you know what? Despite your attitude about it, it's the closest damn thing yet: "didn't have its approach to . . . English dubbing influence" that Bebop had? Again, absurd thing to compare, because the nature of dubbing has CHANGED with anime becoming more mainstream since Bebop's heyday, but that aside, Space Dandy was one of THE VERY FIRST anime to be simulcast ON AMERICAN TV, dubbed, the same time it was airing in Japan (certainly the first on a regular cable network). Hell, episodes were coming out here, technically, before they were premiering in Japan! But that's not noteworthy in the least, is it? Because muh nostalgia, it's "not the next Cowboy Bebop."

    Now, how do I tie this altogether? Well, Righstuf.com had a BIG FUNimation-title sale recently...wanna' take a guess at a couple of the best sellers?


    This was one of them...
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    Aaaaaaand BOOM, so was THIS one...
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    Well how about that, Daryl? The former shows that OS TWENTY YEARS ON is still pretty popular (but not one of the "best" which again, I don't know what your criteria could possibly be considering how you hate Initial D but saved room for it anyway...maybe only popular, in Japan, in the 90s?), AND it's not just nostalgia goggles: a "newer" series, Dandy, sure has a lot of love too...also directed by Shinichiro Watanabe...also filled with Americana...also set in space...BUT, it's not the "next Bebop" so who cares, right? LOL

    Anyway, to end on a positive note...Here's to 20 more years of OS appreciation!!!
    (Consider the floor open.)
    No one's gonna' give you a map. You've gotta' walk your own path.
    - Hilda

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  3. #2
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    jimhawking
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    Outlaw Star is almost old enough to drink? Gee, thanks for reminding me that I've become an old-ass man! I think I've reflected on this before but I'll do my best to not rehash talking points I've made in the past.

    To best understand it, we have to go way back to my early teenage years. I was just getting into anime thanks to Gunsmith Cats, I it was that time that I had been getting into two movies that I loved; Army of Darkness and the Indiana Jones movies. Army of Darkness and Indiana Jones brought a character trope that I loved which is a tough and gruff hero but was flawed and fucked up at times. This is probably more apparent in Army of Darkness but it you can see that in the character of Indy to a certain extent as well. I used to watch Toonami back in the day mainly for Voltron but from there I discovered other wonderful anime like the Tenchi series, G Gundam and, of course, Outlaw Star. After watching a few episodes of it, I decided to buy it on DVD since I knew Toonami censored the hell out of it. I watched it and I immediately fell in love with it. The one of the factors is that Gene Starwind was cut from the same cloth as Indy and Ash! Gene was a badass, a hard-drinking womanizer and yet he was a dork who tried to do cool shit with his gun only to have it drop on his foot and his ideas of getting money to get to the leyline usually made them become even more broke. It's a kind of character that you don't see often in anime. I still stand by that Gene Starwind is quite possibly the closest anime has ever gotten to having a Bruce Campbell-ish character (Speaking of Gene, have I mentioned that the fact that this role didn't make Bob Bucholz a bigger name in the voice over field in leagues with the likes of Nolan North and Troy Baker to be a damn crime?).

    Now, that's not to say the other characters are slouches either. In fact, everyone in the main cast is, in my humble opinion, a stellar. Sure, you could argue that some of them could be more developed (I've always thought Suzuka could've used more character moments) but they still have enough personality to give you a firm sense of who they are, what their flaws and insecurities they suffer from and...well, for lack of a better way to put it, they are so damn likable. I could go on about all of the characters but I just wanted to touch on Aisha and Meflina for a moment. What I find fun about Aisha is that she is this powerhouse of a woman yet she is absolutely terrified of authority. In particular in "Demon of The Water Planet" after she takes care of some goons at the restaurant she works at (And leveling the place in the process), she is confronted by her (quite understandably) upset human boss. Now, if Aisha really wanted to, she could've torn that guys arm off and beat him to death with it but she just cowers in his presence. As for Melfina, some might blow her off as the typical shy, soft-spoken moe anime girl but I think what makes her unique from those kinds of characters is she is brought into a world she is unfamiliar with and without a clue as what her place is in the grand-scheme of things. She is uncertain if she is of any worth to the team beyond being a navigator and becomes more and more convinced that Gene isn't going to live up to his promise of finding out who she really is. She is one the most compelling characters on the show and her VO does a great job on generating pathos for the character.

    As for some of the snobbish attitudes towards the series...it doesn't surprise me. Some put it down because it doesn't have as sophisticated writing or characterization as other shows, like Cowboy Bebop as it's most commonly compared to. They might be right but....so? So what if Outlaw Star isn't deep or sophisticated as Bebop, especially since both shows have different ideas on it's mind? It's like comparing Star Wars to Alien because they both deal with outer space. Honestly, I always stick with Outlaw Star because I found the characters more endearing. As a matter a fact, the biggest reason why I respond so much to Outlaw Star is the fact that, at it's heart, it's really the story of a group of misfits who get together through happenstance and become a family. Seeing them become closer as the series went on was a true joy to the point where I was saddened when it finally ended. To this day, I've never had an anime give me that kind of feeling.

    Outlaw Star was a big part of my teenage years. Seeing people respond to it positively and seeing communities like this one come out of that show is a testament to how good it is. With it re-airing on Toonami not too long ago, I hope that it will give the new generation the same experience and feelings like it did with me when I was their age.

  4. #3
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    Nothing makes you feel old when someone points out how old is something you like is. I was into anime just before Outlaw Star aired on Toonami. A matter of fact Toonami pushed it into overdrive with Robotech and Tenchi Muyo! for me. I watched anime back when the SyFy channel (back when it was Sci-Fi) aired some anime on Saturday mornings like Project A-Ko, Fatal Fury and other older anime. Cowboy Bebop first aired on Toonami on the summer of 2001 and the fall of that year there was Outlaw Star 3pm weekdays and 10:30pm weeknights uncut back when [adult swim] was called Midnight Run with Moltar of Space Ghost fame.

    Outlaw Star stood out for me for whatever reason back when I was 16-17. As a adult I still like it today because it's fun, sci-fi and it doesn't take itself too seriously. My belief is that most thing don't need to be high art to be good and entertaining. I like Cowboy Bebop, but I don't the DVD or Bluray of it, but I do for Outlaw Star. Hell, I have some of the VHS tapes too and recorded it on both runs Cartoon Network back in 2001 and 2002. Admittedly, I bought the VHS just to find the unaired episode.

    I hope we go back to what anime was back then because I'm rather tired of newer anime in my opinion just being carbon copies of Bleach. Right now it looks like they are slowly moving away from that, but at a snail's pace.

    A little Outlaw Star FYI, on its first run on Toonami they accidentally broadcast Midnight Run version (a less edited cut) of Outlaw Star during the more kid friendly afternoon run. So, there were a few damns and hells spoken and unedited blood here and there was seen by young viewers. OOPS!
    We are all insane, we just act normal for the sake of others.

  5. #4
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    Just the fact that a series that came out the year I was born will be twenty makes me feel wicked old. I'll be twenty, too, and it feels like time has been passing me by.

    Then again, it also feels like an accomplishment or a milestone of sorts.

    I never watched Toonami in its original run (I was too young at the time), but I have tried to watch it as often as I can in its newer format. I did fall in love with Space Dandy back in 2014, and I wanted to get into some of the original shows that had aired back on the original block. So I started watching Cowboy Bebop and I'm currently watching Trigun, among others. Outlaw Star stuck out to me because it was something really cool that wasn't as well-known as Bebop or some of the other classics. It was more...niche, though I don't think that's the right word to use here. And I ended up really enjoying it, and here I am, sharing my love of this series with other fans.

    I'm honestly not sure what I wanted to say with this post, but all I can say in short is: kudos to OS for being so good, and may we all survive another twenty years to see more fans pop up and start enjoying the series.
    A boy has the right to dream. There are endless possibilities stretched out before him....

  6. #5
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    I often don't think about stuff like this because it makes me feel old. It is kind of a big deal that the show is 20 years old and still has a fan base.

    Considering the length it ran, one would think it would have long been forgotten. I always thought the show came out later than the 90's. It felt like it was a head of its time in a way and maybe that is why it took people time to come around to it. I know some people who didn't get into the show until it was already 10 years old.

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